All I can say now, folks, is don’t do what I did. This post may seem a touch hypocritical but I think as a whole, it kinda proves what I was saying on Day 2 about Western medicine and how the “quick fix” of taking a pill is not the right answer (or at least not the whole answer).
As day two of my substance “cleanse” progressed I experienced a pretty steady decline in the way I felt. Head ache, stomach ache, nausea, and by the time I was wrapping work, my ability to focus was almost non existent. I sank hopeless into the couch when Jim got home from work and told him I didn’t think I could wait until next week to see a doctor.
I held my head and leaned away from him, sobbing on a pillow. I told him I needed relief and I needed to know that there wasn’t something seriously wrong with me. I told him I was afraid I had cancer or a brain tumor or something and I think that got his attention. He scrambled to help and within about an hour I was booked for an appointment (next day) at 6:30 am with an internal med doc he knows pretty well. This guy was willing to see me before his regular shift started and honestly I did not care what time of day it was.. I felt dire.
It was such a relief. 6:30 is early to be out somewhere and so I went to bed fairly early. Still abstaining from the sleep aid meds, I had trouble falling asleep. Then I woke up at 1 and then 3. Both times my mind was racing. I was able to fall back asleep after the first wake up, but never fell back asleep after 3. And my head was pounding. I laid there until 5:15 when the alarm clock went off.
I got up and got dressed. I took my zombie self to the living room and laid back down there waiting for Jim. We drove separately to the appointment so he could go on to work after that.
By the time I arrived my condition had degraded so much I could barely walk. We put on our masks and made our way in the building. We were ushered past the reception desk to a room and I took a seat in the exam chair.
There were vitals taken as the Q and A started. It’s a good thing Jim was there because I could barely focus to answer the questions. I started feeling really nauseous but we got through enough history and current stuff to start to build a whole picture.
Nearing the end of that Jim had to leave to go to work and I was handed a clipboard with a few pages of q and A. I had trouble reading the questions and thinking about the answers. It was truly the worst feeling I’d had in a long time. A full blown migraine and I just wanted a dark quiet room. The pain was terrible.
I had a little more discussion with the doctor to listen to his explanation of what was happening and the suggested course of action. I said I understood but I was struggling so much, I’m sure I didn’t catch it all. He left me with the clip board and forms and a barf bag. I think they were expecting me to breeze through that but between the vomiting and lack of ability to read and check off checkboxes, I’m sure it took a while.
They got me all set up for a lab draw and also a head CT. It may sound ridiculous, but if you are worried you have a brain tumor or something, the anxiety can be daunting. I just wanted to rule out all the serious stuff (which also included a pregnancy test).
This post has already gotten long, and I’m not even to the important part. Good gravy! But here it is at last…
The current immediate problem I was having right then (and probably for the preceding 24 hours) was a crash. I was crashing out due to withdrawal from not taking any of the benzodiazepines. Like a bonafide drug addict episode. Wowza!
And here I thought I would probably get a headache from cutting out caffeine.
I never even stopped to think that these other meds might cause some issue if I stop taking them. I can’t tell you how much of a relief it was when he said “you’re a few days in and can try to ride it out or you can give your body what it wants and we can put you on a program to slowly come off them.”
He assured me he’s had great success helping ween people off this stuff. And I knew right away that was the plan for me. And that once I was off it, we would work on the other chronic problems and get to the bottom of those too. He didn’t necessarily say “everything is connected”, which is my belief, but his words implied that and the more we talked, the more I was sure that this was the right guy for me.
He also looked at the answers from those forms and told me I scored in the range of depression. I totally rejected that idea right away, because I am typically not a depressed person. But after talking with Jim about it, short term depression brought on by circumstance is a thing too and that is probably part of what I am experiencing.
Anyhow. I had the labs and the head CT and urinalysis and was released to drive home. When I arrived, I immediately took a Xanax (that’s the hypocritical part) and slid back into the bed. It was 8am and I would have been satisfied to just sleep the day away just for some relief. I really didn’t care about work or anything else.
I slept about 2.5 hours and missed my morning meeting. I still had that headache but the stomach pain and nausea were subsiding. I worked for a couple of hours. I ate two pieces of toast successfully. It felt like a small victory.
Throughout the afternoon I worked a little and rested a little and did a few chores around the house. By the time Jim got home I was feeling quite a bit better, with my headache almost completely gone and he brought takeout for dinner which was amazing.
We sat on the couch for a little bit and I got him caught up on the conversations that I had with the doctor. Who had, incidentally, also called me in the afternoon to follow up and see how I was doing and also let me know that my head CT was normal and the first set of labs with thyroid and chemistry panel all came back looking great too. That’s a huge relief. He (the doc) Also let me know that I was not pregnant, and said “sorry about that”.. which I snickered a little out loud about.
Jim said that if he and I met 10 years ago he would’ve seriously tried to convince me to have another baby. That was sweet. I guess he’d been daydreaming about that a bit too. He said he thinks that would have brought our four kids together a little bit more. But nope. Doug (the cat we All adopted together) will have to do.
In that follow-up conversation with the doctor he also went over what we discussed in the office because he thought maybe I was not in the best state to remember everything that he said that morning. He laid out a detailed plan on how to slowly wean myself off of the medicines and get myself free of that shit.
He called those meds bad news. He said if taken sparingly they can provide some immediate benefit but that it is too common that people start taking them regularly and then become dependent. After a while they begin causing more problems than they solve.
It’s exactly what I was saying a couple days ago about the whole instant gratification with medication thing. And I truly didn’t realize how much I was taking until I stopped to quantify it. It’s pretty scary actually. I mean, I keep a good eye on most of my stats and can’t figure out why this one seemed unimportant.
Anyway, that’s a pretty long run down.. Lots to cover. We’ll see what today brings. I might not be able to meet all of my “cleanse” goals, but you know what they say sometimes..
“Two outta three ain’t bad.” I feel like I have a good plan and am still on the right track despite the fact that my 15 day tour has turned into a 12 week affair.
Welcome to the Jungle,