Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Trip to the P-Doc…

It was a long drive down to Auburn this morning. I was extremely sleepy by the time I left the house having been up since 2am and couldn’t wait to get this over with and go home to get in the bed.  I was thirty minutes early for my appointment as well – never knowing when to leave the house to get to Auburn on time.  I signed in and sat down in the reception area resigned to wait a long time and was called back as soon as I had sat down.  I was so relieved.  The person before me had cancelled their appointment.

“How are you feeling this morning?” my doctor asked over cheerily for my mood. “You get in early today!  I always like being early.”

“A little sleepy,” I said. “I am still having some insomnia issues.”

We talked a very long time about how to deal with my anxiety at work.  My doctor is so pleased I am working and have taken control of my life.  She feels this is so important for my mental health. We also talked of all the recent steps I have taken to improve my life like not drinking, the quitting smoking, having control of my medication intake, etc.

“You have the perfect opportunity to save up a nice nest egg these next nine months with you working fulltime and getting disability,” she told me smiling. “Take advantage of it.”

I then told her I couldn’t take any confrontations or any causes of adrenaline at work.  It would cause the most severe anxiety attacks – my heart pounding furiously in my chest and I would feel confused for awhile.

“Keep working through it,” she told me. “You’ve got to retrain your brain how do deal with anxiety situations.  For eights years, you’ve been under some pretty dire and stressful situations with your family. You haven’t been out in the world much for a long time. It is going to take some time to get better.  You are doing the best thing by just getting out of the house and dealing with these anxiety issues by working and going about life unfettered.”

We lowered my Risperdal to 2mg a night along with continuing to take my Paxil. She prescribed me three Klonopin to take take per day “as needed” for anxiety.  She also prescribed me Ambien to help me sleep – urging me to take it every night even though I had some misgivings about taking another drug.  Doctors just seem to have this inane inclination to add more drugs than take away.

“It is important you get a good night’s sleep for your mental health,” she told me.

“I will see you again in a month,” she told me as we stood up and vigorously shook hands as she handed me my prescriptions. “I think you are stable enough to go awhile now without seeing me.”

The only other thing she wanted me to do was to get some blood work done before our next visit to check my kidney and liver functions after all those years I took all those extremely high dosages of medications. I will have to be sure to tell mom to put this on my healthcare calendar so I won’t forget it before my next visit – such things just do not stay prominently in my mind.

I left the doctor’s office and drove directly to Hardee’s to get my favorite breakfast of two steak biscuits, hashrounds and a diet coke.  We no longer have a Hardee’s in my hometown and it is a treat to eat their biscuits – them having the best fast food biscuits in the South in my opinion.  

A Big Step…

Maggie, Caramel and I slept for about four good hours until my cellphone rang.  I got up and answered it sleepily saying hello?

“Your mother and I are bringing you her Civic in a minute,” dad said excitedly.

My father really does love me and wants what is best for me.  He just goes about it in a wrong way sometimes. He just has no sensitivities with regards to personal boundaries. They were here in a few moments – dad having called me from his new car.  We signed over both titles to my cars into my name.  Mom spent her time here on the sofa with Caramel in her lap as Maggie jealously looked on – vying for her attention.

“Now, you are going to be responsible for both cars monetarily from now on,” dad said very worriedly.  He still has trouble letting go control of me and my life. “Do you think you can handle it?”

“Dad! I am 38 years old!” I exclaimed, laughing and exasperated. “I need to be able to take care of those kinds of things for my self esteem.”

“The current insurance on both cars will expire soon,” he said. “I will go with you to get the insurance in your name.”

Dad and mom soon left and I went for long drive out Spring Road into the countryside in my new car.  It is probably the first time that engine has ever been over 4000rpm. I “blew out the carburetors” my grandfather would always say of getting a new car and taking it for it’s first drive.  I smiled vigorously as I checked out all the features and set the clock on the stereo to the right time.  It was turning out to be nice day.

An iPad on the Way!

I ordered my new iPad.  I paid extra for overnight shipping which was expensive, but I just can’t wait.  I want something new to play with.  I have worked hard for many weeks and enjoyed spending some of that hard earned money on something I will really use and enjoy.  I ordered the 16GB model with no 3G – the 3G wireless plans being too expensive for my blood.  I can’t wait for tomorrow to arrive.  I bet I will have a hard time sleeping tonight despite taking the Ambien.  I saw where Wil Wheaten got a lot of flak for buying an iPad on Twitter the other day.  There seems to be this love or hate relationship with Apple with regards to people. I find their products fascinating for a gadget geek like me.  There is just something so appealing about them for some reason.

