What?! You want ME to have an HIV test?!!!

Welcome back!

What I really mean is “Welcome back – of sorts”. Before I explain, let me just tell you how I feel right now, using a quote from the brilliant Blackadder III (for you US followers, if you have a soft spot for British humour, you can’t fail to fall in love with this timelessly-genius series, offering an alternative take on the reign of the Prince Regent.

EXTRA BONUS: You will also get to see the swoonsome Hugh Laurie in a VERY different light to his more recent role as Gregory House, in House MD.) Grab a box set today!

Anyway, the quote:

BLACKADDER: “Well done, Baldrick. You’ve earned yourself a holiday.”
BALDRICK: “Why, thank you, Mr B.”
BLACKADDER: “Did you enjoy it?”

In other words, these last two weeks have zapped past me. And although my hotly-anticipated website (in my mind, at least) is in danger of taking some semblance of shape, it’s nowhere near time to press the Big Red Button.

For those of you who have trodden this hellish path, you won’t need me to tell you that it’s not the writing of the pages that creates the major ball-ache. It’s all the disclaimers and legalities and insurances and goodness-knows-what-elses-that-are-way-over-my-head which get in the way.

In spite of plenty of midnight oil-burning, I have all the writing still to do, and at the moment, it’s floating around in my head and driving me bonkers. And ditto all those around me, including Eric. His dinner has been late at least twice in the last week.

A compromise is needed, therefore. And it is this: for the foreseeable, I will be posting on Wednesdays and Sundays only. But only until I have done all that needs to be done. And then it will be business as usual.

So, what’s the news today? As you have probably gathered from today’s title, I have another, particularly precarious plate to spin on top of all this on-going t’Internet stuff.

As the regulars among you will know, the Hippocrates food regime is 80% raw vegan. And while I will not claim to be following it to the letter every single day since I have been home, that figure is still pretty much correct. And just to clarify, the 80% refers to the raw element. I am still 100% vegan.

During one of our lectures with the how-can-one-man-know-so-much Viktoras Kulvinskas, Viktoras explained that as (primarily) raw vegans, our white blood cell count is expected to be low. Why?

As you can’t help but be aware by now, the standard western diet is highly inflammatory, particularly where cooked food is concerned. The body sees cooked food as an invader and so produces armies of white blood cells to fight it off.

It is thus the “norm” to have an elevated white blood cell count if you eat “normally”.

So when you stop all of this, your white blood cell factory tones down its production level, because the body doesn’t need nearly so many. They drop like flies.

And drop mine did, as you will note from my recent post about my “before” and “after” blood results (they are almost half what they were before I went to Hippocrates).

What I didn’t mention at the time was this:

I get a call from the surgery to say my blood results (my “after” ones) were in.

“The doctor wants you to have another test,” says the receptionist.

This was not what I had anticipated.

The blood results dream sequence I had played over and again in my head was one in which the doctor would take both of my hands in his, with tears in his eyes, welling up in awe and wonder, congratulating me on the most amazing blood he had ever had the privilege to examine.

But no.

“Why?,” I asked.

“Your white blood cell counts are low.”

Because of what we had been told at Hippocrates, I wasn’t initially worried about this. But when I read the lab notes attached to my blood results, my confidence did waiver a smidgen. This is what they said:

“Suggest HIV test to exclude sero-conversion illness”.

My first reaction: Gulp.

And then: “No, this is stupid. I know why my results are like this.”

And then: “But what if…”

I requested a call from my doctor, and he said that this comment goes on ALL results where the white blood cells are low, and a glandular fever test is negative (I didn’t do much kissing in my teens, thanks to a 10-year sentence at an all girls’ boarding school).

After a few questions from the doc, we also established that I have no reason to be at risk. And I also told him about being a raw vegan (you can imagine how interested he was in that).

And on that note, here’s something I didn’t know, until Hippocrates’ resident sproutologist and wheatgrass aficionado Brian Hetrich told me:

Raw foodists are apparently advised to wear a medical dog tag or wrist band in case of an accident to advise ambulance and hospital personnel of their diet, thus explaining why their low white blood cell count is low.

This is because if they look at a raw foodist’s blood without this information, they are likely to assume you are HIV-positive or have full-blown AIDS.

In spite of this, my GP still wanted me to have another test. So I did.

Another bloody armful.

And guess what?

No significant difference to the last time. And given that I am eating the same, it was no great surprise. To me, at least.

And then came the bombshell:

“I would strongly advise that you have an HIV test. We have had some surprises with people over the years, and you won’t be thanking me in 10 years’ time if you find out then.”

Call it humouring his professional mindset, call it laying that tinier-than-microscopic doubt in my head to rest, or just the pure joy of having to resist passing out when they stick ANOTHER needle in my arm, but I agreed.

And rest assured, you will be among the first to know, whatever the result is. I just seriously hope I’m not eating my words at that point.

But that’s what happens, isn’t it? Someone slings a stethoscope round their neck, sticks on a white coat and their word has the ultimate power.

I should know better. But I need to prove he’s wrong. Let’s hope I do.

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by George

I’m George Dryden - a slightly-off-the-wall-but-in-a-good-way journalist, blogger and almost-raw vegan. In April 2014, I graduated as a Certified Health Educator from the Hippocrates Health Institute, in Florida, USA (more about George)

2 thoughts on “What?! You want ME to have an HIV test?!!!

  1. khawley2014 says:

    Bloody hell George! I understand that all you say is true but doctors can be so scary with their imagined omnipotence, this cannot have been a fun journey – though an interesting ride I guess! xx

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