Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Life with poverty

Embarking on the poor thing again.  Would have to say it's entirely because I'm HIV positive. If not for that I'd not have had the Great Kidney Crisis earlier this year, or probably much of the depression, lack of energy, and all of the associated appts.

It's not the first time in my life I've been in poverty. 

I dunno what to compare it to overseas. For me it's having to plan weeks in advance for the bills, actually caring about how much I spend on food, maybe sometimes having to put the rent on the credit card. It's about worry. 

This time though I have $25,000 debt. Oh fuckin joy! I haven't looked into much yet about help for that nightmare, but I will. Stay posted darlings if you want to see if my tragedy there is resolved.

I actually don't mind being poor, apart from the worry and hassle. I mean, as long as I can pay the rent, have enough to eat, and have a laugh, that's enough for me. I do hate all the dramatics involved with poverty, hassling around at times for the basics. But if you plan your money right it's no big deal. You've just got to get with the program for it all. 

Life for me isn't about money or possessions, or how much I can get of either of them. It's about how happy I am. Being happy has no relevance to being well off. Happiness for me is about life and relationships, not money and things.

Becoming poor doesn't disturb me at all. In fact I think I may be much happier (for a start) working at my job less.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

New wage benefits

It was my last day of the 5 day week shift today, and the last day of antibiotics. Am pleased about both of them.

Daughter's new agency job isn't working out at all. She's only had that one day of work last week, and so has gone off to Centrelink. As she's living with me and not 21 one yet, she can only get a "youth allowance", the amount according to my wage. Well, my wage is only 3 days worth now, so she should be fine for something from them. I've given her my contract "Offer of Employment" thing I signed as proof of my new income. That worked out well didn't it.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Last laugh

Daughter and I argued tonight about money. I got home from work, and she hadn't worked as hadn't been called up. She'd used up the data allowance over the month for the internet too and yesterday I had to buy another small data pack to get to the end of the billing period. I upgraded though to 100gigs data per month instead of 50, and as technology has moved on it was much cheaper than my plan I was on. $35 a month instead of $55 for only 50 gigs. Of course they don't tell you this and it's up to you to keep up with it all.

Another thought I had was asking to move into any spare rooms of friends that I knew, regarding the money. But OMG that's all so drastic. I like where I live and it's cheap. Perhaps it's much better for daughter and I to work this all out on our own. I hate arguing with her when the money is tight, I think she really does know this time around about all that. It's me I know. I get frustrated.

Woke up this morning and absolutely didn't want to go to work. My last week of 5 days. It was very apparent that what was going on there wasn't helping me at all. It's a horrible stressful place to be now, and not one where I want to go. So glad now the 3 day week coming next. Immediate supervisor came and asked me about it as she'd not been told until recently. I did a bit of a rave at her, said how fuckin pissed off I was about being accused of having long weekends when it was to go to the hospital. I hope she realised what she'd done.

They're not going to automatically replace me with an agency bloke either when I'm off Mon and Tues. There's easily enough work to keep me going on the guillotine if I was there all week, but because it's not so busy on the presses in Print the dept head is only wondering if he'll get someone in Next Mon when I'm off. So it looks like another round of staff cut backs to me, not that I care. Last laugh with me though through it all; happy stressing everyone when I'm absent....

Last antibiotic tonight. Think I forgot to take them a couple of times. Did a lot today at work, 7 pallets, as well as changing the knife. Feel OK though, nothing drastic. And I have no appts at the hospital next month either. Dumb fuckwits in the company shouldn't have chucked a fit and listened to me, that I was in fact getting much better. Too bad now, I will enjoy my days off.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Giving up on the forms

Went to bed really early last night. Only a couple of days left on the antibiotics, they make me so bloody tired. Daughter was having friends over and they were all drinking in her room, which is fine with me, but they got pretty loud at about 11pm and I texted for her to keep it down a bit. Don't mind her doing that, it was Sat night after all, but just keep it to a moderate level. Being tired I have no problem sleeping when the noise is just normal, but at one point they were almost all shouting.

Last week next week of 5 days working. Looking forward to it now. Was going to give the Housing assistance thing a go with the rent, but after looking at all the forms I just can't face going through with it. They're about 3mm thick FFS.

I can just imagine the sort of life history documentation that has to go with them, and the questions about every detail of my life. Demands for proof for every character written by me on the form. And on and on. There's a "Medical Assessment" form in there that's got to be filled out by a doctor, it's fuckin 7 pages long. 23 questions! WTF? And that's just one of the forms. 

Think I'm moving in the direction now of just trying to do it without their assistance. I'll still be available to do extra days at work if they get stuck, so the opportunity to earn more is there. Whereas if I went through this whole process with Housing, I know what they're like, I'd have to tell them how much I'm earning as that would affect the amount of the subsidy I may get from them. I mean they really want to know every detail about my finances. 

Was told by the social worker the other day that I'm sort of in the middle; earning money but not sick enough to be fully not working. Like some no mans land, which makes it hard to get me assistance. Honestly it just doesn't seem worth the drama of going through and filling out all those forms, just to possibly get knocked back anyway. It's just too hard. 

Got a call from my sister living here in Sydney last night. Apparently another sister of mine and her husband are coming over for a bit, and there's some family reunion going to happen. We had a talk about our dreadful childhood experiences growing up in a completely dysfunction and mentally abusive environment in New Zealand, and I didn't feel at all like going to a reunion. 

