Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth." Genesis 9:13

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Meet SuperWoman

This week someone I work with was fired. For the time being I have absorbed all of her responsibilities as well as nearly all of my own (I have 2 hours of help 3 days/week). This happened to correspond with an insanely busy time. I no longer do anything but work. I have twice plus some the amount of work I normally have.

This blog will return to life when I do more than go to work, drive home, and sleep. Hopefully I'll be back soon!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Birds and the Bees

I did not mention last night, but may have somewhere in the past, that I'm also dealing with debilitating nausea. I almost always have nausea when taking meds, and I started meds for that several weeks ago with some success. Then as my stress increased it has worsened to the point that I spent last night throwing up anything that thought about entering my stomach, and today trying to get a minimal amount of fluid in.

I saw the doctor today. As we discussed the problems I'm having I mentioned that I am able to eat one food at a time, sometimes several times, before my body no longer wants that food. All other foods trigger nausea. Consequently I own the contents of a grocery store.

My doctor, who is only a few months older than me, looked very uncomfortable, shuffled his papers, and said "I hate to ask this, but is there ANY chance you could be pregnant?". I told him no, he mumbled something about remembering I told him I wasn't sexually active nor would be any time in the near future, and then he told me "It just takes once you know".

Hi, my name is Just Me, I'm 30 years old, have a biology degree, and my doctor just explained sex to me.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


So in the last few weeks I've disappeared from the planet, practically. In a nutshell in 2 weeks time I have changed therapists from one I have seen for many years to someone very different, I have gone from taking no meds to taking a reasonable amount of my meds (nobody knows where I'm going to wind up so this may be all my meds), and I have developed panic attacks. Actually they aren't new, I've had them before, but never like this, never in a way that felt so encompassing my only solution was to sleep. Between feeling sad, reacting to the meds, the panic attacks, and the anxiety meds, I have done little but sleep. Oh, and annoy people.

I had one of the more humiliating experiences of my life last week. I was reading a blog where someone made a fairly negative statement about mental illness. It was, I'm sure, intended to refer to someone specific, but that is not how she worded it, and it was offense. I privately emailed her, pointed out that *I* hadn't hurt her and she was saying I was as bad as anyone else, and that if she didn't want to be with mentally ill people I would not read or comment anymore on her blog. I was very polite, and I honestly thought it was a route for discussion, as it has been before. The next day she answered, asking me a question, and I thought I was right. I hurried off an answer that I would respond soon and I was glad she was open for discussion. She said something about not putting THIS one on her blog. Sure enough, she had cut and pasted my entire email into her blog as a "poor me, look what the crazy people do to me me and however am I to answer" thing. There were 16 comments and every one of them called me a name. Not one of those names was nice. My next email closed the discussion, although now I find myself going back there to check to see if she posted what I said!

Then this week I went back to work and all sorts of difficult things are occurring there. I had to call my boss tonight because I made a supervisory decision that is not going to go over well. Work has it's wonderful moments. It was so exciting to come back to work and have so many residents have noticed I was gone. But parts of it are on grin and bear it level, and I'm too medicated to look very realistic. I look more like a shark about to bite......

But I think I can write some again, at least until I get med changes in a few days. Up next, I think, are some thoughts are roles the internet has helped develop (more interesting than it sounds, really).

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


After doing something like re-programming my entire computer (ok, maybe not but I know so little about computers and I have spent several hours in the last day missing with html coding, and that has to count for SOMETHING), I have links. This was a whole process because this template doesn't support links and I wanted them and I didn't like the other templates and I tried to redesign one of my own, and couldn't get just a few things to quit annoying me, and finally I figured out how to patch them into this template. Sheesh.

Anyway, I wanted to explain what a few of the links are. PsychEducation is a huge site devoted to mainly bipolar II, but is relevalant for bipolar I as well. This is the site I was reading trying desperately to find something that would help me when I suddenly realized that nearly every word described me. There is a lot about medications as well as holistic treatments, along with a screening tool, information about communicating with doctors, and many others. Somehow I believe this is the page that I found a link which led me to the clinical trial I particpated in that allowed me to really begin to recover.

The free online book is just that. I mentioned it several posts ago. It is a free pdf. file about dealing with people who have bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. I wish I had this a few years ago for some of my friends. It's written by doctors who literally saved my life, and who I have infinite respect for.

