Monday, February 22, 2010


For most of the world 4:44 AM is the middle of the night. For me, it is the middle of my pain...yet again. I took an Ultram a little after 3 AM and it has kicked it down a notch but the uncomfortableness and the sleeplessness abound. I was lying in bed thinking and since my thinking (especially when I am like this) is an oxymoron, I thought I would get up and put it in 'writing' to help me clarify some things.

This pain is getting really old. It seems to be related to my monthly cycle. I suppose I should be grateful that for most of my life I haven't been troubled by pain during my period. I can actually count on one hand the number of times I've ever had cramps...well, up to the point that this all started and I don't know that I would classify this as cramps.

I feel tired and washed out, yet restless with just an annoying amount of insomnia. Nice touch, eh? With the Ultram in my system, the feeling in my groin area is nothing short of weird...and my right shoulder and arm hurt too. Those two things seem to coincide a lot though I don't think they are related but I aint no doctor.

Last Wednesday and Thursday were rough days...physically, emotionally and socially. I had started on Tuesday and was flowing like the mighty Mississippi (an overnight pad every hour or two). I guess it is little wonder that I felt, and still feel wiped out physically. I mean, on top of being anemic to begin with, losing blood like that is bound to do a body bad.

I was edgy, irritable and emotional Wednesday, Thursday and Friday...and I knew it, was aware of it for the most part. So I went about my business like nothing was wrong with me adding more stress to the mix. That wasn't so bright to say the least! I was impatient and frustrated before I picked up the phone to make all those lovely calls where one is traditionally put on hold and otherwise challenged. Whatever was I thinking? Oh yeah, I wasn't doing that whole thinking thing so well.

Thursday at my doctor's office I felt myself escalating emotionally. Oh hell, escalating emotionally doesn't really describe it. I was on an emotional rocket bound for the outer edges of the galaxy when I realized where I was at emotionally. I did not make it out of their in an exactly graceful manner but I did make it out of there.

I spent Thursday afternoon and Friday doing a little thing I like to call hibernating. It's something that I have to do at times. Some have suggested it is akin to isolating, but I don't see it that way.

I was in overload mode. But it is more than that. There are times when dealing with the world is just too much. It becomes almost physically painful to be in social situations. I can't really describe it to others except to liken it to the physical reaction of my eyes to too much sunlight. If you are photosensitive then you know what I mean. The sensation is not really dissimilar.

Thursday afternoon I spent in my bowl chair with a blanket over my head and a cat and dog on my lap. Why the blanket over my head you ask? Well, I was in the middle of what I call my dry migraine. Now you are wondering what the hell that is, aren't you? It is my way of describing a state where I have my migraine symptoms minus the headache...hypersensitivity to light, sound, smells, touch while physically feeling like a rung out dish rag while my brain is incapable of holding two thoughts together. My first 'dry migraine' happened some time in my twenties, maybe before. I might not have known what to call them before that cause I wasn't diagnosed with migraines till then. With a dry migraine, unlike a traditional migraine, sleep is hard to find.

I have been getting a lot of headaches lately but since I am anemic and headaches can be a symptom of anemia, I discounted them as something I would have to put up with until my iron level came up a tad. I did get some relief when I switched from my new glasses back to my last pair of prescription glasses. For a while that helped though some days I notice that these glasses aren't quite up to par. Then again, on most days they seem to be exactly the strength I need.

My opthamologist had told me to wait at least six months after my surgery to get my eyes checked as eyesight was known to change after the surgery. I waited over 8 months. I suspect the thing to do is call and make an appointment to find out what the hell is going on with my peepers. UGH! After Thursday's debacle, I really don't want to see another medical professional...EVER!

And, I probably need to find another primary...not because I was an ass during my visit with my primary (but I was). The system at Generations is that a patient can only discuss ONE thing at a time with their doctor. More things = more visits. Lacking a medical degree, I have no basis upon which to figure out what symptoms/issues are related and therefore should be discussed at any given appointment. There are things that I keep putting off cause of the 'one thing only' rule.

The short list goes like this:

1) That mole that used be clear but is now brown...

2) My right shoulder, elbow, arm pain that has reduced my range of motion...

3) The stiffness on waking or after I sit too long that makes it difficult to get going...

4) My face and lips are frequently puffy and swollen in the morning...

5) Where my shins are sensitive to touch (shaving is painful) but don't hurt otherwise...

6) Thursday we discussed the sores on my tongue (two types) not the refill for the Ultram that I needed for the groin pain. I took my last Ultram at 3:11 AM this morning instead of taking 800 mg of ibuprofen on an empty stomach.

And in addition to the medical stuff, I have other business type matters to take care of. I asked my case manager at United Services for help. I knew that I was too stressed to tackle it all on my own. I am my own worst enemy AND my big mouth is not my friend, not your friend...hell, mostly it just aint friendly when I am stressed. Her advice to me was to keep doing what I am doing, keep making those phone calls and give her a call if I need to talk. WELL, THANKS FOR NOTHING! And I have therapist if I need to talk and lots of sober and sane people to vent to. I'm not sure how helpful having a case manager is. What exactly do they do again?

So I am working on a multifaceted strategy that goes something like this:

A) I will limit my business/professional type calls and appointments to one a day to help me manage my stress levels. Too much time on hold or dealing with bureaucrats does not bring out the best in me.

B) I will enlist the aid of friends to sit with me when I make those calls or have to attend those appointments so I am not left solely to my own devices.

C) I will NOT go to medical appointments alone.

D) I will make lists for my doctor's appointments.

E) I will make a list of 'things to do' and prioritize that list so I do not put my self in more than one stress inducing situation on any given day.

F) I will try to take care of 'business' in the morning when I am at my best mentally, emotionally and physically.

G) Before proceeding with any 'business' I will do a spot check inventory of my emotional state and try to realistically appraise whether I should even consider proceeding.

H) I will start a journal of my emotional/physical states so that I can document where I am at, changes, etc. and try to use it to identify patterns and triggers.

I) I will come up with an exit strategy to be used in those times when I feel myself escalate emotionally (that I can practice) so I use it to get myself out of difficult5 situations as the need arises.

I feel inadequate for having to do all this. I feel like I have failed in some large measure. I expect that I should just be able to handle life like the 'rest of the world' but I am not the rest of the world. I have bipolar disorder. I am frequently outmatched at life. My moods and emotions overwhelm me at times. I have to have a solid, workable plan cause left to my own devices I will get swept up in a tidal wave of emotions and carried out to sea. I have to think things out in advance because when I escalate emotionally rational thought is lost to me. I hate losing control like that. I don't like the consequences to those around me...or to me for that matter. Pretending it doesn't happen is NOT a viable option. I know it happens. The most logical and reasonable course of action is accept it and work with the assets that I do have to offset the liabilities that I possess. I don't have to like...I just have to do it!

Well, that's my story and I am sticking to it! I may amend the process set down here as time goes on, but I think it is a good starting point, a decent strategy. I will tweak it as necessary and do welcome any suggestions to that end.

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