One thing that my sister in NZ said, in reply to the sister here mentioning me going too, really put me off. She made some comment that seemed to barely recognise my existence, and then said "I heard he'd crossed over". WTF? Um, she meant gone gay. Last I saw of her was when she was a fundamentalist Christian, some Pentecostal thing. Yeah that would go down really well wouldn't it, going to a family reunion and getting grilled and judged about my sexuality (whatever that is anyway). Fuck that. 

Simon reckon I should go though. I will consider it over the next few days, and maybe give my sister a ring next weekend.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

First Contact

I've made email contact with a sister of mine in New Zealand. Haven't seen her in years, last time was in the '90's when I went over for Dad's funeral. Finally someone over there want to do the email thing! I dunno WTF it is about Kiwis, or maybe it's just my fucked up dysfunctional family, but nobody can be bothered emailing. My oldest brother, his wife does so maybe once in 6 months or so. My sister now though we've started conversing back and forth every day. 

For me as a Kiwi email is fantastic. Growing up in New Zealand you're always aware of the massive distances involved in getting pretty much anywhere out of the country. Even Sydney is a 3 hour flight I think from memory. It still amazes me that you can have such instant communication with not only people in NZ, but someone right on the other side of the world as well. 

My sister is apparently a bit of a dark sheep in the family. But given my family fucked up ness, that could mean anything. She's probably better off having fuck all to do with them over there. Perhaps one of the few to retain their sanity after the horrible up bringing we all had. Not many have seemed to be able to escape that history and have carried that dysfunctionality on into their adult life. I have tried too, was one of the big reasons for me leaving NZ was to get away from all of them. I have another sister over here in Sydney who also has spent years in therapy and is happy to be away fro it all. We sometimes compare notes.

It will be interesting to engage in conversation with this latest contact direct from NZ. She has stories of her own to tell...

Got a letter in the mail yesterday, in it was the doctors cert for last Tues afternoon. OMG! With a note from my doctor offering anything else if I needed it. Reading between the lines I think he's flabbergasted with it all. Emailed my dept head with the news, who was very thankful.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Work goes from the sublime to the ridiculous

Got to work today and not long after the dept head got in. Seeing me as he did so, he asked me if I'd gotten in touch with the hospital about the doctors cert for Tues. WTF? The cert that would be for all of 2 hours work missed when I left at 1pm in the afternoon. I told him don't panic, you will get it. Also that work had come up at the appt as the HIV doctor always asks about my life generally and how I'm going. 

The response from the doctor (and he's not the only professional I'm seeing who is dumbfounded at the management attitude at work) was telling. He said he was very right wing as far as bludging off the system or work goes, using your health as a lever. But after what I'd been through this year, he just could not believe what was going on at work with me. He offered any paperwork or anything that might help with it. I appreciated that, as this just wasn't from my GP, this was from a clinic doctor at the hospital. And we got to talking about my relationship with Simon a bit after that, and other issues that might affect my health. And in the end I completely forgot to ask for a doctors cert for the massive 2 hours off work. Fuckin shoot me.

This has really got me down the last couple of days. I'm being treated like a fuckin 10 year old. 

So today I rang the clinic and talked to the secretary there. My email to the clinical nurse consultant hadn't been answered as she'd been in meetings for over a day. And my doctor wasn't going to be back in the clinic until Monday. She did though say that the cert could be scanned on Monday and emailed to me. I said that was better than actually mailing it as work were being assholes (my exact words BTW). 

I then texted my dept head saying all this, and that I'd forward the email when I got it. He stopped by where I was a bit later in his travels about the place and thanked me. I said that I thought it best to give him something in writing to show the nuts in the office if they started having a hissy fit about it. 

Fuck I can't believe this fuckin shit. All this over 2 fuckin hours, on a day that I was at work. I really feel like chucking this job. 

Daughter had her first day of work through her agency today. Some place down the road, a bit closer than my work. She's getting in fact nearly $23 an hour, so she's only $3 an hour behind me. I'm quite impressed as she's only 20. Makes me wonder what I might get if I worked through an agency. But no, fuck that, too much pressure. Will ask her about it all later. 

If the work is constant I might be thinking about raising her rent a bit. With me becoming poor it will be another option I could look at. Am only charging her $100 a week for the room (plus $20 for utilities) but I could easily get $150 for it, even more I reckon. Have been here for over 3 years and there's laws against big rent rises for existing tenants. Comparatively $360 a week for this place is cheap now around here. Two bedrooms are easily $400-450 for new tenants. Somebody would jump at $150+$20 utilities a week. It's just a thought. On the other hand as her father I don't want to punish her for earning more and want her to enjoy her success.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Another Day in Paradise

Starting to count down now until I don't have to be at this revolting work place for 2 days of the working week. Word is about the place, from all quarters, that things are getting worse. Particularly in the past month. The client service officers in the office are even starting to leave now, as they're being treated badly too. Like robots or something. I dunno where they found this factory manager moron, but he's ripping the place to bits. Only next week to go and it's 2 days I don't have to be there...

Went to most of the appts yesterday afternoon, but was just too tired to get to the 5pm hour long one with the psychologist. He was fine with it, told him I'd be better off seeing him Sept, Mon or Tues, as I could see him in the day and not worry about work. Forgot to get a doctors cert for the massive 2 hours I had off work from the hospital, and today my dept head was freaking about it. FFS! So now I'm emailing them at the clinic there to try and get one sent out so I can give it to work. For 2 fucking hours FFS!

