Approaching Normal

I have learned firsthand just how hard my medicine works to keep things in order when it comes to maintaining homeostasis. I had gone without my blood pressure and blood sugar medications for the past 5 days.

See, even though the state assured me that I was back on Medicaid, it wouldn’t take full effect until March, and I had ran out of my medications this past Sunday. I figured I could try to get Medicaid to cover my prescriptions since we were so close to March, and set about contacting them, knowing it would take a few days for everything to process.

I kept trying to wait until Medicaid coverage would kick in (silly me), because sometimes I’m an absent-minded nitwit who doesn’t give himself enough consideration to care for his own needs, and by “sometimes” I mean “often.” I also put more faith in the system than I should have, considering how they bungled my registration in the first place. Anyway, I tried to wait it out until they would return my initial contact.

Things were fine the first day, because the medicine stays in the bloodstream for about 24 hours, and a little residual medication can stick around for another day, sometimes enough to keep any side effects at bay. After that, though, you start to feel the effects of withdrawal, and I was no different.

By day 2, I started to feel a bit itchy, and my head was a touch foggy. I would forget simple questions and tasks, instead standing in the middle of the room wondering what the hell I was doing. There was a sense of discomfort, but at that point I couldn’t quite place it, and was still certain that I could hold out until the Medicaid office got back with me.

Day 3 was when the heart palpitations began. Even engaged in some activity, like washing dishes, or doing laundry, I could still feel the pounding in my chest. For those of you who don’t know, I suffer from mild tachycardia with atrial fibrillation, which means my heart will speed up at random, like shifting a car into overdrive, and pushing the pedal to the floor. This results in a fast heart rate exceeding 100 beats per minute, along with occasionally skipped beats, and intense throbbing. It is a distinctly uncomfortable experience, but I manage it. Well, I should say I manage it with my medicine. Without that medicine, my heart will tell me “screw you guys I’m going home.”

Day 4 began with multiple anxiety attacks. By now, my stress levels had shot straight through the roof. Even in the best of times, I’m under constant stress, but I didn’t realize just how much work my blood pressure medicines did to block the effects of that stress. Well, by this point I was feeling the full effects of being a 24/7 caregiver, along with simply being a 37 year old son living in his parents home and dealing with that gem of a pickle. That’s not to say the medicine makes what I do easier, but it does take my attention off the full weight of everything I have to do, and helps me focus on the task at hand.

Of course, you’ve seen the results *with* the medication. I’m a morose, depressed, fatalist at the best of times when the stress is eating at me. Without medicine? Holy shit, I make Edgar Allen Poe look like Richard Simmons on a strict diet of amphetamines and Jamba Juice. It was that bad.

This morning was the worst, though. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t concentrate. It was like the symptoms from the previous 4 days decided to gang up on me at once, and so while I was having an anxiety attack, my heart went AF, I wanted to vomit, my head felt like a brick, and I was shaking hard enough to vibrate the TV remote off of my pillow. The stress was making my nerves prick my skin like needles.

I couldn’t tolerate it any longer, so I got the money I needed from my dad, and I went to the pharmacy and picked up my blood pressure medications. I take two, which work in tandem to keep my blood pressure under control. One slows down my heart and also acts as a diuretic, and the other one intercepts panic signals. Between the two of them, they take the edge off of my stress, and help keep me somewhat more centered.

That’s right, kids, this is me *with* help from my medication.

I can’t wait for my Medicaid coverage to kick in, because this is ridiculous. Of course, if Trump and the GOP get their way, I will lose that coverage, along with 20 million other Americans, and I’ll be living this nightmare every day, because I think my system has become dependent upon these medicines to keep things functioning anywhere approaching “normal.”

Ho ho, title drop!

What an odd week it has been. I am so thankful for my friends. All of you live anywhere from hundreds to thousands of miles away, but when I talk to you, there is no distance, only the warmth and kindness that helps me keep things together. I love you. ♥

Until next time,

John

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