Saturday, 20 March 2010

ratty and scatty

Wow. How unbelievably snappy have I been? Honestly, for a couple of days back then, I could have ripped your head off your shoulders for dare asking me to do something. Not good.

I did a bit of reading about this new miracle drug I've been taking 'Lorazepam', the drug that's made the last chemo session the best yet, the drug that's made more sleep better than ever and the drug that made the nausea just about on the right side of bearable.

The following statements jumped out at me

  • lorazepam's principal use has been in treating the symptom of anxiety.
  • Among benzodiazepines, lorazepam has a relatively high addictive potential
  • Lorazepam has relatively potent anxiolytic effects and its best known indication is the short-term management of severe chronic anxiety, though in fact the FDA advises against this usage
  • Lorazepam has strong sedative/hypnotic effects
  • Withdrawal symptoms, including rebound insomnia and rebound anxiety, may occur after only 7 days' administration of lorazepam.
  • It is sometimes used in chemotherapy as an adjunct to antiemetics for treating anticipatory nausea and vomiting
Serious shit, then. Not to be messed with. No wonder I liked it so much.

I only get 5 days supply at a time - to get me over the chemo treatment - and I take them about 10pm. I have to confess, I was actually looking forward to taking them by day 3. Mainly because it mean 'outtahere' for 10 hours. I didn't get up to be sick, go to the toilet or have a drink. This is a miracle - normally during chemo, I am very restless during the night - sweating, or thinking, or drinking, or itching, or pissing like a racehorse or staring vacantly into a fridge at 3:00am wondering, expressed as a percentage, exactly how much of the contents of the 'fruit and vegetable' compartment is now over 3 weeks past its sell by date.

So during the 5 days of hell, everyone is happy. Sickness down, sleep patterns up. But then the Twilight Zone starts.

I would actually say, in many ways, that the two days following the 5 days of chemo are the worst. When you're sick, you're sick. You sit in your pants, you watch shite TV, you do what to can to get through the day. You're sick. Everyone gets it.

But then you're kind of well again. Except your not. You're on a bloody different planet. Everyones says you 'look well' (this is very important, apparently) but your brain is hanging around in limbo. The body might still doing weird things, like aching or not doing things, like pooing but you can deal with that. It's the head stuff that's quite hard.

Memory is terrible, confusing A for B, making mistakes in emails - all that kind of thing is common - frustrating but again, bearable. However, this time, walking back out in the world, meeting people and seeing crowds and life was a lot more of a shocker. I suspect the side-effects of the Lorazepam at work.

For example, my good friend took me for a meal on the first 'good evening' ... I walked into the resturant and nearly had a panic attack. Slight paranoia and anxiety kicked in. It passes after a while but it's not a feeling I relish as it's an old, old feeling that I once knew very, very well ... and one that I haven't felt for a very long time ...

You see, I used to have this little drink problem. And from the age of 17, to compound things, I was stuck on various 'tablets' - right up until 31, when I got sober. The drink and those 'tablets' mixed to cause many years of anxiety and mental issues ... which I'm not going to rattle on about here, but I suddenly find myself having flashes of that old, familiar - and certainly not welcome - feelings.

So, I shall be very wary on my new little helping hand. For those tablets come at a cost. Sedate tonight, over-alert tomorrow. There are no highs without a low. I know this.

I guess this explains why I was so snappy on those two days ... so angry, so quickly. So snappy. Boiling inside with unfounded resentments ... for no reason. Except, I guess ... coming off those little blue pills.

My next treatment is due this Thursday ... if I have enough white blood cells - we shall see.

No comments: