Saturday, March 14, 2009

Medicine and Me

As much as I say I have resigned myself to a lifetime of medication, when things go awry I certainly wish I could just titrate off all of them and be done with it.

I still feel run down from the week. My body is shaky-feeling (though Thank God not actually shaking) and my head is all foggy. It's somewhere between being hungover from alcohol or an all-nighter or both, and being on a caffeine high.

Unfortunately, it's not something that is going to improve if I puke, which I feel like I could do. But I won't. I hate puking and try to avoid it as much as possible.

Besides, at this point all the medicinal poison is in my blood and I just have to wait it out. If I got sick, I would just lose my breakfast and the nutrients that are going to carry me through this day.

Additionally, I am still too restless to just lie down and take a nap. So, exhausted, restless... I feel like a two year old who missed her day time nap and now can't fall asleep at night.

All I want to do is try to get my grad school application together, but maybe today is not the day.

Friday, March 13, 2009

My brain

Today I'm feeling a little bit better. I'm pretty tired, but yesterday I stayed connected to my doctors through e-mail and figured out what to do.

It's like the three of us have this little three year old brain we're in charge of keeping from playing in the freeway... we've told it the rules but it's like, "Oh, I dunno. Those cars look so shiny and fun, maybe I can just run in there really fast. Maybe just once."

I kind of wish I could just hand the brain over and let someone else take care of it for a while so I can get some rest.

I'm trying to be gentle with myself and get some work done today but not feel too bad for resting a bit.

I think I'm in the market for a babysitter.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

All that and a little akathesia on the side...

Today was one of the hardest days I have had in a long time.

I switched medications because one of the so-called stabilizers causes me to be hungry all the time--which causes me to weigh about 30-40 pounds more than I need to weigh. I also had to switch because I had been dealing with some depression that seemed like it could be improved, so up a little of this, down a little of that, add a little of this... the usual drill.

The switch was completed about three days ago.

I was not sure if this funny (not funny haha, more like funny Oh God) thing that has been happening to me has anything to do with that, but I've been getting overcome by this bizarre inability to sit still. It's happened three times and there are a few more times when I've tried to suppress the urge. Basically, I feel like I might have to pee (but then I go and it's not the case, nor does it make me feel more settled). It's kind of like I'm on the brink of something but I don't know what it is; I literally have to move around, running my legs in the air, squirming like a little kid... If this is what ADHD kids or other special ed kids feel like when they can't sit still in class I have a whole new empathy for them. I really can't sit still and it makes me feel crazy. It's kind of scary and definitely not normal.

I've taken some of my leftover old (still authorized) medicine to try to calm down. It helps a little bit. I only take half a pill. I have also done that a couple of times to help me sleep.

Today I had to take a second half (which equals a whole) and a bunch of benadryl to try to be still. Today, almost all day, I could not physically be still. The only time I felt OK was when I was asleep, and it was hard to fall asleep.

As my psychiatrist says, "Yeah, I would say the [new medicine] is a bust."

I'll say. Even though I was not depressed, I kept thinking of alternatives to help me not feel so horrible, but those alternatives were even more horrible. I haven't had such a bad day trying so hard to control my body in ages.

On the upside, since I already had to get off a medicine to start this new medicine, and since I'm not taking the new medicine, I'm down a medicine.

I get to try life without one of my usual medicines!

If anyone else is keeping a running log, that means I'm down to three.

Also, just for the record, I love my psychiatrist, who had this whole 17 e-mail conversation with me today. It's so worth keeping her even though her office is in San Diego.

Friday, March 06, 2009


I knew it was over when I became genuinely curious about what's on TV at 3 a.m.

Could I be missing something good?

This is night two without sleeping well for more than an hour at a time.

Last night Justin was at work, so I thought tonight would be better since he's back. Then I thought maybe if he were gone. Then I realized he doesn't have a night shift for the rest of this month.

Now, I'm hoping the couch will be the remedy I need.

