Friday, November 20, 2020

Backward to go forward

There are times when the smartest thing we can do is run up the white flag and accept defeat. When we do, we can plan a new way forward, but sometimes that can mean, at least technically, moving backward. Today was one of those days.

Last month I started on a new prescription, and on October 31, just one week later, I could already tell it wasn’t going well. I wrote:
I said last week that the cardiologist gave me a new prescription for a drug to help control my heart rate (Felodipine), which he prescribed in the hope that it wouldn’t make me as tired as the one I’ve been on (Diltiazem). So far, it hasn’t turned out like that.

The drug has left me feeling more tired than I felt under the old drug. Another side effect I felt was pain in the muscles of my arms, legs, and back, any of which might feel very sore, as if from heavy overuse, when I did any sort of physical activity—even washing the dishes at the kitchen sink. This all came together Thursday when I tried to vacuum the house, and only got part way through the open-plan lounge, kitchen, dining area, and my upper arms ached terribly, plus I was utterly exhausted. I had to sit down for around a half hour to recover.

The most uncomfortable thing, though, is that it’s given me palpitations, another side effect, which made me feel like I was having a panic attack. Very unpleasant.
It’s been nearly four weeks now, and today I gave up: I asked my doctor to put me back on Diltiazem. I just couldn’t stand how completely awful I felt, even though some things had changed. On balance, it was still truly awful.

The muscle aches went away after maybe another week, but the profound fatigue continued. The palpitations eased, but that only made me more aware of what I believe was angina, which is what it felt like; I hadn’t experienced since before my stent.

What I didn’t mention in that post at the end of last month was what I call the “brain fog” I was experiencing: Inability to concentrate, inability to focus, and huge problems with my short-short term memory. Add it all up, and it as just like being on beta blockers again—and it was the reason I just haven’t felt like blogging in recent weeks, just like when I was on beta blockers.

I don’t actually think there’s anything wrong with Felodipine as a drug—I took it a few years ago with no problems. However, back then it was the only drug I was taking, whereas now my blood is a chemical soup of prescriptions. Most drug interactions are known and documented, but we’re all individuals, and our own experiences can differ from the norm in all sorts of unexpected ways. I’m Exhibit A of that fact.

In addition to all this fun, I also have a tooth problem: It’s the same one I first mentioned way back in July of 2018. The periodontist asked about it again in September 2018, and maybe again after that (I can’t be sure because I stopped documenting Tooth Tales that September. Eight months later, I was due to see the periodontist for treatment and ended up in hospital instead (I’d also seen the periodontist for a checkup on April 15, which I also didn’t document, and the treatment I missed was meant to be four weeks later).

So, it’s not like I didn’t know that sooner or later I’d need it dealt to. But, well, things happened in 2019 and this year, too, and I never got to it. This week, it started hurting—not constantly, but when it does it’s rather unpleasant. I don’t have a dentist in Hamilton, and that meant it would be two weeks before I could see one (existing patients understandably take priority). But two weeks is a long time to wait, even without pain. So, I asked my doctor what I could take aside form paracetamol, which is one of the few painkillers I can take. He prescribed codeine, which I may not even need, but if things get somewhat worse, I have back-up pain relief (and if it gets really bad, I’ll have to pay a lot to go to the emergency dentist; we’ll see).

The tooth thing is partly my fault—I should have dealt with it way back when I was first told about it, but it wasn’t bothering me at the time, at all, and I went through a lot after that. Those may be excuses, but they’re also actual reasons.

The prescription, on the other had, I dealt to as soon as I was sure it wasn’t going to get better. After all, the old regime was working well, and the change was only about making me feel better. Now that I’m switching back, I will feel better. Weirdly enough.

Sometimes, the smartest thing we can do is accept defeat. When we do, we can plan a new way forward. Today was one of those days.

Important note: This is about my own personal health journey. My experiences are my own, and shouldn’t be taken as indicative for anyone else. Similarly, other people may have completely different reactions to the same medications I take—better or worse. I share my experiences because others may have the same or similar experiences, and I want them to know that they’re not alone. But, as always, discuss your situation and how you’re feeling openly, honestly, and clearly with your own doctor, and always feel free to seek a second opinion from another doctor.

1 comment:

Roger Owen Green said...

I hope you get 'regular".
Fortunately, my drugs seem to be working - knock wood...