Tag Archives: medication

Stuff: My Head Was Getting Full

Greg Allman died. That made me cry. I’ve been a fan for most of my adult life (translation: since Mark and I have been together as adults because he’s a HUGE fan) and that’s part of why I cried. I knew how it would affect Mark. And Matthew. Matt sent Mark a note on FB saying, “This isn’t real, is it?” Of course, it was.

The Day The Music Died played in my head – when Sweet Melissa and I’m No Angel weren’t. The music didn’t really die. Just the musician. Taken down by the same insidiousness that took many others. Others with names like Joplin, Morrison, Hendrix, Cobain, Cornell, Jennings.

Waite.

What do I hate about addiction? Is it that it’s selfish? That it is a form of entitlement that doesn’t just destroy the one addicted but entire families, communities even? Yes. Of course. I hate that it disguises itself as pleasure and peace. I hate that I love that pleasure and peace.

Am I an addict?

Probably not but maybe so. I have the genetic predilection certainly, on both sides. I remember being at an Al Anon meeting once and voicing my frustration.

“Isn’t there someplace I can go where this shit doesn’t exist?”

To a person, those in the meeting with me either shook their heads or simply said no. Take away the alcohol, the drugs and what is left to be addicted to? Food, sex, work, shopping, money. Obviously it’s not the substance at fault. It’s the behavior patterns. And we all have them.

Am I an addict?

I have been, yes. I have displayed addictive behavior driven by everything from hormones to the lack of them. All the kids at home to the kids all moving away. Euphoria to depression. Not enough work to too much work. Not enough choice to everything laid out before me like a banquet. No ice-cream in the house to an actual banquet.

My latest dilemma is stress at work and sleepless nights, both of which, of course, feed on each other. In my first half-century I could count the nights I was unable to sleep on one hand. This does not include infant/child induced lack of sleep. Those were a given and had nothing to do with not being physically and psychologically able to let go of wakefulness. No, the latter is something that was saved for me until I was lulled into a false hey, this getting older thing might be okay, state of mind. Kids are grown, hot flashes are easing, I see freedom calling up ahead sort of thoughts were roaming playfully in my brain.

Then the next section in the manual opened itself up to me and revealed that those hormones I used to have do more than just all those other things I thought they did. They also helped me to sleep.

Apparently they’re gone just like said slumber.

I, literally, lay awake all night long.

It happened once. And again. Then again. And more regularly. I started taking half a Benadryl at night get to sleep but it didn’t always work, so I’d take a whole one. Sleep was deep and as long as I took it fairly early I could drink enough coffee in the morning to wake up for the day. Which became a problem in itself because I really don’t have a large coffee capacity. One or two cups are the maximum and it always took a third to shake the antihistamine blues, which, in turn made me shaky and a little dizzy. Then the antihistamine stopped working and I became pretty frantic. I cut down on coffee, upped my water intake and spent a couple of days and nights trying to get my shit together so I could sleep when I was supposed to sleep and be awake, you know, when I was driving and working and stuff. I went to my doctor who offered me Ambien or something like it. Non-habit forming, of course. Such an ironic, bullshit claim. Perhaps the drug itself is non-addictive but if you, like – everybody – are a fan of sleeping, the drug becomes your habit. There’s no way around that. Also, there are some pretty severe side effects with Ambien.  My two favorite, upon reflection are hallucinations and sleeplessness.

I’ll just let you mull that one over.

I took a pass.

My doctor was okay with the half dose of antihistamine but concerned that I took it within an hour of having a night-cap consisting of a shot (and probably a half) of tequila. I told her my liver wasn’t completely happy with me either, but the tequila helped me fall asleep and the antihistamine kept me asleep all night.

