Several years back, I believe it may have been around 2007, although I would really have to pull out various bills and such to figure that out, I had a major heart attack. In actuality my first heart attack was in 2002, but it was minor, and required only rest and an adjustment to my activities. I was hospitalized this time, however, and the usual tests were run. My blockage was posterior, and could not be fixed with surgery, and instead I was started on various medications to lower my blood pressure(which was horrendously high) and allow my heart to pump more effectively. I was then released from the hospital on a regimen of medications that would allow me to live a relatively normal life, if I maintained them.
If I maintained them. Herein lies the problem. In order to maintain medications, one must have a doctor who will prescribe them. My own doctor of many years, who I loved, had retired and moved to Greece. Lovely man. Great doctor. I had known him since I was a nursing student. I chose him because he was a great doctor. He had seen me through the onset of my arthritis. Diagnosed my Lyme disease which was the impetus to it. Helped me find something that did not impair me mentally but would allow me to work in my garden and live independently free of pain, and not cause the bleeding that my own overdosing with aspirin did. But he was gone and I was left searching for someone to just maintain the medication regimen that was working.
I can remember the first time I was ever prescribed a pill that I would have to take the rest of my life. In 1983 I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism after suddenly gaining 100 pounds and losing half my hair, and most of my energy. From 1983 til this week I have taken something for my thyroid. The next pill I was prescribed “for the rest of your life” by a doctor was in 1996. I developed severe anxiety after the Oklahoma City Bombing, and insomnia. I saw a psychiatrist for a short while to try to ease that, and he put me on all kinds of medications, all of which had horrendous side effects that left me a virtual zombie, and then after not having slept for 2 weeks I was hauled off to a mental hospital in a state of extreme psychosis, where they removed me from all the “anti-psychotic” drugs that were making me psychotic, and found that a minimal amount of Ativan, given to me at bedtime to help me relax and sleep was really all I needed. This medication, too, would have to be maintained….for the rest of my life. Unless of course I wanted to have frequent psychotic breaks from lack of sleep. There is really not much one can do about insomnia but make you sleep, you see. One doctor later wanted me to stop the Ativan and prescribed Ambien. —this is another Doctor nightmare. I could go into the details of that, but suffice it to say we went off the Ambien and back on the nightly dose of ativan.
In truth I hate pills. I hate taking medications. All of them seem to have some side effect to me, early on, when I had migraines as a young adult, a Doctor found that I was one of those rare people who have what is called “Idiosyncratic drug reactions” . Drugs and me do not mix. So, it takes a patient and caring doctor to find what works, not mess around with “new” drugs that are being pushed by the pill pusher from the pill makers. (I am not your guinea pig, Doc, bad choice…very bad.) One of the reasons I studied herbalism and learned bio-feedback techniques was to take a natural and minimalist approach to medications. Too much crazy stuff happens when you insert chemicals.
So, then in 1998 I was bitten by a tick, and shortly thereafter I found that my right middle finger had lost some of its range of motion. My doctor (the one who is now in Greece) tested me for Lyme Disease, it was found to be positive and he administered a long course of antibiotics and we followed my progression into RA. He believed that I probably had a predisposition to Rheumatoid Arthritis, and that the Lyme infection was probably a catalyst to its sudden onset. We tried various medications to try to halt the progression, but due to that wacky Idiosyncratic thing I have, all of them caused some kind of reaction. I began to take Aspirin….a lot of aspirin. Did I mention I am unable to take Tylenol? Oh, well that is another story. It is why I take only aspirin for pain. I have since I was 16 and told I should never take tylenol (acetaminophen). I turn yellow when I do. It is not pretty.
Life was pretty painful for a number of years, and my quality of life was diminishing rapidly and eventually my doctor talked me into trying a pill called Tramadol. I was very hesitant at first, not only because of the idiosyncratic thing, but because I do not like to feel “high”. I had struggled with alcohol for a time in my life and spent time being high all the time, and not only do I blame it for many of my own ills, but the world’s ills in general, and besides if I have only a short amount of time left on God’s earth, I do not wish to spend it mentally impaired. But at his insistence, I tried it. It worked. I was surprised at how good life was when one is pain free. In all honesty I had forgotten. I had forgotten how much you get done, how easily it is done and how much time you do not waste merely dealing with the pain. It had over the years been my life to mentally “gear myself up” for the pain of the day. Some days I was just not able to do it, and would try to find a comfortable position and then remain in that position for most of the day. Now…due to this MIRACLE drug (My doctor laughed when I called it that) I could….live. I was pain free. I did not take the drug every day. I treated it like a golden treasure and I did not want it to ever NOT work on those worst days when the pain was so intense that I would be nauseated and no amount of positioning or stillness or prayer would relieve it. I continued to take aspirin on my “good days” and the prescription miracle pain killer on my very worst of days.
Then …I had the heart attacks and my doctor retired and here I was this old woman with a little tin of pill bottles to keep me alive, and out of pain.
I also stopped driving. I was homebound.
And the search for a doctor began. I looked for some time, until the pills ran out. Not having been able to find a doctor, I went to herbal remedies for a year or more. Then the pain, the dizziness, the weakness from my heart was too much for me. I found a doctor that would make house calls and this worked for many years. The one sticking point was always when I would run out of a medication and have to call one in to the pharmacy. For some reason this is a difficult thing. I would call it in, wait, call the doctor, call the pharmacist, call the doctor, call the pharmacist and the nightmare over the STUPID LITTLE PILLS began.
A month ago I gave up. I screamed at them over the phone about it. 7 years of this constant fight over pills! If you do not want me to take them, then SAY SO and DON’T prescribe them, but for God sakes I am so sick of fighting for these pills that you say I MUST take but then YOU DON’T PRESCRIBE.
After I yelled at them they told me the doctor would not longer see me. I thought about suing them for patient abandonment, but to be honest I am just too tired.
So I went to another Doctor.
It only got worse. I have seen them for a month and they are the most incompetent buffoons I have ever witnessed. The fight over pills continued. They do not care about my medical history or me.
So I am done with the pills. I am not going to spend my life fighting with idiots over pills. I would rather let nature takes it course and I will die of natural causes. Of all the various things that are wrong with me, one of them is bound to get me eventually. Today I stop taking prescription medications, and I will no longer seek the advice or help of a Doctor.