Friday, May 23, 2008

I Am Back, I Am Scared, I Am Confused, and It's Official

Well after being away for almost a month- I think that I am finally ready to write about what has been happening in my life. As of May 10th I am no longer an NICU nurse- since my FMLA ended or ran out on that date- I was notified by the department director a few days later that she had to terminate me from my position in the NICU. I have been on unpaid medical leave with my position protected by the FMLA. 
I am still technically employed by the hospital, my leave has been transferred to unpaid position unprotected personal leave of absence and if I am able to go back to work I am eligible to go back to work at this hospital if there is a position available that I am qualified for, but my leave of absence must end by August 2nd. I honestly don't know if I will be ready to go back to work by then, we will just have to wait and see. I still don't know anything about my long-term disability, I found out today that my case has not yet been decided, I might hear something next week or the following week- but they don't know or weren't willing to tell me if my benefits would be retroactive or not- would be nice to know since I have not received a paycheck since the beginning of March. Oh well, it is only money right.
And it is finally official- I have my psychiatric diagnosis and honestly it is not what I expected or had prepared myself for, but then again how do you prepare yourself for something that life-changing? I am not exactly sure on the exact diagnosis as you tend to block that type of thing out when you hear the words coming out of the practitioners mouth- I am seeing the nurse practitioner at this time, see her one more time then she goes on maternity leave and I start seeing the actual psychiatrist (he has been on vacation and they did not think that I should wait for him to return). 
Anyway, when I see her in a few days I will be having her write down my diagnosis and also my dh will be going with me so I am sure he will have questions for her since I had a huge breakdown today and called him at work bawling and freaking out after attempting to start a cross-stitch project for a couple of friends that have had babies in the last few months. I don't know what happened, I got started and everything was going okay, I finished two rows of what will hopefully end up being a personalized baby quilt and all of a sudden I didn't want to do it anymore, I was completely overwhelmed by the whole thing and just didn't want to do it- this is something that is one of my hobbies, or at least used to be- after I called dh and probably freaked him out I was just so exhausted I wanted to take a nap, so I went to sleep for a couple of hours.
So what is my diagnosis-well, I actually have several, from nursing school I remember that they start with a diagnosis DSM-IV and then an axis and something else, but I honestly can't remember how it all works. So here is what I do know, I have been diagnosed with Adult ADHD, Severe Depression and Bipolar Type 2 with OCD Tendencies. I have always known about the depression, so that was expected, my pain doctor had mentioned OCD and I have always wondered about that, so I was kind of expecting that too. But the ADHD which shouldn't have been a big deal had never been brought up- that caught me off guard a little, but the biggest shock was the bipolar diagnosis. My pain doctor had briefly brought it up but then said he highly doubted it- so then when she officially said that I did have that it scared me, and I began to wonder how she came up with that- I vaguely remember something about her saying that I was on the low end of the spectrum- I guess that was because I haven't had a huge psychotic break/episode yet. I just have the really low lows and then have the sort of manic episodes- but not completely out of control- I am just frustrating dh because I can't stop talking sometimes, or I can't find the right words to explain myself.
If he thinks that he is frustrated, he should try living in my brain- how the hell does he think I feel?! I have a freaking college degree- how I have that I really don't know right now, I can't function as a nurse, I honestly don't know if or when I will be able to, and that scares the hell out of me, it really does- I was always the one that knew what they were going to be when they grew up- and now all I feel is completely lost and scared. Somedays all I want to do, all I have the energy to do is get out of bed only to curl up on the couch for the rest of the day. I then feel guilty when dh gets home and asks what did you do all day? I try to do things, really I do, but when you have no energy or get completely exhausted after emptying the dishwasher and then reloading it and feeding the cats- I agree it is pathetic- but what am I supposed to do? I am doing my best, I really am- sometimes I don't think he believes me that I am. I know that he is working hard everyday at his job and then has to come and deal with me. 
I am already on my second mood stabilizer- I had an allergic reaction to the first one, Lamictal, - it actually landed me in the ER, I ended up with blisters, itching, major pressure in my neck and head- I have never had a headache that bad, I know have a new reference for my worst pain for the pain scale- they actually gave me Ativan because I was crying uncontrollably and writhing in pain when they were trying to take me to have a CT- but because I have a history of chronic headaches that is all the doctor and the nurses in the ER would look at even with me telling them it wasn't a headache- but why should you listen to the patient, especially a patient that is obviously just a pain seeker that is being a drama queen- I think it did help when dh told the nurse- to put things into perspective, that I was trying to bribe people to let me leave the hospital when I had appendicitis so that I could go and take my nursing final, the nurse finally looked somewhat shocked that maybe I wasn't acting- maybe I really was in that much pain. But whatever- they just pumped me full of pain meds, stuff for nausea and the Ativan to make me relax- well they did that for sure- my heart rate kept dropping into the low 40's. 
When he told his mom about what was going on she just told him point blank that maybe he should take a look at our relationship and do what was best for him- basically get out now. Thanks a lot MIL, after all that dh and I have been through over the past 11 almost 12 yrs (we were together for a yr prior to getting married- we will celebrate our 11th anniversary next month), she has been sure our marriage was never going to last from day one. She is mostly embarrassed of anything that is not perfect- well maybe she should take a look at herself. Any time we call before 5 p.m. their time (they live in Michigan) she has already had 2 or 3 drinks- would you like some gin with your vodka? No, I know I shouldn't be saying bad things against her, it doesn't make me any better- but you know I am terribly sorry that your son fell in love with a barren crazy person- with me not working I highly doubt that you will have to worry about me visiting and you having to explain anything to the rest of the family anytime soon. So the horrible dark family secret should be safely hidden for several more years, or at least until I am well controlled on medications.
I just wish that it didn't take so long for medications to start to work, because I honestly don't feel better- I did for a few days, now I feel miserable again. I cry at the drop of a hat, I am irritable, I know that I must be really pleasant to be around right now. My current mood stabilizer, Abilify, has not yet kicked in- I have been on it for about a week- it has wonderful side effects- none of which I have experienced yet, and none of which I hope to experience. The Cymbalta that I have been taking since January doesn't seem to be working- I have mentioned this multiple times and all that happens is that my pain doctor wants to let the psych deal with it because he doesn't deal with psych issues and thinks that the psych will be able to handle it better- then the psych lowers the dose because she doesn't think I need to be on 90 mg a day, she thinks that that kind of a dose is more for pain than for depression- and since I am no longer having as many migraines then I should be on a lower dose, so I am now taking 60 mg a day- I am not sure the difference because I really don't feel any different on the 60 vs the 90 mg. I hate taking pills, I keep screwing them up, dh has actually written down what I take and how many so that when I fill my weekly pill holder I don't make a mistake. I am almost 33 yrs old and I take more pills than either of my grandmothers' did- neither of my parents take as many pills as I take- it is sad.
Well, I started this blog with the pills that I was taking for weight loss and such so I guess that I will re-start this blog with the same- if anyone is still reading this be prepared- no this is not a joke, this really is my daily pill regimen.

