All of us in the department was surprised when we received the notification email. The HR department sent us our schedules for our Annual Physical Exam or APE. It was too early, we usually have APE on the latter part of the year but how come it’s different this year? It was the last week of May. We are only given two weeks to finish have our APEs and of course, Filipino mentality, we decided to have ours on the last day.

I wasn’t scared nor nervous when I had my physical exam. I think I was already used to the needles, the doctors and the smell of the hospital. The only thing that I am not looking forward to is the blood extraction for the CBC count. I think I associated blood extraction already with HIV that’s why. The Medical Technician had a hard time looking for my vein that’s why he ended up pricking me 3 times! I know right?!? I felt like I was a cross stitch pattern as he even moved the needle left to right while the needle is under my skin. Ouch! I had my chest x-ray afterward and the doctor consultation. During the consultation, the doctor asked me if I am feeling anything different… I said no… And that was the truth. He also asked me if I am taking any medication, I told him I’m taking multivitamins, Vit C and Vit E… he scribbled something in his notes. He then asked me if I had any surgeries done, I said no, I lied. He then smiled and said I’m done and I could go back to the office.

After almost 2 months of waiting, finally we received another email from our HR department that our results are in and is ready for pick up. Mommy (one of my colleagues) handed me my result and I eagerly opened it. I was waiting for this since weeks ago. I immediately hurried and grab the results and I just ignored the x-ray. I was browsing the results and summing it all up, it reads NO PROBLEM… I smiled. I then looked at my chest x-ray result and my eye brows raised… it says:

Chest X-ray: Abnormal
Chest X-ray result: Faint densities in the periphery of the right upper lobe
Recommendation: For Apico-Lordotic view Chest X-ray of the right upper lobe

Honestly, I don’t know what it means but my heart started beating faster. I feel like my heart wants to get out of my chest. I hurriedly look at the x-ray film but it looks normal. Questions started popping in my head…

what does this mean?
Am I sick again?
Do I need to be hospitalised again?
What do I need to do?

Panic was eating me and my focus was lost. I sat in a chair and mommy told me not to worry and we’ll just ask Sweety (another colleague) what it is since she is a licensed RT. I tried to compose myself. Mommy’s right. I need not to worry since I am living a healthy lifestyle. In fact, there might be a mistake since I also just had my x-ray last April and it was clear. It says in the result that everything is normal. Before the day ended, I texted babe (as you all know, he is a medicine student), Lil J (registered nurse) and Nurse A (from his name, registered nurse) if they know what it means. Nurse A immediately replied saying I should ask a doctor instead.

The following morning, I woke up to a brand new day and I found one new message in my inbox. It was from Little J saying the same thing like what Nurse A said, don’t panic, ask a doctor first or go for a follow up check up. I am less worried now since I was already able to rest and clear my mind from last night. I know I don’t need to worry and I need to wait for what the doctor will tell me since it says there I need to have another x-ray. For sure, the company will ask me to have a follow up check up since my result came back abnormal. After a few minutes, I received a message from Babe and he answered it in a very “doctorish” way… he asked me if I have a fever or cough and then explain to me that the infiltrates can just be artifacts and should be correlated with what I’m feeling. However, considering that I am immunocompromised, my body may not be able to mount the usual immune response to diseases like TB and pneumonia. He then asked me how was my CD4 count. Honestly, I only understood half of what he said but I replied saying he was of big help and my cd4 was high and it is 759.

When I got into the office, I immediately looked for Sweety and asked her what the result meant. She said that I need to have my upper chest be x-rayed again to check if I might have early signs of TB. My jaw dropped. TB?!? I started to get scared again… I think she noticed my reaction and told me that I need not to worry until I have my next x-ray result. She said that the result might be due to the bad positioning when I had my x-ray. I hope so. But the word TB marked in my head and I can’t stop myself thinking about it. Again, questions started popping in my head:

Does this mean, I will have TB anytime soon?
I will be hospitalised again?
Am I dying soon?

I shook my head. The last thing I need is to worry. With my worrying, I might really end up dying early so I decided to wash it off my mind and continue the day… Hopefully, this is something that I really need not to worry about… again, I’m scared… =(


2 Responses to “APE”

  1. Lightbolt Says:

    There were probably some densities found in your lungs. The confirmatory test for TB would be a sputum exam to see if you do have the pathogen. TB is treatable, though the drugs to have, well, weird side effects (like your urine, tears, saliva would be colored orange). There are plenty of TB DOTS centers in MM, and medication is also free.

    TB, once regimen is started, can be non communicable after 6 weeks, and cured within 6 months.

    Well, still look on the positive note, it might not be TB.

    I do observe that you tend to write about “sad” things lately. Depression still taking the best out of you. Many studies show that positive emotions strengthens the immune system.. so let’s all be happy. hehe… and trust in GOD. It’s the greatest stress-buster. =)

    Other Pozzies are living as normal as possible. They set short and long term goals. There have been Pozzies who remained as is for 10 years and even more.

    Does this mean, I will have TB anytime soon?
    I will be hospitalised again?
    Am I dying soon?

    I think you’re asking the wrong questions here…

    Think about it.

  2. Lightbolt Says:

    *I remembered this song when it was played during Body Pump class stretching after the workout ^^

    Lyrics to Dare To Live (Vivere) – Andrea Bocelli

    Try looking at tomorrow not yesterday
    And all the things you left behind
    All those tender words you did not say
    The gentle touch you couldn’t find

    In these days of nameless faces
    There is no one truth but only pieces
    My life is all i have to give

    Dare to live until the very last
    Dare to live forget about the past
    Dare to live giving something of yourself to others
    Even when it seems there’s nothing more left to give

    Ma se tu vedessi l’uomo
    Davanti al tuo portone
    Che dorme avvolto in un cartone,
    Se tu ascoltassi il mondo una mattina
    Senza il rumore della pioggia,
    Tu che puoi creare con la tua voce,
    Tu, pensi i pensieri della gente,
    Poi, di Dio c’e solo Dio.

    Vivere, nessuno mai ce l’ha insegnato,
    Vivere, non si può vivere senza passato,
    Vivere è bello anche se non l’hai chiesto mai,
    Una canzone ci sarà, qualcuno che la canterà

    Dare to live searching for the ones you love
    (Perché, perché, perché, perché non vivi questa sera?)
    Dare to live no one but we all
    (Perché, perché, perché, perché non vivi ora?)
    Dare to live until the very last
    (Perché, perché, perché la vita non è vita)
    Your life is all you have to give (Perché)
    non l’hai vissuta

    Dare to live until the very last
    (Perché, perché, perché Ia vita non è vita)
    Your life is all you have to give (Perché)
    non l’hai vissuta mai

    I will say no (I will say yes)
    Say dare to live
    Dare to live

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