Friday, June 29, 2007

Catching Up: Mental Health Edition

Before my brief blog hiatus last month, I was "quacking" up. Heh heh. See, how I call myself the "Unruly Duckling" and then I made a quack-related joke. Funny, right? Maybe those meds aren't quite doing the trick. Anyway.

So, there I was suffering from an anxiety disorder, starting medication and therapy with much optimism. And, despite a slightly rocky start I have to say that I'm as mentally well as I can probably expect to get.

A couple of days after I began taking Lexapro, I thought I was going to have a full-on, raving-lunatic breakdown. Coming back from a off-site meeting to my office I suddenly became completely overwhelmed. I ended up sitting in my car, trying desperately to summon the will to go upstairs, gasping and sobbing while it felt like my skin my going to crawl off my body. The only reason I was able to pull myself together was that the idea of having to explain to my boss that I couldn't come back to work because I was in the parking garage going crazy was worse than actually making it into the office.

Once I collected myself well enough to go to work and act normal, the rest of the afternoon wasn't that bad, especially since a meeting I'd been seriously dreading (for no good reason) was postponed at the last minute. This meeting - a monthly staff meeting we'd been having for at least a year - had already been postponed once because I called in sick the first time it was scheduled. That was when I first knew I had to get some help.

Despite the fact that I was able to suck up the crazy long enough to get through the day, I was rather concerned to find out whether this was part of the natural progression of crazy and it would go away once the meds kicked in or if the meds were driving me more crazy.

Once I got home I dug out the literature that came from the pharmacy when I picked up the prescription to see what it could tell me. I probably should have done this before I started popping the pills, but I was pretty desperate at the time.

Coincidentally, the doctor also discovered a minor bladder infection when I was in for my physical, so she prescribed the antibiotic Cipro for me. I hadn't given much thought to the antibiotics with everything else that was going on, but I glanced at the brochure to see if maybe I could discover something awesome about its anthrax-fighting powers or otherwise nifty. This is what I actually discovered:


* Nausea (5.2%),
* Diarrhea (2.3%),
* vomiting (2%),
* abdominal pain/discomfort(1.7%),
* headache(1.2%),
* restlessness(1.1%), and
* rash (1.1%).

The following were reported as less than one percent:

* CARDIOVASCULAR: Palpatation (feeling your heart beat), heart flutter, fainting, angina, heart attack, cardiopulmonary arrest, blood clot to the brain.
* CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM: Nervousness, dizziness, headache, lightheadedness, insomnia, nightmares, hallucinations, manic attack, tremors, irritability, seizures, lethargy, drowsiness, weakness, no appetite, depression, numbness, depersonalization, ataxia ( lack of muscle coordination), agitation, confusion, delirium, toxic psychosis, muscle twitching, involuntary eye movements.
* GASTROINTESTINAL: painful oral mucosa, thrush(oral fungal infection),intestinal perforation, G.I. bleeding, jaundice, difficulty swallowing, constipation, intestinal gas, swelling of the pancreas.
* MUSCULOSKELETAL: joint stiffness, back pain, neck or chest pain, gout flare-up.
* KIDNEY/URINARY: Kidney failure, urinary retention, urethral bleeding, acidosis, nephritis (inflammation of the kidneys), increased urinary output, kidney stones.
* RESPIRATORY: difficult breathing, throat or lung swelling (edema), hiccoughs, bronchial spasm, blood clot in the lung, nosebleed.
* SKIN HYPERSENSITIVITY: itching, rash, sensitivity to sunlight, flushing, chills, swelling of the blood vessels or lymph system, swelling of the face, lips, neck, eyes, or hands. Cuticle candidiasis (yeast) and hyperpigmentation.
* SPECIAL SENSES: Blurred or disturbed vision, sensitivity to light, seeing double, eye pain, ringing in the ears, hearing loss, bad taste in mouth.
* MISCELLANEOUS: Elevation of triglycerides and cholesterol. Blood and albumin in the urine, elevated serum potassium, glucose, and albumin. Anemia and agranulo-cytosis (potentially fatal condition where the white blood cell count goes extremely low).
Did you notice that bold part? Nervousness, insomnia, dizziness, agitation, delirium, toxic psychosis? They may be rare side effects, but that risk isn't exactly what I needed while struggling with a mental illness. Not only that, but I wasn't supposed to have any caffeine while taking Cipro because it magnifies the effect. Again, not helpful for an anxiety patient. I had sucked down several cups of coffee during that boring meeting the morning before I nearly flipped my wig.

I figured out that it was the Cipro driving me nuts (nuttier, I guess), but I stuck with it as long as I could in the fear of spawning a super-bug with my improper antibiotic usage. The very day I was done with the stuff, I started to feel better. After all I'd been through, bladder infection treatment nearly sent me over the edge.

Moral of the story: Ask your doctor point-blank about side effects, and read the stuff the pharmacy gives you before cramming any drugs down your desperate maw.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Catching Up: Marital Bliss Edition

Last week was our two year wedding anniversary. It's been so fun being married to The Husband, but it was a fabulous wedding, so sometimes I'm tempted to get divorced just so we can get married again.