How are you feeling today?

I feel much better after my long nap this morning. Mentally, I feel fine – very calm and serene.  I experienced some anxiety about going to the doctor this morning, but it was nothing of the magnitude I have experienced in the past.  I seem to get better and better with every week and it is so encouraging and exciting. It is so nice to just relax and feel mentally calm – to not feel like I am constantly about to jump out of my skin.  I didn’t realize how bad I felt for years until I came off all those many medications – medications for obsessive compulsiveness, depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, bipolar, etc. I was on a regular cocktail for years. No wonder I felt badly with me not being really mentally ill.  All those medications are renowned for their side effects. 


L'Esattore said...

I think Ipad is the most useless thing I ever saw. I really don't know why people is becoming mad about this sort of big Iphone....

Jonathon said...

It's a computer folks. Let's not get too torn up over it.

This IS The Fun Part! said...

Oh my gosh - a new car today - and an iPad tomorrow! I am officially jealous! And I almost forgot - a new puppy last week! I just went past jealous, Jonathon!

I just got myself a Kindle and LOVE it! Of course, as soon as I got used to it and fell in love, they announced a new, improved and cheaper model! I still love it and use it every day!

At least your dad can't stay mad too long! Thrilled you get to keep both cars. That, my dear, was just a brilliant idea! Ha! You have a company car for the business that you can take off your taxes! Keep track of those expenses!! They can go against whatever income you have from your yard work - and keep you from having to pay much (if any) income tax.

Baby, you're smart!

Love ya,

glittergirl said...

i got the ipad when it came out, the wifi only version, and love it. the kindle is worth the price alone. we also play our itunes through an app, so we can control our "night time sleepy music" playlists. LOVE IT!

oh, the ambien... i've taken it for years and wish i never started. it's so addictive and when you try to stop taking it there's a horrible "rebound" of intense insomnia.

i have tried to stop taking it twice in the last year and couldn't do it.

have you tried a low dose of melatonin?

if you do take the ambien, be sure to get into bed right away. don't take it and decide to do the dishes or get online. i cannot tell you how many people have made this mistake.

gosh knows i've posted a few embarassing facebook statuses on ambien.

i also packed my husband an insane sandwich the other night. an entire tomato sliced up, 3 slices of cheese and 1/2 a pound of roast beef. and some kind of mayo or horseradish...

LDAlvarez said...

I've had my ipad for 5 months now and love it. I'm a Mac fan girl all the way. The games are addicting, Angry Birds is my favourite. Music, ibooks, it's awesome. I think you'll enjoy it a lot Jonathon. Congratulations on the new car! I drive a Honda too. They are really good cars.

Lena said...

We used to have a Hardee's on the East coast years ago! Always enjoyed their burgers. "Hurry on down to Hardee's where the burgers are char coaled broiled." lol

Sounds like a good visit with your P-doctor. You are doing all the right things.

Good luck with your new car!

glittergirl said...

yeah, you've got a new (used) car, a puppy, an ipad, a girlfriend. pretty neat!

Syd said...

You had a big day. Hope to hear how you like the iPad. I am using mine right now, sitting in a coffee bar. Good news about the car too!

justLacey said...

The ipad sounds like a fun new toy. I have been thinking about getting my mom a Kindle for a while. I know that she wants one, but she is technically challenged and I wonder if she would ever use it.
I like that you are assuming more responsibility for your own duties. I notice a huge difference in you since you have come off the meds. You are more confident and energetic. I can only imagine how it must feel to you. I love to see you enjoying life.
The Ambien affected my mom in the same weird way of being up and about and not remembering it. She didn't like it and quit taking it. Maybe the benadryl would work better for you and be easier to quit taking. just a thought. I am always afraid to take anything too much for fear of not being able to not live without it. My vice is Maxalt for migraines, but it is so expensive that when I lost my insurance I wondered how I would pay for it. Luckily Merck had a program for people who are uninsured and they are paying for it until I can get coverage again. I am grateful for that.

Beth said...

Lots of things happening these days! Some lovely ones along with the not-so-lovely, hm.

Please, please, please follow your doctor's orders re meds. Most people get into big trouble when they decide they're feeling so much better and can handle life without the meds, stop taking them, and then get into bigtime trouble.

As someone pointed out the other day, many of we 'normal' folk need psych-related meds from time to time for various reasons -- anxiety, depression, insomnia. There is NO SHAME in taking medicine that helps you to feel better and cope better with the curve balls we all get thrown occasionally. It doesn't mean you are mentally ill or sick or somehow morally bad. It just means that there is a chemical imbalance that needs attention, needs help to function correctly.