Saw the social workers. Overwhelmed by the forms to fill in. Think will have to go through it slowly. This is all without a promise of getting anything at all. It's doing my head in. And Housing I know from past experience want to know which way you fart. I just dunno what to do now.

The antibiotics are still going. It's a struggle with them now as have been on them for over a week. They're not particularly good for you Simon and others have told me. I was tired and unhappy today at work.

And unhappy generally. Not wanting to get involved with anything, let alone work. Had some beers on the way home, appeared to help. Yes I know I shouldn't drink with antibiotics, ... whatever. 

Got an email today from Get Up here. About gay marriage. A politician here has come out heavily against it. His brother though turns out to be gay, and has put a video on YouTube. I rarely mention politics on this blog as it all about me darlings, me me me! I'm way too busy living in the midst of tragedy to worry about those silly pollies in Canberra. But as it's on YouTube I thought it was worth a bit of a mention:

Monday, 22 August 2011

Stopping falling

Daughter got the job with the agency. I'll be interested to see how it all goes as I've never worked for an agency before myself. It's all casual work, with no annual leave or sick pay, but the pay is much better to make up for that. $22 an hour, very good for only a 20 year old. Only$4 behind me, and I've been in a skilled trade for 30 or so years. The story is that they ring her on a Thursday to find out what days she's available for the next week, and then ring her between 7-9am each morning to tell her what place to go to. Childcare is hugely in demand here, as the gov has made rules that you have to have certain qualifications to do it, which she has.

I've been continuing to get slowly better from the throat crisis. Still hurting and still taking a few Panadol for it, but definitely getting better now. Got the repeat for the second lot of antibiotics and will take them. 

Got a bit depressed last night. Felt like I was falling. Went to bed and shut myself in the room, no TV or music. Just lay there in bed. Didn't even want to talk to Simon and texted him not to ring. The poor dear got worried about me, I am such a worry at times. It's just me being authentic about how I feel I think. Today am not nearly as bad, and I do wonder if I'd not been truthful about my feelings the day before that they may well have been ignored and surfaced in some other way. Better to be real.

Counting the days now to the new 3 days only work. Absolutely had enough of the place. In hindsight, no wonder I was getting unmotivated about going in to work there. Not exactly pleasant.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Shareholoder profits vs human cost

Spent a bit of time at the pub yesterday. Will be something I'll have to take it easy with when I become poor shortly. 

I still am in the process of looking into WTF to do about the money. It's going to be a big adjustment in lifestyle. I'm not exactly sure how much I will be getting as I don't know how much tax I'd pay on such a little amount. Plus daughter is changing jobs and so may not have the usual money to give me. She's very aware of it though. Is applying to an agency next week for casual work in  child care, think she said it pays about $21 an hour which is alright for her. Only thing is there's no annual leave, sick days, etc with casual work like that. And she'd have to be traveling around to different places all the time as different centres rang the agency for fill in staff. She only wants to do that until she finishes her studies at TAFE in the industry, and then look for something more permanent. 

I'm seeing 2 social workers on Tuesday to discuss my whole situation. I have an appt with one at the hospital through the Infectious Diseases unit, but my psychologist thought it might be better to see someone more attune to the gay section of the community, so he's arranged for me to see someone else as well specifically related to HIV+ gay people and the financial issues they face. It will be a busy afternoon Tuesday, with a social worker, then the Infectious Diseases appt, followed by another social worker, then finishing off with the psychologist for an hour. Oh what fun.

Probably a good thing I won't be able to afford to go to the pub as much and piss my money up against the wall. Think it has been getting a bit out of hand lately. 

Also having 2 less days at work will give me much more time. One of the things I noticed when I went back to full time work was just how little time I had. Being as I was still recovering from the GKC, the fatigue during that time became a huge issue. I have been going to bed at about 7pm, to get up at 6am. Often don't go to sleep straight away, but feel like I'm just too tired to sit in a chair watching telly. Honestly seem to need about 10 hours of sleep a night. So through the week my whole life just revolves around work, with no time for anything else.

Given that work has turned into such a horrible place to be now, it's often gone through my head recently about what a waste of time it seems to be even being there anymore. The money is good if I actually manage to do a whole week, but on the other hand it has become clear that spending such a big part of my life in such a horrible place isn't really what I want to do. 

Life is too short. Again, near death makes you see things differently. The money I'll sort out somehow, but I don't want to have to endure any more of this so called new Capitalist way anymore. 

Ripping the guts out of a company in a search for ever increasing profits to shareholders may be fine for the shareholders, but it doesn't take into account the human cost on the shop floor. I see it first hand. The place used to be good to work at, there was trust between management and workers. You were treated with respect and as a mature adult. Now it's all confrontation and suspicion. Blame and aggravation. 

And people have changed. In 12 years my supervisor has never before done anything like that to me. We used to be very friendly with each other, but that's gone right out the door with them stabbing me in the back. That's the human cost of increased profits at the expense of staff cuts, and threats of being fired. But do the shareholders care about destroying a 12 year friendly working relationship in a company? Apparently not.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Full time work comes to an end

Signed the papers for the new hours at work yesterday. It was pretty much a standard form so I wasn't fussed about having it checked out independently by the union. Just signed it and got it over with. It starts Wed 31st, and the old shift ends Tues 30th, so that last week will be a full 5 day week as the shift changes.

