Unfortunately… Nope

This will be a lengthy entry.Β Β πŸ€”Β  Although, I suppose that’s typical for me and the blog… 😏

A few days after going to my full dose of Paxil, one in the morning and one at night, the side effects that I hoped would go away were actually getting much worse. 😳 So over the past couple of days I’ve weaned myself back off… and today was the first day I started feeling close to my normal “normal.” 😟

The biggest problem was the tremors. Any time I would yawn, which was a lot,Β probably due to the new med… every time I would yawn, my left shoulder and arm would start shaking uncontrollably – sometimes lasting up to 30 seconds before it would calm. 😧 And then it started doing it with my other shoulder as well, to where eventually when I yawned (and even when I wasn’t) I’d honestly compare the tremors to what you would see in a person with Parkinson’sΒ disease. πŸ˜₯ I suppose it makes sense, as the disease is related to dopamine problems and that’s often something that psych meds mess around with as well.

The daily waking up in a near panic attack… that didn’t stop either. And when on the full dose, taking the morning dose was no longer relieving the anxiety when I took it. So, it was waking up with severe anxiety, taking the pill (along with my others) that was supposed to help with anxiety, only to have it then stay around all day. 😣 Awesome. πŸ™„ That was reason enough for me to reconsider if I wanted to continue taking it… and I really did want to give it a chance, to wait out the side effects to see if they’d pass. But you have to remember, after my work injury, the main thing that my doctor and I had to work on for a long time was getting my left shoulder with the nerve damage to stop randomly shaking.

So not only was the new med increasing my anxiety, but it had brought back the uncontrollable shaking in my left shoulder, which always leads to much more pain by the end of each day. πŸ˜’πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ So I hope most people would understand why I wasn’t willing to “just keep hoping it’ll pass” while possibly risking it getting worse or even becoming permanent again.

It’s disappointing, but again I’m experiencing the “Ahhh” of just losing all of those awful and scary side effects, and returning to my “normal” self… which now feels like a relief – hopefullyΒ returning just to “how I was” a couple of weeks ago. πŸ™‚Β (The tremors weren’t gone today, but they’ve lessened quite a bit.) And with my thyroid doctor calling today and wanting to accelerate the next step with that issue, I just don’t think I’d be able to do it while essentially fighting against the side effects of the Paxil. The next step with my thyroid stuff is gonna be difficult enough as it is. πŸ€•

More on that when I know more. (Although I’m gonna try to squeeze in a subjectively more positive entry between this one and that one.) But in the mean time, I’m still wondering if sometimes it’s in the doctor’s plans, or at least something that they know can happen – where a medication that is supposed to help makes you feel so awful that when you stop taking it, you actually feel happier and more relieved just to be back to how you were. πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈπŸ€¨ Because boy, that’s been the trend with me, the few times I’ve been prescribed something by a shrink. 😏

  • Just to cover my ass, I’m not saying with any type of certainty that the Paxil definitely caused all of the symptoms that I was experiencing while taking it. It’s possible that all of the things that I considered “side effects” were completely unrelated… this is just my account of how things went while I was taking it.
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Bad At Feeling Bad

Saw my workers comp doctor on Thursday, discussed the additional pain in my neck and shoulder from relying on my cane (for my unrelated knee pain) this past month, but mostly discussed the upcoming WC mandated “review” – and he’s just as frustrated by what they’re trying to do as I am. πŸ˜’ Then I finally went back in to my prescribing shrink after taking a couple months’ break to get used to my new WC doc meds… and ended up spending an entire hour with him.

Granted, when you talk to a counselor you usually get an hour, but typically the pill shrink just wants to get you in and out of there, prescribing what he feels is appropriate based on the counselors notes and maybe a few followup questions. He talked to me about so many different possible meds, I have to admit that I don’t even know which ones he ended up calling in for me. I guarantee you that I’m going to be doing a lot of googling before I start taking anything… especially considering the other meds I’m already taking, and that in about a month I’ll have to stop taking my thyroid meds to prep for the next radiation pill treatment.