3 P.M.
  • Klonopin 1 mg x 1 at bedtime
  • Actiq 400 mcg x 1 for severe migraine
  • Epipen 0.3 mcg x 1-2 for anaphylactic reaction
  • Benadryl 75- 100 mg x 1 for allergic reactions and/or nausea
  • Pepcid 40 mg x 1 for severe and/or anaphylactic reaction
  • ProAir MDI 2 puffs x every 4 hours to control asthma
  • DuoNeb 1-2 ampuls x every 4 to 6 hours to control asthma
  • AccuNeb 1-2 ampuls x every 4 to 6 hours to control asthma

Well, I think that those are plenty of pills- considering I hate taking pills! So this is my life now, pills when I get up in the morning, at 11 a.m., 3 p.m., around 5 p.m. or whenever we have dinner and then when I go to bed- oh but that's the funny thing. I don't really sleep at night that much anymore- take tonight- I started writing this around 10:30 p.m. and it is now 2 a.m. I might if I am lucky sleep for an hour or so around 5 or 6 a.m., but my Mom is coming over at 10 a.m. to help me with COBRA paperwork and to help me clean out some rooms go through some clothes and a few other projects that have become completely overwhelming to me. It is pretty sad I can't really function much on my own anymore- my Dad who is basically retired calls to check on me everyday to make sure that I am doing okay, that I don't need anything, that I don't need to go anywhere- because for whatever reason- I stopped driving in February. 
DH and my Dad are after me continuously to just get over it and go out and drive- I am terrified that I am going to kill someone- I see the car as a couple hundred pound weapon not a mode of transportation, I can't get them to understand that- see I was diagnosed with a sleep disorder similar to narcolepsy called CNS hypersomnolence about 8 or 9 yrs ago, the medication Provigil that is used to treat this disorder is not pleasant, I fortunately HAD to stop it when we were ttc 3 to 4 yrs ago- I tend to fall asleep while driving- anyway I used to have a really bad habit of doing so, and I am terrified to do so again and not be so lucky this time around. 
Well, I think that I have babbled and updated enough for now. Weight loss wise, I have hit a wall- partly self-inflicted due to being bombarded by all of this, but I have dropped clothing sizes, so I am not to concerned- my Mom took me shopping last weekend and we got a dress for my youngest cousin's upcoming wedding (which happens to be taking place on mine and dh's anniversary, at least it wasn't last year when we were renewing our vows), the dress came from the Misses section- I honestly can't remember the last time I got anything from that section and had it fit as well as this does- and the size, I haven't worn this size in like 10 yrs or more- I am wearing clothes that I was going to donate to charity because they didn't fit, my Mom has had to take in several pairs of my jeans and many pairs of capris and other outfits that I haven't worn in a very long time are fitting again, I have gone down a shoe size and my skirt and petticoat from Seattle are too big now- I am very excited.
So there are some good things happening in my life, just not too many right now. DH has all of next week off, so hopefully I don't drive him nuts, but we can spend some time together and he can see what I do spend my day doing.

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