Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Resisting Change

I know when I posted about the mistake I made, taking a new prescription drug before reading the product summary, I made light of it. Actually, I had a very bad day as a result.

It began with the dizziness which of course, affected my balance. I didn’t feel well and finally called the pharmacist, as I had begun to really worry.

The day went from bad to worst. I was worried about something else that day, unrelated, and was tired as I’d had a busy week, well, a busy week for me. By dinner time I was restless, anxious and had that vague chest pain again.

This was so much like the way I’d felt when I went to the hospital in November, and as that had ended up OK I didn’t want to go back, for nothing. But, I felt so shaky and had this heavy feeling in my chest, I knew I needed help.

It is my good fortune that a friend of mine is a nurse with Telemedicine. I called her, and believe me, whatever that call cost me in long distance charges was well worth it. She talked to me, asked questions about how I was feeling, what I was experiencing physically and advised me to take one of the Ativan tabs that I’d been prescribed from that hospital trip and never taken.

It worked, I calmed down, reassured as she stayed on the line with me, and later I had a good night’s sleep. Crisis, or whatever, passed.

The next day I did some research and found an article about anxiety and MS. As this disease is unpredictable, there is an anxiety that is natural, an expected worry about what course the disease will take. But I know that’s a worry that is in the back of your mind, not something you think about every day until you feel your condition changing.

But there is also an anxiety that comes from lesions in the brain. I suppose these lesions affect the brain the same way that they affect memory and concentration. But anxiety is more of an emotional thing, like depression, and here we get into a whole other area.

Here we get into factors that might be listed under mental health issues, taboo areas so to speak. Now we’re looking at emotions and personality.

I have always been an in-charge person, able to react quickly to situations and remain in control. OK, except for those moments raising teenagers as a single Mom where I lost my cool, but that’s still normal. When talking with my friend, who I’ve known for more than twenty years, she commented that she had never heard me sound so anxious, and she knew me in those teenager years.

The funny thing is, since I’ve been on my disability, and no longer have the stress of the job, I’ve become increasingly anxious. Over the years I’ve been aware of my tendency to worry and fret. I first noticed it with the grandchildren. Worry when the babies cried, when toddlers ran and played and children were in the yard unsupervised.

It was like I forever had that old cliché running in my head about dangers everywhere. “You could’ve poked your eye out!” My kids just told me to calm down, and I set it aside. But I recognized I was not dealing with things as well as I used to. The advantage, or disadvantage, to living alone was that I could worry and no one was aware of my heightened emotional state.

The last few years, especially since the move about eighteen months ago, I have seen my disease progress. The physical changes, the increased fatigue, the use of the walker, and the loss of some fine motor control are obvious.

The brain fog, the inability to concentrate, and the increased memory issues are more difficult to explain to someone who has never experienced such things. I was unable to write because I couldn’t remember details of my story, and this was frustrating, like a slap in the face because writing was one thing that kept me going, filled in the hours of my day.

It’s hard to accept that the basic things that make changing. I feel like a stranger at times, to myself. This disease does affect personality, how can any chronic illness not affect how you feel, how you react to things? And when you add in the physical causes, the lesions, it’s even harder to define.

I have a doctor’s appointment coming up, one that will require some serious talk, and some acceptance on my part that I’m no longer able to cope. It’s hard asking for help when you’ve always been the one helping others.

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