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Mon Feb 4, 2013, 12:14 AM

True Confessions -or- Don't be an idiot like Hunter

I've recently mentioned health problems here, and also that I've changed meds.

My previous meds had unsatisfactory side effects. Sure, they kept away the nightmares, the waking up at two in the morning obsessing about trivial things and things I can't do anything about, and they kept me from standing in front of the mirror for hours sorting hairs on my face or optimizing snippets of computer code for no practical reason, and generally kept the worst of the dark empty feeling and paranoia away. But there were side effects I did not like. One of the meds made me feel sort of dull and killed my libido entirely. I'm not going to say which one because it doesn't have that effect on everyone, maybe not even most people. This drug works very well for some, with few side effects, which is why I was taking it in the first place. I don't want to discourage anyone who may need it.

Anyways, my full blown unmedicated crazy self is always partly a consequence of not eating or sleeping properly. Against medical advice I cut back on the med with the unacceptable side effects and kept taking a med that seems to suppress the nightmares and semi-awake thrashing-in-bed obsessing.

I thought I was doing okay, which was stupid, as I know damned well the first things that evaporates when my head is not right is the self-awareness that something might be wrong. It always feels to me that the world is changing around me and never like anything has gone wrong with my own moods and perceptions.

The place I was in, even taking the prescribed dose of my last meds, was still rather dark. I didn't see any reason to seek medical care for anything but my most immediate concerns. If I stop taking asthma meds I stop breathing, if I stop taking anti-depressants my paranoid feral street person self emerges. I was still functional enough to keep those things in check. Any other medical problems that might have been caught by a complete physical exam I simply didn't care about. I was, in fact, actively avoiding a complete physical because I hate being touched by anyone but close family, and I hate getting blood drawn.

So, recently I was at the pharmacy waiting. They had one of the newer highly computerized blood pressure machines. I sat down because I had nothing better to do and I was mildly interested to see how they'd turned a simple blood pressure machine into something so complicated with a big color LCD touch screen, etc. Turns out this machine offered a whole "lifestyle quiz" with a pleasant video woman wearing a white lab coat, and subtle slick advertisements.

I signaled that I just wanted a blood pressure check, and no, I did not want to give them my email address. The machine asked me how old I was and a few other questions. It told me to stick my arm in the cuff, pointed out the emergency STOP button, and told me to tap START when I was ready.

I calmed myself, and tapped START.

The arm cuff tightens, the machine goes through a cycle, but it can't seem to find the signal it's looking for. It releases a little, and the video woman tells me in a reassuring voice to continue sitting still. I'm thinking UH-OH and consider hitting the stop button. In fact I feel a bit of panic as the cuff gets tighter and tighter. I've tried these machines before, when they first appeared and were still pretty dumb with simple seven-segment displays and printed instructions. The cuffs of those machines never got this tight.

But I close my eyes, try to relax, and finish out the tests because quitting now would look stupid.

The machine lets go of me, tells me I can remove my arm, and says it's processing the results... I look around to see if anyone is paying attention to me. No, they are not...

Then I get the results, which are basically, "CALL YOUR DOCTOR RIGHT FUCKING NOW!" Well no, not quite that dramatic, but it was insistent that I call a doctor today and then offered to show me a list of local doctors and clinics I might go to. This I declined. But I did call my own doctor, told his office what was up, they asked me a few questions, and gave me the first appointment they had open.

End result, I have to start taking blood pressure medicines, which have really slowed me down, I've learned I have a heart arrhythmia, the "best" kind to have if you must have them, and I've gone back to anti-depressants that have worked for me in the past but take a little time to ramp up to a dose that works for me. I don't like the side effects of those much either, but given choices like anorgasmia vs. zero libido, I'll go with the anorgasmia this time around.

Then maybe, when I'm back up in the optimistic world again, I'll deal with some other medical issues that have been nagging me, including getting a few more skin thingies cut out of me. (I'm a white guy who spent too much time in the Southern California sun as a kid.) While in my dark place I was simply watching the newest crop grow with a morbid fascination, curious to see if any were planning to further mutate, break loose and kill me.

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Reply True Confessions -or- Don't be an idiot like Hunter (Original post)
hunter Feb 2013 OP
Denninmi Feb 2013 #1
Neoma Feb 2013 #2

Response to hunter (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 01:28 AM

1. Hunter, I'm glad you were willing to talk about this.

I have been in the exact same place in regards to avoiding medical care because of a dislike of doctors. I have always had weird health issues, including high BP back in high school. I basically quit going entirely after I was 21/22, because no one could force to. I think the only time I saw a doctor between 22 and around 34/35 was an ER visit for a badly sprained ankle, and even that was after limping around on drugstore crutches for a month.

I'm sorry for the side effects. I had a bit of that earlier, I don't know if it was because I was starting on lamictal or because I was justvsonstressed out. Either way, not something a guy finds very comfortable to live with psychologically.

Ok, here's my "true confession" about something I did last week by accident ... I lost the bottle of lamictal I had refilled the prior week. I took my last dose of 300 on Monday morning from the prior bottle. Tues was a frenzied hunt to find it with no success. But, since it takes time to ramp up the dose, I thought no big deal, it can wait until I can get to Costco for a refill - which due to my schedule wasn't until Thursday afternoon. Seriously bad idea. Tuesday night, I started to feel cold and just not right, like I was getting a virus. Wednesday same but worse, and I was sure I was getting the flu, Thursday morning was a chilled to the bone feeling along with my hands so shaky I had trouble typing or holding the phone. I finally put 2 and 2 together and realized it was withdrawal. So I left work 3 hours early for Costco, and literally popped the next dose before I left the store. The side effects were gone by evening, thank god.

Powerful stuff not to be messed around with.

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Response to hunter (Original post)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 09:12 AM

2. I had the opposite problem once.

My blood pressure was too low and I went blind for about 10 minutes...70 over 40 or something like that.

If you want to talk about panic...

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