Despite all the poofy princess trappings of the wedding, I quickly turned into quite the hairy-legged feminist, and let me tell you, I've taught the man a thing or two. Here's the card from the flowers he sent on our anniversary:

How could I not be head-over-heels in love?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Major Fashion Miscalculation

Do you ever see a stranger in public who just looks so stupid it gives you rage? It happens to me from time to time, and I feel bad about giving a crap what some random person is wearing, but I can't help it.

The Husband and I went to a teeny tiny little folk music concert last Friday. It was a very chill, small, and older crowd who mostly looked like someone's grandparents. But, this one guy was bringing enough weird for the whole room.

I wish I had thought to snap a surreptitious photo with my phone, but you'll just have to use your imagination.

Weird Al Yankovic from the neck up.
Hippy, flower-child wanna-be to the waist.
Ninja from the waist down.


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

I Love My Office

We were having a meeting about our health insurance benefits this afternoon, and the representative starts to say, "If you don't see your doctor in the network, give him a call..."

Half the group goes, "Or her!"

Catching Up: Home Edition

I haven't been posting much because so much has been going on that it's been difficult to organize my thoughts. Fortunately most of this stuff would make pretty boring blog-fodder, so you haven't missed much.

There was that whole thing about buying a house. Moving went pretty smoothly even if it did take a thousand years to clean out the old place. I expect it will only take a few hundred more to finish unpacking.

Yard maintenance has turned out to be more difficult than I expected. We planned to buy an old-timey reel mower, like this:

However, we didn't actually get around to purchasing one before we had the lawn that needed mowing. We innocently thought we could mosey over to Home Depot and pick one up after we moved in. According to the Home Depot guy they only sell reel mowers on the web site. According to the web site, they don't sell them at all.

By this time the lawn was getting a little shaggy, so we figured we'd hire a landscaping service to hack the lawn into a manageable state while we decided where to buy a mower. We picked some guy out of the back of the neighborhood magazine, and he set up a time to come out and give us an estimate. Once he got there (two days later) he took one look at it and decided there was no way he was touching our nasty, shameful lawn with his precious equipment.

On to Plan B. I called my Aunt and asked to borrow her lawn mower. She said, "Sure," but warned me that it's a little tricky to use. In order to start it, there's a lever you have to wiggle, but not too much. And a thing you have to press, but not too hard. Etc., etc.

The Husband, after much persistence, did manage to start the thing up, which was much easier once we figured out the spark plug wire had fallen off, and wrestle it into submission long enough to get a good start on the lawn.

In the meantime, the reel mower we ordered from The Great and Powerful Internets arrived. Turns out I'm too short to operate it properly. Oh, darn. Poor The Husband will have to be in charge of mowing the lawn all by himself. I really do feel bad about that, but I also feel bad about being a border-line midget, so I'm glad some advantage is to be had from my shortcomings. (Get it? Shortcomings?)

The Husband finished up the front yard pretty well with the reel mower, relieving my fears of an angry mob of neighbors and code enforcement officials descending on our house with violence in their hearts. However, the back yard was still an extravagant wonderland of weeds and crabgrass, so The Husband went back to working on it with my Aunt's gas mower. Well, that project wasn't even half-way done when the pull-cord started coming unraveled.

Oh well, no one can see the back yard anyway. But, with all the rain we've been having, the front yard needed to mowed again by this point. So, The Blessed Saintly Husband got the reel mower back out. Only now the blades wouldn't turn, so the mower was about as effective as this only less fun.

Now we were back to Plan A.2 or whatever the hell it was, and we called a landscaper. Who didn't show up. How do these guys make money mowing lawns when they won't actually mow any lawns? Is the whole landscaping business just an elaborate front for money laundering or something?

Anyway, in a dramatically anticlimactic twist, we finally found someone who did show up and mowed the lawn. The End.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

If Chivalry's Not Dead, I'm Gonna Kill It

Dudes, seriously. Opening the door for a woman is not polite or chivalrous if you're going to be aggressive about it.

This afternoon I'm entering my office building. There are two sets of double doors. I'm going in the door furthest to my right while two guys are coming out of the doors on my left. I have my hand on the door handle, about to pull it open, when one the of the guys says, "Hey, you don't have to go in that door. Come over here. I'll hold it for you."

So I reasonably enough tell him, "That's OK. I'm already right here."

As I'm going through the door he raises his voice to me and gets this nasty tone. "Fine. I was just trying to be helpful."

"Oh, and I appreciate it," I say. (lie)

Whatever. Like I'm going to shut the door I'm already using and take five extra steps in my uncomfortable shoes (thanks for that, too, by the way, patriarchy) to make you feel all manly and shit.

It takes a special kind of jerk to take a simple, helpful act and turn it into something mean and self-aggrandizing.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Just What the Internet Needed

To prove I haven't totally forgotten about this blog, here are some gratuitous cat photos. Enjoy!