Medicate me baby

It’s getting colder in the mornings here in Maine…almost time to break out the Chippewa insulated boots and flannel lined jeans!  I’m never going to win any awards for the way my Butch ass dresses, but I definitely try to keep it clean and presentable.  I was reading a fellow Butch’s blog and it was funny how similarly we seem to choose to dress.  My favorites at this time of year are my go-to flannel shirts – which I need more of right now – and on cooler days I’ll base that with a t-shirt and long-john shirt.  The last two days I have switched up to a black belt and my black HD motorcycle boots just for some change.  Generally I do my casual days in brown belts and Timberland work boots, but I just felt like a change.  And like my fellow blogger I just feel better about myself knowing I look half-way decent every day.

MaB talked about becoming more Butch.  It was a very enlightening blog, but it made me ask myself “could I BE any more Butch?”  and laugh at myself, because I am about as Butch as it gets.  And because I am on a daily low-dose of testosterone, I feel about as masculine as I want to be.  The testosterone, which keeps me sharp and hungry, has had nothing but positive effects on me.  It’s not a dose high enough to transition, but just enough to do what I wanted – which was increased energy and sex drive.  My anti-depressants were messing with both of those, and countering them with the T has been the perfect answer.

I get to these points in time when I think I am doing so damned good that I can stop my medications and still do well.  I know that’s some seriously flawed thinking. I’ve done it before with my HIV meds, and I have a super strong immune response so I stay very healthy even without the drugs. So why do I continue to take them?  Well, they don’t seem to mess with me at all side effect wise, and it’s become a habit now to reach for them at certain times of the day.  I have been wildly scolded by my specialist NOT to do the “holiday” thing anymore.  About 3 years ago now I got really super sick while my parents were away in Alaska, I about died that September and I don’t ever want to be that sick again.  Especially when there’s really no one around to help me out when I do get sick.  Mom has always been my saving grace in those moments of weakness, and of course I didn’t want to ruin their trip west with news that I was so ill, so I didn’t let on until they returned.  By that time I was so bad that I couldn’t move.  Thankfully someone stopped by and found me like that and took notice that I needed someone there.  It was hell.  So, after that I haven’t done the drug “holiday” thing again.  I’ve been really religious about taking my daily meds and not complaining about the pills that are keeping me healthy and alive.

As for the other medications, particularly the anti-d’s, I would love to get off of them.  Although the last time I tried that it turned out not to be such a good idea.  My issues with depression recurred and I was not a happy camper.  I wish I didn’t have to take pills to feel fucking normal, but I’m afraid to not take them at the same time.  My mood can go from great to really crappy in a couple of weeks, then I don’t want to see or hear from anyone, and I can be just plain un-caring and mean.  The anti-d’s keep me even keeled and generally easy going.  I am at the maximum dose for the one I am on right now, have been for over a year…I’m afraid that that means that I will have to change up to another drug soon…something that I do NOT want to do.  I chose the one I am on myself because of it’s efficacy and it’s lack of negative side-effects like stomping on one’s sex drive.  And there is no one grouchier than a Butch with a crappy sex drive.  I know that’s the case with me, hell if I don’t want sex 24 hours a day I feel like I am ‘off’ in some weird way.  So, as long as the current meds continue to work I am going to stay on them.  Fuck it if anyone sees that as weakness, which I used to worry about a lot more than I do now.  Living in my head isn’t easy, so if a couple of little pills every day helps me cope a bit better then so be it.

I have my monthly appointment with pain care today…ok, so shoot me, I have a minor pain pill habit.  I’ve been on narcotic pain medications for so long now that I am afraid if they take me off of them I’ll kibby and die.  Plus I have been on them so long that I don’t get ‘high’ from them, they just mask the pain from the blown disks in my back – which is a good thing!  If I go off of them it could be dangerous.  I’m afraid of seizures.  I’m afraid of muscle tremors, night sweats and gut wrenching withdrawals too.  I’ve been through all of that before (although with illicit drugs before) and survived it, but I am afraid that this time I’ve just been on them too long.  It’s going to hurt and hurt very badly when they do take me down on them.  Thankfully there are other countering drugs like Suboxone that will help me from being too sick when they do drop my doses.  You know I’ll be asking for that shit!

It’s kind of ironic.  At one point in my life, over 25 years ago now, but for a few solid years, I was very much a bad drug addict.  I loved my cocaine and then discovered heroin because it countered the drop from the coke.  It didn’t take me long to develop a very bad heroin habit.  I battled that habit for a few short years, putting myself in some seriously dangerous situations in the meanwhile.  It all seems so far away now, like it happened in another lifetime or something weird like that.  Who I was then and who I am now are two totally different people.  It’s even hard for me to remember those days without wanting to crawl out of my skin.  I almost wish it had never been part of my life, but then each of those experiences have led me to be the person I am today.  Without knowing what that sort of bad-ass life was all about, without knowing the darker side of myself, would I be who I am today?  I think not.