Meh… I’m not gonna get into all that. But I’m gonna try what he thinks I should, as long as I don’t find anything concerning that he maybe didn’t consider. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ But for the past hour or so, I’ve been waking up and psyching myself up for the trip into the pharmacy. Three different doctors, multiple prescriptions, many new, some to be covered by WC, but still might not be, and then others meant to go through my regular insurance. 😣 For some reason they can’t mark it in their system, which meds go through which insurance, nor can I count on some of them being approved anyway, so this’ll be a fucking process today. 😠

I know. 😐 This is just what people have to do. The medical / workers comp / insurance programs in the US are shit, nobodyΒ does it without jumping through hoops, dealing with delays and irritation… but I’m still gonna bitch about it. 😏 And sure, whether it’s WC or traditional insurance… once, maybe twice, do what you have to do to verify that “Yeah he’s broken. Yeah he needs those meds.”Β (I get it… fraud prevention) but then just cover the shit plz. πŸ€• Go through that sort of bullshit long enough and you can totally understand why people, as they get older and feel more broken, just can’t or don’t want to have constant adversarial engagements with the whole system – and just stop bothering with some of it. 😒 Especially when the doctor’s hands are tied and they can’t even prescribe you the meds that could actually make you feel better – whether due to WC guidelines, insurance not covering it, or it simply being too cost prohibitive. 😠 Man it fucking pisses me off…

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I’m just bad at feeling bad when a)Β I’m denied treatments that could make me feel better, and b) people are still fighting to take the things away from me that merely keep my pain tolerable. πŸ˜–

Oh, and my insurance company… they keep leaving messages, saying that they want to schedule an in-home visit from a doctor that can evaluate me and give me his or her opinions as well. πŸ™„ Yeah, um, no. You’re insurance. Just be insurance. Get my health info from my records like a normal company… and don’t expect me to invite you into my house with another handful of hidden hoops behind your back. 🀨 Okay, I guess I’ve dragged my feet long enough, and should get in town and see what kind of luck I have with all this shit.

Your Warranty Has Expired

I wish that I felt more capable of adjusting to whatever illness or injury that might be affecting me at any given time. πŸ˜’ I don’t usually complain directly to anyone about such things, instead saving it for shouting into the void here, so I dunno… maybe everyone else has just as hard of a time adjusting to certain things like I do. But for example, the better part of the last couple of weeks have been really good – and then out of nowhere my knee just decides that it’s going to hurt. Hurt hurt. 😣 And my past couple of days have been mentally, physically, and socially fucked up because of it.

It makes sense that physical pain, along with losing some ability and motion, would also trigger my twitchy… I just hate that I don’t have any more control over it than what I do. 😠 But after a few days of hobbling around, and a few nights of long but often-interrupted sleep due to feeling the pain throughout the night, I wish I could just say “Well, I guess I’ll just take it easy and stay off my feet today.” but instead I let it fuck up my day, being irritated about being so irritated about it.

One problem, almost all of my friends (for a long time now) tend to be younger than me. It keeps my mind young, but my body doesn’t get that memo. So I’m not surrounded by similarly aged people with similar aches and pains. 😏 Another problem, with my work injury happening to me as young as I was, I’ve been dealing with that pain / disability for over a decade now… and it is pain that I feel like I didn’t really earn. πŸ˜•

I’ve joked with my cousin Matt and Dad about how “At least I was never in great shape when I was young…” compared to Matt, who loves / loved playing basketball, and Dad who is a Marine and served during Vietnam. In a way it’s a joke, but you’d also like to think it would be true… if you were never in great shape when you were young, it should be less of a deal when parts start to get defective when you get older. That’s turning out not to be the case. Now it’s more like “Dammit, I didn’t use myself up when I was young, so I shouldn’t be breaking down like this already.” πŸ™„

And I’m not making this entry to complain… it’s actually something I’ve thought about as I’ve faced various things, and it has also made me wonder how I’m gonna handle things when it inevitably gets worse as I get older. πŸ€” Like my Aunt Carol, she was in all kinds of awful shape, but she didn’t bitch about it or let it slow her down – let alone stop her. πŸ™‚ I just hope I can eventually become more like that. Everybody gets old, everybody sooner or later starts feeling worse and worse, and I just don’t want to end up a grouchy old recluse because I’m still struggling to handle the changes that every other human just seems to handle.

