Thursday, October 13, 2011

This had better be rock bottom.

I'm still hanging in there, but I am sicker than I've been in my adult life.  I'm not able to get up out of bed for more than a few minutes at a time.  Besides staying sane, the biggest challenges I'm facing are maintaining basic personal hygiene (which I am managing, thank God, although not quite up to my usual perfect standards) and trying to eat enough to not shrink away (although I only have so much control over that because forcing myself to eat beyond my tiny appetite just makes me feel nauseous).

I think it would be fair to call my situation a complete physical and nervous breakdown.  My nervous system is hyper-stimulated, and it's creating a self-reinforcing cycle of stress that I'm not sure how to break.  I am running a fever which is why I am so weak.  I can't take NSAIDs so there's not much I can do to bring the fever down.  At certain times in the day I have enough energy to accomplish some small tasks, like take a 3-minute shower, and at other times just shuffling to the kitchen for some juice is enough to make my whole body feel totally stressed.

And when I say stressed, I mean super-stressed.  I mean heart-pounding, adrenaline surging, short of breath, nauseated, anxiety spinning out of control stressed.  At first there was nothing at all that I could do to address this, so I was spending hours each day after the smallest triggers riding out these waves of psychic suffering like a panic attack that just won't quit.  Then finally I figured out that a little sip of vodka in water acts as an emergency brake.  If it can't stop the feelings entirely then at least it dials down the volume to a bearable level.

Of course psychological stress plays into it too, and there's plenty of that to go around.

It was my step-dad who suggested I try vodka.  He's a doctor, so it's an official doctor's order.  He knows that I don't tolerate sedative medication, otherwise he would have set me up with some Valium.  I think it was the 3rd day of trying to tough out the sensations when I cracked.  It feels like pure suffering.  I couldn't do anything but lie on the couch watching the clock tick and praying for it to pass.  On the third night I was trying to get myself into bed, when I just gave up and lay down on the floor with my head on my folded-up pj's.  Ken, beside himself with worry, got me to lie down in bed.  I cured up in the fetal position and told him to call my step-dad.

My step-dad showed up, checked my vital signs, and pronounced me relatively fine, despite my discomfort.   Could've fooled me.  I was ready to lie down and die.  Since then, he's been on the case to help me get well.  He has consulted with his colleagues.  Thank God for his help, because there is no way I could tolerate getting to a doctor's office.  I can't even sit up beyond a 45 degree angle for more than a few minutes.

What was decided was that I should start on a low dose of Paxil, an anti-depressant.  It's not that I'm depressed per se (although I can't say that I'm cheerful about my situation).  It's that it seems the best way to try to get my neurological chemistry under control.  After 39 years of fighting through all sorts of tough times without medication, this morning I gave in and took my first little pill.  It seems like my best hope of getting my life back.  Please wish me luck.  I won't know how it will work out for at least a week, and then it's a question of will it do what I need it to do, and will there be side effects, will we have to try a different drug, etc.  I am praying for a home run on the first pitch.

I'm just trying to get through one day at a time.  Sometimes, especially when the stress chemicals start to flow, I feel desperately miserable.  I am terrified by how vulnerable I have become, unable to even fix a meal for myself.  When Ken has to leave the house even for a short time I feel like a lost child.  I have my mom as backup, although she hasn't needed to come by yet.  I'm more comfortable with just Ken.  Having other people around is overstimulating, so despite my loneliness and desperation for company, I've been telling people not to drop by.  Even certain TV programs are overstimulating.  I'm making do with radio, podcasts, and reading.  This is the first time in a few days that I've attempted to use the laptop and I'm actually pleasantly surprised at how well I'm doing with it.

I wish I could have more engaging distractions.  I'm reading a wonderful book, but alongside the voice in my head that is reading it is another voice going over and over all my worries about the future.  I have to keep going back to re-read sections because I've been distracted by the worry voice. I can't get that second voice to shut up.  I wish that I could get up and putter around the house.  It's impossible to keep from worrying when you can't occupy your mind with some other task.  And the really crazy, impossible fact is that there are plenty of people sicker than me.  How do people spend months in the hospital without cracking up permanently?  I hope I never have to find out.

Anyway, this is a long and rambling post because I've been saving up all this junk in my head and have been desperate to be well enough to write it down.  So I guess I can take it as a good sign that I feel up to being online today.  It's hard to define progress since I've been up and down so much over the week, and gains made today might be lost again tomorrow - but then again they may be retained.

All hugs, prayers, and words of encouragement are greatly appreciated in advance, in case I'm not able to be online to reply to comments.  Love and hugs to you all!


DarcKnyt said...

You can have all the hugs and prayers from us you need, sweetie. I sure hope things get better and go your way soon.

LL Cool Joe said...

I keep hoping I'll come here and your latest post will say you are feeling wonderful and things are looking so much better.

Alas that isn't the case. I'm glad you felt well enough to write this post so we can all pray for you and send good wishes your way.

I hope the tablets help, I really do.

Jenski said...

Oh, gosh. I'll send all the thoughts and hugs I can your way! Glad to hear you can do some reading and listening. I can only imagine how restless and frustrated I would be in your position. I'll cross my fingers your step-dad can get you some help. That and the Paxil and vodka. :-)

Jameil said...

Hugging AND praying and telling you I hope you hit a home run on the first shot, too. I just want you to feel better.

Judy (kenju) said...

I sure hope you will be better soon.

Pixiebaby said...

I sure hope that you feel a bit better soon. Sending tons of love and hugs your way! It is hard to stay sane when you feel so trapped...I completely understand. Please keep us posted as you can Spark. xoxo

Warped Mind of Ron said...

Hope the little pills do some magic to help you out. {HUGS} Sending some positive thoughts your way in the hopes that it helps a little.

Lynn said...

(((HUG))) I hope the Paxil helps. My dad was so despondent over his health that his cardiologist prescribed Paxil, saying it is good for the heart, too. He was so much better after that.

DarcsFalcon said...

I have an unlimited supply of prayers so go ahead and take whatever you need. :)

*hugs* Spark. If there was any way I could take this from you, I would.

You do whatever you have to to get better. We'll be right here, cheering you on.

And I do hope you had a nice Thanksgiving. :)