Vindicated

I just got off the phone with both my doctor’s office and my insurance company (this is after searching the car and concluding the fault MUST lie with the pharmacy, but I need to be absolutely sure of that before going to war).

The fault absolutely lies with the pharmacy. I was given NO scrips for my stomach and crazy pills in June by my doctor, I was given them in April (which is the date I knew). My insurance was not charged in April at all, but was charged on June 27 for those pills.

Both offices said that if the pharmacy tries to dispute it with me, I can tell them to call doctor or insurance and they would confirm that I am not, in fact, fucking crazy (on this count, anyway).

Tonight, after it cools down a bit as the wildfires have blanketed the city in smoke and it’s a smokey sauna out there, I will be going to the pharmacy to rain down fire and brimstone upon them.

Normally I don’t like confrontation, but their fuck up could cost me 90 dollars I don’t have, or make me go a month without my *life-saving meds*.

Normally I am more understanding about humans making mistakes, but this is exactly the sort of mistake I am not okay with. I didn’t fuck up — they did — and yet I’ve had to spend several days RUNNING AROUND LIKE A HEADLESS CHICKEN trying to rectify it, all while convinced that I’ve completely lost touch with reality because I don’t remember doing what they said I did.

I already suffer from dissociation. The past two days have been stressful as hell as I’ve tried madly to hold onto what I know is real.

And godsdammit, I will be damned if I let their fuck up break my streak of taking my pills EVERY DAY for the past 2.5 months. EVERY. DAY. Do you know how AMAZING that is for me? Every day when I take my pills I immediately tell my husband that I did, so that 15 minutes later when I forget I’ve taken them I can ask him if I did and he’ll know.

But that’s not the only part of the system I have to keep me taking my pills every day. I also have a weekly pill container (not refilled for this week BECAUSE OF MY LACK OF NEW PILLS) and I keep track in my habit tracker in my planner. This combination has lead to me having a near perfect pill-taking streak for 2.5 months.

Before this system, I was lucky if I remembered to take my pills every other day. I was a wreck.

Now I’m marginally functional. And no pharmacy fuckup is going to take that from me.

So I am vindicated today, and preparing for battle. I almost feel sorry for whoever is working at the pharmacy tonight.

Almost.

gaslit by my crazy pills (gifs in post)

i went to the doc’s on friday to get a new scrip for my zoloft and my dexilant, because the bottles in my medicine drawer (top drawer of my sewing-desk-that’s-being-used-as-a-computer-desk) were running really low. no problem, got my scrips for 100 pills each. i have to go in every time to get the scrips, and then i get enough pills for three months.

went to fill them today (july 31st; it’s august 1st as i’m writing this but i have not slept yet) as well as my husband’s scrip which i picked up for him while i was at the doc’s.

“you last filled this on june 27 so your insurance won’t cover it till september.”

An animated gif of Will Ferrell playing Ron Burgundy in Anchorman, saying "I don't believe you" and lighting up a cigarette.

what?????

not only do i have ZERO MEMORY of this, june 27 was the day i left for visiting my mom in powell river. as in, I WAS WAITING FOR THE FERRY DURING THIS TIME I SUPPOSEDLY FILLED MY SCRIPS.

but, ok, maybe i went in the day before and it didn’t process till the 27th, or maybe i went in after midnight (it is a 24 hr pharmacy) because hey, i did only get 3 hours sleep that night. so i say i’ll go home and search for the pills because fuck me, there is NO WAY i can afford my meds without the insurance covering them right now. it is a tight fucking month.

i have searched. i have looked all over the house. they are not here. what IS here are bottles and receipts for 100 worth of each of those meds dated april 18th…which would mean they run out about *now*.

so either i had incredible fucking foresight and got my pills A FULL MONTH BEFORE THEY WOULD EVEN RUN OUT (this is basically 99.9% unlikely; this is me we’re talking about) or someone fucked up and put my april paperwork into the insurance company at the end of june.

