Dear Klonipin

To my dear friend Klonipin,

What would I do without you?  I know, I would pace and fret and waste a lot of energy, accomplishing very little. You calm my nerves, help me regain control of my emotions, and allow me to focus a little. However, I find that you demand a price for this brief measure of peace: a piece of my memory or an unquiet rest.

I don’t understand how you can wield such power.  Power to rescue, power to curse.  You threaten to addict me.  And they tell me you are the weakest of your siblings.

And so it is a dance with you, my friend.  I will allow you to lead when I have need, but I will leave the floor when I wish it.

It is with great regret that I say we can not stay friends forever.

 

 

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Worker’s Incompetent

Just had to share this…  I received a call yesterday from the company that (supposedly) coordinates my physical therapy.  They called to schedule my PT.  I called them back and said, “I really don’t understand this call, I have been attending PT for a week.”  So they check my file.  I go over with them where I am going to PT, how they got it approved (neglected to mention that they never told me about the approval but perhaps this is the first time they figured it out), and when I started.  I even told them that my nurse case manger knew all about it and it should be in my file.  Then they say, “OK, I guess your adjuster didn’t know.”

I relay this story to my PT today.  And she says, “They had to know, they are ones who approved it.”  I had already figured this out, but hearing it from someone else just makes it all that much more amusing.  There are too many people with their fingers in this pie, I am amazed that anything gets done.  Think of all the money the company would save (and how much faster the process would be)  if all this could be taken care of with just a doctor and one company handling the paperwork?

Now I have to go into work to see the company doctor because my personal doctor doesn’t want me working because of my right arm (well, both arms, but the right is the only one he’s allowed to treat), and the worker’s comp doctor says I don’t need any work restrictions, so I guess the company doctor will be the arbitrator of truth.  I give up.

Ah well, there is good news.  My blood pressure is lower.  A bit too low now, but we will work that out.  At least I’m not about to have a stroke.

 

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MRI Freakout

What the hell?

I calculate this is the 15th or 16th MRI I’ve had since 2002.  I have had my entire spine done, my brain (repeatedly for monitoring MS), and my elbow.  Today, I had a second MRI on my elbow to try to track how much progress I’ve made in PT over the past year.  I couldn’t do it.  I don’t know why.  At first the tech set me up on my back, but this is tricky because the rest of your body has to squeeze onto the platform.  When she slid me into the instrument, my other shoulder was crowded along the interior – this sent me into a panic attack.  OK, so we try getting me set up on my stomach, which is how we did it last year.  Take a minute, breathe deeply. OK, try again. She kept saying, “watch your head.  Maybe you need to lower your head; I don’t want it to bump.  We’ll slide you in and then see what happens.”

BOOM!  Panic!  Back out! Back out!  I started crying.  I was desperately wishing for a Klonopin, but I forgot to pack my bottle.  (I’ve been trying to avoid taking them whenever possible.)  I asked her to go get DH who was in the waiting room.  He came back and calmed me down.  She said he could stay in the room.  I was able to get into the instrument (eyes closed) and get through the first scan.  Then, DH, decides during the second scan that he will kindly count off the number of minutes remaining on my leg.  It’s distracting and it tickles.  I tried to kick him to get him to stop, but he took this as a sign that I was OK. It’s really difficult to communicate in a room containing an active MRI.

In between the second and third scan, I threatened him.  This stopped the tickling but then my nose started to itch.  When I mentioned the itchy nose, the tech asked if I could reach to scratch it.  I didn’t dare do that.  First, those instruments don’t have a lot of room.  Second, I was afraid if I opened my eyes, I would panic again.  At some point during my third scan, I began to think about my impending gallbladder surgery, and that started to freak me out.  So, I backed off from that idea and instead counted the number of MRI’s I have had in my life.

My husband thinks my panic attack is a result of all the stress I’ve been under.  How does a person suddenly become claustrophobic?  Or is it just that I can’t handle all this medical crap that’s been heaped upon me?

