Saturday, February 23, 2008

Quiet Choices in Desperation

I try to avoid naming the medications that I am on because all of the medications react differently with different people, so the names are insignificant.

The doctor though, he's been keeping a record.

Apparently this game has been playing for two years now.

At this point, the assumption is that the current regime of medication has lost its power. I remember the obligatory visits to the doctor this year--I was downright breezy. Every thing's fine, great, good, sleeping well, eating well, doing well. Refill. Repeat.

Today I dragged myself back in there, unkempt, unhappy, unwell.

"So you feel like these pills aren't doing anything for you?"

"No. They're just a thing I do every morning. I drink a glass of water every morning. I just also take a handful of medicine first."

"But you don't know why?"

"Nope, not anymore. It's just a thing I do."

"They're not making you feel any better?"

"I don't feel anything. I just take them. It's just part of my routine. "

He rattled on with options and I waited for him to decide what to do with me. Then he told me I had to decide.

"I don't know. I don't know what's going to work!"

"Neither do I. It's your decision." I seriously pay for this little alchemist to tinker with my brain chemistry?

In my quest for a change there were basically two possibilities:
A) Taper off the current anti-depressant (takes about three weeks to stop taking it and get it out of my system) and then start another one (takes about three weeks to get it up to a medicinal dose that might show some changes), plus increase one of the other medications.
B) Keep the meds I am taking now and slowly add the other med, plus increase one of the other medications.

Why such slow reductions and increases? Because of a possible rash that indicates a possible fatal reaction to the medicine.

Something like that.

The quick fixes available in my lovely neighborhood (alcohol, cigarettes, pot, coke (I mean seriously, the mail delivery person asked if they were dealing at one of the houses on our block)) are allegedly really bad solutions. The alchemist explained that they mess with your neuro-receptors for a short while (the brief experience of relief), but then afterward it's just one big downhill crash--worse than where I am already.

I told him drinking was a better choice than cutting, and he said, just one little notch above.

So I am on restriction.

Adding some pills in the morning, one in the afternoon, then in eight days add more, then in 12 days even more....

Nothing else.

Nothing less.

I told the alchemist that there was no way I could wait six weeks to see if it works. It had been two weeks since I saw him last and my deterioration is palpable. At least visible. I am fairly certain that I made an effort to wear nice clothes last time I went there.

This time I did not even wash my hair.

He said he did not have any quick fixes for me. I asked him how I was supposed to make it through the days. I had already told him how I knew everything there was to no academically why any of the quick fixes were bad ideas, but what could he give me to do.

"You have to use your inner strength," he said.

I looked at him like he was asking me to slam dunk in a little game of one on one with Michael Jordan. "Do I look like a person with a lot of inner strength?" I asked.

"I think you have more than you think you do."

"Well, I certainly hope so, because I'm pretty much using what I've got to propel myself out of the bed and into the shower and to just do things these days."

He filled out some paperwork for me.

"I don't know how you listen to people like me all day and don't lose your own mind," I said.

"I'm not sick, so it doesn't affect me the way it affects you," he said.

I wouldn't wish this feeling on anyone.

Someone stupid is going to try to argue against me on this one, but, it's true: I can't believe I am going to have to learn to live with this disease for the rest of my life. I can't believe I can't just get cured and move on. For the rest of my life I am going to have to fight for inner strength just to be able to interact with the world properly.

Inner strength to go to sleep at 1 a.m.


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