New Surgery Date

I moved up my surgery date to Nov 3rd. I re-arranged my schedule and I have friends coming to sit with me on the 4th & 5th while DH is working. I am terrified but as a friend pointed out to me maybe it is like a band-aid: you can peel it back slowly or you can rip it off. she suggested that maybe I should just rip it off quickly and get it over with. So this is what I decided to do. Rip!

Believe it or not, the evil nurse was actually nice to me when I called to reschedule. Which is good because I was dreading talking to her. But she seemed actually happy that I moved it. Go fig. Maybe I was helping her fill her scheduling quota.

Now I’ve used this surgery as an excuse to buy an iPad. Bad financial decision, good emotional decision. I’m using it to write this blog and I think it might make it possible to blog while I’m injured. Especially since I seem to be able to type one handed on it. Although I wouldn’t expect any great works of literature from me in the near future. 😉

Well, that’s my update for now. Please keep me in your thoughts on Nov 3rd.

Thank you!

When our electronic brains go wrong

Smartphones are the new PDAs. I remember several years ago a friend telling me that he couldn’t live without his “electronic brain” (PDA). Now I know what he means.

It’s not that my iPhone plays games – that’s just a perk. It’s that the Medscape app tracks my medications, I get a text when my prescriptions are ready to be picked up, and I can check my email on the go.  The calendar app tells me where to be, the Mapquest app tells me how get there and the Weather Channel app tells me what kind of jacket I’ll need. Notes holds my shopping list, I can check in to Facebook or LinkedIn, shop, track my gas mileage, find places to eat and surf the Internet. In fact, I am writing this post sitting at Starbucks.

So how did I miss my massage appointment?

Maybe I didn’t miss it. Maybe it hasn’t happened yet. I don’t know. My “electronic brain” says it was at 3:30pm. It was wrong. I arrived a couple minutes late (as usual) and my therapist was in with another client. All of them were with clients & no one was at the desk. (They are a very small business so I understand this.) I thought perhaps the previous client was running late so I sat down and waited. I caught up on some of your blogs. When I looked at the time, I had been there 15-20min.

That’s when I peaked at their appointment book. My name was not there. Huh? How could my name not be there? The appointment is in my phone!

So now I have to call tomorrow to find out when my appointments are because if they aren’t in my phone then they are on a little scrap of paper floating around the house.  I should have known when I didn’t get a reminder call about it, but a lot of places have stopped sending reminder calls, or it’s hit or miss as to whether you get one or not. If I’m without my phone, then I’m without my “brain”.  Mistakes will still be made, but if I pay more attention to my calendar appointments and make sure to use the alarm function, I should be OK.  Or at least as OK as we all used to be before smartphones.

In any case, the moral of the story is: a smartphone is only as smart as it’s user.

 

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Last week

Last week was very stressful.   I told you about the incident with the nurse on Tuesday.  This continued on Friday when she told me that she wouldn’t fill out my work paperwork unless I scheduled my surgery for next week!  Otherwise she won’t fill out the paperwork until next week when the surgeon decides if he will keep me on the work restrictions the specialist gave me.  Flippin’ bitch.

Fortunately, I was able to work things out with my nurse case manager at work so that I have extra time on my paperwork due date.  She is just the sweetest, most supportive person, and I really like her.  I should probably email her boss and tell him what a great job she is doing.  It’s end of the year performance review time.  So I think I will put this on my todo list.

I am thinking about moving my surgery date.  If I can shuffle things in my schedule, then I can do it on the 3rd instead of the 10th.  It means that will be a stressful week of medical with my pdoc appointment (not bad) and worker’s comp appointment (bad) but it would give me less time to dread and be anxious about the surgery.  It also will mean that I would be in a bit better shape for our anniversary (12 years!) the following week and Thanksgiving.  So it would be more convenient in a lot of ways.

This is all so much stress.  I told my therapist on Tuesday that the Paxil was starting to help but it wasn’t helping me deal with the surgeon’s nurse.  Her response was, “Honey, there’s not enough Paxil in the world to fix mean people.”  She has a point there.  The Paxil side effects are getting better, but it’s still making me jittery during the day.  I can’t take it with Klonopin because then I get sleepy.  Sometimes I take a quarter Klonopin and it’s OK.  I have to talk to my pdoc about all these meds.

I’m out of stuff to talk about for now.  I still have some comments to put on your blogs, but please be patient with me.  Thanks. 🙂

 

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Surgery Date

I have a date for the surgery on my elbow: Nov 10th.  I’m not looking forward to this – I’m not sure my medical PTSD is actually made any better by repeated exposure to hospitals.  I am better than I used to be.  There was a time when I couldn’t walk into a hospital.  I’m used to going to the ER at my local hospital in the wee hours of the morning.  They are actually not too busy then and the nursing staff is quite nice.  (Last time I had a really hot male nurse- woo!  😉 )  But back to surgery… that’s a whole different ball game.  Based on previous experience, I don’t seem to react well to anesthesia.  And I certainly don’t react well to pain.

