27 October 2009

Yet Another Decision

Today is a day off for me. No appointments with anyone. Yesterday evening I made another decision, diametrically opposed to this one only made here.

I had nothing but time on my hands yesterday after my first encounter with my therapist. I spent much of the time playing catch-up in reading the many blogs that I follow and reading comments made to my posts, along with some personal emails I actually received from truly caring individuals. As the day progressed, I did feel the intensity of my rage lessen somewhat (certainly not from anything purposefully done on my part, I assure you)

I had already made the decision to come back and see the therapist for a second appointment—a commitment that I didn’t think I was capable of making, much less caring about. Early evening it occurred to me that if I am going to make an effort with this therapist, I should at least be responsible enough to go back on my meds (a value judgment?). I went back to my bedroom and lined up all the containers (three of which are for blood pressure since it seems I’m having an issue there as well and swallowed them all (I always feel I have to add the caveat: as prescribed LOL). With my history, making the statement “swallowing them all” takes on a whole other connotation!

Went back to my living room and spent the evening listening to some really fine jazz (John Klemmer, Stanley Clarke, Chick Corea, Miles Davis, Jean-Luc Ponty, Al DiMeola). As the evening rolled onward, I made a concerted effort to also start trying to structure the time I try to go to sleep (an ephemeral experience to say the least). Even though I felt far from tired, I took my bedtime meds, crawled into bed and tried to read a book. I am so frustrated with this last action. I opened up to where I had last read (just the previous day) and I had no memory of what this book is about (I’m only about 12-15% into the beginning). This repeated problem really pisses me off, because, if given the chance to be focused enough to read, at least concentrating on that action temporarily quells all my racing thoughts. *Sigh* I return to the first page and start over.

After a few minutes, I realized that I had made an error with one of my blood pressure medications, a mild diuretic (hydrochlorothiazide HCL, hereafter referred to HCTZ). This one, for obvious reasons, taken once a day, should only be consumed in the morning—certainly not just before going to bed. When I hopped up to hit the head, all of a sudden I did not feel so well. No, I wasn’t dizzy per se, but I felt as if I couldn’t catch my breath and also somewhat disoriented. It occurred to me that perhaps the blood pressure crisis I experienced while incarcerated was indeed situational after all. Was my blood pressure now too low? I walked around for a little bit and found myself having to sit down. Very weird feeling.

So, as potentially stupid as this action could result, I decided to drive up to the nearest CVS and use their BP machine. I had much difficulty driving; it required far more dedicated concentration and focus that what I am used to. When I walked into the store, the lights were too bright and there were too many people milling around. Without asking, I blindly walked to the rear by the pharmacy and found the machine.

Now, mind you, when I was first put on the initial does of medication, my BP had skyrocketed to 228/156. When I was released 11 days later, I immediately saw my primary care physician and my BP was still elevated (165/110). What was eerie in both measurements was the fact that my heart rate was only around 56. My PCP decided to alter the medication I was discharged with from the hospital. He effectively doubled the dose of one (clonidine HCL from 0.1mg to 0.2 mg, but dropped it from, 3x/day to 2x/day), increased to dose of another (lisinopril from 30mg to 40 mg 1x/day) and added the HCTZ at 25mg 1x/day).

I sat in front of the machine and it turned out that my BP had dropped to 137/61, HR 72. The diastolic measurement concerned me as I thought that was a bit too low which might have explained how I was feeling. I drove back home, still trying to catch my breath and thought about calling my PCP in the morning. Went back to bed, read a little and actually experienced the feeling of being sleepy (hooray for me). Perhaps adding the Geodon to my bipolar cocktail might have made the difference. I actually got about five (count ‘em FIVE!!!) hours of uninterrupted sleep. I cannot even remember the last time that happened.

When I woke up, I decided to get my BP measured again before calling my PCP. Weird. It was back up to 150/95 HR 61. (I decided to purchase a BP wrist monitor while at CVS this morning to save on having to drive each time. The first reading, while still at the store, calibrated closely to their BP machine, so I was at least on a level playing field) Knowing it was still slightly elevated, I decided not to call my PCP and took all my meds this morning as prescribed. It has now been one hour. My BP is 112/66 HR 71. Perhaps my BP meds are stronger than they need to be. I’m going to take the rest of the BP meds today and monitor this closely and then possibly call my PCP tomorrow and ask if I should perhaps reduce my dosages.

Speaking of tomorrow, I have my second appt with my shrink. As far as he knows from the phone call he received from my therapist yesterday, I have been off my meds since last my discharge. While I did fill the scripts the shrink gave me on my first visit with him post discharge, I never bothered to take any of them (still in the “I don’t give a damn” mode). I am sure his first response is going to be along the lines of “Why won’t you help me be a better doctor to you?” What can I say? I am now willing to take my meds, continue with this outpatient program for this week and next, and then pick up with my individual therapist the following week.

Is this progress? I don’t know. I still feel resistant. I’m still in my “don’t give a damn” mode. I still face abject loneliness, utter sense of no worth, absolute pain over all the consequences arising from my actions throughout my life, and above all, I have no reason why I should be forced to continue this existence from which I want to be finally relieved. Nevertheless, in reality, what do I have to lose except my life, upon which I still place no value?©2009

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