Sunday, May 31, 2009

Birthday week

Julius the Great, Emperor of the Universe, or at least of our house, is one year old now. He just had his birthday and well, is practically a grown up. Barely needs me anymore....ok, not really, but he is very very cute. And standing on his own, and almost walking but not quite. He grabs people's fingers, one in each hand, and then runs at top speed, in whatever direction he desires, and expects us to keep up with him. He has no fear of heights, or concept of stairs or steps, or which direction is up or down or level. He just GOES!!

Adorable but not really practical. I fear for the rest of his lovely forehead at this rate! He is terrified of loud noises and especially showers and the printer on the computer. I tried to take him in the shower and let him play with some bath toys at my feet one day and he screamed like he was going insane and we gave up on that plan. Anyway, he is also growing molars. Four at once. Cause hey, why do anything halfway, right? We have given him tempra round the clock and he is chewing and gnawing on frozen washcloths and freezies and such, but he really is suffering. Kills me to see it. I can't wait until it's over, and he feels less cranky and whiny.

Which is why I am so tired and barely blogging right now. I can manage twitter from my phone, but that's about it, and what with mercury retrograde and all, technology has been suffering greatly at our house. I am on my second blackberry this month and it still isn't working perfectly. Then my husband's phone broke, and then my nanny's phone bill was astronomical but it was all a mistake. The roof leaked again and fornicating raccoons took up residence. The power keeps going out and the new car broke down and carpenter ants invaded, and now I am finding broken punched in bits of drywall everywhere. So far, the dishwasher, the whippersnipper, the back gate, the bathtub drain, the shower and the baby's crib have broken again in May.

Really, it's all a bit freaky when things go haywire around here. So I've been busy!

Now, nobody is seriously ill or anything, and for that, I have to thank my lucky stars, do not misunderstand me. We have the money to fix it all, and it will get repaired--but umm, it's a lot to break at once, isn't it?

Actually, Mac is sick as we speak, fever of 103.5, poor baby. He is supposed to go to sleepover camp with his class tomorrow and likely will not go. I am sad for him feeling sick, but as you all know, hate sleepaway camp and secretly am kind of glad. Bad me.

Ok, someone is crying. Tylenol for them and wine for me.....where did I leave that brown paper bag......yawn.....

Monday, May 18, 2009

Temporary relief

I found a Doctor who was willing to renew my medication for six months, and perhaps longer this past week, so I'm okay for the moment. Whew! Now I just need to find a shrink who can do battle with my GP and/or my cardiologist.

I realized later that I left something hanging in the comments on the last post. Basically, the issue here is not the Canadian health care system. I'm free to go to any family doctor I want and they can refer me to any psychiatrist or specialist anywhere. The issue here is prejudice against mental illness and competence, a problem in every country, whether it's privately paid, or publicly paid. In Toronto, I have a lot of family doctors to choose from, and there are some specialists in Adult ADHD here. The issue is getting in to a Doctor who I like and respect and has some competence, while still dealing with this health mess prior to running out of the tiny amount of medication I had left.

You see, the last ADD specialist I had was a bit of a weirdo. Quite apart from all of the health and personal problems they inappropriately disclosed to me, this Doc personally insulted me several times. They were so strange in fact that I'm not going back there, no way. And although I can find a psychiatrist without much difficulty, I don't think I can find a specialist in Adult ADHD as easily, or very quickly. And finding one who isn't nuts themselves? Oy.....challenging to say the least.

As for finding a new family doctor? I'm so torn about this. I trusted Dr.J. so completely, so totally. She has been with me through everything, literally since my first pregnancy test all those years ago. She was there when my babies were born and when they died, and she has been there for me through every medical adventure in between. So what do I do now that I have discovered that deep down she holds the same prejudices towards people with ADHD as Joe Six Pack? I mean, I've always known she's an imperfect Doctor but in the end, she'd admit it and try to educate herself, which is better than most Docs. Except in this case.

Now I feel betrayed, and if I can't trust her then what on earth am I going to do? Any family doctor I go to will get a copy of my records from her so I'm pretty much screwed if I go to someone else, courtesy of the way she will write it up, and anyone new might be just as discriminatory.

I know how to breakup with a friend, and I still remember how to dump a boyfriend, but I really don't know how to breakup with my Doctor. I'm not sure I want to.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Got any bootstraps?

I've been leaving comments and tweets, etc. that try to describe the very bad thing has happened, and not really explaining anything, so I figure it's time to say it here.

