In my last blog I wrote about my new job. Well I started it. The work is totally full on and it requires a lot of stamina. I’m realizing that I need to take care of myself by eating and resting well. Because I am working I have lunch every day which wasn’t necessarily the case in the past.
My job entails providing training and assessing, report writing, program development and training design. I have had many years of training and that has prepared me for the role. My daughters are used to me not having much energy so there is not much difference with that. The only thing now I am up early in the morning with the girls because I’m used to getting up for work. Previously I used to sleep in as I watch TV until very late at night.
I’m enrolled to start some post graduate study next semester. I’m angling to become a specialist training consultant. It will be a slow process.
The benefits of working is:
improved self esteem
improved mental health
improved nutrition because as a salary earner I can buy better food
life style changes
Since going back to work I have signed up for a new mobile phone plan and now have an iPhone 5. I bought some really nice clothes for work. These include a pair of converse sneakers which have helped a lot of with my feet pain.
A couple of weeks ago I got myself a new tattoo of a Phoenix. The Phoenix has been colourised blackfella style. The tattoo is pictured below. I absolutely love it!!!
Earlier this evening I emailed my tattoo shop with more designed that I want to get done in a weeks time. I can do these things now!!!
I’m now looking to buy myself a new gold watch to celebrate my new direction.
I haven’t blogged for a while as I have been working on a project of getting back to work. This year is my 25th year of living with HIV. It has generally been an good run. I’m fortunate to have two lovely daughters. In 2003 I developed AIDS Dementia Complex. Statistically my survival of 1 year was quite slim. I am still kicking on. I stopped nursing at that time due to ill health.
Late last year I applied for a training and development job in Adelaide. Just prior to Christmas I received a phone call from the prospective employer saying that they were extremely impressed with my application. However there was one issue of timing. They said that they would continue the formal process of hiring after the new year break. After about the middle of January I gave up any hope of getting the job. Soon after I was invited in for an interview.
The interview went for around an hour and a half. At the point of where they asked me if I had any questions I pulled out my typed list of about 20 questions. The interview concluded amicably.
About a week later I was contacted and advised of the good news that I had the job and the contract would be sent out by mail. Upon receiving the contact I had a question so I rang up the human resources manager. He said I was the talk of the organisation because they felt that they had hit the jackpot by hiring me. I was also told that they had an extremely high number of applicants for the one position that I got.
Employment and/or voluntary work is important for the mental health of HIV positive people. Getting this job will mean more money, self esteem improvement and reduction in social isolation. It’s just going to be a big change of going back to full-time work.
I had a rather good christmas last year as I spent it with my daughters. They are such great girls. This year my eldest turns 13 and my youngest turns 10 years old.
Last night my eldest daughter stayed the night at friend who is a couple years older. When I picked her up I immeadiately quizzed her about what she did. Even asked if there were any boys involved. She said "no daddy". I know my daughter is growing up quickly. Even a bit too quickly. She has had to deal with my HIV, near death from AIDS, us moving from NSW to SA. I took her to my ex-wifes place and noticed that my eldest daughter had a tear in her eye. I took her outside and rolled a cigarette and asked her what's wrong. She said nothing was wrong. I pressed on with my questions and determined that she was feeling down because she has few friends at school. I knew exactly what she was feeling because I had few friends when I was at school. I moved so many times when I was young, made a ward of the state, left school twice and just never learnt how to make friends. As a family we moved a few times and my daughter has missed a lot of school because of family issues ect.
I said to my ex-wife that I would make an appointment with my GP and seek a referal to a child-adolescent psychologist so she can get the help she needs.
I love both of my daughters so very much and would do anything to help them. They are such beautiful girls.
Over the weekend my youngest daughter wrote 2 rather long stories on my Macbook. It was great to see how much she had progressed with her literacy over the last 12 months.
Yesterday the girls and myself went to BBQ at the beach with our gay and lesbian Aboriginal friends. Next Saturday our group is meeting up to be interviewed by SBS Living Black. It will go to air in a few months. Quite exciting.
Last Thursday and Friday I was in Syndey for meetings. I am part of a group called Positive Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Network (PATSIN). We are strategising for a world HIV conference being held in Australia in 2014. It was a tiring two days.
I have been invited to be on a state based steering committee that is developing HIV resources for Indigenous Australians. Really exciting to be able to use my skills.
It has been a while since I have blogged. Christmas is an extremely busy time of year due to the fact that I have children. I spent Christmas Eve an Christmas at my ex-wife’s place so I could be with the children. It was a very tiring time for me. I was tired due to the fact that I am taking a treatment break, I decided to take a break because I was getting pissed of having to go of the pharmacy to get meds. Tomorrow I’m going to pick up my meds and restart them after a 6 week break. In about a months time I will get a blood test to see if the medications are still working.
I have to say thank you to the visitors to this site. We have nearly 200k since we stated this site 12 months ago. Thank you. If you want to blog please contact us by clicking on the tab at the top of this page. Blogging isn’t that hard. It just takes persistence.
Have a great 2013.
While at the conference I visited the Victorian Department of Human Services. I was contacted by them after a request my Ward files. It was quite fortuitous that they had completed the search for my files while I was in Melbourne.