I had many brushes with death, and I saw / experienced a lot of violence and ill mannered people.  I learned, I watched, and I got a street-cred diploma.  I hung with some bad dudes, and they taught me not only the trade, but a way of being – part of which I still carry in me.  Not all of it was bad, the ways I learned from my biker friends of that time have some very strong and timeless messages in them.  I learned respect.  I learned compliance and self-control.  I learned charity and humility.  (I know that’s a hard one, but we were forced to hand over part of our weekly takes to the nuns at the local convent out of respect.)  And I learned that it’s really hard, if not impossible, to ever be completely clean.  I no longer mess with any street drugs.  No more coke.  No more dope.  And nowadays I am kind of a hard-ass about it, I won’t even tolerate it in my friends’ behaviors…it’s just not something that I want or need in my life anymore.  I hate it.  I’m ok with the 420 crowd, hell even I still smoke a bit here and there, but other than that I can’t have that shit in my life now.  So, it’s ironic that I am okay with the prescription narcos…yes, very ironic.

Thus, off to the pain clinic I go now.  Such is life.

 

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Author: MainelyButch

I am a pretty relaxed, proud, Butch and a native Mainer who enjoys reading, writing, blogging, vlogging and social interaction. I live in southern Maine, near the coast with my 2 small dogs and I hail from a very large, loving family that is historically rooted here. I write about my life, my experiences, living successfully with HIV, my YouTube experiences, and just about anything that piques my interest. This blog may contain profanity and sexual situations, and is not intended for younger audiences. Read at your own risk. At 54 I see life as just beginning a new chapter, and have decide this is the time that I need to write the stories that got me to this point. I believe we live our lives in chapters, changing, evolving and moving continuously with the times. I love to laugh, have discussions, debates and even the occasional nonsense conversation! I generally enjoy people, but not drama, hatred, ignorance or those who choose to feel they are somehow elite or superior to another simply due to their mere existence. I try to be very conscious of the health of the world around me - environmentally, socially, economically, and ethically. The people who are dear to me know me as having a tough exterior, filled with marshmallow and crunchy peanut butter. I continually strive to be the best I can be, especially to address life head on...always.

5 thoughts on “Medicate me baby”

  1. It is very common for people who are long term HIV+ to have difficulty staying compliant on meds and have to fight the desire to go off of them – I have some gay male comrades from ACT UP who are part of a long term survivors group – they battle this constantly – they feel burned out by the compliance.

    I think we all paid a price for suppressing our butchness – even when we didn’t think we were – the pressure of making it look easy and natural – to make it appear we had it together and were managing it – and being afraid that on some level it was a front or a fraud because of how vulnerable we were without being able to express it and being unable to conform. I know I needed some way to blunt the pain and to numb out. In some ways it is amazing that we managed to survive to tell the tale.

  2. Yes Jamie, it’s definitely difficult for some to be compliant. When life is going well it’s easy, but if things get screwy in any way then my compliance goes in the can. Over the past year+ I have been very adherent to the regimen, so my T’s are very high and my viral load (amt of hiv in my blood) is VERY low to non-existent – which is the ultimate goal of the meds and cleaner living anyway!

    And yes the price we all paid for the suppression of our Butchness earlier in our lives left it’s marks on all of us. The invisible scars. And it certainly IS amazing that we survived…I tasted gun metal once and it was enough to scare me onto a better path! I’m glad we made it, life now is sooo much better than those days of grief. ~MB

  3. So, one of my very best friends in the world stopped taking his HIV medications a few years back, after some tragedies in his life. Within a year or two, he got a small injury, then died in the hospital a few weeks later, with no immune system left.
    In retrospect, I think that he thought that the HIV would forget about him, if he forgot about the HIV.
    I go back and forth between being pissed off, and being filled with sadness.
    So, don’t stop the HIV meds.

  4. So…it’s official..I’ll be off my fast acting narco pain meds by January 1st 2015…oh this should be really fun fun fun…NOT…but it has to be done, and it will be for the better I believe. We are going to adjust the extended release mediation to a higher dose, and see if that keeps me moving comfortably (it should). So over the next 3 months I’ll wean off of the current medication and it’ shouldn’t be THAT bad if I do it right – which I will because I don’t enjoy that kind of pain at all.

  5. Though I’m not butch or a former addict, I can understand on a couple levels what you are going through and will be going through. I’m disabled and on time released narcotics for the pain and just recently my pain doc took me off the immediate release meds and increased my time released ones and I’m doing fine! The second reason I can understand is because I lost my partner not that long ago to a car accident but she was a butch, former addict and had some of the same problems with meds and taking them that you talk about. We talked about it a lot and if you ever need an ear…I’m always willing! Good luck with it and I hope you don’t have any problems in the transition! Take care and big hugs, k

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