Aftermath Diary

A first person account of the aftermath of a drug-facilitated sexual assault.

Category: hepatitis b

Rape-versary.

I didn’t realize that I kind of left everything hanging. Sorry!

To those who wondered about my HIV PEP. It went swimmingly. (That’s not a vertigo joke either.) I’m still HIV negative. So- yay, go, team!

Clean clean. Vroom vroom. I’m positive I’m negative.

I’m still pretty OK mentally and emotionally overall regarding the whole drugging-and-raping thing.

I didn’t even finish my eight free counseling sessions. I went through seven of them before deciding that I was probably taking the place of someone who really needed therapy much, much more than I did. My counselor even said at the last session that she noticed that I was never really emotionally disturbed by what had happened to me. I don’t know if it is because I have no real memory of it (hard to be upset over something you can’t remember), or if it was because I was so pragmatic and proactive in my after-assault approach to everything that there was never any room for the emotions to come in.

Maybe it’s because of what I’ve said since the beginning- I’ve done this before and I’ve already dealt with it.

It’s not a pretty worldview, actually, it’s rather fucked up, but I’ve concluded that rape is just a fact of life for some women (and men). Some of us must just throw off victim pheromones that rapists just lock into as if they have RADAR (Rape-AR), because why else would some people continue to be victimized? It’s like the bad guys can just smell it. I know it totally sounds like a jaded person talking out her ass right now, but statistically this holds up. People who are molested or raped are more likely to be molested or raped. I guess I’m a card carrying member of this club. The least they could do is give us a discount somewhere. (Congratulations! You’re a member of the Rape Club. Please use this card to get 5% off on all your purchases!)

I’m not trying to make light of this phenomenon. My eyes have been opened wide to our rape culture. It is a fact of life. It’s wrong, but it’s true. Though, that’s not the purpose of this post. More than enough has been written about it so I won’t waste my words trying to rewrite what so many have already written (much better than I could ever) already.

Back to updating.

I did finally get my Victims’ Compensation: my ER visit, meds, and inoculations were covered…nearly eight months after the incident, just in time for Christmas! There was even some confusion as they first denied me because the SFPD claimed I didn’t report it until a month after my ER visit. Idiots. My formal report was a month later, but the incident was called in the day after. Still, they came through after the bureaucratic crap was straightened out.  I’m even covered for any “future” counseling I would need, should I ever need it. Just in case.

I gave up on ever trying to get the SFPD to do anything. I also gave up on having my supposed advocate in S.F. ever do anything on my behalf. Why? Because I reached a point last summer where I realized the only thread holding me back from moving forward was the anger and frustration, the indignation of injustice- of trying to get the SFPD to return my calls or review the security camera footage. Mentally, I was fine- I was never traumatized, I was never a huddled mass of tears, but I had a sense of “THE POLICE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING, EVEN IF JUST COLLECT EVIDENCE!” And I had to let it go.

So I did.

I realized- I DID EVERYTHING I WAS SUPPOSED TO DO. I reported the incident, I went to the E.R., I did HIV-PEP, I got hep B injections for six months after the fact, I got counseling as soon as it was available, I followed up with the bar and the police, I tried to get an advocate, I told other people… I did more than my part. I did more than I had to. I put all that effort into doing what a good little rape victim* is supposed to do after the fact, and if the police weren’t going to do their job, and the sexual assault advocate wasn’t going to do her job, then there was nothing more I could do to make them do their jobs for me. It was no longer worth the extra stress and mental strain holding onto that last piece. I made a deliberate choice to make one last phone call and leave one last message. So I did. Never got a call back. *does dusting off hands gesture* And that was it- I was done. Moving along now, nothing to see here.

Perhaps because of that rational, self-preservation decision, I never really came back to this blog. I continued to check in on the comments on the Truvada entry because I feel that I put this information out there and if people asked questions, then it was my responsibility to respond to them. It actually makes me happy (not happy that people have to take Truvada for any reason, but that’s not what I mean- but you know what I mean, right?) that people would search the internet looking for more information on HIV PEP or Truvada specifically and find my blog. Hell, I wanted to read something just like it the first week or so I was on the medication but there wasn’t anything out there from a first person perspective that also included the whys, hows, and whatnots. I tried my best. If other people have found it useful, then that makes me very satisfied that something positive did come out of my unfortunate experience.

