“No kidding!” I hear you say. Ah, but last night I did something I’ve never done before. I had me some Sustiva.
Over the past two weekends since I last wrote, Foxtrot Charlie and I have done a lot more talking. Stuff we haven’t really touched on much in the past, stuff of honesty and insight. Long forgotten laughter tempered by well hidden tears. Stuff of comfortable silences and cuddles on the couch. Pleasure and pain and understanding.
And Sustiva. We’ve talked about Sustiva a fair bit over the past few months, but last night was different somehow; a subtle change in tempo, a whisper of altered nuance. Charlie always takes his Sustiva at bedtime and I found myself going round to his side of the bed to sit next to him as he dug a capsule out of the bottle. I held out my hand. “Give us one then.”
His eyebrows shot up. “Really?”
“Yeah, and make it three*.”
If I was gonna do this, I was gonna do it right. And as I’ve never been one for half-measures, I reached past him for the bottle of Truvada, which Charlie takes in the morning. I grabbed a blue devil, added it to the three yellow caps in my hand, walloped the lot in my mouth and took a swig of juice.
“In for a penny, in for a pound.” was my response to his questioning look.
I knew I wasn’t likely to experience the full hit of side-effects, but it was ... dunno, a show of solidarity I suppose. I can’t really put into words what transpired in the gaze between us. It was just one of those things between lovers and I knew I’d done exactly the right thing at the right time. “It just is, ok?” as I’m fond of saying.
Charlie’d had a busy day and after a kiss and a cuddle, quickly fell asleep. I soon dozed off as well and found myself in a cartoon character dream where little soldiers in blue and yellow stood around laughing at little spikey red blobs. The red blobs were not happy - “What the fuck does she think she’s doing?” they shouted. I often have strange dreams when I sleep alongside Charlie so the soldiers weren’t really anything new. I’ve been teasing him for ages that his Sustiva is rubbing off on me. How much the Sustiva actually has to do with it and how much is just my fevered imagination is anybody’s guess.
I awoke from dreamland wanting a slash, a drink of water and a ciggie - not necessarily in that order. I floated across the room, donned my bathrobe, visited the toilet on the next floor then carried on to the ground floor for a smoke. By the time I got downstairs I found I was ravenously hungry, despite a huge meal only a few hours earlier. I snaffled myself a bowl of stew from the fridge and wobbled it over to the microwave. The phrase that kept going through my head was “I’m stoned out of my tiny little box!”
Settling down in front of the wide-screen and Will and Grace re-runs, I ate the stew in record time. I can’t remember the last time I was so hungry! Funny, I don’t recall ever hearing that as a side-effect. I washed the bowl during a commercial break and bounced back into the living room for more re-runs and nicotine. I finally became sleepy again after three episodes and went back upstairs to crawl into bed.
I had more dreams. Or rather, I had more of one dream. The same dream over and over. It was morning and Charlie was getting up for work. We had a conversation. I got up and got dressed too, only to realize I was still lying in bed next to him. Sometimes I’d still be naked and sometimes I was half-dressed and decided I must have gotten back in and dozed off again. But no, wait, I don’t have anything on. In the end, I was laughing at it all, calling it the Groundhog Dream. I don’t even know if I was dreaming that I was laughing at my dream or if I was awake or dreaming I was awake or what the hell was going on. Most perplexing, in funny sort of way.
It wasn’t until I really did wake up the next morning and stood up that I remembered what I’d done the night before. I wobbled and waffled and woozed my way into my clothes. I wasn’t exactly hungover and I didn’t exactly feel stoned or drunk. I did feel weird, of that there’s no doubt. I told Charlie I felt like my brain had been tinkered with. He laughed and said, “Try seven years of the stuff”.
No thanks. My resolve to insist on Reyataz in my first-line has been strengthened. Watching Will and Grace in the middle of the night is bad enough, but wobbles in the morning - no.
I wouldn’t recommend that others do what I did. It seemed the right thing to do at the time; right for me and right for my relationship with Charlie. I have no regrets about doing it and I’m not worried about it either. It is what it is.
*Sustiva - the standard dose of Sustiva is 600mgs per day. For the past year or so, Charlie’s been on 200mgs per day of Sustiva. Yes, you read that correctly, 200mgs. He’s undetectable. It works for him, although why the venerable Wizard of Poz didn’t just switch him out to Reyataz or whatever is a mystery. But for him, it works. When I took three of Charlie’s Sustivas, it totaled 600mgs.