Bipolar World is a place for bipolar patients to find information and support. They have support groups (which I've never personally found useful but that's a personal thing), question and answer sections, and what I find most valuable, a doctor question and answer section. This is written by the author of Psycheducation and I've found it a good place to ask things I wonder about but never get to ask my doctor.

Rxlist is a site to look up meds. It's technical, but a good place to find side effects and a lot of stuff the doctor may not think to tell you. For many years I had had such bad experiences that I refused to take any medication that I had not read extensively about. I trust my current doctor and no longer feel I need to second-guess her, but I do still read about any medication I take. I put this up because I mention meds a lot and this way if someone is interested they can easily find out more.

More links to come!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Bipolar Fights Back--and Wins

I am back for today. However tonight is a med increase and I've been feeling pretty lousy with each one, so there is no promise that I'll write again for another week. However I am at least emotionally doing better than expected, so there is a chance this will return to normal soon.

One of the things that comes with the meds for bipolar is finding you can't take many medications. Lithium and depakote are probably the most common mood stabilizers, and in combination are more effective than alone. Lithium is filtered by the kidneys and depakote is filtered by the liver. Some meds can't be taken in combination with these because of an increased risk of damage to those organs. The risk already is significant enough to require blood tests at least every 6 months. Both of these meds also can reach toxic blood levels. For lithium especially the line between safe and toxic is very fine. In my case I have always been on very high levels of both meds, and twice I have had to lower my dose because my level crept too high. Depakote has a lower risk of toxicity, but again I have always been on very high doses and my levels have been over the theoretical toxic for several years. That is fine, but it does mean that I have to be very careful not to take things which increase the level at all.

The meds that are problematic are annoyingly common. The only painkiller I can take is tylenol. A year ago I pulled a muscle and tylenol did not help (it usually doesn't), and I wound up in urgent care to get tylenol with codeine. The doctor treated me like I was drug seeking and I wasn't; I simply can't take the better over-the-counter stuff, like Motrin (oh how I miss motrin!). I am not allowed any cold or cough medicine; my doctor finally gave me vicodin to calm coughing a few months ago because I was very sick and could not take anything normal. Thank God for creative doctors. Last summer I had a reaction to another medication and had enormous swelling in my legs. I had a huge fight in the emergency room because I wouldn't take diuretics I knew were dangerous for me until I spoke to a doctor; I heard a lot of "that's your right miss" and then they cancelled the order, so that after I talked to the doctor I had to wait an additional hour to get the medication that was ordered immediately upon arrival. Many antibiotics are on the list as well.

I know some of the drugs I'm not allowed. I cannot memorize it all, nor should I need to. Any responsible doctor should run my meds through a computer to check for interactions before prescribing. It only takes a minute.

Last summer I saw a doctor who was always making assumptions that because I was bipolar I was obviously not well educated, not employed, not insured, etc. I wear a lab coat at work and he saw me wearing it, with creditentials that give my specific title and indicate I have healthcare training. He did this several times, and I ignored it. Then came the incident.

I had a really bad sinus infection. I hate antibiotics but after 2 weeks I obviously needed them. So I went to the doctor. He told me "normally I'd prescribe a z-pack, but with depakote you can't take that". So he gave me something else. That one made me so sick I couldn't work, so I called. They called back a few hours later to say he called in a z-pack. I told them he had told me I couldn't take that. After much consultation because he had already left, another doctor agreed that I couldn't take it and prescribed something else. I finished that script and was still very sick. I called in again. Again he called in a z-pack. Again I called and argued, and this time suggested he look at charts before prescribing things. He called in something else. Once again I did not get better, so I called yet again. Guess what he called in? Oh yeah. So, again I called back and got yet another antibiotic, which finally worked.

After I recovered from all this I reported him to the state medical board. What he did was dangerous and stupid and if I did not know enough to monitor what I take he could have harmed me. It's not likely, but it's possible. I need my liver to be very strong because I need to take these meds for the rest of my life, and between my allergies to many meds and the number of meds that are processed by the liver, I rely on it being in good shape. I'm only 30, so I have many years of hard work for my liver ahead. Therefore I do not take risks.

I didn't hear from the medical board and since it had been months I gave up. Today I got a letter from them that they wish to pass the complaint on to him for his response. His response will determine the need for further action.

I'm so happy about this. I never wanted him to get in big trouble. I do however want him to have to think hard about how he treats patients. He treated me like I was less than human because of a diagnosis I was not even asking him to treat. What I really hope for is an apology, not because I need one, but because I want him to have to think.

I won.....