One thing I’ve noticed though, even my younger friends don’t give me shit about it – when either my neck and shoulder are extra screwed, or when my back or knee just randomly decides to go to shit for a while. I think it’s that insecurity of (in most ways)Β being on the same page as someone regardless of our ages, and worrying that if I have to hobble around or use a cane for a few days that they’re gonna look at me like “Oh my gosh… I forgot how old he is.” Heh… but so far that’s not been an issue, and if anything it just ends up being something that we joke about rather than it being some eye-opening revelation… heh… as if they don’t know my age until a physical sign appears. πŸ™„πŸ˜„

Meh… it’s just a gimpy knee, it’s not gonna be permanent, I’m gonna be fine, and I’ll surely have plenty of otherΒ “fun” new things like this to deal with in the future. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Gotta figure out how to just start sucking it up.

The Opposite Of Reassuring

This is the first time I’ve experienced this, probably because I was rarely sick when I was younger, so I don’t think I ever had more than one doctor that I would have regular appointments with… but regarding some of the things with my current condition, I’m getting conflicting diagnosis/treatment advice from two of my doctors. πŸ€”πŸ˜ In more ways than this I’m still a kid, so when I go to a doctor I listen to what they say and take their word as gospel… assuming that they truly know what they’re talking about, and are offering me what is definitely the best diagnosis and treatment plan. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈ But I guess as with almost anything, people often end up with differing opinions. Sometimes differing quite a bit. πŸ˜•

Things have been less than ideal with me for a couple of weeks now, and this week I went back in for a couple of different appointments to discuss it. I tend not to bitch about it unless it’s really bad, but these past few days… on Wednesday I woke up early, took a short nap in the afternoon, and after waking up I wasn’t able to go back to sleep for 30 fucking hours. 😳 Doctor appointment number one wasn’t much fun, going in at the 24 hour point… I mean, I wasn’t even sure I was gonna be able to make it there and back… but at least it wasn’t like when you take your car to the shop so they can fix a rattle, but the rattle doesn’t happen. πŸ˜’ So at least Doc got to see when it can be really bad, and in a way I appreciate when that happens.

I dunno… I’m being kind of vague because I don’t really like talking about it in a lot of ways, so back to the point – I’ve got two doctors who essentially completely disagree with what the other is saying and doing, and I’m not sure exactly what to do with that. 😟 First reaction is to trust and believe that doctor who isn’t saying the scary things, but that may be the doctor who isn’t holding anything back. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ Then I try to think about “what’s in it” for each of them, and even that doesn’t really help.

But in the next couple of days I’ll have to decide who I want to roll with, and that will decide how potentially fucked up my next few months could end up being. 😐 Gah… I know… vague. I don’t want people to worry.

Tired of This Shit

I’m not sure how this month’s appointment with the WC doctors is gonna go. πŸ˜• I think I’m actually seeing Dr Walter this time, when it was the new guy that I had the in-depth discussion with about the state of my treatment last month. Regardless, since the WC insurer is coming at me with the shenanigans again, the conversation will have to revolve around that rather than the stuff that I started bringing up last month.

I’ve got to be careful, because it almost feels like a “trap” that WC could use against me, but this month I have to start discussing possible alternatives for the meds that I’m taking right now. Because if they are somehow able to weasel out of paying for what I’m currently taking, the cost of two of those medications would simply be too much for me to continue taking them long term. πŸ™ That’s where the “trap” part comes in.

When I start discussing more affordable potential alternatives for the meds I’m currently taking, I want it to be clear with my doctors and in my records that I have no desire or intention to make any changes now… and that the research and discussion is really just to act as my parachute if I get pushed out of the plane. But I can see where my fear of being forced to pay for my own meds, which has made me research cheaper (but likely less effective) alternatives, means that I nowΒ know that there are cheaper alternatives, so they’ll probably think that they have the right to force me to change to them – despite my preference to keep taking the ones that I’ve been taking. 😏 Heh… I know, that sounds a bit convoluted, but it basically make sense, no?

But until I’m able to discuss this with them, I know that I’m just taking barely-educated shots in the dark when it comes to what might or might not be suitable replacements. 🎯😎 I mean, even though I know that Lyrica has very specific actions – at its most basic level I know that it is considered an anti-seizure / anti-convulsant medication… so that’s where I start looking. πŸ€“πŸ“š And now I have four or five medications that I think could be good replacements… but for all I know, even though they’re anti-seizure, they may have totally different actions – and ones that aren’t even close to being applicable to my situation. πŸ˜’

So for now that’s all I can really do… look for “close” meds and make sure there are more positive side effects than negative. Then I’ll just hope that I’m actually on to something, and that information can be put in my back pocket until it is needed. Between now and then I just have to figure out how to condense all of this crap down into a tolerable three to four minutes. πŸ˜³β±πŸ‘¨πŸ»β€βš•οΈ Gotta impress the importance of this on him, while also not rambling so much that my point gets lost in the noise. I’m better at that than you’d think, actually… it just doesn’t seem that way here because I know I can go on and on about something and it doesn’t matter, since hardly anyone reads this blog anyway. πŸ˜πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

Oh… Yeah

Today was a good day. I have some papers that I needed to sign which also required two witnesses, so this afternoon I went over to my friend Amy’s house so she and Rick could provide some initials and signatures to help me out with that. I ended up staying there about a half hour, and we stood outside talking and looking at various projects that Rick either had been working on or planned to start working on soon… and lemme tell ya, that guy can do almost anything. πŸ’ͺ🏻😎 And like I told him, sometimes it’s nice to live through someone else’s inspiration and motivation about their passion projects. 😏

After that I made a quick trip to the gas station in Rockbridge so I could a) fill my car with gas, b) pick up enough necessities to make it to next week, and c) grab some Burger King so I didn’t have to do any cooking tonight… all in one shot. Basically just a mini-run to keep me “good” here at the house until next week, when I intend to do a much bigger “stocking up” shopping trip before my surgery… just in case I don’t feel like leaving the house and mixing with the unwashed public for a while afterwards.

But what I actually did while I was out today isn’t the point. The point is that I did all of that stuff today without thinking about the problem with my leg at all. πŸ˜ƒ I may have had some pain as I was getting in and out of the car, but I don’t remember it. πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ And as I was walking around to get ready, or over at Amy’s house, or while I was filling the car and doing my shopping… once I got home I realized that I hadn’t been limping, at least as far as I know, through any of it. 😯

I’m not going to start cheering just yet, since I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs as I’ve been going through this… but yeah, it feels good to have not been nagged by pain for at least that small part of my day. I’m hoping that sitting on this giant silly yoga ball is actually making a positive impact, because I’m going to keep doing it. I’m also going to change the sheets on my bed and add that fluffy mattress topper thing that I bought a few weeks back.

I really needed something like this today. πŸ™‚ I mean, I’ve got much less on my mental agenda today than yesterday, but it really was an uplifting surprise to have (for the first time in a couple of months)Β such a span of painless walking. And the older and more broken that I get, the more that I’m learning to appreciate these small victories.

Lots Of Thinking

Superstition is silly, but I still feel like I’m gonna jinx myself… but I’ve actually noticed a bit of improvement over the past 24 hours. I’ve been feeling confident enough to shuffle around the house as needed without the damn cane, but still hunched over and taking super careful steps. And even though I’m only sleeping a couple hours at a time, at least the pain hasn’t been worse when I wake up.

I’ve definitely learned that I wasn’t remotely prepared for something like this. When it is difficult to even take ten steps, having my shoes by the door, the remotes on the couch, my phone by the chair, my pills back in the bedroom, unfolded laundry in the basket, the pop out in the garage…Β it’s like I left myself an unintentional endurance course to run. Oh, and going out for groceries? Heh… yeah.

I’d be embarrassed right now if someone had to come in to this house to help me, because it’s frozen in a state where the dishes haven’t been done, the carpet hasn’t been vacuumed, clothes haven’t been put away, etc… and I feel like that person would think that this is just how I live.Β I dunno… when you’re feeling good you just take for granted that you’re going to continue feeling good and so all that shit doesn’t matter because you “know” you’ll be able to easily get to it at some point.

It definitely makes me sympathize with older folks who’ve just become less mobile over the years, who have to save their energy for key things and sometimes have to let other things go for a while, if not for good. Meh… it’s hard to explain… I guess I’m just saying that you never really understand until you’re going through it yourself, even if it is (hopefully) temporary. Hangin’ in there though…