Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Judge Dread

Tuesday was a stressful day, mainly due to the visit to the clinic at the local hospital. Sitting there that morning two things struck me.

The first was how many gay couples came in today which was something I found oddly endearing; I imagine them using test results to help build trust and a relationship and… happily ever after. Secondly, however, was the feeling I should have done this a long time ago – not because it was fun, but because I felt very old to be doing this for the first time. Well, it had to be done but I wonder how many people of my age (not that I’m old) would willingly put themselves in the same position after all these years.

So what happened? Well, despite arriving at 8:30 I was ninth in the queue so it took an age to be seen (the TV in the waiting room went from GMTV to This Morning via the odious Jeremy Kyle show). The doctor saw me and examined areas no woman has been near for quite some time. Then, after discussing my convoluted recent history - where I was mildly amused by her insistence on Not Judging Me - I was whisked straight into counselling where a counsellor and I discussed (a) my naughtiness and (b) what happens should my naughtiness have consequences.

Then after being turned into a human pin cushion, and having swabs, samples and very uncomfortable scrapings taken, I was given as much of an all clear that I could be there and then and sent on my way.

Overall it took three hours and God knows it convinced me of the need to take double-plus care when on a diet of man-flesh.

One thing I didn’t take up was the offer of a hepatitis vaccination, which I regretted. Plus they couldn’t give me the HIV results that day. So I dropped in to a drop-in centre in Greenwich on the way home on Wednesday to get both (again negative, hurrah). The other drop in centre – Pitstop – was so much better (in fairness the NHS clinics are so stretched it’s difficult to imagine how they manage): better surroundings, more relaxed atmosphere. But rather less of the No Judging thing!

As a consequence I’m now being immunised every which way and I’ve been asked to sign up for a nine-step counselling programme to explore, essentially, why I’m such a slut. Well, not just that; relationship advice, why I found it so difficult to come out for so long etc etc – it might be very useful.

I’ve also been laden with enough leaflets to keep me going for a while. Did you know you can get hepatitis B from kissing? That 40% of gay men use poppers? That 15% of gay men in London are HIV positive? I was shocked by that - it means statistically several of my partners have been infected at some point. Sobering.

Your homework for the next blog post, gentle reader, is to read up on Cowper’s gland.


JS (Magic of making up) said...

I felt nice reading your blog. Thank you for sharing.I feel relationships are an integral part of our lives and the relationship between lovers, wife and husband are very fragile bonds that should be continually cherished and respected in order to flourish.

Magic Of Making Up

Monty said...

Oh, I read up about Cowper's makes the pre-cum! How interesting! :-)

P.Brownsey said...

I think the thing that would most put me off going for such a check-up would be the pressure to undergo counselling. Seeing a qualified psychiatrist or psychologist when you need to is one thing, but counselling seems to me a dubious activity hovering somewhere between life coaching and psychiatry practised by someone who can't be bothered with all that arduous medical training.

Mike said...

Well done Monty! Gold star for you!! And yes, I sometimes cynically consider conselling to be of dubious value; but having said that coaching and mentoring in the workplace has really helped my career and if the blog is a way to think out loud maybe talking to someone is another dimension to that... I shall report back as events warrant.

czechOUT said...

we and mon C went to get an HIV test together.

I've never had an STD, nor was I really ever troubled. But who knows.

Fortunately we were both ok, so continued to have safe sex, well, safe between the two of us.

Waiting for the result was still harrowing. No matter how sure you are you really aren't. Until youget the all clear.


JS (Magic of making up) said...

That's nice post.Relationships don't heal themselves. So one should be very careful.Men and women both have particular things they need out of a relationship, and if they don't get them the relationship is very unlikely to succeed. Your partner probably broke up with you because one or more of these needs weren't being met, and if you can identify them and how to address them it'll be far easier to get your ex back and what's more...keep the relationship going.
Magic of Making up