Tomorrow I was supposed to have a second Tilt Table Test along with some other autonomic testing (TTT). It is the “gold standard” of POTS diagnosis. The hospital asked me to stop all my medication 48 hours ahead of time. I didn’t really think much about it. Yesterday I woke up relieved not to have to count out meds and eat around certain ones and the general hassle taking some 15 meds a day brings.
By evening I felt ill. And then sicker. And sicker. I got a pounding headache and was on the verge of throwing up for hours. The minutes ticked by. It became obvious around 1 am sleep wasn’t happening. I put on movies. I had my mom come listen to me cry. And hold my hand. Some people have husbands who do this. Some people have no one. I have a mom. But I digress.
When the morning came I realized in an “aha” moment I was having withdrawals from one of my meds, Cymbalta. It’s a drug you’re strongly encouraged to taper off of. There are horror stories online of people trying to get off this pill. Side effects of withdrawal are lengthy and scary. Suicide, rage, headache, palpitations, intense anxiety, insomnia, vomiting, and more!
I couldn’t nap today. I am THE nap queen. My body was so done, but my brain would not stop. At one point I swore I knocked over a cup of water and it spilled on my iPad. I burst into inconsolable tears. But when I picked up my iPad, it was dry. My water cup, full. I full on hallucinated this. I don’t mean oh I kind of thought it happened. No. I was sure! This was one of the weirdest medical experiences I’ve had to date.
By 9pm I just knew. I can’t do this all night. Holding my blue puke sack from the hospital and rocking back and forth in pain, I snapped. I am beholden to a tiny blue and white pill. With more crying, and crying, and a consultation with my in house psychiatrist (aka Dad), I threw in the towel.
I quit. I took the damn pill. This means I can’t have my test tomorrow. I’ll be able to reschedule. The testing isn’t what’s hard to get scheduled for. But that’s the thing. I’m always rescheduling. I’m always too sick. It’s forever “I’ll catch the game with you all next week!” I’ve left my house outside of medical reasons twice in almost 4 weeks. My mom has taken over all my Abby watching. Abby sort of stares at me blankly when she sees me now. She’s lost her playmate Rie, for now.
I used to never stop. I used to never quit anything I started. I climbed ropes at the Army cross fit gym and I made my niece laugh and I was a social butterfly. Many moments I am at peace that life is different for me now, and I must measure accordingly. But days like today, I feel like a big, fat, failure.
Even so, our failings aren’t a waste. I’ve learned I WILL safely get off this evil pill. And what I keep learning more of the longer I’m ill, is empathy. How people who are full on addicted to substances much stronger than Cymbalta manage to quit, I don’t know. But good gravy. You all are some badass warriors. I saw probably 1/100th of that pain and desperation today, and it destroyed me. Recovering addicts have always had my respect, but you have it millions more now.
Somehow, I’m still awake. I’m rambly and hurt and am leaking tears involuntarily. It’s almost a new day. I can almost feel sleep coming. The sun will rise, and we will try again.