A gif of someone saying "What is going on?" (I do not know where this gif is from. The Office maybe? Idk.)

i’ve checked my bank records, too, as has my husband, in case it was something he picked up for me. there are no charges around that date that would correspond with the cost of the meds (and no, i didn’t pay cash, because i never pay cash for important shit; cash is for coffee or an extra gallon of milk in the middle of the week). i have checked every inch of my house where they could possibly be. my next step is to check my car, which i’m going to do after i sleep.

the thing is tho…i went to my doc on friday. this past friday. if i had already gotten a scrip from him a month ago, he would have said something because it would have been right on his screen when i asked for the new one. so this makes absolutely zero sense.

so if they’re not in the car, i’m phoning my doctor’s office and asking them if he actually gave me a scrip in june. because if he didn’t, there was absolutely no way i could have filled it in june.

and if that’s the case, the pharmacy is going to see what happens when someone fucks up the insurance filing and DOESN’T GIVE A CRAZY PERSON THEIR CRAZY PILLS.

An animated gif of Mugatu from Zoolander screaming "I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!"

anyway so it’s 6am, i’m drinking sleepytime tea, and trying not to rip my fucking hair out because i feel like i am taking crazy pills but not the kind that keep me from going crazier, the kind that make me go even fucking loopier than i really am, this is what you were talking about wasn’t it Mugatu.

in other news i got some words written in july but no where near as many as i wanted, so let’s cross our fingers i get a lot more done this month. (reminder, to be the first to hear when the book is finished, join Loony Nation, my email newsletter.)

happy fucking lammas/imbolc, by the way. or whatever you celebrate today.

-katje

notes on gabapentin, day 6

ok, so 6 days of taking my new meds. here are some notes on it.

  • it works. i mean, it definitely stops my twitching when i’m awake. however i’ve noticed, now my twitching has stopped, that i also have nerve pain in my extremities. i just never noticed it before because i was always either jiggling my limbs or twitching.
  • i’m not worried about the nerve pain, as it can take 2 weeks for gabapentin to get rid of it. so if i still have it after 3 weeks, i’ll worry.
  • i sleep really well on it. first 2 nights i used it were on the recliner, because my neck was so stiff and sore. i never sleep well on the recliner, but those 2 nights were the best recliner sleeps i have ever had. and the third night, in bed, it put me into a mini-coma.
  • i’m still tired during the day, but i also haven’t been taking my iron daily and i have a massive sleep debt of like, 20 years. so i’m expecting to still be tired throughout the day for a while.
  • even though i’m still tired throughout the day i’m way more awake than usual.
  • side effects i’m experiencing: drowsiness (useful), slight dizziness and nausea, when i wake up in the morning it takes me longer to shake the sleep fog, and longer for my vision to come back to normal, and some extra bleeding and bruising (which i’m not actually 100% sure is from the gabapentin, as it could have other causes right now). all in all, nothing too severe and nothing i’m not willing to deal with in order to get a better night’s sleep. (regardless i’ll bring up the side effects with the doc when i see him next, which should be a week tomorrow.)

conclusion: it’s working, and so far i’m happy with it. will continue to monitor it for any severe or scary side effects, and am waiting to see how close to “normal” i’ll get with regards to feeling awake in the day, but for right now allowing myself to feel cautiously hopeful that this might be the answer to my sleep woes.

and now, i am a sleepykat so i am off to bed. yes, at 6am. don’t judge me.

~katje

ps: i think it also made my breasts bigger, which i consider a win. at least i do today; on a day when i don’t id as femme as i do today, it’ll probably cause some severe dysphoria. c’est la vie du genderqueer.

new meds

content warning: emetophobia

got my gabapentin today. trying it tonight.

also sleeping on the recliner tonight, because my neck won’t stop hurting. i don’t know what’s up with it. it hasn’t hurt this much since the last time i got whiplash. which was…on a bumper car i think. (yeah, bumper cars give whiplash. just in case you were out of things to worry about your kids doing.)

we had to go out when i was just waking up and before i had a chance to let my muscles adjust to actually being upright. that was less than fun. i’m doing better now, though, and we did pick up the package from the post office and our scrips — can i just publicly thank Asclepius for insurance? i don’t even know what it would have been without, but with our extended insurance from mr. katje’s workplace it was 17 bucks for three scrips. gone are the days of me taking my anti-depressant every other day to make it last! Io Asclepius! — and also got a little grocery shopping done as we were out of milk.

we’ve recently switched to 3.25% milk from 2% and i’m drinking a lot more of it. IT’S SO GOOD. however, we kind of regret going to IGA instead of Save-On today. milk was over 6 dollars for a 4L; at Save-On it’s around 4.5 bucks. that was a huge ouch. but i was too unwell to handle too grocery trips, so we just got it and sighed heavily.

i also asked at the pharmacy about switching from zoloft capsules to tabs because the capsules are incredibly hard for me to swallow and can cause me to throw up if i don’t do it exactly right. apparently the tabs are not available in Canada. because Canada has super draconian laws about medicine and food. (if you think the FDA is tough, haha have i got news for you.)

sometimes, i appreciate those laws. not today.

so continuing to use zoloft in capsule form until i can figure out a new med. maybe one that doesn’t make me sick and actually works better for my mental illnesses. hoping i get that appointment with a psychiatrist soon because i am running low on my meds.

but i’m excited about the gabapentin! i had a feeling i have Willis Ekbom Disease (aka ‘restless legs syndrome’ but the restless legs are a reaction to the uncontrollable spasms it causes) which i brought up with my doctor (short aside: i love my current doctor. he actually practices medicine instead of just telling me to lose weight. sent from the heavens. Io Asclepius again!) because i’m worried that it’s causing me to have a bad sleep. even after using the cpap for 6 months i am still exhausted all the time. much better with the cpap than without, but still. i shouldn’t be this tired.

so i asked if there was a test for willis ekbom and he said no, it’s one of those things where we give you treatment and see if it works and then that’s the test, basically. so i’m only supposed to take it before bed to see if it helps interrupt the processes that are causing me to spasm so i can actually get a full night’s rest instead of my body shaking itself ever so slightly awake all the time.

(i still spasm during the day and it’s uncomfortable, but if i can just get it to stop at night i can handle the daytime spasms. i’ve been dealing with them for a long time, after all.)

i’m really crossing my fingers the gabapentin works for me, because if i can fix my sleep i have a feeling i will feel 100x better, even with continued disability and chronic pain.

-katje

edited to add: between finishing writing this post but before publishing it i actually took a look at my pills. they’re capsules, because of course they are. i now have three prescription pills that are capsules. huzzah me. XD

Day 3

Content warning: emetophobia, depression, thoughts of self-harm/suicide

A week ago I had the flu. I call it the “Angry Badger Flu” because it felt like two angry badgers were fighting in my stomach and ripping up my insides and punching my gag reflex like it was a button that would give them kibble. Luckily, that portion only lasted one night, but the terrible nausea continued for a week.

Consequently I went without meds for a week. Taking pills of any sort often triggers my gag reflex and I always have to be super careful when swallowing pills to make sure they stay down. So when I’m suffering from things like the flu, I often have to stop taking any meds I’m on completely, at least for a few days. Otherwise it’s The Exorcist all over again.

Today is day 3 of being back on my anti-depressants. There’s kind of a night and day difference. It takes about 3 days for the anti-depressants to kick in, and today I am much different than I was this weekend.

This weekend I picked fights with Mr. Katje. I was surly and weepy and angry, so angry I wanted to hurt someone, preferably me. I thought a lot about killing myself, or just driving off a bridge. I had a lot of “What the fuck is the point of anything?” thoughts.

Today, I’m still stressed by the various stressors that didn’t help with my shitty mood last week, but I’m not thinking about suicide anymore. I’m not picking fights with Mr. Katje. I’m not surly, I’m not weepy. I’m even doing housework. (Is it possible to drown in laundry? I think it is. If you don’t hear from me for a few weeks, assume that’s what happened. Or that I forgot to update my blog in forever, as usual.)

