The Hepalogue

Some Pure Unadulterated Frustration

by The Golden Phaeton on 22/09/2016

In this post I was going to compare Australia’s response to Hep C to that of the rest of the world.

I think I might save that till next time.

Because yesterday was the day.

I’d had my bloods taken two weeks prior. I had my appointment. I’d been told the all important viral load test could take as long as one week, so I made the appointment for two weeks after – just to make absolutely certain.

I’d had a a few moments over the preceding weekend… A few moments of real fear… After all that’s gone on… Could the whole ‘being on a new lease of life’ be a construct of my own mind? What if I’m imagining it it all and I’m still HCV positive? Well, I’d soldier on, of course …. But could I ever trust my own sense of self again…?

I’d had moments of hope too. And of elation. Whatever the case, all would be be revealed on Tuesday…

Or so I thought …




It came to pass on Tuesday the Twentieth of September in the rooms of Dr—- that there were, frustratingly, no viral load results to be had. (Never mind the fact that the only reason I was there was to get those results and that the clinic might have alerted me as to their absence before my 40+ kilometre round trip.)

Of course, I didn’t know this when I rocked up, nice and eager, ten (let’s be honest… five) minutes before my appointment, having bravely passed beneath that certain gate above which the word ‘addiction’ is so prominently displayed. Five people ahead of me … that’s okay, that’s normal. Half an hour wait? Okay, I’ll take a walk…

Normally I would have availed myself of the pleasures of Pokemon Go at this point, but on Sunday night I somehow sat on my phone while watching Blades of Glory with my daughter and Na Nook, and the screen was dead… no phone… unsettling feeling…

Oh well…

I know this is a little irresponsible, but I really was feeling a sense of occasion. I wandered down the street a little and popped into the St Kilda RSL. For a drink. A celebratory drink.

I spent some time on the wifi there, muddling about on my laptop, not really able to concentrate. I lurked in the corner of an enclosed area, together with a few very private people hunched over their morning drinks – while others listlessly pawed poker machines in the adjoining room. I must admit that, in time, I bought a second cider at the very reasonable prices they have there… Celebration remember?

You see, I’ve had this cursed disease for well over half my life. If my results today were clear – ie NO HCV RNA DETECTED – then I would have achieved SVR 12. That is to say I would be clear of Hep C 12 weeks after end of treatment, meaning that I was cured by the official standards of the medical establishment. The malignant parasite eating at my liver and at my quality of life would have been, officially, cast into the lake of fire.

Oh well…

I returned to the clinic to learn my viral load/PCR test had not yet come through. They made a call to the lab. Nothing. Not done yet. Maybe there’s a rush on – it would make sense. The clinic assured me they’d ring me the second anything came through, and I thanked them – without believing a word of it….

Oh well…

At least I managed to get my phone fixed. There happened to be a little shopfront between the clinic and the RSL occupied by a fellow who was able to solve all my electronic dilemmas. He even lent me a phone to use while he was fixing mine. That’s actual service. (In fact the business is called Ufixit and is at 23 Carlisle St)

As for my medical dilemmas, I learnt that my vitamin D levels were nice and high. Excellent! My thyroid function… still reducing… soon I’ll have to start taking thyroid pills. My liver… everything in the normal range… my ALT was 23… up from 15 in the previous two tests but still completely, entirely, absolutely normal .

Ordinarily, these results would have me cheering down the rafters. But where is my viral load? So I can put this whole god damn Hep C thing to bed!

If it comes, I let you know. Otherwise, I’ll be back soon with a post about Hep C treatment policies from Argentina to Zanzibar.


The Golden Phaeton


Previous post:

Next post: