Saturday, December 21, 2013

This poison I live and almost die by

The nausea of lithium toxicity is unique. It's a gripping burn along your digestive tract. It's painful. It's never made me vomit, but it's kept me home from work several days this autumn.

Ever since I took off the lidocaine patches, Ive had trouble regulating my lithium levels. Small things seem to overdose me, like taking extra melatonin, or a daily dose of tramadol to combat knee pain, which, though diminishing, is still with me. I don't remember being this sick on lithium before the patches, but I wore them for months. Hard to imagine that the lidocaine is still in my system, but perhaps it is. I'd do a cleanse if I thought it would rid me of the pharmaceuticals I no longer need, but I don't think cleanses really work, and I know I get shaky if I don't eat. Because of the Cymbalta.

Two days ago, Thursday, I sat at work in growing misery. Nausea, weakness, and a nasty headache. I went home early, lay in bed wondering why I was in so much pain. I couldn't think very well. I tried to sleep and sometimes managed. I put a cold compress on my forehead. Friday I was just as weak and shaky, called in sick again. The headache was gone, but the burning grip inside told me what was wrong.

I didn't take lithium Friday night. Woke up Saturday feeling better, thought I would take just one so that my levels wouldn't drop to the point where I'm frantically anxious and can't concentrate. Which is what happened after I took off the lidoderm patches for good. I took one, just one, and the burning nausea fastened itself inside me again.

I don't remember my lithium levels being this difficult to manage before I had to depend on the lidocaine patches. Patches on, lithium through the roof until I realized what the problem was. Lowered lithium, and a brief period of happiness before I settled back into my usual slightly unhappy vibe. I can't call it depression because I can think and work and speak coherently; dysthymia, maybe, or just inability to accept the life I have instead of the life I hoped for. Patches off, and I became tremendously anxious. I went back up to my pre-patch levels and I was okay -- until Thursday, two days ago. Not to mention the change of generics imposed on me and how sick a different manufacturer's generic lithium made me.

I'm not confident my psychiatrist can figure this out either. I'm functional on 900 milligrams, but not 600. (It comes in 300mg and 450mg strengths). I don't know if I'd be able to function on 750 milligrams, or how I'd react to the 450mg dose. And I don't want to add another medication to my cocktail.

I just have to be careful, exceptionally careful, of any medication or supplement I take. I used to take Sudafed routinely; no longer. I can't take tramadol for knee pain every day. And I'm laying off melatonin for the time being.

On a side note, I'm having unpleasant dreams about my sister almost every night. In each dream, she behaves as in life: she makes fun of me, belittles me, denigrates me to other people. Sometimes they take my side and sometimes they take hers; last night, someone who resembled her ex-father-in-law physically intimidated me, which was strange because they never got along. I'd like to say I don't miss her, but I'm wondering if my dreams are telling me that I am.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

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