Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Raveled Sleeve of Me

A raveled sleeve
I think the saying is, "Act in haste; repent at leisure."  That's why sometimes I write something and let it sit overnight before I go back to it and post it, or don't.  So here I am writing in the small hours (almost 10 pm) when usually I am religiously observing my getting-read-for-bed routine in hopes that doing it right will help me go to sleep.  I keep doing this because it doesn't work.

And that takes me to my subject, which is my shrink.  Whose job is to help me sleep, which has been difficult since the 1000 mg of steroids at my kidney transplant.  You read that right.  That's what they do. Those steroids tripped switches in my brain that have not stopped making sleep difficult, and incidentally, put my moods into rhythmic ups and downs, but that's okay because I don't have a gun.  Your mental/emotional pain doesn't concern anybody until you get your hands on an assault rifle.

But I digress.  I meant to start like this:  My psychiatrist has multiple personality disorder.  One personality says, "Don't worry, we'll find something that works.  We have dozens of options.  Literally, dozens."  That was Very Nice Shrink Personality #1 of a month ago.

But today, what looked like the same guy said, "This is it.  This is the best we can do," and then started to lecture moi, moi on sleep hygiene, as if I got to be 70 without knowing a damn thing. Of course I'm used to this.  Still, it enhanced the depression I came in with.  He suggested meditation.  Gosh, doesn't it shine out from me?  (And I've mentioned it more than once before.) 

This "best we can do" is melatonin and Ativan, which aren't working very well.  Seroquel (a neuroleptic with a side effect of drowsiness) did work fairly well, but it had to go when I started twitching.  Bad side effect, tardive dyskinesia.  So I ramped down off that, painfully, and the twitches aren't gone, but have diminished.  Actually, now maybe it's my trigger finger twitching.  Just kidding.

I myself had done a little research before I went in, and found out things like No Trazadone if you have ever had arrythmia (I have).  Klonopin has a long half-life that leaves you STOOPID, like Seroquel.  No anti-convulsants: Tegretol gave me acute pancreatitis a couple of years ago.  So I had come in with nothing to suggest.  I suspect the shrink had also done some research on interactions with the medications I take for the health of my body since his last optimistic statements, because he was firm about this.  He has no other chemical answers.

He wondered if perhaps some counseling would help.  I sighed deeply as a parade of therapies passed through my mind, and said something like, "I've done a lot of that."

"Would you consider counseling?"  (See, that would let him feel he was Doing Something.)

"I guess," I said, sounding a lot like a teenager to myself.

I wish the good doctor had moved into Personality #3, the one that would say, "I'm sorry.  I wish I had a better solution."  Empathy.  How feminine. 

But he stuck to lecture mode.  Old people, he said, don't sleep that well anyway, so 5 or 6 hours a night is probably just fine.  I am not making this up.

Listen, I would hardly ever see a doctor of any kind if it was in my power to prescribe for myself.  But I can't.  Here we are, in a new millenium, when you carry a computer in your pocket.  It can whistle Dixie, play Words, send a video of a revolution around the world.  It can do anything but put me to sleep now that modern medicine gave me insomnia.  I wish Steve Jobs had put his brilliant mind to work on that.
[The image above is from this post in a charming anonymous blog titled Academic Cog. What I like most about this blog is that I'm no longer in that writer's shoes. BTW, wouldn't you think there would be lots of pix of raveled sleeves on the internet?  What's wrong with people?]


  1. LOL! Found you after stalking comments on the Bloggess. You made me laugh there too. Now I will go on and creep on you, Manuel-style. Except this entails me just reading some of your other posts.I am happy after reading your post many many thanks for providing...
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  2. I want to say something supportive. I want you to know that I read and I care. But sometimes it's best not to say too much, just that I care. My mom was on Klonopin for literally years and years until someone decided that she really never needed it in the first place and discontinued it. I'm guessing that's why she is the way she is now....part of the reason anyhow. Sometimes it scares me and I wonder, do they really know what they are doing with all these chemicals they prescribe? I don't think I said anything helpful- but like I said...just wanted you to know I care.

    1. Thank you, Mrs. N. I am sleeping a bit better now. I adopted a new "sleep hygiene" of shutting Tashi out of the room, because she was waking me up early. Last night she slipped back in when I got up to visit the bathroom, and my heart and head softened and I let her stay primly at my feet. But this morning, there she was, curled around my head, gently kneading.

      I am having a hard time right now wishing to support someone else. Yesterday I learned my neighbor's husband is in the ICU with a chronic condition that's gone bad. He is their breadwinner, and they have an adult child who is special and not able to live alone or be self-supporting. I can't think of anything I can do for my neighbor - I am so limited physically. She is an ex-Christian and wouldn't want me to say I'm praying for her, but I am. Maybe I can just send her a card of support.