Thursday, September 10, 2009

Sleep and pain

I mentioned a while ago that I was going to ask Dr. M (who prescribes my psych meds) about maybe using Ambien to help with sleep. The last time I brought this up, she didn't think it was a good idea. She still doesn't think it's a good idea.

So we revisited the possibility of using gabapentin. I tried it last December. It worked, then didn't, then I increased the dosage and it was too much and all sorts of crazy.

Anyway. For the last week and a half, I've been taking 300mg gabapentin at night with my clonazapam. At first I took my normal clonazapam dose (0.75mg), and I was seriously knocked out. So a couple of days ago, I experimented with lowering the clonazapam dose to 0.5mg. I don't sleep as deeply, but I think that's because my body is adjusting to the lower dose. (I've been on 0.75mg for quite some time.)

I'm also hoping that I might be able to sleep without Vicodin eventually. I take it in the late evening, a couple of hours before bed. Dr. M isn't thrilled with me being on Vicodin. I don't particularly want to be dependent either, but lesser pain medications are like taking jelly beans. I might as well take nothing.

Today Dr. M asked me if I have body aches during the day as well as during the night. "Well, yeah," I said. My body aches pretty much all of the time. It just varies in location and intensity. So she asked me what I did for the pain during the day.

I shrugged. "I just grit my teeth. It's been here so long that it's almost like background noise. It's the new normal."

She seemed pretty surprised. I guess, in addition to not "looking sick," I also don't really share much of the physical pain. Because the pain sucks, but not as much as the fatigue and the neuro/cognitive symptoms. So I suppose don't get around to mentioning it often. I was surprised that she was surprised.

One lesson I still need to apply to my life is to be more honest with myself and others about how I'm really feeling. I tend to puff up and play the tough girl. The girl with piercings and tattoos, who never cried when she fell off her bike (because she was doing something really stupid) and came home covered in blood. The girl who's carried on with a day of leafleting the Warped Tour, despite an ankle sprain acquired that morning in the parking lot. I'm all, yeah, I'm tough. I can take it. Bring it on, buddy.

And part of that is real--I have a pretty high pain tolerance--and part is a bravado that doesn't always serve my interests. I suppose I don't like to show weakness of any kind, to anyone, nor do I want to be perceived as a whiner. I realize as I'm writing this that my fears are illogical and that dishonesty about my condition doesn't help anyone. I need to work on letting those fears go. It's time to let go with both hands.

1 comment:

  1. I just met someone new (of the opposite sex) who clearly really wants to get to know me. As luck would have it, I'm in the midst of a flare (mainly neurocognitive, headaches, and fatigue symptoms this time). I'm struggling with making a good impression yet not being dishonest about my life. It was good to read the last few paragraphs of your post today. Thanks for the food for thought.