 

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Self Punishment

***WARNING: Emotionally charged.***

Why do I punish myself?  Isn’t it enough that the rest of the world is willing to do it for me?

I’m not talking about flogging (like medieval Catholic monks) or cutting or anything like that.  I’m talking about mental abuse.  I mentally abuse myself by telling myself how worthless I am, how incompetent, how useless. How I deserve to have bad things happen to me.

Why do I do this? Why? Why? Why?

I’ve made mistakes in my life.  I’m not perfect.  I’ve done things I’ve regretted because I was manic or hurting or just plain stupid at the time.  I’ve hurt people with my cutting words, and I use them on myself just as readily.  Maybe that’s why I figure it’s OK.  It’s OK to hurt someone else because I do it to myself.  All’s fair, right?  At least I’m not biased in that.

Or maybe it’s because my parents taught me I am not good enough.  My ex affirmed it with every strike of his fist.  It must be true.

I’ve even got a playlist guaranteed to make me cry.  “Unwell” (Matchbox Twenty), “Lithium” & “Imaginary” & “Tourniquet” (Evanescence), “Wasting My Time” (Default), “Away from the Sun” & “Loser” (3 Doors Down), “Paint it Black” & “Mother’s Little Helper” (Rolling Stones) – you get the picture.  I’ll listen to it over and over again until the pain eases, until the tears subside, or until I’m too exhausted to keep fighting.

My head pounds without hurting – as if someone is walking through it slamming doors, hitting walls, smashing, stabbing, choking.  My mind is a jumble.  It’s a struggle to breathe.  Tears stream from my eyes like a river.  Sometimes I’m screaming, slamming the doors, pounding the floor – sometimes I’m curled up rocking.  Just like the crazy person your mother warned you about.

Out of control.  With no way of grasping the reins of sanity.

God help me.  Except God and I aren’t on speaking terms.  How can we be?  Where is He when I need Him the most?  When my soul is drowning in my own mind. Fear.  Panic.  Pain. Torture.

Don’t you dare put me in a hospital.  It’s bad enough that I’m caught in HELL.  I don’t want to be trapped there.

My soul is bleeding. Screaming in silence. Why can’t anyone hear me?  Why can’t anyone save me?

 

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PT Bruises

My arm is covered in bruises from physical therapy. And I have PT again tomorrow. It’s from a procedure called ASTYM. (http://astym.com/) It is supposed to be very good for tendon issues, and it has helped my right arm considerably over the past year, even if the first person who did it was doing it wrong. But I dread going back to PT, because, well, this $#@^% hurts!

ASTYM involves taking hard plastic tools and scraping them along the length of the tendon and muscle. (If you’d like to witness this torture, then you can watch the video: http://astym.com/video/)  Fortunately, they slather your arm in cocoa butter first so it glides along the surface. Can you imagine how painful it would be if they didn’t? And they don’t HAVE to bruise you in order for it to work, they just do.  And they keep torturing the same specific area.  My left forearm has more than 10 different bruises, many that run into each other, the largest of which is nearly 2″ in diameter.  I think physical therapists are secretly sadists.

The way it works is that it stimulates blood flow to the area which instigates healing.  This is especially important for tendons because they don’t get a lot of blood flow in the first place.  It’s also supposed to break up any fibrous tissue (aka scar tissue) so that when you stretch, the muscles & tendons lay down proper tissue in the correct direction.  Does it work? yes.  Has it worked for me? partially.  My right elbow should be completely healed by now, but it’s not.  But then I’m a bit of a medical mystery anyway.

I go to PT. I do my stretches every day.  My right elbow improves incrementally, but my wrist hurts more since I started PT than it did before. I’m scared.  I’ve started developing nerve pain in my left wrist too.  Keep in mind, the left wrist is the one that is “only a sprain” and doesn’t require any job restrictions, thanks to worker’s comp.