Had to have a meeting with HR to discuss it. They asked me about the whole affair. I did go into it a bit, and related my frustrations at the lack of professionalism by management in the way they handled it all. But in the end I said that I'd just had enough of it all and didn't want to take it any further. It wasn't worth any more stress over it. I also disclosed my HIV status to her as being in Human Resources it would be fair for her to know. She didn't bat an eyelid, although did sit forward and listen more intently after that to what I was saying. 

One thing that is in the paperwork made me think a bit. It was pointed out to me a week or so ago by someone, that I should remember that I'm actually quite sick being positive and not on anti-retrovirals. I think they're right. Even though my CD4 count is excellent, that doesn't mean the HIV isn't there. And it appears it doesn't take much to throw my body over the edge, as indicated by this latest Great Sore Throat Crisis. Perhaps it's time to realise that I simply can't work full time like I used to. To face that reality. I did try, gave it a good go, but it hasn't seemed to work out too well. 

Written into the new employment thing is the following:
"Please note the changes in your hours have been made to support your current health state and high absenteeism. You may apply to return to full time hours; however such request will be subject to medical clearance by ...   's... company doctor"
For me this has been about the poor way it was all handled by management. But signing the above gives credence to it really being about my health. I know the way will be open if I want to go back to full time work, but I think I'd be kidding myself if I thought that doing so wouldn't be extremely difficult and possibly beyond my reach. Although it's a highly skilled tradesman's job, it's very physically demanding. In all likely-hood, this will probably be the end of full time work for me.

My throat is finally getting better. Wow that was a bad one. It was so aggressive. It may have been just an aggressive virus, or maybe just my immune system struggling with a bit of an overload because of it, I dunno. But it has been a reminder that with HIV, things with my health can change very fast.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Antibiotics and second day off work

Can't help bad luck. 

Am starting to wonder if my days at this job are numbered. These sort of absences, although legit and I can't be blamed for, aren't going to go down with the factory manager well at all. Especially after his big hissy fit recently. I'm sort of feeling a bit happy about the whole prospect. Given the chance to step back slightly I can't believe what a fucked up place work has become in recent times. The new direction it's going under it's latest management appears to include treating mature adults like they're in kindergarten. 

Apparently we're all supposed to live permanently in fear of our glorious leader, willing to do anything to satisfy his lust for efficiency and productivity. Obey new directives without the slightest question. Cheer him on as he kicks heads every now and then, for we know it's for our own good. The company must come first in our lives, above all else. There is no room for sickness and humanity, only a world of running machines faster and faster. Your competence measured and judged by a mysterious numerical equation inside a computer on a office desk. 

Fuck that. I'm a fuckin person, not a number. Not a percentage calculation of attendance or productivity. I'm feeling less and less like I belong there.

Yeah, 2 days off sick is going to go down really well in that environment. 

Had another bad night last night, but I think perhaps just a slight improvement. Doc has put me on antibiotics, 1,000mg of Amoxycillin, twice a day. Chemist where I got the prescription said to have them after eating as they're strong ones. Throat is inflamed and swollen the doc said after looking at throat and feeling my neck. Spent all yesterday with little improvement at all, started antibiotics that afternoon, and had another one early this morning. 

The Panadol seems to actually help with the pain now, although last night I was still taking them only 2 hours or so apart. The pain would settle down enough to sleep, then I'd wake up 2 hours later and it's hurting like hell. I also got some Difflam lozenges, which have something in them that numbs the inside of your mouth when you suck on them. They sort of help, but the problem is that the area is right at the back of my throat and it's hard to get anything back there without swallowing it completely.

Have no idea where I got this (and no dearies it wasn't from sex....I haven't had any lately.....*faints*.....). I guess from riding the bus with people coughing and sneezing, the pub, work, no idea. Same old story though, with my immune system battling the HIV, dealing with such an infection as this is hard going for it. I must sound like a bloody whinger, but seriously the pain caused by this has been extraordinary. Eating dinner last night I was just about in tears from it.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Off to the doctors


So much for the big brave effort to not go to the doctors. 

Had a terrible night. Felt awful, even after a hot bath. Worst is my throat, red raw. So painful. Kept me awake half the night. Have taken about half a box of Panadol overnight. Sucking on lozenges. Nothing seemed to help much. By morning it was still stinging like hell, hurt to swallow pills, even have water. Fuck that was it, called work and told them I'd not be in, and rung the doctor when they opened at 8am. Got an appt this afternoon.

Work was fine. After all the fuckin bullshit that's happened about my time off, it was like they were all falling over themselves not to be judgmental or condemning about this time. I honestly did try to go to work, went yesterday with feeling badly, but after it getting so much worse overnight there's just no way today. Of course will make sure I get the doctors cert. 

I've been wondering of late about the factory manager and the way he acted towards me. He was so incredibly unreasonable about it all, I'm thinking there might be something more to it? I asked at one point had he ever had experience in working with someone who's HIV+? His answer was no. I suppose it might be that he's deep down discriminatory to such people, but finds himself now in a situation where he can't openly be.

Haven't seen my GP for a while. Um, as it's a bit expensive. I must remember to take in my bloody account number, I always forget. That way they can put the Medicare rebate directly into my account without me having to go to the Medicare office. Saves a lot of hassle. That way it only costs about $40 instead of having to cough up $75 up front. Or my doctor sometimes bulk bills me (maybe out of sympathy for my tragic life darlings) and I don't get charged anything anyway. Might as well get a couple of prescriptions while I'm there as well. Anyway he will probably be glad to see me and want to know how I've been.  