That’s important – the all night thing. Some of my worst times have been when I wake up from a sound (sober) sleep in a full on panic because – for no reason at all. Anxiety is in full swing with no warning and no solution and by the time I’ve reached a state of I’m actually not going to die horribly at this very moment I’m wide awake and pissed. And still anxious as I go over every single thing that is/could be/was yesterday/might be tomorrow – wrong in my life, Mark’s life and the lives of my children, grandchild, mother and brother. I have, at times, scooted over to cuddle with Mark but that wakes him up because he knows, even in his deepest slumber, that I do not like to be touched in my sleep. We have lines of demarcation in our bed that may not be breached once I’m in lala land. When the kids were little it was this way because one or more of them were there nightly and there was barely room to breathe. Then it was hot flashes. If I cuddle up to my poor hubby, he knows somethin’ aint right and will wake up ready to take on the world in a way only certified morning people are able to do but it’s the middle of the night so we’re both screwed.

……….Or so I told my doc.

She said, again, that perhaps the Ambien would be a better choice. I said, again, no thank-you.

I have an aversion to relying on medication. I mean, if I had to take something because I was diabetic or had epilepsy it would be different – and I have taken meds for PTSD (long story there……well, really not so long, but for another time) and depression. There was a start date and an end date in sight with both, so I wasn’t quite as concerned. I became addicted to nose spray once. Started taking it when I had a cold and didn’t get off it for two years. The thing about nose spray with a decongestant/antihistamine is that, besides making one look sexy and attractive when shoving it in one nostril then the other and taking a deep huff each time, it makes your nasal passages more open than they would ever be naturally. When you try to stop taking it cold turkey you don’t just get a stuffy nose. Your nasal passages slam shut like there’s actual gold in there to be protected and you can’t breathe through your nose, nor can you swallow because you can’t breathe through your nose. Try it. Plug your nose and try to swallow.

My father was addicted to nose spray. He became ill and was in the hospital where an idiot doctor overdosed him (that one is a long story) with a medication his body basically had a bad reaction to. He was in a state of unconsciousness for such a period of time that we truly thought he would not make it. During that time he could, of course, not take his nose spray. We watched as he struggled to breathe. His suffering was incredibly difficult to witness and inspired the aversion I spoke of earlier.  After Dad recovered I went to my doctor for help in ridding myself of the nose spray. She said, simply, to use it in one side or the other as often as I needed until the side that wasn’t getting any assistance unplugged, then stop using it on the other side. She said it could take about three weeks. I was off it in less than two and felt so free and, well, stupid for not figuring this out much, much sooner.

Now, to get back on medication and have to depend on it for something that should come as naturally as sleep? No. I couldn’t see it. Still, if I was honest with myself, it was six of one and half dozen of the other in the drugs vs. alcohol category.

Am I an addict?

Probably. But I’m an extremely particular one, if so.

I stopped taking the antihistamine a few weeks ago. The long term effects started to rear their ugly heads. Moodiness, increased day-time anxiety, depression – they came on fast and were difficult to control. I cut out sugar at night, back on coffee in the morning, cranked up my water intake and am gradually settling into a more restful pattern leading up to bed time. Basically I’m a three-year-old again. Who gets a jigger of tequila and a Coronita nightly if she wants.

I’m not giving up all my fun.

I sleep better, for the most part. Electronics are banished to drawers and other rooms. TV is off and the temperature is cool. I’m dreaming again which means I’m not taking myself to an oblivious place and when I wake up it’s just slow and cranky like it’s been from the time I was a child. Not groggy and “why did I take the stupid antihistamine again,” the way it had been for a few months.

Am I an addict? I have addictive tendencies – just like most people, I suppose. I’m on guard, though. I mean, everybody has to die from something but I won’t go because I drank/smoked/shot up/snorted my internal organs to death. That hurts like hell. That hurts everybody like hell and it’s hard to get over. Some people tend to obsess, even.

Can one be addicted to making sure they’re not addicted?

These and other insane questions will be covered on the next edition of “Shit I write down so my head won’t explode.”

<Insert eye roll here>

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Really. It shouldn’t have to hurt.