A bit of the background
People under the age of 18 years old can be made Wards of the State for a variety of reasons. A court conducts a hearing that can then make an order for the child to become a Ward. Essentially when a child becomes a Ward the minister for the department of Human Services becomes the guardian and parent for the child. It is ineresting to note that the child is charged for the poor parentage. For example I was charged with "inadequate supervision". This is because my parents wre unable to care and supervise me adquately. Another example of this is if a infant is dumped at a church or hospital the child is charged with abandonment.
i was a Ward for 1 year from 1983 until 1984.
In some ways I was lucky by escaping becoming a foster child. My maternal Grandparents become my guardian. After a period of care by my Grandparents I was looked after by my father.
As a Ward of the State I live with lifelong health and mental health issues. Under federal government funding I am able to access 20 counselling sessions a year. Previously counselling was state based. This was problematic because I am living in South Australia I was not able to attend funded counselling sessions because I was in care in Victoria.
I am somewhat pragmatic man so I just push on with life.
To memorialise my time as a Ward I am going to get a tattoo that includes my Ward number.
This coming Monday I’m flying to Melbourne to attend a treatments forum and a HIV conference. The conference will have thousands of people attending to hear the current state of play and future prospects for HIV in Australia and the world.
I’m particularly interested in the sessions on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues. There are quite a few sessions that interest me. In addition to these sessions I need to attend sessions that benefit Positive LIfe SA. At the conclusion of the conference I will write a report for PLSA.
I had to buy some new shirts and ties as I will be wearing a suit to many events at the conference. I am attending the conference for free on a media scholarship. Hopefully next year I can present a paper at the conference detailing my findings from the research that I’m going to do as a part of my Masters at university.
On a more personal note…. My eldest daughter will be mowing my lawns to earn some pocket money. She is an absolute champion. At the 2012 HIV Candlelight Memorial she spoke about how close to death I was in 2003 and in detailing what happened she started to cry because of the memories. We love each other dearly and are very close.
In 2 weeks time I’m off to Brisbane for a 2 day meeting. I’m so busy and I get tired easy. I don’t want to stop as I am acting as a role model for my daughters by showing them that you can thrive in the face of adversity. I value work and education. I certainly want my daughters to achieve their goals in life.
In addition to my Masters I’m also undertaking a Diploma in Project Management. I’m also planning my future work and studies by looking at undertaking a primary teaching masters in the future. Eventually I want to move back to the bush to work and teaching would allow me to do that.
Body art…. I’m planning on getting another tattoo on my forearm of,an Aboriginal southern cross. The southern cross has been high jacked by red neck bogans. By getting the design done in an Aboriginal style I am attempting to reclaim the symbology.
Last week I purchased myself a new mobile phone. I decided on getting a Samsung Galaxy S3. After looking at many reviews I settled on this phone. The G3 is said to be inspired by nature. It has the largest available screen size of any mobile on the market. The colour of the screen and the audio is absolutely stunning. Total cost with a phone pouch was $795.
Next Wednesday I’m flying to Darwin to see my daughter competing in calisthenics. She is competing in a national competition. It’s pretty amazing given that she only started calisthenics 18 months ago. So I’m away for 7 days. We are planning to go to a salt water crocodile farm, eat chili mud crab and barramundi. We are really looking forward to warmer weather compared to Adelaide.
I’m having a great time with my uni studies. To complement my uni studies I’m about to start a distance education Diploma in Project Management. The diploma has to be completed within 12 months.
The 2012 Memorial was held on the 1st of September 2012 at Glandore South Australia. We commenced the setting up at 12pm for a 6pm start.
The event featured:
- Aboriginal Welcome to Country
- Open mike for people to speak on their loss and/or survival
- AIDS quilt display
- Dedication of a new plaque
- Display of lit candles (total on number of people who had died from HIV in Sth Aust) in the shape of the state
- Display of names of people lost
- Light finger food.
Below are some pictures from the event..
The bane of all people living with HIV is the frequency of blood tests. When someone is on antiretroviral treatments it is usual that the person living with HIV will have 3 monthly blood tests.
These tests will look at general biochemistry, full blood count, blood glucose, lipids,CD4 and viral load.
I’m briefly going to look at CD4 counts. The CD4 cells are an integral part of the immune system. It enables the body to fight of infections.
The normal number of CD4 cells are below 1,100. These levels decrease as the healthy person ages. Certain ethnic groups also have lower CD4 counts. When I developed AIDS in 2003 it was speculated that my CD4 count was below 200. Opportunistic infections are problematic and more likely with CD4 counts below 250. The recommendation is for people who are living with HIV to start treatment when their CD4′counts equal or below 500.
My last CD4 count was 1800. Which is 700 more than the upper limit of what is expected.
Yesterday was my first day back at university. I was quite impressed with the respect that I was given as a research student. There is an expectation that as an undergraduate you have little understanding and no knowledge.
As a grad research student your opions and views are valued and respected. So the day went well.However by the end of it I was totally exhausted.
I have been plodding along working out my research question or proposition. I have decided to look at risk taking behaviours of IV drug users in the context of Hepatitis B. To add to the equation I am going to be looking specifically at Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.
I have a couple of months to undertake the literature review and prepare formally my proposal to be submitted to the University ethics comittee.
In the mean time I have committments with my role on a board of an NGO, a couple of national organisations, attending talks and also going to conferences.
I guess there is no rest for the wicked.