Monday, 15 August 2011

I feel terrible

It's been a terrible day. My throat was hurting awfully all through the night, waking me up. I kept taking Panadol which did help, but the pain was so bad I ended up using mouth wash strips overnight. That also helped. Not so bad by the morning after all that, but had to battle with it through the day. Think the cold air conditioning made it painful. It's supposed to be warm in the winter but it seemed cold to me in there. 

Thought about taking the day off tomorrow and seeing the doctor. I'm just so fuckin sick of seeing doctors though. I had 4 beers on the way home, long with more Panadol. Presently I feel much better. Perhaps a hot bath with salts, and dosing myself through the night will see me fit for work and feeling better in the morning. My CD4 count is good so I'm hoping my body will be able to clear this on its own. I do have to remember to take the Panadol again though before it runs out of steam.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Stressed out?

I have a sore throat today. It started about middle of last week and has just kept getting worse. This morning woke up and it was so bad I had some kind of a weird headache from it. It hurts to eat as swallowing is painful, and I get sort of a gag reflex happening. Even taking the happy pills this morning I gagged on the water for a second. 

I'll get some Panadole from the supermarket later today as I forgot the odd thing or two yesterday in the shopping (coming home from the pub). Hopefully the blueberries in the fridge will be defrosted later as I don't think they'll be a problem to eat, and are good for you. Tried eating a steak last night but it seemed a bit tough and hard to swallow. Maybe some nice sausages would be better, with mashed up potatoes. It's a dilemma as I feel hungry but eating hurts.

If it doesn't get any better, or gets worse, I suppose I should go see my doctor about it. It may be just my immune system having trouble keeping up with the everyday germs that exist in people's mouths. With all the stress I've copped from work the last couple of weeks, that may very well be the case. I guess that might mean some antibiotics, I dunno.

Speaking of work, this is the little reply I've put together for the fifth form. I'll have to run it by the union guy first to make sure he thinks it's OK:

  • Mon 2/5/11    2 hours         attended work    appt psychologist
  • Mon 9/5/11    7.5               absent work        sick    
  • Tues 10/5/11    2.5             attended work     appt ID        
  • Mon 16/5/11    4.25           attended work      appt renal clinic    
  • Fri 27/5/11    7.5                absent work        sick (cert)
  • Wed 15/6/11    7.5             absent work        sick    
  • Fri 17/6/11    3.5                attended work     appt dentist?
  • Mon 27/6/11    7.5             absent                 appt psychologist (cert) 11am - rescheduled
  • Tues 28/6/11    2                attended work    appt ID (cert)
  • Mon 11/7/11    7.5             absent                2 appts, 10am ID, 1pm psychologist (cert)
  • Fri 15/7/11    7.5                absent                sick    
  • Wed 19/7/11    2.5             attended work    appt ID
  • Fri 29/7/11    7.5                absent                sick

Attended work 6 days of the above 13 days in question.

Of the 7 remaining days, there are only 5 that I was sick. Mon 27/6 I had a rescheduled appt with the psychologist in the middle of the day at 11am. Mon 11/7 I had two appts being 10am with ID and 1pm again with the psychologist.

That brings the total actual sick days since May being only 5 days, one of which I got a cert for. Or 37.5 hours only.

Given the nature of my injuries due to acute kidney failure in Jan (in which I nearly died twice in two weeks) 5 sick days is understandable and part of the recovery process. It has taken a full 7 months for my kidney functions to return back to near normal, and they are continuing to improve.

There was never any declaration or instruction from anyone that a doctors cert had to be provided for all days off, even in the middle of the week. In fact nobody seems to know this in my area. I can't be blamed for not following rules that I haven't even been told about.

Also, I attend the dentist through the gov scheme, where because of my condition my GP has assigned one particular dentist that I use via medicare bulk billing. This is all set up with that dentist as part of my care. I can't just ring any dentist and go in, I have to use this one. The absys I had was an emergency, which consists of 3 appts. The second appt has to be done about a week later after the first appt. The dentist fit me in in a busy schedule. Again, I can't be blamed for their scheduling. I have had many other appts with this dentist, all of them after work.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Off for a beer

Am going to start the new 3 days a week shift beginning of next month. They just have to do the paperwork is all.

I had another look at the latest dates and hours they'd written down as absent. This was the 4th attempt, and it was still wrong. They had me absent on Monday week ago when I was there all day. What a joke. What a bunch of clowns man. So emailed the dept head earlier with the latest scan telling him it was still wrong.

Have also written a little reply to it all according to the latest corrected data. I want my side of the story put in my file, along with the fifth form that I'm not going to sign. In actuality, I was only sick 5 days since the beginning of May. I don't think there's anything wrong with that given what I was recovering from.

Still pissed off with my immediate supervisor. Can't stand the fuckin sight of her at the moment. Just doing my job and staying away from her as much as possible. Still can't believe what a low act it was that she did. 

I'm off to the fuckin pub for a beer. Fuck this shit.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Modern Capitalism

New shift of 3 days a week is going to start beginning of Sept. Dept head has sorted it all and just has to get the paperwork done with HR. 

For me its psychological why I want to spend less time there. I can't stand the sight of my immediate supervisor anymore. She is acting like nothing has happened, when we both know what has actually happened. She's offered no apology. 

My position is that she needs some sort of help to deal with her stress levels if they're getting to the point where she's doing that to people; misinterpreting texts and running to a fuckwit factory manager about it, right over the head of her superior, and my, dept head. She kicked off this whole episode by doing that. She needs to see someone and to be on medication I reckon over her stress levels. The way she's going she will drop dead one day and nobody in management will give a fuck. 

In the 12 years that I've been there she's never done anything like this to me. She really does need some sort of psychological help. It's also an indication of the way the factory manager is taking the company. He expects everyone to shit their pants at the site of him, and now he's got someone who I thought was a confidant and a friend after working with her for 12 years, knifing me in the fuckin back. In fact she nearly got me fired. That first meeting without the union bloke there, such was the tone of it, that I was very much expecting the words "your fired". I'd estimate that the only reason I wasn't was that I'm a union member with a strong union membership on the site.

Evidently this is modern Capitalism.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Simon positive?

Worried about Simon. Does he have HIV? (not that there's anything wrong with that).

He has had the flu for a week or more. It's unlike him to have anything as he looks after himself so well. I'm concerned it may be the sero conversion that happens about a month or so after infection. Flu like symptoms can be part of that. 

Some people don't have any symptoms at all. I got the lot I think, which was what made me get tested. I got so sick in the sero conversion that I lost 5 kilos in a month. Terrible flu symptoms and full on mouth ulcers; also another symptom. Hmmm, must ask him about mouth ulcers.......

If he did turn up HIV+ I'm not sure how I'd feel. 

I know we've discussed this all, right from the start. I told him there was a risk, even though I was a bottom and not fucking. It seems unless gays (or straights turning to gay) realise that being only a top who fucks is no guarantee that you won't get HIV, then you may get it without knowledge that you may. 

We though were in full knowledge. I told him of the risk. He was obviously used to fucking casually without condoms when we met. But I still told him there was a risk if he got it with me, even though he was the top only. 

For me I didn't care, and told him "It's up to you; you can wear one or not, I don't care. But you must know that there's still a risk, even though your a top". So he had all the knowledge, and if he wanted to put his body in that kind of risk, then that was his business, not mine.

And when I stopped medication I told him so, and told him that the risk had increased. He continued after that with unsafe sex. Much to both of our pleasure.

If he does turn up positive after this, I will cry a lot knowing that it may very well have been me that infected him (he's very sexually active apart from me as well) but I'll also know he knew the risks. It was his choice to take those risks, not mine.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Accepted the 3 day week

After talking to a number of people I said yes to the three day week offer today. The dept head has to go sort out all the paperwork tomorrow with HR. I spoke to the union guy this morning who said to make sure I'd be offered full time work again in 6 months, even if I didn't think I would. So I will make sure that that is in the paperwork.

Had quite a talk with the psychologist yesterday afternoon. I told him all about what had happened last week, pretty much to his usual surprise at what goes on my my life. He couldn't believe what an asshole the factory manager was, as described him as "A far right economic rationalist". He agreed also that the whole idea of the "Employee Counseling" over issues about sick pay and days off whilst I was in the midst of recovering from near death, was insulting.

I also discovered more mistakes on the Employee Counseling form that I refused to sign. Fucks sake my solicitor would have a field day with this shit. I looked back through some of my payslips, and as suspected saw that days that I'd been only absent 2-3 hours (leaving work for an appts) I'd been marked as absent for the whole day. I found 4 days like that, all marked as absent for the full 7.5 hours, totaling 30 hours. In reality I was only absent for about 9 or 10 hours total. Unbelievable! Sent an email with scanned attachments to the dept head yesterday.

He didn't seem at all upset about it. Just said he had to redo the form to make it all correct, even though I won't be signing it. And we laughed about the impossibility that the factory manager might actually apologise for it all.

Am now looking forward to working a shorter week when it happens. Would have to say the 5 days per week has been hard to do, pretty much as I've still been recovering during the process. All it has been through the week is work, eat, sleep, to get through it. Although the money is going to be a worry now, I am looking forward to a life that doesn't revolve around work to such a high degree. Especially now when work has become such an unpl,easant place to be.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Two appts today

Have two appts today. I had specifically made one early and one late, so as to still be able to go to work for a few hours. But after last weeks episode at work I just thought "fuck it". Why the hell should I bother running around all day for them? Half the days I had off for appts on the list were marked down as having the whole day off anyway, even though I'd worked until 1pm then left for the appt.

Very good visit to the Renal Clinic. My kidney blood results are very nearly back to normal. The blood they took last visit 3 months ago the creatinine was at 115. The one before that was 140, and 160 the one before that one. Doctor thinks it may even go back into the normal range of 85-90. Even hinted that if so he'd be able to discharge me from the clinic. Wouldn't be after a period of monitoring though to make sure it was OK. A fantastic result.

Seeing psychologist this afternoon. Will ask him about the whole 3 day shift thing. Maybe he even knows something about assistance from Centrelink or Housing that I might be able to get. 

Got a reply to the email I sent to ACON regarding the housing issue. Want me to come in for a chat to explain my whole situation, so I will do so when the shift changes I suppose. Also asked if I could consult a social worker at all about it, which I'd not realised. I can see one through the Infectious Diseases clinic. Have an appt with them later this month. Have emailed them to say I need to see one there.

