So, this morning I did what every self respecting girl of the modern times does and pottered off for an AIDS test. *pat pat pat*. I didn’t want to faff with the whole doctor/gynae/pathologist=large sums of money routine, so I thought I’d take advantage of the VTC* programme that the government insists is the inalienable right of every South African. Or something. I got up at the crack**, left the house, got in my car and drove towards the local clinic. And, at one point, as you do, attempted to drive straight across an intersection. Which was clearly idiotic, because the man coming from the other direction wanted to turn right, and wasn’t even remotely interested in actually looking for on coming traffic. Much hooting, and one unavoidable fender bender later, I’m leaping out of my blue vehicle and shaking my fists in a rage, only to watch as he reverses, to get out of the way of more on coming traffic, right into the person behind him.
What a fukken eejit! (I had to laugh)
I checked my damage, decided it wasn’t worth the effort, and chortled happily at this plonker’s utter stupidity. I turned to tell him I’d let it go, but once he’d realized he had two angry fist shakers advancing on him, he revved up and did a runner, looking like an anal probe victim; surprised and very scared. Poor bastard.
I should have taken it as a sign. And just given up.
But no. I wanted to know my status. And I wanted to know it now***. So I popped in at the local FAMSA, was referred to Groote Schuur, and wandered off up the hill.
Groote Schuur, as you may or may not know, is the biggest training hospital in South Africa. You’d think it would be impressive. But no. I haven’t been there since the early 90s when my coloured friend got stabbed for hanging out with white chicks outside a “white” pub. Nice. Back then it was a typical hospital. Clean. Reeking with the stomach churning smell of iodine and antiseptic. Filled with officious people charging about with clipboards.
Not so now.
I wandered the maze of dirty, shabby, blanket and sheet strewn halls for about 20 minutes before I found someone who knew where I was and who could direct me to the outpatient reception.
A huge cavernous room filled with about 300 people (seriously), all waiting passively with the eyes of the terminally ignored. A handful of doleful faces at glass encased counters, handing out forms and shaking their heads. The not so subtle smell of unwashed, sick and miserable bodies, crammed in a hopeless hole.
I took one look, thanked fuck for my Discovery Health Plan, and, I’m ashamed to say, ran like the pampered princess I am. (I’m still feeling rather shell shocked about how the hell our health system deals with all of this, and I’m grateful, once again, that it’s not my knot to unravel.)
Anyway, cue another local clinic, which I’d remembered from detours through Woodstock. More shabbiness, more people, but not so intimidating. And a whole lot cleaner. A sweet sister. A bit of gumph about living with HIV and “do you have a support system in case” stuff. And I was pronounced free of dread disease.
And all in time for work. Who says there’s no adventure anymore? *Eep*
*Voluntary Testing and Counselling. Oi vey.
** Do not attempt to get to a public anything in SA after 7.30am, unless you have 20 odd years to waste in queue.
***Say what you will about instant gratification, but it sure as hell makes me happy.
P.S. how cool is this French HIV/AIDS awareness ad? *double eep*