The regrettable application of long term memory

Have you ever forgotten what it was like to feel good? I’m almost there. I almost have to flip the calendar to find that last, blissful day.

The worst part of it all is it may be self inflicted.

“Wait a second, how is a cold self inflicted?”

Kudos to me for such a good question. My daughter inherited my gift for interrogation, but that’s another story.

The cold started innocently enough: a few sniffles here, a few coughs there. For those of us familiar with allergies and sinuses more concerned with mucous production than breathing, this is nothing new. In fact, it’s one reason why many of my colds go untreated for so long – something my team of doctors have advised against due to my immunity issues.

This time though, I was really dumb. I went almost two weeks until I called my doctor. I did a course of treatment. I went to work. I went to court. I wasn’t feeling better. Then I did what many of you would do, if you were in my place: I went to Disney World for the long holiday weekend. Trust me, if your kids are half as cute as mine, you’d go too. Of course, it was a long slog. It took an effort to remain vertical, but I made it home… exhausted. The next day I went back to work again.

Feeling worse (big surprise) and short of breath, I went to see my doctor after work, that first day back from Disney. She took a listen to my lungs and she heard more than she wanted too, telling me I had a pinch of pneumonia.

All of this was really exciting to me. I’d never had pneumonia before.

That first course of antibiotics did little. Even the steroids didn’t clear things up. That second one did nothing, so I made another call – and picked up another prescription – number four if you’re keeping score. It’s hard to believe we’re way under the 7.5% of adjusted gross income for deducting medical expenses. A few days passed, bringing us up to date.

It turns out I’m probably having an allergic reaction this last antibiotic. Who doesn’t love a good rash? The good news is my cold symptoms are finally easing. My bronchi are acting less like sieves and the nasties are slowing their decent from my sinuses down the back of my throat. However, this latest aborted treatment brings the list of antibiotics I’m allergic, or had some kind of bad reaction to five: Penicillins, Sulfonamides, Quinolones, Cephalosporins (the early ones anyway), and now possibly Clarithromycin (though I haven’t had a problem with some of the other Macrolides – assuming you don’t count nausea and vomiting as a problem). I’m more worried than ever that I’m untreatable, which ain’t great for someone who seems to get sick more often than many.

So here I am: fresh off my circumnavigation medical treatment theory… back to treatment plan A (mine), or letting it ride (sans drugs). My symptoms are a bit better this morning so my doctor wants to see if it’ll resolve itself (with a boost from the Clarithromycin already in my system). This might have been the right track all along if it’s a virus, but my docs always want to do the antibiotic thing to prevent secondary infections.

All I can say is: ugh.

Phizer, GlaxoSmithKline, Roche, Merck, Wyeth… where are you when I need you?



It’s not as bad as it sounds, or will sound (if you can make any sense of it). This week I’ve been sick (again/still – pick your adverb) and between medications. I’ve been weening myself from caffeine, on doctor’s orders, and I’m suffering the consequences. My meds of choice for headache are no longer part of the arsenal – due to the caffeine, so I’m doubly screwed. The doctor who recommended I stop the caffeine (not all at once) said I should go see my primary about my headache medication, and like an idiot I didn’t rouse myself to do anything about it until it was too late. My primary’s office was closed for the week. Throw in a new medication that made things MUCH worse (the one and only time I took it), and the few days it’s taken to get back to where I was before, which wasn’t great to begin with, and you get a really bad week for ya. If memory serves, that’s the English approximation for the Russian word for “me.” Or maybe it’s “I.” Maybe it works as both. Dr. Mann would be so disappointed in me. Я не знаю!

So don’t worry. I wrote this post last night, during a particularly dark mood. Today already feels like a better day. Autumn came in earnest this morning, with a little bit of cool air, and I love it.

I don’t mean to mislead you. I have none – status that is. I’m (probably wrongly) assuming you’ll think of the kind you’d equate to someone’s standing in the community. Heck, I’d be happy to be standing at all.

I’ve been floating. It’s been a while now. I’ve tweeted a bit. I’ve punched the clock. Yeah, The Clock. I’ve seen a doctor. I’ve seen another. I’ve seen my mother.

Yep, that kind of status.

Cheryl wants me to see yet another – doctor that is. My doctor brought it up too. I asked the other, but she changed the subject. Damn psychiatrists.

I think… no, I take that back. I haven’t been thinking. I’ve been hurting. That’s my status. How often do you see that on Facebook? Maybe you’ve seen it a lot. Hurt has a way of turning you inward. It’s hard to see others when you’re looking the wrong way. I keep waiting for a doctor to turn me around. I think… no, I know everything would be better if hurt went away, if I let myself look in the right direction.

I’d just like to enjoy things again. This month has been birthday season in my family. Almost all if them come within a few weeks of right now. I’ve been MIA for most of it. I’ve been checked out, either physically, emotionally, or both. We celebrated mom’s birthday this week. It was the first time in a while I’ve been in the same room with my first family. Even that couldn’t pull me all the way back. I sat next to my sister, across from my wife and two adorable kids, just down from my parents, and the baby of the family at the other end with her family. I still wasn’t all there.

I have flashes. Some days something throws a switch and I’m me again. The pain that visits behind my right temple, or behind my right ear, visits someone else. The dark cloud of depression that fills up my mind, crowding out nearly everyone and everything else, blows out to sea. The infectious invaders are beaten back by my immune system, sometimes with an assist from my MD. I feel good. I feel like I can make the people around me feel good. But it doesn’t last nearly long enough. It doesn’t happen nearly often enough.

To be honest, things probably look a little worse than they really are right now. My doctor recommended (strongly) I give up my favorite drug: caffeine. I’m in the process of weening, and my body’s in the process of jonesing. Oh, and did I mention the nifty little sinus bug that’s got some game? Take your pick: caffeine withdrawal, sinus infection, my garden variety headache, or what the heck… may be a combination of all three.

I’d give anything to someone with the power of the prescription pad right now. Or would I? Should I? Oncology. Immunology. Psychiatry. Dermatology. Ophthalmology. Otolaryngology. My plain ‘ole GP. Sleep Medicine (I tried to find an appropriate “-ology” and wikipedia failed me). More than one person suggesting neurology. An ominous comment from a friend about one of them in particular, and my wife wishing I’d pick another. Not enough or too much?

I wish someone knew something. “You definitely look better.” A week goes by. “You definitely look worse.” For a couple years I’ve heard some variation of “I’d like to try….” I don’t blame anyone though. I know they’re really trying. I wish medical science knew more. I wish there was a little less error. I wish I wasn’t the trial. I wish I believed something else had an answer. A week between visits I lost more weight than I should have. My blood pressure dropped… a lot. (My heart rate is fine though.) They’re drawing more blood. My doctor is working on insurance approval for extensive scans. Go fish.

I wish I could tell you about something else, but the last thing I need is trouble there.

I wish I could stop wishing.