So what do I do now?  I don’t know. Keep going to PT I guess.  I have PT every day this week – either for the left wrist or the right elbow.  I realize that it’s my “job” to get better right now, but looking at that 2″ bruise and knowing it’s going to get pounded on tomorrow, makes me really not want to go into “work”.

 

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To dose or not to dose?

To dose or not to dose, that is the question.

I saw the neurologist again today.  Since I was having such a difficult time with the Neurotin, he asked if I would be willing to try Lyrica.  The side effects are similar, but it may not affect me as badly as the Neurontin did.  So I am going to try it, but I don’t know if I have high hopes.

I’d told him that the Neurontin made me depressed and that I was still suffering.  He said that because Neurontin is a short term medication (it only lasts 4-6 hours), I should no longer be affected by the depression side effect because I had stopped it last week.  Great.  So how do you explain this depression?

I’ve often wondered what actually triggers a manic or depressive episode.  We often say stress – but is there more to it than that?  Perhaps stress just makes us vulnerable to the one incident or event that triggers the spiral.  For example, could it be that the Neurontin started the depression and that even though I’m no longer taking it (thus no longer subject to that particular side effect) it is too late to fight this oncoming storm?  Did the drug start the ball rolling down a hill and I am incapable of stopping it? If I was a normal person, would I no longer be depressed because the medication is out of my system?

Side effects, drug interactions, body chemistry – together they build a house of cards that is in a tenuous equilibrium.  The more medication that I add to the mix, the more complicated the structure becomes.  So the real question is: to dose or not to dose?  Which is the greater evil: the medication or the illness?  How do we chose?

 

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Worker’s Comp

Don’t do it.  If you get hurt at work, don’t admit to it.  Go home.  Tell them you fell off the roof while painting your house.  But don’t tell them it happened at work.

First, they put you on disability because you are too much of a liability to stay at work.

Then when the claim is filed, all hell breaks loose.  You go through a grueling telephone interview.  DH’s response: “Wow, I didn’t know you could be waterboarded over the phone.”  They want every detail of your life: your entire medical history, your hobbies, do you have a second job, do you take drugs, what do you do outside of work?  They want a list of every neurologist, pyschiatrist, orthopedic and primary care doctor as well as every employer for the past ten years.  They will ask you what happened and how it happened, then put words into your mouth and twist it to look like you are lying.  Oh, and why didn’t you report it sooner?  Because you were hoping to avoid this torment.  By the way, your conversation is being taped.

Next you get a nurse case manager (NCM) who is supposed to be on your side.  He/she is by your side when you see the doctor.  The doctor who says, “it’s just a sprain” and you don’t need work restrictions.  Never mind that you haven’t been able to drive more than a mile and a half in two months so you wouldn’t be able to get to work, and you can’t type for more than 5 minutes at a time (if that some days) and a significant portion of your job involves typing and mousing.

Now they prescribe physical therapy.  Scheduling company calls at 4:50pm.  You don’t call them back that day because you’ve spent all day trying to get your blood pressure below stroke level.  You spend most of the next day in a doctors office tackling the blood pressure issue so you don’t have a stroke before you can get to PT.  But maybe that’s what they want so the case can be closed.  However, since you didn’t call them back immediately, they start in with the nasty letters.  They leave notes in your file saying you have refused to return their calls.

When you do call them back the next morning, they want to send you to the PT office in town that is most incompetent.  You can request a competent PT, but since it is out-of-network it has to be approved.  They say they will call you back immediately but never do.  You wait patiently another day and a half, then call your nurse case manager.  You remember them, right?  The one person on your side supposedly helping you through this maze?  He tells you that you never called the company that schedules your PT.  (Yeah, they’re the ones you called last week who never called you back.)  Finally, after digging around in your file, your request for an out-of-network (and hopefully competent) PT was approved last week.  Why are you calling him?  Why haven’t you scheduled your appointment? What do you mean, you don’t know where you are approved to go? (Translation: What the hell is wrong with you? Aren’t you omniscient?)

