Part of the problem is that I am on a new medication that is kicking mine buttocks. Of course, I looked it up, sure to find big old looming black-boxed warnings and pictures of necrotizing fasciitis -- only to find bolded and underlined reassurances as to how freaking mild a drug it is, how virtually no one has ever experienced even a twinge of a negative sensation from this pharmacological concoction (it's two, two, two drugs in one!). Yes, according to my research, even an overdose is cause for balloons, cake, and karaoke. The most severe reaction ever recorded? A sneeze.
Me? I've had the room go black three times since starting it yesterday morning. You know, that lovely feeling of the lips going cold as vision fades and the floor rocks-and-rolls. Given that the other endearing side effect is diarrhea, the fainting part -- from orthostatic hypotension -- is not much appreciated. I don't stand very often... In fact, the only standing I do is when I take the perilous journey of five steps from wheelchair to toilet, or from door to bathtub, also about five steps.
I am a tough person. I know that I have to give medicines a chance, have to allow time for adjustment, and so on, but I do get tired of the process. There's little point in calling anyone, the situation doesn't demand a brainiac to decipher its intricacies, and besides, the prevailing attitude is that I can, and should, put up with most any physical./mental/emotional problem. It's my lot. It's the dealt hand. It's -- well, you get it.
Since "we" are talking medications...
Twice yesterday my judgmental self went into overdrive over "wrong" attitudes. Of course, in my present mood, an attitude that is wrong would be any attitude that deviates from my own, "right" one. I need life to be simple for a day or two.
Let's see. First, Fred came begging for tizanidine because he has a terrible backache. That's fine -- he showed up begging because I suggested he take some of the drug to begin with. I had given him about 10 or so a few months back, as his back has become more and more of an issue. For Fred to make an issue of pain is an occasion of note, to be taken seriously. Another important detail? We are both, after our fairly extensive experimentation with recreational drugging as middle-aged youth, ardently against drug abuse and tend to undermedicate ourselves as a result. In other words, I know that Fred would never wrongly or casually take medication.
But the boy does suffer from a sometimes severe case of ADHD, as well as living with the tough distractions that come from PTSD. Organization is a constant struggle, memory more an ideal than a reality!
He moves around the Manor, showing me that he is actively searching for the aforementioned previously gifted bottle of tizanidine. "Look," his actions cry out, "See me search? See me search and not find?"
Rather than have *that* to watch all afternoon, I decided to gift him with some more tablets. I was hurting rather awfully myself, had just put mine self in bed, and didn't want to move a single muscle. So I asked him to bring me an empty pill bottle for the stuff...
He first brings an old pill cutter thingy that also has three compartments for pills. The problem is, each compartment is full, occupied by previous pharmaceutical offerings on my part. Me being me, each compartment is labelled, and none of the labels say "tizanidine."
"You actually expect me to mix tizanidine, a round white pill, in with this prednisone, also a round white pill?" Knowing, as you do, Dear Reader, that I am feeling pissy and that I'm a dyed-in-the-wool teacher-type, you can imagine the tone I adopted. (Yes, I also find that tone repulsive.)
"Hmmm? What? Oh, yeah, that will be fine. I'll remember the difference," he proffers, while staring distractedly at the Nadal-Roddick match on the telly.
Anyway, after I reject that idea, he repeats it... and later, when my own pain pills have kicked in, I give him a properly labelled, single-use bottle. But I make a point of adding a review of all those bottles on his side of the Big Round Bed to my Long List Of Seemingly Pointless Tasks. It scares me, the thought of him reaching for one thing and possibly ingesting another.
My other pet peeve is activated, usually, on the internet. I am incredibly judgmental of "pain" patients when they allow their tone to become too casual in referencing opiates, or any other strong medication. It's my contention that that very laxity is what can get us in trouble, perhaps addicted to opiates even when/if our condition improves.
Language *is* attitude. So when I read "perks," in lieu of Percocet, or "meth" instead of Methadone, I respond pretty negatively. To everyone rolling their eyes, I say that vigilance in these smaller reflections of larger attitudes is warranted.
Even writing "scripts" for prescription bugs me. I'm hyper-aware, hyper-judgmental -- which is just as abnormal as romanticizing tablets and pills, but I'd rather be sick with an abundance of caution than sick with opiate withdrawal. Oh, dear God, I will never forget the Great Jump Off back in May and June! Never, ever.
Along with an inevitable hardening of my arteries, I am experiencing a hardening of my heart. On the one hand, I am generous and would do anything for a loved one; On that other hand, I am amassing a disturbingly long list of things that I find notably distasteful. I thought that the apotheosis of my propensity for Hate came with the cut-out picture of Jesse Helms (next to one of Augusto Pinochet) that was neatly held to my apartment door by the knife embedded in his forehead.
I was wrong.
I'd better change the subject.
I bought a vacuum cleaner. Two vacuum cleaners, actually. Sad to say, I am all a-dither over my purchase. Once upon a time, I felt that way about a new pair of shoes, a dress, a book, a reliable source of endive, inexpensive printer ink, or a sale on my favorite tennis balls.
I spent about a week researching vacuums. I engaged the dichotomy of canister versus upright. I did Consumer Reports, I did customer reviews. I gauged the importance of pet hair; I pondered the impact of noise on my hearing.
I role-played. I envisioned. I convened a Blue Ribbon Panel.
Vacuuming via wheelchair is different from doing it while standing. That's pretty obvious! Also different is losing the use of one's shoulders and having diminishing strength in the hands. Clearly, we needed lightweight sucking tools and maneuverability, simplicity. Ah, but the first thing that goes, I found, when you push those requirements to the head of the list? Power! Effectiveness!
So... I dragged out the adage of my youth: It only costs 10% more to go First Class (an adage not known for its accuracy). A more popular variation: You get what you pay for.
So, yes, I spent a small fortune on my vacuum duo -- being both a lightweight upright and a canister with on board tools. Rave reviews from me on the upright -- and consternation on the canister. That will change into the anticipated joy once I figure out how to carry it. I looped it around my neck yesterday and that was quickly very painful. It was designed to be tossed casually over the shoulder, but that I cannot do, so... I will have to find an alternative method of canister vacuuming.
O, but it has a beautiful telescoping wand for easy clean-up of things like slats and air vents! O!
Ideally, I'd have gotten cordless devices but cordless and power don't go together any better than my initial demands. And in this instance, the problem isn't solved by spending more money.
I do have a point, in case you are bored with reading about my Hoovering prospects: I end up spending more money (and working harder at the task at hand) than able-bodied people in order to achieve the same boring, everyday results. Because I cannot work, I have less money to begin with... And it just is pissing me off.
It wasn't supposed to be this way.
Is it living when, at the end of a long day, I reflect on its various hours only to discover that almost every moment was dedicated to the alleviation of, or distraction from, physical pain, a goal never actually accomplished, and forever put off to the next day? I don't think so. It's not the way I wish to live.
At least the available remedies aren't difficult to assemble -- suicide, asinine sublimation, or less-asinine sublimation. Whatever I chose to do, I am either dead, essentially dead, or a living-falsehood-biding-its-time -and-wasting-everyone-else's-time-until-dead.
You know what would really improve the gimp-friendly high end vacuum cleaners -- until that glorious day when cordless cleaners truly are powerful enough to clean Marlinspike Hall's peculiar kind of filth? If they were all equipped with retractable cords. That would be heaven.