I heard neighbors talking in the courtyard and thought I had insomnia company, until I realized that young girls returning home at 3 a.m. are probably just beginning their sleep--they've probably been out having fun all this time.

I've already begun to wonder whether I'll ever sleep again, whether I'll get sleepy during the day (I'll take a nap, I don't care anymore WHEN I sleep as long as I DO sleep), why this is happening to me. (Manic? Depressed? What?)

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Punk'd. World News. Heart Healthy Yoga.

Oooo! Maybe I'll do some yoga! Nah... there's TiVoed Law and Order.

Thursday, March 05, 2009


When I was in first grade I thought I could teach kindergarten.

Why not? I had already learned everything there was to teach in kindergarten.

Though I have tried different paths several times, I still come back to teaching when I consider my purpose in life.

something about journalism, advertising, traveling, walking around the world thinking of ways I could bring things into the classroom

time learning that life is about being, not doing

returning to my purpose--teaching, but first learning more and writing--college letters of rec were all I got to write, but I want to combine writing and teaching in my career

....or something like that.

On Purpose?

When I was in first grade I thought I could be a kindergarten teacher.

The way I saw it, I had done all the stuff they do in kindergarten, so I was ready to lead the little kids through it.

And so it goes.

As though I have a purpose...

For my grad school applications I have to write. I need a "Statement of Purpose. Write a brief statement of purpose describing reason(s) for pursuing graduate or postbaccalaureate study. Include any additional information concerning your preparation that is pertinent to the objective specified. Attach an additional sheet if necessary."

My friend Brian is fond of saying, "we are human beings, not human doings." I have just begun to define myself by being instead of by what I am doing, and now this question.

Perhaps I am a teachable moment.

Perhaps I am more of an accident than a purpose.

If I continue my studies does it mean that the life lessons of the past few years are for naught because I am back at doing a lot. Must I abandon just being?

I hope not. I believe I can do both. What I want to do is study, learn and be able to teach more whether that be in a classroom or through publication. But any idiot can write drivel about those goals. What I am interested in, what I think makes me an interesting person worthy of the company of graduate students and professors, is something else.

Maybe it IS the idea that I am a teachable moment. Or that I embrace teachable moments.


When I heard through the doctor's office door that the intern had never done a needle biopsy before, I decided I would give him the chance to learn. He fired the "gun" once so I could hear it and then pierced my breast with it.

When I learned I had to have a surgical biopsy, I decided to stay awake through it, so that I could learn about the environment of my then-medical-student-husband. Under conscious-sedation, I sang through the experience as though I were on a karaoke stage instead of an operating table.

When I spent eight days in the hospital, I talked to my fellow patients about ways to stay calm, teaching them the mindfulness methods I had learned to maintain my own sanity.

I don't know what this has to do with anything. It was just an idea.

How about this?

I walked into my apartment at 1 a.m. to find my husband and his fellow medical school students playing poker and drinking scotch. It was at that moment that I knew I had to change my life.

None of this makes me sound like an interesting person. It just makes me sound like a freak that no one would want destabilizing their program.

Maybe something straightforward. Maybe boring is the answer (I know it is not).

The fact is that I have watched Justin prepare for and survive medical school and I am all but shouting, "I want my turn." That's my purpose. It's my turn to learn and to study and to experience the camaraderie of an academic program. I want to teach, I want to write, but I really just want my turn. We'll see what happens next. If there's anything I have learned it's that making too-solid plans is asking for disappointment or failure. It's best just to take things a day at a time.

Which isn't really helping me write a statement of purpose.

Revvv! Revvv!

I just tossed and turned my way through another night of Ambien CR. I think I got a little nap in there, but no promised 7-8 hours of sleep.

I need letters of recommendation.
I need to write a statement of purpose.
I need sleep.
I need to do laundry.
I need to go to the commissary.
I need sleep.
I need a job.

A statement of purpose....

I'll do the laundry now--at 7 a.m.