2017-04-01 On Sleep and Seeking Medical Help

Today I slept in until 10 AM. Thanks in part to being at Josh’s house until like 5 and the other part to Alprazolam (Xanax). Without it, I probably would not have been able to fall back asleep. As usual, my mind was wide awake at 5AM and in those cases in the past, I had to resolve myself to just being up for the day. Not now.

The struggle to stay asleep for me is real. I know this. I also know that it is not always the case for me and can be attributed to situational things in my life this past year. I’ve described my problem before.. I’m tired at night and fall asleep very easily, but wake up at 2, 3, 4, 5 and my mind is racing and I can’t fall back asleep.

In the darkest part of the winter last year, I knew it was affecting my life and I sought help. As it turns out, my PCP was out on vacation, and being the demanding, instant gratification seeking person that I was, opted to accept an appointment with one of his colleagues. That was a mistake.

In general, I’m a well person. I don’t have any chronic problems or need to see a doctor regularly for any reason and truth be told, I’ve been seeing the same primary care doctor since 1995 but only actually had just cause to make a visit a dozen times or less. Probably 6 or 8. So I thank my lucky stars for that. However I did not realize the value in that relationship until I went to see this other doctor instead. It was a terrible experience.

She didn’t know me, assumed things because she read something in my chart that was from 2009, and really only went through the motions of a normal “office visit” without actually talking to me about my problem. She ordered labs and gave me samples for sleeping pills. I had cited my primary reason for being there was trouble sleeping. But gave me an Rx for a depression med and didn’t even talk to me about possible side affects or how to dose-up or dose-down on it.

Returning home, I had to do my own research and found that drug to be completely unacceptable for my situation and also not something you should take at the same time as a sleeping pill, let alone a sample med which was probably not tested together in a trial in any way. It was completely medically delinquent in my opinion. I’m fortunate to have enough knowledge and resources to be my own advocate and do my own research, but there are hundreds of thousands of young and old people who don’t and just “do what the doc tells them”. The whole experience left a very bad taste in my mouth.

I never took the drug she prescribed and the sleeping pill samples did not work and I resorted to melatonin and diphenhydramine (over the counter allergy med) to get me by. I refused to schedule another visit with a doctor because I also have a shitty high deductible insurance plan with my work and that whole miserable experience ended up costing me like 250 bucks and I won’t afford to drop that kind of money a second time just for an office visit. I could do a whole other rant just about that, so don’t even get me started. Healthcare today is such a fucking racket. The labs were part of that, and as usual, did not show anything – which, again, I am grateful for.

Fast forward to about a month ago and I had my annual visit with my OBGYN who I have also been seeing since 2001 and she was with me through the birth of both of my kids. She’s also wonderful like my PCP and I feel like really knows me and listens. I know she see’s hundreds of people, but she remembers my situation and we can really just have a conversation about life and I feel like she understands. She’s the one who gave me the Xanax.

She prescribed it for sleep issues and not anxiety or depression and instructed me to take “as-needed”. She took the time to explain things about the drug and scheduled a follow up visit to check on the outcome. That was the other thing the other doctor did not do. They said they would set me up with a counselor because she felt I needed to see someone like that, but it never got scheduled and I never got called back and they did not even give me the name and number for someone to call.

Now I may not go to the follow up visit with my OBGYN, because things are better now and I can’t justify the cost of the visit just to be able to say that, but if I needed it, it was already on the calendar the day I left their office. That’s important because medical follow up is the toughest part of trying to care for a patient. Working in medical IT, I know this all too well.

Anyway, I am fresh off a 6 hour sleep thanks to 2.5mg and feeling pretty good about it being the weekend and having the liberty to do whatever I want the next couple days. I’m planning to spend some QT with my Z who is down about a thing she has going on right now and try and cheer her up and probably after that, will try and get some good exercise somehow. It’s raining (again) and so anything outside is a no-go. Having run OK on 3, 4, and 5 hours of sleep in the past, 6 seems like a luxury and I should have no problem putting in a full day of awesome.

Cheers to the Super Six,
~Miss Sugar Cookie

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