This new nurse, the one for the surgeon, is not nearly as supportive as the one for the specialist.  I was trying to schedule my surgery date and she said she could fit me in next week, but when I told her I wanted November, her attitude changed rapidly.  I didn’t tell her this, but I have a wedding to go to and I have worker’s comp doctor appointments and I just can’t handle that much medical all at once.  Then she starts asking if I’m working, and why not, and I’m trying to explain it to her – it’s political – etc.  “We usually don’t do paperwork if your employer takes you off work.”  So I’m trying to explain that it’s a requirement by my employer that I have paperwork and her tone keeps getting snottier with every question.  I finally just asked her to talk to another nurse, the one who works with the specialist I’ve been seeing, because she understands the situation.  By the end of it, this nurse was snarling and I was so rattled that it hadn’t occurred to me that the simple explanation is:  I have work restrictions but my employer does not wish to accommodate them.  That’s why I’m not at work.  Why can’t they just look at my damn chart?

This new nurse probably figures that I am just trying to get out of work.  Part of me is, I suppose, but mostly, I’m just trying to get to a point where I can deal with the surgery emotionally.  Should I call her back? Should I change it?  Should I explain it in a letter submitted with the paperwork that I am going to drop off? I don’t know. My brain is going to explode.

But they don’t want me back to work until I am 100%.  And then I am sure they intend to torture me with tasks that require a lot of manual labor.  They tout safety but they don’t mean it – it’s more get the job done and if someone gets hurt, let’s sweep it under the rug or pretend it’s their fault.  That happened the first time I was hurt at work.  The head of safety was so pissed that I submitted it as an incident that he said further incidents should be reported to him first before they go into the system. What the fuck?  (Please pardon my language.)  If they hadn’t been pushing me to violate my work restrictions, then I wouldn’t have gotten hurt in the first place.  And if you get hurt, well, they will find a way to toss you into the bottom 10% and put your job in jeopardy.

I had such a nice weekend – the Paxil is finally starting to work – and now this. I’m so upset that I took a Klonopin and I haven’t done that in days, maybe even a week.  The only good thing about today is that I get to see my councilor tonight.  God, I wish I could get drunk.

 

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The Fallen Man

This has taken me a long time to write because I found the situation traumatic, as I describe below.  It’s a personal thing, so I doubt it would trigger anyone but me, unless you have elderly parents.

Have you ever come across a scene and just froze?  DH & I were shopping in Sam’s Club and an elderly gentleman fell out of his motorized shopping basket chair.  The man lay there, struggling to get up, and I stood staring mutely, rooted to the spot.  My husband moved forward to help him up and it was only after DH crossed my line of vision that I could breathe, think, and be useful.

I wasn’t seeing a stranger lying on the floor.  I was seeing my father in my mind’s eye.  My father is 82, in poor health, and wouldn’t ride one of those scooters if you sat him on it.  He’s diabetic, he has trouble walking, but he’s too stubborn to use a cane.  He smokes like a chimney and coughs like a choking man.

Another gentleman came over and together with DH they helped the fallen man stand up.  I picked up his ball cap and his phone and handed them back to him.  I moved on autopilot, trying to be useful where I could.  The man had tripped because he had put too many items on his cart, blocking the foot rest.  His foot caught one of them as he got out of it to reach for the Kleenex package.  DH got the package and put it into the man’s basket, and moved the offending item from the footrest to the basket.  Sometimes I swear I am married to an angel.

A little while later, after we had all parted ways, DH and I were shopping in another part of the store.  I suddenly started to shake. I was trembling and digging nails into my palms to keep from crying.  When this started happening, DH and I had a conversation that went something like this:

Me:  Why am I doing this?  (Shaking and crying)
DH:  Because you’ve had a terrible shock.
Me:  How so? I didn’t know that man.
DH: Because he reminds you of your dad.
Me:  I think I need a Klonopin.

A friend of mine called me the next day and she asked about my dad.  That’s when I broke down into tears and told her this story.  I said that I felt bad that I couldn’t help the gentleman more.  And I feel ashamed that I was just stood there and didn’t rush forward to offer my assistance.  If DH hadn’t been there, I don’t know if I would have snapped out of it.  My friend told me that it was understandable given the situation with my dad.  (My dad slipped and fell when he visited me last year.  He wasn’t hurt, but I felt horrible, and I’m not very good at forgiving myself.)  She has been through the same thing with her mom, who is in a wheelchair.  She said that it is natural to hesitate when faced with this sort of thing.  We all have aging parents, and it’s difficult to handle this type of situation.