I still intended to list the medications, tests, and shots I got in the ER and why I got them, and may do that at some point. Somewhere I still have that paperwork. All my “rape” documentation has since been shoved in a drawer. I could dig it out at some point, because I think that’s important information (again, something I wish I could have read the first week or so I was going through it myself), and I should write it. It needs to be written.

Most importantly, I still mean to get around to writing “What to do if you get raped.”

I will do it.

I just haven’t had the mindset. After I let go, I let everything go. Even the unwritten blog posts that may help someone else out there, somewhere, someday.

It is vital that someone write a “What to do if you get raped” instructional guide because frankly, it’s needed, and I hate to say it, but you can’t depend on rape crisis advocates, police, or medical professionals to give you accurate information. It doesn’t exist anywhere. Everyone has the best intentions. Believe me- no one ever intentionally lead me astray or told me something incorrect purposely- but that’s the frustration. At one point I was running in circles because I would go to one person who said I would have to talk to this agency, then I would talk to that agency only to be told, “Oh, no, we don’t do that here, you need to talk to Blah Blah Blah,” and of course I would go to Blah Blah Blah who in turn would tell me to go back to the organization of the first person. Madness. It’s a super fucked up reality when even the people who are in the goodhearted business of helping you out after a sexual assault can’t even give you decent information on where to turn next for your various issues. But it is what it is.

Anyway, so tonight, in about five and a half hours, it will be exactly one year after I got drugged.

At about 9:30 tomorrow morning, it will be exactly one year after I woke up naked, dazed, in an RV, with some guy I can’t identify fucking me from behind.

I still don’t know what happened in between. And I don’t care that I don’t know. I’m still really good with that.

So, this isn’t the last blog entry at all, but it might be the last blog entry for awhile. We’ll see. I’ll have to psyche myself up to write those last couple of necessary posts. Until then, keep your hands over your drinks, people, and keep your eyes on your friends!

 

 
*By the way, I loathe that term, “victim”. Though I don’t know what other word to use.

Advertisements

Not much of an update

Two days off of Truvada and I’m still experiencing dizziness. What a drag.Though now that I’m off Truvada, I feel okay about taking ibuprofen again for the headaches, so at least I’ve got some relief in that realm. (I didn’t want to overtax my poor liver while I was on Truvada, so I didn’t even take ibuprofen for the headaches.)

To add insult to injury, I’ve developed a yeast infection. My poor vagina just can’t catch a break these days. They gave me Diflucan (Fluconazole) in the emergency room but I guess I should have waited before taking it. Diflucan is an anti-yeast medication that they gave me as a “courtesy” (that I paid for, naturally) for all the antibiotics they gave me that evening. (Antibiotics can cause yeast infections because they offset the “delicate balance” of our body chemistry, particularly for women. *ahem*)

I don’t know why I’m developing a yeast infection now, but I suppose that “stress” is just as likely a culprit as antibiotics. Plus, I did indulge in a few cupcakes last week and I usually don’t eat or drink much in the way of sugar. Also, I’ve been consuming caffeine like it’s going out of style due to the “tiredness” caused by the Truvada. All of these are believed to potentially contribute to candidiasis. The yeast infection probably wasn’t the direct result of the Truvada course, as that was an antiviral and not an antibiotic, just something that happened coincidentally. Besides, I tried Googling “yeast infection” + “Truvada” and found no correlation.This is not to say that the excessive caffeine consumption, increased stress levels, and deciding that I deserved to treat myself with cupcakes weren’t entirely unrelated to the crazy side effects caused by Truvada, but I may have inadvertently created my own perfect storm. Ouch.

Mentioning Diflucan reminds me that I intend to write a blog post on what drugs and tests I was given in the emergency room versus the tests and drugs I should have been given. I will do that soon.

In other news, the second hep B shot went off without a hitch. I am now wondering if the E.R. nurse wasn’t just kidding about the “nice” needle versus the “big” needle because the shot she gave me- I felt that sucker. However, the professional “shot giver person” at Kaiser put her vaccine administering skills to shame. I’m sure he has some sort of professional title, but I don’t know what to call the person who only administers injections, “Inoculation Administration Specialist”, or something nondescript and institutional like “Medical Aide Class VIII”? I’m going to go with “shot giver person” because frankly, that’s all he does and I don’t know his actual title. Anyway, he is honestly the Michelangelo of shot giver people. I was nervous because I remembered the sting of the first hepatitis shot in the E.R., but this felt more akin to a mosquito bite and he slapped the band-aid on me before I even knew it was over and done. He deserves the Academy Award of Shots. That’s a good thing too, as I’ll be seeing him again in five months for the third and final hep B shot.