When I stopped smoking (and before that, drinking), I had a lot of insomnia too. I'd do little bedtime rituals -- cup of warm milk, maybe a nice bath to relax, soothing music. Sometimes it didn't work, but I at least felt relaxed about it and was resting. And I've done the sleeping meds too on occasion when I was super-stressed and needed sleep so badly that it was jeopardizing my health. Doesn't mean you'll be on them forever; just for now.

Patience. One day at a time. This too shall pass.

Smitty said...

The chemical imbalance theory about mental illnesses, is actually not as sound as it has been made out to be. The medicines don't actually do what the doctors have been trained to say they do!

That said, I do believe in working with my doctor and in careful reading and questioning.

I think we bust stigma one-on-one and with educating others. I don't allow my use of medications to stigmatize me, but I also know that long-term use of many of the drugs is harmful.

I think the idea is to heal the problem that caused the illness.

My humble opinion, only. Take what is helpful and ditch the rest.

amelia said...

Watch the Ambien, it's very addictive.

Other than that, it's such a pleasure reading all about you day. You're doing great!!!

Justfly said...

I am quite an Apple fan.
I am sure you will love the ipad.

Your blog is like reading a good book. I look forward to the next chapter, oops, I mean post every day! And when you post more than once a day, it is like a bonus

PipeTobacco said...


I hope you enjoy your i-Pad! I have heard several students and some faculty talk about how fun their's is for them.

Unfortunately, I have not had any strong interest in the i-Pad for myself. There are probably several reasons for this... 1) no keyboard (excluding the one on the screen you can use), 2) the similarity of the device (at least to me) to a cell phone (which is a device I am not particularly fond of).

I *do* have a cell phone, but as I am a damn cheapskate, I have a 5-year old pay-as-you-go phone that I once or twice a year to replenish the minutes. I figured out on average, I spend little less than $5.00 a month for the minutes I use. I only use the cell phone as a *telephone*... no texting, no Internet, or any of that other jazz. And, only three people know my cell phone number (my wife, my secretary, and my sister). I use the device primairly for my own convienience to *make* phone calls... since there are hardly any pay phones around anymore.

Now, please do not consider me a luddite, for I like gizmos as much as the next fellow. In fact, even though I am hemming and hawing about it, I have been seriously contemplating getting either a netbook or a Kindle or perhaps both. But, it typically takes me months of thinking and/or reading about the devices before I make such a purchase.

I am the same way with most things I guess. It took me seven months of study and effort to find my latest vehicle... and the one before took a similar amount of time... several years prior.


Sharyna said...

Please watch the Ambien! It has been connected with sleep driving. People have been driving around in their sleep and waking up in jail! So please do as your doctor says!

Tee said...

Ambien is wonderful, but you need to be very close to the bed when you take it, otherwise, you'll have to crawl to bed. I took if after major surgery because I couldn't sleep. My doctor would only give me a 14-day supply, because it is very addictive. It knocked me out, I slept like a rock and in the morning I was completely rested and refreshed and didn't feel hung over.

A new girl friend, a new puppy, a new car and a new ipad. YEAH!

A brilliant move to get both vehicles in your name. Grannie had a very good idea use your older vehicle for your lawn service, but you will have to keep up with all the mileage you drive in order to take if off on your income tax. Good problem, right?!

How is Mrs. Florene? You haven't said much about her lately?

Sharon said...

I'm a little worried about you taking Ambien, as I've known two people who had horrible experiences with it. I know if you don't like it you'll stop taking it, but I don't know what that doctor was thinking! As your body adjusts to the lower and lower dosages of meds, your sleep pattern will regulate itself.

Lil Toni said...

Ambien was given to me after shoulder surgery, and OH MY! As some of your readers have already commented, it is very additive, but also has some strange side affects. (I've been a somnambulist all my life, so probably not the wisest med. to take to begin with.) I woke often to find empty cracker/candy wrappers, chip bags,and trails of various food detritus around the house and in my bed. We also had to put an alarm on the doors as I was "caught" more than once trying to leave the house while "asleep".
Have also tried various herbal sleep aids...melatonin being one, but all gave me horrible nightmares.
50mg of good ole Benadryl works great for me, but I understand you have some addiction problems with that particular OTC med.
At any rate, you are doing so well, and I wish you the best of luck!
Your new pup is adorable, and your mom sounds like the sweetest, Southern soul ever.
Da (female) Coonass