I talked to my therapist about this situation.  She basically said the same thing in that it was natural to be shocked in this situation.  She suggested that I do something to ease my mind about my father, so I called the office of the trailer park he lives in.  I spoke to the woman at the office who said she checks on all their residents every morning and the other office person checks on them in the afternoon.  My greatest fear is that he will fall ill or pass away and no one will find him for days.  I love my Dad very much, regardless of the childhood trauma he knowingly or unknowingly imposed.

In any case, I feel better now that I have done something to ease my mind about my Dad.  I’ve enlisted the help of my ex-stepmother (they are still very close) to try to ensure that he is not alone for Thanksgiving.  I don’t know if he can make it out here again with his health, and it would be difficult to go there since I can’t procrastinate with my surgery too long.  It’s all so complicated.

Now that my depression is abating somewhat, I am going to make a conscious effort to talk to my Dad more often.  I think that will help ease my mind too.  It’s about all I can do from 1500 miles away.  So it will have to suffice.

Maybe I can be of better assistance the next time I see someone in trouble.  One can always hope.

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Dear Paxil

Dear Paxil,

What happened?  We used to be such good friends.  We were happy together.  I know we haven’t seen each other since 2004, but are you holding a grudge?  You need not make me anxious just to prove a point.

Perhaps you are angry because I have let Geodon into our family.  Please, it’s not personal… well, OK it is, but I was hoping you would understand.  You make me happy – too happy – we just can’t be left alone together.  Geodon is our chaperone.  I swear, it is nothing more than that.

We were united twice before – once in 1997 and once in 2003.  You didn’t treat me like this those times.  Or is my memory just hazy from the beauty of mania we have shared?

Please Paxil, I beg of you, send your side effects away.  I wish to be friends, good friends, but not BFFs as we once were.  I need you to do this for me, because Klonopin does not play well with Geodon, so he must be used sparingly.

I plead my case.

Thank you,

Monday

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Road Rage Patient

First of all, I need to send out a huge THANK YOU to Ruby & Lulu for your support on my last post Freak Out, which encouraged me to call my psychiatrist (pdoc) today.  I even got in to see her today!  Since she just saw me on Monday, she looked a bit confused when I walked in the door, but then I got to tell her my story. The appointment was really helpful and I ended up with a prescription for my favorite pill: Paxil.  But first, let me give you a rough idea of how the conversation went (paraphrased by my memory, of course).

Me:  This is embarrassing.

Pdoc:  I’m your psychiatrist.

Me:  Are you going to lock me up?

Pdoc:  No. I’m not on staff at the hospital.

Me: (This is where I broke into tears and told her about the three freakouts I had this week.)

Pdoc: How long do they last?

Me:  15 min to an hour.  No real warning, just BOOM.

Pdoc:  Boom.

Me:  It’s like a temper tantrum.

Pdoc:  That’s exactly what it is.

Me:  But I have no control!

Pdoc:  Welcome to bipolar.

So as it turns out, I am suffering from dysphoric mania (a mixed state) just as Ruby identified.  Pdoc wants to give the Geodon more time to work (it can take months to reach the full effect of the medication) but we added the Paxil to address the depression.  So all of these years when I thought that I was some kind of weird ultra-rapid cycler (like days or less), it turns out that I have been in these mixed manic states.  I’ll tell you now, for the record, dysphoric mania sucks BIG TIME.  Where is my happy mania?  Where are my beautiful, tumbling words, dancing through my head?  My charming laugh, my winning smile, collecting admirers by the mile?

I warned my pdoc that Paxil would make me manic (happy manic!) but she said that we would watch for it.  Hopefully Geodon will prevent me from going full-on manic and with the Paxil will bring my moods into a more even state.  Also, I will be on a very low dose.  Something to get me back into life.  I told her that I hadn’t been doing any of my favorite activities: no reading (books or blogs – sorry everyone), no writing or blogging, no photo stuff, I don’t even check my email very often, if at all.  I go to doctor’s appointments, some mindless shopping – buying clothes & shoes I don’t need, and I watch a lot of TV.  I’m resting, I’m getting well.  No, no part of me is getting well.  But that’s a different post.

Apparently I am one of my pdoc’s “road rage” patients.  The kind of individual who suddenly gets furious (due to a trigger) and is out of the car and banging on it before they even know what’s happening.  Yeah, this is why I don’t own a gun.  I went shooting once.  It was great fun.  But I can never, ever own a gun.

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