I’ll Take the AIDS Test when I’m Finished Studying!


blog aids mitchThere’s nothing less fun than having to take an AIDS test. Pregnancy tests aren’t fun either, but if those turn out positive, as a guy, I can take the girl in question on Maury Povich and hope somebody else knocked her up. And if that doesn’t work out, at least I’d get to be on Maury Povich. You’ll never see Maury doing AIDS tests:

“Well, I’m holding the results of the test in my hand,” Maury would say as I sweat bullets up on the stage. “With 99.9% accuracy…you sir…are not the father!”

“What? It was supposed to be an AIDS test.”

“Oh, yeah. About that…you got it.”

It just wouldn’t be good TV. Likewise, a show about my attempts to get a Chinese work visa would make for equally bad television.

“On today’s very special episode,” the voice-over guy would say, “Bill is required to go to a Hong Kong hospital and undergo a full health exam, including an HIV test. Viewer discretion is advised: this episode contains adult themes and isn’t entertaining.”

Really though, the doctors and nurses at the hospital in Hong Kong couldn’t have been nicer. They had me in and out of that place in about an hour, as though they were the Jiffy Lube of health examinations. I was told my results would be back in a week, and I nodded, knowing I’d be spending the next seven days freaking out.

blog aids mosquitoNot that I thought I had HIV. But having the test put the thought in my head. It’s like, you never think about certain things until somebody brings them up. “Don’t you want more in-depth labels on food?” a person might say. “Aren’t you worried about what you’re eating?” Um, why? Should I be worried about what I’m eating? What’s wrong with what I’m eating? Is it going to kill me? Oh my God, it IS going to kill me, isn’t it? I’m such a fool!

So because somebody felt it was necessary that I take an HIV test, all of a sudden I became convinced that I had it. I walked around Hong Kong humming Bruce Springsteen’s “Streets of Philadelphia” song, imaging myself on the Real World, being harassed by Puck. One night I stood by VictoriaBay and got super dramatic, thinking that when the test came back positive, I would leap into the bay at night and commit suicide. No one would even know why I did it, the test results kept secret thanks to HIPPA laws. Everyone would simply assume it was due to my despair over “Gossip Girl” getting canceled or the Phillies signing of Delmon Young.

My anxiety was at an all-time high when I finally got an email from the hospital, saying I could come pick up my test results. The tone of the email was neutral, which I considered to be a good sign. After arriving, the doctor sat me down in a chair to go over everything.

“We did a blood test,” she said, “and you’re blood type A positive.”

My heart skipped a beat. “Relax,” I told myself. “She said A positive. There was no I or D or S.”

She proceeded to go over the rest of the results. I was HIV negative. I breathed a heavy sigh in relief. Then she told me my lungs had pleural thickening. “It’s not a big deal,” she said, “but it’s something to be aware of.”

“My lungs? Thickening? Is that because I smoke?”

“No,” she said, “pleural thickening is usually caused by exposure to asbestos. Smoking is very bad, though. You need to quit.”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah. Asbestos?”

I was dumbfounded. I thought asbestos poisoning was something that went out after the New Deal. How had this happened? I told myself that if one thing doesn’t kill you, something else surely will.

“Well, thank God you can’t get AIDS from old buildings,” I thought, leaving the hospital with my chest X-ray in hand, so I could show my pleural thickening to all my friends.

“Tune in next week,” my voice over guy said, “for a very special episode, in which the happiness of being HIV negative is somewhat muted by a 30 minute coughing fit.”



18 thoughts on “I’ll Take the AIDS Test when I’m Finished Studying!

  1. craft fear

    When I worked in China, they brought us all to the hospital in vans (mainland btw) and all the school employees from abroad did that bizarre set of tests together. For the urine test, we used a co-ed bathroom and then carried our uncovered cups of urine across the hospital to the lab window. Also we had to take our pants off so the nurses could examine our genitals. Not 100% sure what that was for.

    • Lol! Well, obviously you have to have large genitalia in order to get a work visa. And I would pay to see someone trip and faceplant while carrying the cup of urine. Now that would be comedy!

      Glad you could sort of relate! Thanks for the comment Craft Fear!

    • True, true. It really is hard to get a work visa for another country. You kind of forget that after awhile, but shit guy, it’s a process, isn’t it?

      On another note, I have downloaded FLCL and will begin it as soon as I’m finished with season 3 of Mad Men. I’ve got a lot of time to devote to TV right now, my friend. haha

  2. Oppa, I can relate. I accompanied my mother for her annual check =up and some flu shots, and as I was there already, the doctor suggested I should get my mammogram. What the heck… I got a flu shot and a mammogram check-up. I thought ” I’m still young”, I don’t need stuff like that ! ” Well you can imagine my aggravation waiting for the result. Then I got it after 2 weeks…. negative. But I won’t have breast cancer within 5 years, so have your boobs checked next year , anyway. No waaaay. It was painful.

    • Yeah, it’s scary, isn’t it? In the old days, they died earlier, but at least, you know, it just sort of happened. Working the land one day, next day dead. None of the anxiety of hospital visits and mammograms. Those lucky f**kers!!!

  3. Pleural thickening sounds horrible, but I ‘m really glad for you that it’s nothing to worry about. And that you don’t have AIDS, too, of course. And that you’re not the subject of a pregnancy test on Maury…those episodes are the worst, haha.

    • Hi Slow Mo! Yeah, it’s like once you don’t have AIDS, everything else seems pretty chill. “Oh, I have debt collectors after me…well at least I don’t have AIDS.” “Huh? I have no friends or food? Well, I don’t have AIDS either. Yay!” It just makes life happier, that’s all. : D

      Thanks for reading and commenting my friend!

  4. judithsmarkworld

    For all the years I have been in the US, I didn’t know Maury was a Povich! Glad for the good results. But if I can say, jumping in the bay to commit suicide? You have been in Korea for too long. But see there was nothing to worry about. I hope you continue to give us lots of stories in China. 🙂

    • Hi Judith! Hahaha. Yeah, the Asian art of shame suicide must be rubbing off on me. So far China is bizarre…plus I haven’t developed a good system for getting through the Internet blocks. It’s really hard to use WordPress; I need a better proxy I think. Anyways, I’m rambling. Always good to hear from you Judith! Love you Girl!!! : )

  5. Personally, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with taking an HIV test. It’s the one week of waiting, and reliving every flu like symptom, every swelling lymph node and every lagoon creature I so much as considered in the carnal sense, that kills me.

  6. Impybat

    I remember having to do a urine test in high school before the Cross Country season started. It was somewhat amusing and gross to see all these girls parading around the nurse’s office carrying cups of pee. I’m glad you don’t have AIDS though!

  7. Congrats, Bill, on not having AIDS! However, according to what I have been reading and hearing, air pollution in China may kill you before HIV. Take care, my friend! We certainly want to read your funny posts for many more years to come.

    • Yes! Beijing has a big cloud of pollution floating in the sky. While I was in Hong Kong, I was told that the air pollution in Beijing was so bad, people were told to stay indoors. Eesh! The good news, I guess, is that I’m living in a very rural secluded area, so there isn’t a lot of industry polluting the air around me. Hopefully, in total, the pollution will only shorten my life by a decade or two.

    • Awww, the Real World. I’ve wasted so much time watching that program. I thought Puck was cool. Geez, that was a long time ago, eh? RIP Pedro. I don’t remember any other person on that season, but RIP to them also if any of them have died since.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s