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

Monday, November 23, 2009


Michal asked some good questions in the last post comments.

First, she's right it is probably pretty hard to follow the meds I'm throwing around if you're not familiar. I sort of work from a disadvantage because I am medically familiar with medications, and then I've been on so many.

So, first, a glossary:
-Seroquel-An antipsychotic. It does a lot for me. Obviously, it takes away the hallucinations I had sometimes. Importantly, it takes away paranoia. This was extreme (I was afraid to shower for 2 or 3 years and alternated sponge baths and 60 second showers followed by washing my hair in the tub with a pitcher; I was paranoid about people, etc. Now it's mild or gone, depending). It also is hugely helpful with anxiety and sleep. I'm taking twice what I was before I went to the hospital and it's a good amount for me now, although it's a high dose and the goal I'm sure will be ultimately to wean it down.

-Imipramine (Trofanil)-the antidepressant I had to come off of that I took for years

-Klonopin-an anti-anxiety med. I take it twice daily. I'm on a kind of high dose so I won't be shocked to be weaned at least down on this sometime.

-Vistaril-an antihistamine that is used for anxiety. I take it as needed. Sometimes not at all. Today once, and if I don't get sleepy in 30 minutes it will be twice.

-Valium-self-explanatory probably. I'm taking a pretty tiny amount. He prescribed a mid-range dose but told me to cut them in half at least. I actually take 1/4th, although tonight I'm taking more like 1/2 because I'm kind of upset (I'll explain later when I'm done thinking). It takes away enough anxiety to let me really SLEEP, and also gives me a way to function with a constant stream of the stuff I need during the day (Klonopin). Yes, it is addictive and so this is short term, but for now needed.

-Nuvigil/Provigil meds that help overcome sedation and let me wake up normally (aside from getting up to take them at 4 AM). They also boost my antidepressant. I'm on Nuvigil now but have been on Provigil for years and still take Provigil if I run out of the other since I have a tiny supply.

-Amelirode the medicine that controls my diabetes insipidus. Essentially it it is a diuretic that controls how much electrolyte you pee out. This keeps my electrolytes inside where they belong.

-Synthroid-again, a med most people have heard of. It treats hypothyroidism, which for me is a lithium induced problem.

-Emsam (aka the patch)-I refer to it as the patch mainly because this is one rare drug. More people have heard of the antidepressant patch briefly when it came out than as it is sold. It is not something marketed to the public and never will be. The hospital I was in is one of the top 25 psych hospitals in the US, and they put less than 10 people on it per year. I have discovered it is extremely hard to find anyone on it online even.

Lithium-again, self-explanatory. Although i guess I do take it slightly differently. I have something called rapid cycling where my moods go everywhere in short periods. Lithium at a tiny dose slows this. Lithium at a higher dose is great for me but I can't tolerate it anymore after toxicity.

Also, she asked what hypomania is. That's harder. Hypomania is technically, an increased mood less than full-blown mania. But that's kind of meaningless. And for me to answer is even harder, becuase my full-blown mania is generally not just that but what is called a "mixed episode" where I'm manic and severely depressed at the same time. Hypomania for many people feels good, like a lot of extra energy that is often creative that lets you get lots done without feeling an effort. For me it's when suddenly I'll attack projects like "let's peel all the wallpaper off the store room wall" at 10:30 PM, or "let's rip up the basement carpet (which is glued down), all alone!". Full mania on the other hand has been shown in projects such as canning insane amounts of veggies (we're still working on them 2 years later), staying up for nights on end doing this that or the other, or whatever. Full mania is when people go spending crazy, or make choices they'd never normally make, or when paranoia, hallucinations or delusions occur. Hypomania is "lesser mania" but it can still be unpleasant. for me it is a warning that I need to get in control fast or I'll be out of control in a matter of hours to days. The thing is that when feeling good is a relatively new sensation it's very hard to distinguish too good.

I'm too tired to type. Hopefully this says what I wanted. If not I'll try in teh morning. valium is working.....

1 comment:

Michal Ann said...

You did a great job on the answers! I thought I was dreaming when I saw my name as the first word in the post. (Of course, I SHOULD be dreaming. I'm getting a little punchy from being up so late.) For a little comic relief: I was in a "hole in the wall" restaurant the other night where an older couple with rowdy little boys was constantly scolding. I kept hearing "Michael! Michael! Stop that! Michael, come back here" etc.

I decided NOT to tell them that it's not the first time I've been startled by parents calling their naughty little boys. I jump like I'm in trouble, too. Some little guys are NOT amused when I tell them that my name is also Michal. When people are interested, I offer the explanation that in my case, it's not a boy's name and no, my parents didn't want a boy; it's a Hebrew woman's name. Michal was the first wife of King David, daughter of Saul, the name means "brook" and all that.

Anyway, I didn't say anything until the two gentlemen behind me got up to leave. Man #1 said to man #2 "Michael, I'll meet you in the car." I spoke up and asked "My name's Michal, too. Is EVERYONE in here named "Michael?" Man #1 announced "My name's Michael also." Four out of the eight people in the restaurant were named Michal/Michael!!

I was once at a women's conference with THREE LADY "Michal, Mikel, Michaele's" but 4 out of 8 is a record that will probably never be broken!

I'll be watching for your next post and I do appreciate the effort you made to catch me up on the current pharmacy on your countertop. You have to be one sharp lady to manage all of this as well as you do. Keep eating those canned veggies! You need your strength. Are you able to get all the nourishment you need?
"Enquiring minds need to know." Do you have Thanksgiving plans? I haven't heard about your mom in a bit...I trust that's a good thing.

Signing off til next time, your friend Michal

"We put our hope in the Lord. He is our help and shield. In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in His holy name. Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord, for our hope is in you alone!"

Psalm 33:20-22