It was four weeks ago tonight.

This probably won’t be a very good entry because I’m really not in the mood to write.

I’m still not feeling very well thanks to the combination of Truvada side effects and allergies. Luckily, I just took my third to last dose of Truvada tonight. Nearly finished with the PEP course, thank goodness.

The dizziness has returned with a vengeance. It’s now my primary side effect and it is lasting for hours at a time. Not fun at all. I’m not taking allergy medication right now due to the Truvada side effects being all I can handle, so I’m experiencing a lot of middle ear irritation. I’m wondering if inner ear = balance, if having both Eustachian tubes inflamed from allergies isn’t contributing to my dizziness.

The bar finally got back to me about viewing the surveillance footage after a couple of messages left over the course of a week and a half. The answer is: without a subpoena, no. That was disappointing. The first person I talked to there said they would pull the footage that night and have the owner call me back, but I suppose he shouldn’t have promised that. When the bar manager finally returned my calls, that little bit of unrealistic hope was crushed. It actually caused me to shed my first “real” tears over “all of this”, if only for about 90 seconds. Maybe my immature sense of fairness was hurt, or that’s the only extent of emotion I’m allowing myself because I’ve known since the beginning no one would ever be punished for what happened to me. If only I had enough sense to go directly to the E.R. that morning- if I got DNA and a positive drug screen- then the police would bother pursuing my case, but without tangible evidence, I’m just another case number with no leads and no point. I don’t know why I’m torturing myself by allowing myself to feel disappointed. “Justice” was never in the cards on this one; I’ve always known that.

I’m staying off of social media these days. It’s an irritation. The speculation and the sentimental imaginary “hugs” from odd acquaintances aren’t helping. I know that people on the outside of this think they can offer suggestions to help, or think they can suggest a new angle that I haven’t thought of, but the truth of the matter is I’m evidently a lot more knowledgeable than they are about all of it. Their sense of reality on the whole matter stems from TV shows and wishful thinking. Someone even had the audacity to suggest that since I’ve been to that bar before maybe someone targeted me because they remembered me. Jesus, that’s just the dumbest thing I’ve ever read. I know they mean well, but I decided that I really don’t need to read everyone’s dime store novel theories. Real life sometimes is just…random. I said it before: this is a crime of opportunity. I simply, stupidly, presented that opportunity.

The bar manager did say that she ejected a person that night because he was bothering the other patrons. I now think it was the guy that that girl was getting me away from- my very last memory for nine hours. If that’s the case, he was a dark, curly haired, obnoxious 22 year old kid, not that I can confirm with the surveillance footage to be sure. She also said that she didn’t think I was drugged- as I wasn’t “falling down all over the place”. From what I’ve learned since my first post, people can remain animated, walking and talking within a blackout, particularly if they have not consumed too much alcohol. From the outside, apparently, people just assumed I was drunk, no different from anyone else at the bar that night. That is so scary. In all reality, I really needed help- and no one realized it. Worst of all, as I was completely checked out in an anterograde amnesiac stupor, I certainly couldn’t have been able to let someone know that I needed help.

In other news, I get my second Hep B shot this Friday. Ick. I hope they use the small needle. The E.R. nurse claimed she was being nice to me by using the “small needle”. Maybe she says that to everyone, but her eyes got really big when she described the “big needle”, so I’m inclined to believe there’s a larger, more painful needle that generally goes with that inoculation. Not that I know anything about shots; I haven’t actually watched one go into my arm since I was 9 years old. If I want to avoid a total freak out, I have to watch the wall during the entire process and avoid seeing the needle at all costs- just a trick I finally developed after dealing with that phobia for my entire life. It beats having people sit on you while forcing you to take the shot in the ass. (Sadly, this is not an exaggeration. That…actually happened…once. Ahem.) Yeah. Fun times.

I haven’t started counseling yet. They haven’t called me so I assume that means there hasn’t been an opening in the schedule. I’m not that worried about it, but as sad as I felt this weekend regarding the surveillance footage, I’m beginning to realize that maybe I’m not as shatterproof as I initially thought. I’m still well overall, but I can see how perhaps the little things can add up over time and cause that facade to crack.

So…if anyone reading this wants to recommend some good stand up comedians, and in particular, good recent stand up comedy videos, pretty please leave your suggestions in comments. I’m running out of amusing/distracting entertainment at an alarming pace and need more post-haste. Danke.