I want to talk about Male Privilege.   I capitalize, because it’s an actual thing.  Many men are unaware of it because, well, they’re men and they have it.  I spoke to my husband about Male Privilege and, while he didn’t scoff, he did get that, “I really wanna roll my eyes because here we go again, but I’d better not roll my eyes on the off chance that she’s serious about this and rolling my eyes will simply piss her off and the diatribe will go on that much longer”, look on his face, but managed, albeit with extreme difficulty, from allowing the eyes to roll.  
 
Male Privilege is rampant in our society and exists on every level from who is elected president to who gets the Viagra.  I’m not here to go into the whole, “glass ceiling,” thing or who gets paid 20% less simply because she was born with different genitalia.  I’ve covered that and will again, without a doubt, until it is no longer an issue.  
 
Today, I want to talk medication.  
 
I was watching television the other night, practically asleep, when a commercial came on that blew my mind.  It’s for a new medication that works to repair vaginal tissue in women post-menopause.  My first thought was, WHAT THE HELL HAPPENS TO VAGINAL TISSUE AFTER MENOPAUSE THAT IT NEEDS REPAIRING?!  They never answered that particular question, but it doesn’t sound like it’s anything good.  I watched the perfectly coiffed women, dressed all in white or off white and reclining on white or off white furniture with white or off white drapes blowing in the sea breezed background, as they smiled and gave me the low down on the 753 side effects this medicine could possibly have.  I waited, holding my breath, to hear what it could do.  I was never fully informed, but did get this.
 
“Sex after menopause,” the 30-year-old actress said, “It shouldn’t have to hurt.”
 
What.
 
I – what?
 
That’s all we get?  Not only did they not tell me what happens down there that a good dose of KY couldn’t take care of, they gave me a tag line that reads like the warning on a tube of hemorrhoid cream.
 
“It shouldn’t have to hurt?”
 
Men get, “Be a man,” and, “You can have pleasure any time you want.”  They get three dozen ways to take their youthful erection into their frigging 90’s and women get, “It shouldn’t have to hurt.”
 
That’s Male Privilege. 
 
Last week I watched The View, and the ladies reported on a medication that is touted as THE solution to a woman’s waning mid-life libido.  Okay, I thought, maybe we’re getting there.  This sounds like a promising start.  This doctor has done scientific studies that say this will increase everything from desire to orgasm in women who have issues in any or all of these areas. 
 
Problem?  Of course, you knew there was one.
 
It’s a shot, ladies.  In the vagina.  Oh, wait, I almost forgot.  It’s a $1500.00 shot.  IN THE VAGINA.  And – wait for it – it’s not covered by ANY insurance plan at this time.
 
I can’t even tell you what the stuff is supposed to do exactly because I couldn’t get past the facts in the above paragraph, some of which I find myself unable to read again, much less write.  I do, however, want to know how many men would allow someone to shove a sharp pointy thing into their most tender nether regions with only a vague, “it works for many,” as a guarantee for success.
 
That’s what I thought.
 
Look, I don’t, by any stretch of the imagination, hate men.  I don’t even really resent the edge they have in this world.  I don’t even need them to feel my pain!  I’m more of a humanist than a feminist, and I just would like to see us sort of even things up a bit, for crying out loud.  Pretty sure this won’t accomplish that.
 
Can you imagine?  There’s a beautiful sunset, a gorgeous beach, you and your sweetheart are half a bottle of wine in and you decide the moment is right.  He’s cool because he took his little blue pill half an hour ago.  You’re feeling like it’ll be okay because you’ve been taking the medicine to fix whatever is wrong vagina-wise (and you have that side-effect tic under control by sheer force of will and a xanax), but you have to put him off for a few minutes while you go insert a needle into a place where needles don’t belong?  How anxious are you to see this thing through?
 
To be fair, my retention of exactly what the procedure entails, what it does and how often, and where it needs to be performed are fuzzy because, as I’ve stated, the idea of how it’s – uh – distributed caused me to throw up a little in my mouth and fight the urge to faint.
 
But that’s just me.  
 
And it’s a brave new world.
 
Perhaps this will work for you.  Please keep me informed.
 
I wonder if Gloria Steinham has tried it.

 

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