I’m posting about this because I wanted to illustrate a very important fact: I am a better person when I’m on my meds. They are not a crutch, or a problem. I believe in better living through chemistry and that means finding the chemistry that works for me. My anti-depressants do a hell of a lot more for me than Vitamin D (seriously, shut up) or St. John’s Wort (though it does have a small effect, so I’ll give it two points for trying) or medical-or-otherwise marijuana (just makes me stupid and really hungry) or any of the amazing new miracle cures people are pushing these days.

Three days. That’s all it takes for me to go from “being suffocated by my own illness” to “functioning as normally as I possibly can.”

And yes, while I did survive years and years and years of having this illness without any sort of medication, so therefore it is possible for me to live without it…the key word there is survive. I did not thrive. I scratched my way through the dirt and broke a lot of nails to get here, to live enough days to get to this one.

I’m tired of breaking nails. I want a shovel. I want to see the light again in more than brief snatches. I want to thrive.

My meds are that shovel. Let me dig my way out.

Mental Breakdowns, Medication, and Optimism

I keep questioning myself on how open and honest I should be on my blog. Sometimes I think I should share everything, hold nothing back, and just be myself. Other times I think I should keep as much private as possible — only show the good sides, only have positive, uplifting things to say. I’ll admit, that opinion is heavily influenced by most ‘blogging advice for writers’.

It’s wrong, though. At least, it is if you’re blogging about your life.

My phone alarm just went off with a certain theme from Doctor Who. It’s an 11th Doctor theme, and generally plays when he’s racing to save the day and you just know he’s going to succeed. This is also Ogre’s ringtone, but my phone didn’t play it because he was calling.

It played it to remind me to take my Zoloft.

I took my meds again yesterday, after being off them since December. Today, I took them again — a complete 24 hours later. On time, correctly. For the past three and a half months, I’ve been functioning pretty okay without my meds, and I stopped taking them because I was throwing up after swallowing the pill (that hasn’t happened again, so I may have just had a mild flu, or something). So I didn’t really see the need to start up again. I was doing okay.

That obviously changed. Had a mental breakdown this week. Was on the verge of another, until I took my Zoloft. Then I was a few feet back from the verge, but it took until this morning to really kick in.

The Zoloft didn’t fix the problem, but what it did do was calm the anxiety that was clouding my thoughts and give me a chance to breathe. And then I was able to see the source of the problem — which, again, not a fix, but I’m now very far back from the edge of any more breakdowns, which is better than I was doing a few days ago.

Still not entirely stable. Slowly getting there.

This is all related to Spring Mysteries, by the way. While there I had a pretty profound experience, and it was good. It started me on the road to healing. I forgot, of course, that when you get a bunch of poison expelled from you that little bubbles remain, and can erupt. I forgot that a large, or perhaps small and just very strong, part of my brain is dedicated to making sure I don’t heal: it’s the part of my brain that lies to me, that tries to sever what little support I have, that convinces me I’ll always be broken and worthless.

Medication, at this point, really helps in shutting that part of my brain up.

I’m not going to get into specifics about what the mental breakdown was surrounding. Suffice it to say my brain lied, and tried to cut me off from my support system, but I persevered and did not give in. With a bit of help from Zoloft, of course.

And today I made the decision to blog about it. To talk about my mental illness publicly, while I’m still not wholly stable. I’ve done this before, but not really like this. I’ve never blogged while I was this unstable. Or if I have, I haven’t been able to talk about that instability with any sort of optimism.

Today, I can do that. I can talk about my instability with optimism, because it’s temporary.

I am going to get better.

I will probably never be 100% healed, and I may always need medication of some sort (whether or not Zoloft continues to work for me). That’s fine. I just want to get to a point where I can go a week, month, year without trying to push everyone I love away from me. 

It’s doable, because my optimism has now reached the same level of tenacity and stubbornness as my mental illness, and I am one tenacious, stubborn bastard myself.

I am going to get better.

And no one, not even my asshole brain, is going to stop me.

-Kat

PS. The past few days have given me a possible memoir title: A Series of Mental Breakdowns. Funny, y/y?