An advent

It’s been a while since I’ve written here, mostly because I came to resent the fact it seemed like I only came to these pages to complain. Recently, however, something very positive has happened to me, and after debating when and how to share it, I decided to share it with everyone all at once.

About six weeks ago, I started taking an antidepressant after consulting with my healthcare provider about some things I had going on, including rampant insomnia and some ways of thinking that lead nowhere good. For those of you who know me well enough, you may realize how important and difficult a decision this was for me.

I wish I had pushed this issue decades ago.

In the past six weeks, for what seems like the first time in my life, my head is clear of so much of the noise that has plagued me most of my life. I have slept full nights for the first time in years. The change is beyond remarkable for me, and has contributed to a host of realizations about myself and my behavior that were, for me, clouded until now.

Granted, I am just at the beginning of a process, and we’ve already had to make adjustments to my medication to accommodate symptoms and side effects, but the fact is I can see where I need to be going and how to get there for the first time in a really long time.

I’m telling everyone this for two reasons. First, because, especially as a male, it can be hard to admit something is wrong and to ask for help. Second, because it’s important for all of us to remember that the brain is an organ just like the liver or the pancreas, and if you’re willing to take medication to help them work better, why not consider doing so for your brain too if you need it?

The bottom line is that I did ask for that help and got it, and for the first time in a really long time, I am optimistic about being able to improve. I can’t say for certain where this will head, but I know it will head somewhere. Stay tuned for more as time passes.

DLH

Planned obsolescence

While opening a new package of glucometer test strips today, I noticed the package emblazoned with an advertisement for a new glucometer from the same company.

This wasn’t just any kind of advertisement. Rather, it was a not-so-subtle hint that the company plans to discontinue their current line of testing supplies in favor of its new line, which means needing a new meter and testing supplies.

Some might see this assumption as an overreaction, but the fact is that this is a common practice. The company in question is already systematically discontinuing the meters that use these test strips, and the new meters us different strips. Third party companies make compatible strips, but there is no guarantee they will continue once the product has been discontinued. Further, third party products are not always of the same quality as those from the manufacturer, especially where testing is concerned.

I wonder when I come across these kinds of things if the companies that do this realize how expensive this gets for the people who depend on their products to maintain a healthy life. Testing supplies are already expensive enough, but being forced into replacing otherwise working equipment simply because its manufacturer declares it obsolete makes the cost more than some can bear.

But then the medical community wonders why so many people are out of compliance. If you’ve ever dealt with them in cases like diabetes, you’d think they think their patients are made of money. I’m fortunate because my current doctor deals with low income patients and so doesn’t think that, but in so many cases they do.

Now, I will figure out a way to make this work for me, but that doesn’t change the problem. There has to be a better way for this to work that inflicting more cost onto an already expensive process. If we’re going to reform healthcare, that’s the kind of reform we actually need.

DLH

Thirty days

I realized last night, as I finished my first vial of Lantus, that it’s been a month since I got out of the hospital. I’ll admit, it seems a lot longer, and I will also admit that I am frustrated to report that, even a month later, I am still recovering from those events.

That I am epically impatient is both well known and an understatement, but the fact is I can’t help but wonder if some of the things I’m experiencing now are in some way permanent or caused by some yet to be diagnosed condition. It’s always bad to borrow trouble, and I’m told I need to be patient, but I can’t help but think about the negatives.

That said, today it will be 60 degrees outside, which means a walk or even two. That’s not a bad way to celebrate a month out, even if it is with misgivings.

DLH

Checkpoint

Today turned out to be a pretty good day, despite the fact I’m tired and a little sore now.

The day started with my second quality walk in as many days. It was a lot colder this morning than yesterday, so my pace was much faster, resulting in a higher heart rate. Other than some muscle fatigue toward the end, I tolerated it well, and that gives me hope I’ve turned a corner.

This afternoon, I had my second follow-on appointment since I was in the hospital. We went over the results of my blood draw from Friday, and most of my numbers look really good for someone who was so recently sick. There are a couple of things we’re going to keep an eye on, but I don’t have to go back for a month, so that’s a good sign.

Finally, Keba and I wandered around our local Kroger while they filled a new prescription I’m starting to replace an old one. It ended up being a second walk for the day, leaving me tired and sore but contented.

As impatient and restless as I have been about recovering, I’m surprised and pleased with the sudden progress I seem to be making over the past few days. Now, the task is for me to restrain my enthusiasm so as not to overdo it.

DLH

Vampires

An unfortunate side effect of my current circumstance is that I now have to have regular blood draws to keep track of whatever it is my body is up to. I’ve never been a fan of needles, so this is a cause of no little distress, and I find I’m even more distressed by the fact I’m getting used to being stuck on a regular basis.

I’ve also developed something of a grading system for the quality of the stickers. Part of my aversion to needles is that I have always been a hard stick with soft, rolly veins that often collapse when penetrated by a needle. Finding someone who can get me on the first try is a rare commodity, and I do my best to remember who they are and what they did for future reference.

Today’s sticker was a keeper and used a few tricks I’ve never seen before like using an upside-down blood pressure cuff instead of a tourniquet to help things along. If I’m going to have to do this on some kind of a regular basis, tricks like that are worth remembering.

DLH