It is almost the end of TB Phoebe (although technically since I will always have the TB virus I guess I can’t get rid of the nickname that quickly). I only have one month left of meds!
I was so excited to pick-up my last prescription last week I had such a big smile I think the CVS pharmacist thought I was an even bigger wacko than she did when she asked me why I was taking my TB drugs. I proudly yelled across the counter, “Oh I have latent tuberculosis!”
This week I had my last appointment with Dr. G! I strolled into the infectious disease center and the woman at the front desk stopped me to ask if I was there for the travel clinic. I guess I don’t look like the infectious disease type. I wanted to take a picture of the scary pictures in the bathroom, but I decided I would have to take a mental picture because I could just see myself getting walking in on taking pictures in the bathroom. The posters included: “HIV lifecycle,” “Disease of the month,” and lots of advertisements to be part of medical tests.
The one thing I will miss about this experience is Dr. G. I didn’t know such kind and attentive doctors existed and it is wonderful that someone like that is helping the people who really need her, people with actual infectious diseases.
I had my last list of questions and starting with asking whether I could get infected ever again. That is when I realized Dr. G is not exactly an optimist and told me that it definitely could happen and that there might be another dose of these drugs in my future. She cheerily told me to, “watch my symptoms.” I told her she had to be a doctor here forever then. When I asked if there was a chance I could ever get the full-blown TB she said it was 90% unlikely, but possibly, like say for example if I had lymphoma and had rounds of chemo therapy. I wonder if at this point she saw my face drop.
I am definitely looking forward to being “normal” again and being able to have a drink at a social event if I want to. I must admit that it has been kind of positive being absolutely not able to drink and having to figure out how to navigate that situation. I am hoping that it will make it easier to decide not to drink some nights or to only have one drink when out with friends. I guess I am also pretty proud of my willpower and am partly expecting that to disappear once off the meds.
Perhaps I have learned some skills through this experience that will last with me as long as I still have TB (forever, baby!). I have learned that I can cope after a bad day when all I want is a glass of wine to take the edge off. I can snap out of it and change my mood without malbec. I have learned to be somewhat comfortable in social situations even if I don’t have the social lubricant of alcohol. I am fine (despite a few jealous glances at the other patrons) going out to dinner without ordering red wine or having a virgin mary at brunch. As soon as the food gets to the table that is all I am thinking about anyway.
I have one major challenge left: being sober at a bachelorette party. This will be my final days of sobriety and I imagine the toughest yet. At first I considered treating it as anthropological study and observing bachelorette parties and drunk girls. However, I realized my friends wont like that and I would turn into Judgy MacJudgerson. I wonder instead if I can try to jump right in and be silly and fun without drinking. Maybe I will feel less icky because I am sober and fit and can do yoga the next morning at 8am and then put on a bikini without wanting to vomit. Or maybe I will whine about it and try to smile anyway.
I no longer feel mad about the TB situation because I know without it I never would have done the yoga teacher training. I bet they haven’t heard that one before…maybe they will want to put the quote on their website. I am also proud that I showed myself I could actually live my life (well I was somewhat of a homebody) sober for four months.
Luckily, I can drink again in time for frozen margarita season…