I often feel like an expert in being chronically ill. I know how to look up doctors on my insurance company’s website. I know to ask if they cover me just in case when I make an appointment. I know to ask if the tests are covered as well when they suggest something. I know how many physicals and dental check-ups I get a year and I know what out of network versus in network means. I know how to get reimbursed for out of pocket expenses. I know what an FSA is. I know I can ask my pharmacist if the medications I take could have dangerous interactions.
I know all this and still sometimes I am taken by surprise.
As I mentioned last week, I got off a new medication because it was driving my insomnia into hyper-drive. Well, at the same time I’ve been slowly weaning myself off (with my psychiatrist’s help! Always ask your doctors before stopping a medication!) another medication and the combination has put me in a permanent migraine the last ten days. I was not expecting to feel so sore and so tired. I thought I’d bounce back just fine. I’d take a nap and be good as new—maybe even better without the medication I no longer seem to need.
Hahahaha. I was very wrong. Weaning isn’t withdrawal per se, but it isn’t fun. My body’s been used to a certain level of chemicals and changing that requires adjustment and adjustment is not going to be the seamless process I naively imagined.
So here’s another new experience I get to add to my collection of medical firsts, embarrassments, and goof-ups.
In the meantime, I’m trying to take things easy and be okay with needing a bit more downtime, especially after long days, than I might otherwise. I take the naps and the anxiety medicine, drink the tea, and read the books.
I do love having the time to read. I read a whole new book yesterday between doctor appointments. I got it from the library’s kindle loaning program (which is simply the best idea of all time, especially if you’re chronically ill and disabled and the thought of going to the library in person often alone exhausts you. I read Evergreen Tidings from the Baumgartners, which turned out to be a pretty good and pretty goofy book. It was prefect as a distraction from the long waits and uncomfortable chairs.
I have more doctor appointments this time of year because I schedule all my checkups one after the other—the physical checkup, the twice-yearly skin cancer exam, the twice-yearly dental cleaning, the optometrist and ophthalmologist. I see my acupuncturist, therapist, and psychiatrist a lot more often, but these are the ones that I make sure to do yearly or twice-yearly while I am lucky to have health insurance–even eye and dental insurance.
I haven’t always had those despite having significant eye and dental needs, so I know how lucky I am.
And even though I’m not feeling that lucky, I also know that I’m lucky I feel like all the physical work—the acupuncture, working out, going to the chiropractor, etc. all mean that I feel ready to come off one of my chronic pain medications. I want to see how I am without it. It’s been years so I want to see. I don’t know what to expect now and now I’m trying not to expect anything, just see where my body is.
This is a period of adjustment for me and I’m trying to remind myself to embrace the unique opportunities I have to try new things: going on new medications and vitamins, go off old medications, trying to learn new wellness and health care practices like meditation, apply for different kinds of work, and write more. Always write more. These are also my goals for the year, if you read my recent posts.
So here I am trying and stumbling and learning and adjusting!
Photo by Felix Mittermeier on Unsplash