I honestly don't know if I'll qualify for anything at all, the system here is so complex. One thing I've learned though over many years, is that you have to be very proactive in seeking assistance. Nobody is going to come knocking on your door telling you what you can get.

I'm starting to consider if perhaps I went back to full time work too early, or even if I can do full time work anymore at all. I was eager of course because of the money situation, and it seemed like a good step to make as part of my recovery, but the appts have become a huge issue for them. The stress involved with that is something that I absolutely have to avoid. HIV and stress just don't mix. 

Half the problem is from management anyway IMO. The staffing levels have been cut back to the bone. I keep telling them they need an afternoon shift on my machine, but to no avail. They could, for example, get the afternoon shift bloke in early if I wasn't there. But they don't seem to see sense on the subject, and then on a day off of mine apparently the sky falls. Get some bloody staff in the place and there won't be this fuckin problem.

It does seem to be the way things are going with companies now though. Cut costs any way you can, cut staff, all so the shareholders can line their pockets. They don't give a fuck about the increasing workload on the shop floor, all they want is their money. Meanwhile the staff that are left in the place have to take on more and more work as part of their daily tasks. 

Maybe it's a good idea to take a step back from it all now, as it's only going to get worse. Perhaps the dysfunctional world of modern Capitalism just isn't the place for me anymore. Perhaps driving your body into the ground for the sake of greedy shareholders isn't the way to go for someone with HIV.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

All Blacks win 30-14

Went to the pub last night and watched the Rugby union game, the New Zealand All Blacks vs the Australian Wallabies, in the Bledisloe cup. I am of course always a supporter of the All Blacks, even though I took on Aussie citizenship years back. Am a dual citizen. This the Haka from last night, the Maori war dance they always do at the start of every game.

The All Blacks won BTW, humiliated the Wanabies in a crushing defeat! For a game review there's this from New Zealand:

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Private Rental Subsidy?

I have calmed down somewhat after the week of work BS. Still really pissed off, but glad I stood up to the prick. I don't think many people do, which probably is half the fuckin problem with him. He's an arrogant asshole. Or as I described to my dept head, an "incompetent prick". He's being paid megabucks to handle people, and in his first wage negotiation with us he nearly had the whole place out on strike. Thinks he's some kind of head kicker I think. Like I said he doesn't scare me. After dealing with HIV he's fuckin nothing. I'd eat the cunt for breakfast. 

I had a look at housing options and I think being on a low wage, as I would be working part time, I'd then qualify for a private rental subsidy from the NSW state Housing dept. You have to be HIV+ and under some income limit before you can get it. I've sent off an email to them to ask about it, relating my situation to them at ACON:

Private Rental Subsidy is a rental subsidy given to people with HIV who require housing support and have the option to rent privately. To be eligible for Private Rental Subsidy you'll need to apply for housing assistance with the Housing NSW. You'll need proof of your HIV status and income.  If you're interested in finding out more about Private Rental Subsidy you can pick up an information newsletter from ACON in Sydney or at any ACON branch in regional NSW.

Other than that I think it would help a lot with work stress levels, which is hugely important with HIV. Even if I didn't have HIV I'd be seriously thinking about getting another job after my treatment there this last week. Just glad we've got a strong union presence. It felt much more appropriate having the union bloke in there with me for support the second meeting. I'm just not going to be treated like dirt, I don't deserve it, and I have too much self respect to let that happen. I don't care who it is, I'm not letting anyone get away with that sort of shit.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

3 day week?

It has been two days of high drama at work darlings. A time of text message horror and worker pissed off-ness. Anger, innuendo, politics and frustration, and disclosure of my status.

After the BS of the meeting with the factory manager on Tuesday, I went home that night and printed out all my appts since May on my PC. The next day I was given an "Employee Counseling" form, with the assertions from the meeting and a list of the days off in question, since fuckin May FFS. So that night I compared those dates with my records and came to the conclusion that the form was statistical BS. 

I was told at the meeting that I'd had 12 days off in three months. When checking my calendar, I found that half of those days were appts at the hospital. In actuality it was only 6 sick days in those three months, one of them I'd even got a doctors cert for. I became enraged at the way I was treated in the meeting after discovering this, like dirt and a liar. This whole episode I then considered as an insult to my character, and decided I'd not sign the form.

Took it back to work and handed it to my dept head, saying "I can't sign it, it's BS". He immediately said that we would then have to have another meeting with the manager. I said fine, and I'd have to let the union bloke know as I wanted him there.

So, this was going to be another disclosure. I went to the union bloke and explained that there was going to be another meeting so he'd have to attend. I'd already told him I'd fill him in on everything if that scenario came to fruition. So after explaining some of the intricacies of the situation, I ended with: 

"And with my medical situation, I have to let you know......   (he looking at me expectantly).....  I'm HIV positive."

He took it really well. Was surprised and said "wow.....   ", but other than that was unfazed. He's a Canadian, came over here to marry his girl friend here, and now has a kid with her. He lives up the road from work like me in the eastern suburbs.

Later he joined me in the meeting for support. I was able to discuss openly the HIV issues surrounding my absenteeism with the factory manager and my dept head, whilst he sat there listening. He'd advised me not to sign anything, of which I'd already decided on my own accord anyway. I could not, with good conscience, sign my name to such a lie. 

