[This is rather long - I highlighted the key words so you can skim through and get the idea. :)]
I could hear papers shuffling outside, I heard him open the door and he appeared. His eyes flashed wide.
“Wow! Look at you! Take a picture. This is the best I have seen you look!”
I giggled, thinking this is? I have bed head, a cheap Target dress over my yoga clothes, and I haven’t showered today.
“You’re not looking down all mopey and depressed. You are smiling!” he continued.
“I am doing better!” I said with conviction.
“So, back to normal?”
“Well, I’ll never be ‘back to normal’. I guess I have a new normal.”
“The medication is working then? You are no longer depressed?” I let the “depressed” go. I allowed him to say that even though we have argued about it before. I strongly believe I have simply been out of my mind anxious and incredibly angry and hurt – not “clinically depressed“, but everyone seems to always just wrap these things into “depression“. You have to pick your battles – this isn’t one I want to fight today.
“Yes. Well… we kind of have to discuss that.”
“Go ahead,” he prompted as he sat down and opened my chart.
“I have these terrible nightmares from the 20 mg dose. I didn’t have them on the 10 mg dose. I have determined they happen if I don’t take the pill within 24 hours of the last time I took one. They are horrible.”
He looked at the chart and jotted some notes.
“And the itchiness! Sometimes I get this intense itchiness from the inside out.”
“Anxiety,” he stated. “That’s caused by anxiety.”
“It is?” I chirped. I disagreed, I have never had this symptom before as part of my anxiety – I really believe it is from the drug. But again, it’s not that important right now. Another battle I choose not to argue.
“And the memory loss I have – I am so forgetful.” I neglected to tell him about missing a client meeting last week. Well, because I forgot. Both the meeting and to tell him about it.
“Yes… Okay, well, do you want to try something new? You have to stay on any medication like this for 6 – 24 months.” What? Before it had just been six months!
“No, I don’t want to take any medication. But, I am terrified of the withdrawals. I won’t just stop it, but I am even frightened of lowering the doses.”
“So what do you want to do?”
“I guess the only option I have is to start by lowering the dose. I have been going to yoga. I have been writing. I can’t run anymore because of my foot.”
“What’s wrong with your foot?” he asked looking at them.
“I need surgery, remember? Your wrote me a script to see that surgeon. I have, and we are going to schedule surgery for October.”
He looked at me. “Yoga and exercise and writing is very good. Are you leaving the house now?”
I hesitate. “I am… But I am not going out like I used to. I can’t handle the crowds.”
“What do you mean?”
“I am afraid someone who saw that fake page with my name and my picture will say something to me. Even if they are kind and say something along the lines of how sorry they are this happened to me, I just don’t want to talk about it or discuss it.”
“I understand. This stuff is horrible. There is a teenage girl who committed suicide because of something like this.”
I nod my head solemnly.
“Are they still bothering you?”
“Not as far as I know.”
“How do you know? Do you look for it?”
“No. Not at all. I don’t even have a Facebook page anymore.”
We shake our heads in agreement.
“Do you go out at all?”
“I do. Instead of the 20-30 friends I used to have, I now have 5 great friends. I see them.”
“Quality is better than quantity,” he quipped.
“Okay. Well, then let’s start by lowering the dose and see how it goes. Do you need a prescription? Your insurance isn’t going to like this.” I have very good insurance, this drug is just incredibly expensive. “I will have to write them letters and say why it has to be this medication.”
“How much longer do I have?”
We look at the chart together. I see 4/22/13 as the date we started this one.
“Okay, so I am four months in. Only 2 months to go.”
“Erm…” he hesitates now and shakes his head. He is going to pick his battles today, too.
“Let me see if I have any sample packs left.”
I glance at the chart again. “Wait, I am not taking 40 mg, just 20.”
“Why didn’t you tell her that?” referring to the Physician’s Assistant I saw prior to him.
“She didn’t say the dose, just the medication name.”
“I need Xanax, too.”
“Are you still taking 2 a day?”
“Oh, god, no. I don’t even take it every day. That was last prescribed 4 months ago and I just ran out. Some days I take none. Some days I take 3.” 6, actually, but he doesn’t need to know that, especially since he raised his eyebrows at 3.
“Okay. Here you go,” he hands me the prescription. “What else?”
“I want to see, I think it’s called a fertility specialist. I want to know how many eggs I have left.”
He laughs. “You are only 36! There is plenty of time.”
“But I have had two miscarriages-”
“So?” Smack my head. Does no one but me understand this? And the stress it causes?
“I want to know if I need to freeze some eggs now or if I can relax.”
“You shouldn’t try to have a baby now. You need to get through all this first.” (We also had a brief discussion about a sperm donor, he said not to give up, I say I am never dating again, he said you can’t give up because one guy is a jerk, I say they all are – I am a loser magnet, he laughs…)
“I agree. And if I know I have a good supply of eggs, I can relax a little bit.” He nods his head okay.
“Your insurance won’t pay for this. But I can give you some names.”
“Okay. I know.” I will pay for this, it’s very important to me.
“And your Celiac? How is that doing?” I don’t know why he asked me this. This was a pre-existing condition, pre-existing for over 6 years before I met him. I got this handled.
“Good, as long as I don’t eat anything.”
He laughs. “Well, I guess that works.”
“I mean, I eat a lot of vegetables. I have a garden and it’s growing like crazy.”
He looks pleased and interested. “You do? That’s very very good. This is very good for you. They say when someone has a garden and it grows well, that person has a lot of love and nurturing coming from them. Gardening comes from inside the body.“
I beam with pride, at both the growth of my garden and the fact he recognizes how much love I have to give. “My plants are out of control! I keep having to get bigger pots and cages to control these beasts. This one tomato plant I bought for $12.99 is the best investment ever!”
“Why do you say that?”
“Because I eat a lot of tomatoes, and all I have to do is go grab them from my garden instead of buying them at the store. And then, like before, the ones I would buy might go to waste. Now, they can kick on the plant for another day and not rot.”
“This gardening is very good for you. This is very good. All these things you are doing are very good.”
He goes and gets me the medication sample, opens the package and says “try cutting these in half-”
“Wait – these blue pills are 40 mg? That is what I have been taking.” Not the 20 mg I claimed before, but actually 40 mgs!
“It all makes sense now. People report problems on the 40. Cut it down and see if it works. Keep up all these other good things you have been doing. This is very very good.”
Off I went, beaming with pride, that a doctor I never wanted to see in the first place, but someone whom I do like and respect but would argue with often, thinks I am doing very very good.
Me and my new normal walked out the door, head high and smiling. The new normal me: a medication-taking, no-longer-running yogi who writes and gardens, and smiles again. With the wind of my 5 friends and my aunt behind me.
The new normal me walked to my car, and it was only as I drove off did I realize I forgot the names of the fertility specialists. And that I forgot to add forgetful to the new normal me!