Tag Archives: Side effects

Miracle Drug Day 21: A discussion about doctors

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I have a sore throat and it’s been that way since Friday night. It’s now Sunday morning. I don’t have a voice anymore. Actually my voice comes and goes depending on how well the pain killers are working.

In the five page instructions that came with Miracle Drug it says tell your doctor straight away or go to Accident and a Emergency if you have a sore throat. Ok, I’m going to use common sense here and not rush to the hospital. However, when I saw him a week and a half ago he was all worried about me getting sick because I was showing signs of going down with something. I felt better for a few days, now I’m having signs of becoming “regular” type sick again. I think it is a lot about being run down and tired at the end of a year and after a saga of searching for a new diagnosis and having a flare.Side effect sexiness

I am getting really tired of this ongoing question about whether I should go see the doctor or not. It also says go to the doctor if you bruise easily. I always bruise easily. It has been worse lately though which may be because of Miracle Drug. I hit the inside of my wrist on the guillotine last week and I got a lovely big black bruise out of it. At least I got the bruise while cutting paper for my students for their art activity, not while walking past a table and hitting it, or like in the old days, having a battle with my ex.

I don’t feel a fever and I actually feel ok body wise. Not spectacular like I can go do anything I want, but ok like I might have a shower and go somewhere later. My mind is also quite relaxed and it is thinking pretty clearly right now. I’m going to defer the idea of going to see the doctor.

This is not a good week for getting sick, I have a lot of busy days at work coming up. So if it worsens I will have to get to the doctor quick smart. He will be grumpy if I end up going because it gets worse and I have had this sore throat for days, but I’m not rushing up there. Unfortunately if it worsens I will wish I went up there sooner.

I remember years ago when I would go to the doctor (GP) maybe two or three times a year. I would go when I had the flu and/or sinusitis and/or a chest infection. Oh, and I would go for my biannual women’s checkup. Anything else I just put up with because it had been mentioned before and nothing had come of it. Like migraines and toes swelling and fatigue for example. All symptoms that could have pointed to an illness, but they were never investigated further. Those were the days when symptoms were not debilitating. How things have changed.

Those were the days when I went to any doctor that was available, I told him my problem, he looked in my mouth and ears and listened to my chest, he told me what it was, I accepted what he said, took my prescription, had a day or two off work, and that was that.

Doctor and patientNow my visits are more like an ongoing story. They are all linked together with the same theme and the same characters. There’s the inevitable checking of blood pressure. There’s the catch up on latest symptoms and shared reading of the letters from the specialist. There’s the discussion about medication and blood testing and the printing of prescriptions.  There’s a little banter between the characters, some sharing of personal information, then a discussion of when they will meet again.

This is a relationship happening here, between doctor and patient. For the first time since I was a child I want to keep seeing this same doctor. This one is a keeper. I can’t tell you how many different doctors I have seen in the last five years since I returned from the US, because I cannot remember, but it has been a lot. Finally, when I saw this guy, he listened and he tried things, even though they might fail, which some things did, he had a go, and he was smart enough to find me an excellent new specialist rather than send me back to my previous one. He stumbled through and he got results. He also makes me rest, which is important. He doesn’t annoy me about things like water exercise, which there is 0 chance of me doing unless I build a warm spa in my backyard. He just deals with the body and it’s symptoms. Sometimes I argue with him and he puts me straight. He thinks a lot. How often do you feel your doctor is mentally engaged in what he is doing? That is rare in my world. Doctors seem to find simple answers and then they get rid of you. Quick in, quick out. But I don’t feel rushed with my doctor and I know he tries to do what is best for me.

I feel a little sad that I have crossed over into the regular contact with my doctor zone. I used to think that in this zone there are old people and people with terrible illnesses. So, either I have become old or I have a terrible illness, or both. Maybe there are young sick people in this zone too? I don’t want to be in this zone, but it is what it is. I’m in the zone and I don’t think I will ever get out of it.

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A medicated life

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Hand with pillsIt is concerning that medication is the thing that keeps me getting up and participating in life. I would say I have a love/hate relationship with it right now. Medication that is.

The reason I love my medication is that it does positive things to my body that I cannot do myself, like keep my blood pressure down, dull the throbbing pain I feel in my feet and hands and stop the nerve pain all over my body that drives me crazy. Because of it’s help, I can go to work and do things in my life other than lay in bed or sit on the couch.

The reason I hate my medication is that it doesn’t fix my pain completely and it gives me all sorts of random side effects, one of which is to make the pain worse (yes I know, that is ridiculous) and make me fatigued and foggy. So, sometimes I still do end up in bed or on the couch feeling very useless.

When I feel like that I wonder if there is any point in taking my medication at all. However, if I think constructively I know that the extremity of the pain and fatigue without medication is much worse than when on it. In other words, my medication has a positive effect overall. Plus, this new medication, the one I am currently referring to as the miracle drug in other posts, should have a lot more impact in a positive way, in a few weeks time. Hopefully.

Sometimes I need to take more and more pain killers to get me going and keep me going throughout the day. This is not a good habit to start. So I’m stopping with that.Glass of pills

However, can it be seen that all this taking medication is not only a reliance on medication, but a slow slide into becoming addicted, physically and mentally? If you have to take a medication, and are not allowed to stop it abruptly due to the side effects, then are you not already addicted anyway?

Let’s explore…

Medical definition of addiction:

Compulsive physiological need for and use of a habit-forming substance (as heroin, nicotine, or alcohol) characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal;

broadly : persistent compulsive use of a substance known by the user to be physically, psychologically, or socially harmful—compare habituation

Medical definition of habituation:

1. The act or process of making habitual or accustomed
2a. Tolerance to the effects of a drug acquired through continued use
2b. Psychological dependence on a drug after a period of use—compare addiction
3. A form of nonassociative learning characterized by a decrease in responsiveness upon repeated exposure to a stimulus

Thank you Merriam-Webster, it appears I had the wrong word. I am not becoming addicted, that only relates to harmful drugs (hmmm, that is subjective). I am becoming habituated, as definitions 1 and 2b above explain.

Right now I am 41, will I have to keep this up forever? Probably yes. When I was last at the rheumatologist, he said that I would be visiting him for ever. Thats like 30 to 40 years or more. That’s ominous. And, that’s a lot of money.

I guess I can’t think about whether I like this new reliance or habituation of medication or not.

It just is. Move on.