Get number for PT place.  Call PT to set up an appointment.  PT hasn’t called you because they don’t have the information they need to start treatment.  Can you call your claims manager and get them to send the information they need?  Fortunately, PT takes pity on you and makes the calls for you once you give them every number you can find.  They tell you to come in at 8:30AM the next day.  Hopefully they will have the paperwork in time and can actually help you.

Injury date(s): May 17th & May 25th, Recorded ~June 20th

Dr. appointment: July 12th, First PT appointment: July 20th

I should have fallen off the fucking roof.  I’d be healed by now.  And have taken a lot less Klonipin.

 

© Manic Monday (manicmonday123). Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Manic Monday (manicmonday123) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Caffeine

Have you ever noticed how the word caffeine looks a little like the word cafe?

Just a rambling thought there.

OK, I have always wanted to post this information, and since so many of us have problems with caffeine, I thought this would be a great place to share this information. 🙂

Do you love your coffee, expresso, tea, soda, JOLT or chocolate?  Here’s what you are in for:

8 oz         regular coffee      135 mg
8 oz         decaf coffee              5 mg
1 oz         expresso                  50 mg
8 oz         black tea                  50 mg
8 oz         green tea                 30 mg
12 oz      Coke                           35 mg
12 oz      JOLT                       300 mg
1 bar      chocolate                 10 mg

(Data from the Food Network)

In case you are curious, the chemical structure of caffeine can be found on Wikipedia along with similar information.

 

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What to call today’s post?

I don’t know what to call today’s blog.  I haven’t written in a few days.  Too many things and yet nothing is going on.  As usual.  And still I have not done anything.  Where does the time go?

Thursday night we went to the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows part 2 movie premiere.  It was quite a phenomenon.  I was part of it.   Me, in a green velveteen dress, dragon necklace, and robes with a Gryffindor patch, a small part of the phenomenon.  I am glad that we did the two part double feature midnight showing. (Part 1 started at 9pm, part 2 at midnight.)  It is odd – it’s like the end of an era.  The end to a series of books and movies that have defined an entire generation and may define many more.

Naturally, since we did not get home until 4:00 AM and I did not fall asleep until 5:30 AM, Friday was quite a waste.  We tried to take a quick trip on Friday (despite my earlier warnings) but DH’s back and other minor problems made us abort it at the last moment.  Surprisingly, I did not freak out during the rush packing phase.  I don’t know whether to consider that progress or coincidence.  Since we were so tired, I ended up taking a haphazard nap.  Unfortunately, that means that I did not fall asleep until 2:00 AM Friday night.  I know I keep shortchanging myself on sleep, and that is the worst thing I can do for my bipolar, but I don’t seem to be able to help it.  I have an 8:00 AM PT appointment tomorrow, so we will see if I can do better tonight.  Since it is after 11 now… maybe I can fall asleep in the next 45 min.

All the things that did not get done last week, must get done tomorrow.  Things that I procrastinated on out of fear, depression, or (intentional?) forgetfulness. I have three days left before I see the doctor about my arm.  I may be allowed to go back to work at that point.  The question is: can I handle it?

Perhaps that is the biggest question on my mind.  Can I handle going back to work?  The workers comp doctor will not give me any restrictions for my wrist even though it hurts like hell to do anything.  My right elbow is still giving me grief, of course.  So maybe I can procrastinate a little longer.  I spent some time today looking for a new job.  Sadly, there is nothing that matches my skills.  Or is my self esteem so low that I don’t believe I’ll ever find anything to match my skills?

You see the reason why having written?  It’s been pretty dull here and I’ve been waffling about what to do.  My mind still jumps from topic to topic.  Not rushing right now but still scatterbrained.  And I don’t know what to say.  I don’t feel that anything I have to say is important enough to be read.  I wish I could share with you some words of wisdom, or some links to some words of wisdom, or at least an interesting tale, but alas by life is just boring.

 

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