The meeting started with much angst. Factory manager and I got into it. I've always been very forthright and don't pull any punches, no beating around the bush, and told him exactly what I was pissed off about. At one point he's quoting shit from the computer in front of him, and I say "Hello, I'm not a number, it's me, a person". I actually enjoyed telling the fuckwit exactly what I thought of him. It was very refreshing. He may be on six figures and commanding an Empire, but he doesn't intimidate me. 

Towards the end of the meeting my dept head suggested something which I found quite attractive; that because all my appts are on Monday and Tuesday that perhaps go to a lesser demanding 3 day week. Wed to Friday, 3 by 7.5 hour days, totally 22.5 hours per week.I would still be a permanent staff member of 12 years with all my entitlements. 

I stated at that point that that sounded quite attractive. It doesn't seem to be working at the moment as both management and I are stressing about appts and time off. This is an opportunity to get rid of that stress and aggravation. It's not been a good couple of days for me and the stress levels are always a worry with HIV, as it can easily lead to an increase in the viral load. I told them I'd give them a decision on Tuesday after discussing it with friends, and my psychologist that I've an appt with Monday.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Fuck I'm pissed off

There was an episode at work today. It involved the Friday I had off last week because of my back and neck. I will post what happened in hindsight, rather than as it happened to me today.

On Friday when I couldn't come in because of back pain, the dept head rang me after I'd taken some painkillers and gone back to sleep in bed. He told me the other bloke there (um, who has rather a reputation for being hopeless) was going to cut a particular job that had been assigned to me and me only to do, as he was pretty much a danger to it. I recommended to the dept head that he simply leave what was there until I got in on Monday, rather than have him fuck it up. After he hung up I sent a little text to the other dept head of where it was going to be processed next, saying he was apparently going to cut some of it and "good luck with that....."

My immediate supervisor wasn't in on Friday. They were however there today and yesterday. During that time the text message was shown by the other dept head to my supervisor, I assume as comedic. The message has somehow be misinterpreted and gone from my supervisor to the factory manager. Today I was called on the carpet to a meeting with the factory manager and my dept head. 

I was spoken to completely disrespectfully and pretty much accused of lying about all the time I'd had off since May due to appts. I was very polite in the face of all this, explaining matter of factly the situations that had lead to such a lot of time needing to be used in appts. At one point I was explaining the brain damage I'd got, and the note beside the bed I had for a while reminding me what to do in the mornings before leaving for work. I didn't break down but certainly got a bit teary at that point. It was something I'd have rather not remembered right then from the whole nightmare.

He went back to May. FFS I was only 2 months out of dialysis back then. I'm not even sure I was working full time then. And he crapped on about all the days I'd had off. Fuck, I was so close to telling him to shove his job right up his ass. What a fuckin asshole. As well as my immediate supervisor for raving about a text message that wasn't any of her business to him. In the end I stayed calm and was given a month to have certificates for all my appts in the next month, give a weeks notice of appts, and be reviewed end of that month.

Afterwards I went and saw the union guy on the shop floor. I was to angry to talk to my supervisor, even though I wanted to confront her about the BS she'd been spreading. He will join me in any future meetings with management. I will not be treated like this in future. I don't deserve to be. Involving the union guy will mean I'll have to diclose my HIV status, but he's already indicated anything I say to him like that is completely confidential.

I just can't believe this shit. All over this supervisor who has over reacted and told fuck knows what interpretation about a joke text message, that wasn't sent to her and was none of her business, even though she was shown it. I don't even know if I can continue working with her I'm so fuckin pissed off about it.

Monday, 1 August 2011


Haven't been very well the last few days. Was quite ill on Sat, and Sunday had the usual diarrhea again. At least it was over in one day this time. I did ask the doctor last time I was at the hospital about what exactly to do regarding diarrhea. That 4 day stint I had a while back left me feeling a bit weak at the end of it. Should I be taking something to stop it? The advice was that it was the body's attempt to get rid of infection and it's better to let it go (um, literally). Drink plenty of water of course as it can be dehydrating if it goes on for a while. Have also been told that HIV is very present in the digestive system and so it's more prone to infections than an uninfected person. 

I don't think my beer drinking is helping either. Again I'm in two minds about that as well. I do enjoy a beer or two, particularly after working all day. However perhaps should not be such a piss head on the weekends. My psychologist is always asking about how much I'm drinking, abut he does realise it has been a help. Anyway tonight I've just come straight home, just been too ill over the weekend to even have one I think, even though it was busy as ever at work today.

Got there to work this morning and there was work piled up everywhere around the machine. Then it was panic stations by the supervisor as to which job they wanted first. Sheesh! I gave up, put in the earplugs, and proceeded on with the job that had the most stacks nearest the machine. 

About half way through the day the supervisor comes over saying the laser dept needed 170,000 sheets to run tonight. I said "Good luck with that". Said I'd told the dept head the other day we'd need a second shift on the machine with the amount of work coming up. Guess where he was? Playing fuckin golf FFS! So the supervisor organised an agency bloke to come in and do afternoon shift tonight. Thank fuck for that, finally a bit of sanity in the place.

We've just finished the big ban on  getting agency blokes in, it appears. They slapped that one on across the whole place the week we got the back pay. Made no sense as work just didn't get done on time. We're that short staffed from the office bean counter's declarations of staffing levels that all we need is one or two big jobs and we're fucked.

Having an early night, will see what happens tomorrow there.