Two problems:

First: to any of my recently acquired political followers....I am an emotional writer and I know most of you are not, in fact, let's cut the crap, members of political parties are not allowed to simultaneously have both careers and emotions or mental illness or anything but serious debates and personal lives filled with elegance and sunshine and puppies.

So please go away if this makes you uncomfortable. Come back some other day, k?

Second: after my comments on some blogs recently, about the futility of getting help from doctors with infertility or pregnancy loss...I know that it hurt some of my personal friends to read that. Because they really really want to believe that their doctors care if they get pregnant or if their babies live or die, and I was perhaps too blunt. I really do need to stop that, at least on other people's blogs. It kinds sucks all the hope out of the room. They can come to my blog to abandon all hope, right?

So again, if you need to believe that Doctors give a shit if we live or die, and that medicine is about helping people attain a quality of life, you should look away. Because this story really will suck every last ounce of hope out of the room.

The story is that for many years I have had a mild PSVT, which is a spontaneous super fast heartbeat, that comes on and then goes. It can be serious, like with Atrial Fibrillation but over the last 15 years of pregnancies and miscarriages, etc. I have had extensive tests to make sure that mine is the nice mild boring kind. Basically, about three times a year, my heart races anywhere from 120-170ish beats a minute, for about 2 to 3 minutes and that's it. If it lasts longer than that, I just have to do a Valsalva Maneuver which means I push down like I'm pushing out a baby or pushing out a poop, and it ends. (I always call it a vulva maneuver, hehe.) It just ends. And there is no residual heart damage, no funny beats, no nothing.

After a while I almost forgot about it, until someone asked me specifically about heart issues. And then nine years ago I saw the episode of ER where the student Doctor admits to having ADHD and tries to go off her meds and they showed what she was like. And I saw myself on the screen and realized that it was me. I went to a Doctor, had a battery of tests and after a full assessment, started taking ADHD medication.

And the universe shifted on it's axis.

As far as the PSVT I've done holter monitors and BP checks and echocardiograms and stress tests and for the last eight-nine years I've been on my ADD/ADHD meds while those tests were done. And not once did I ever have a high blood pressure or a funny test result. If anything, I was the healthiest person my cardiologist had in his practice. I actually asked him why bother coming back, but he said hey, every couple of years, just visit and we're done. I do have the clotting issues that caused my miscarriages but my cardiologist doesn't think they are linked to heart issues, and I have none of the other risk factors like stiff arteries, etc that might mean I have a potential cardiac issue. So everything was fine.

Until I went to Vancouver and partied for 4 days at the convention. No sleep, bad food, drinking lots, Starbucks by the bucketful, and lots of stress due to events and then trying to get my breastmilk back to Toronto on the plane even though the Canadian government (CATSA) has illogically decided that breastmilk is a dangerous substance and breastpumps are bombs. Regular readers here know that any encounter with government makes me so anxious I want to vomit, so you can just imagine how bad it would be if I was forced to have an argument with a security guard. I mean adrenaline city here people. The Americans let breastfeeding moms bring pumps and frozen breastmilk without babies on their planes, and so does every other country and airline in the world. They know that moms need to keep up milk production and that forcibly dumping milk is ridiculous. Except for I had stress.

So much stress that I had an SVT on the way home, and the valsalva thing didn't work, mostly because I wasn't pushing very hard. (Grunting like that in front of others is embarassing, and hard to do quietly on a crowded plane, ok?)

There was big drama blah blah blah and finally some medical personnel got me to push hard enough to stop it, and it was over and I felt fine. Even the doctor who saw me afterwards said it was ok, no issues, no problems.

The big problem happened later when I saw my family doctor, Dr.J., who abruptly decided that this means I can no longer take my ADHD medication. Even though I wasn't on any of the medication on Sunday and in fact, had this SVT happen when I had no medication at all. She will not renew my medication because she is worried about her liability and wants another doctor to spend months rerunning all these stupid cardiac tests and reassess everything, and possibly end my entire prescription forever. (Note: she does not think it's dangerous, it's all about getting sued. Plus she has never liked me being on any medication and this is the perfect excuse for her.) She also thinks it's no big deal to go without psychiatric medication for me or anyone else except the most severe cases and that I should learn some coping strategies.

Coping strategies??

That's right Doc, because a major biochemical imbalance of the brain can be dealt with by coping. In fact, I hear that all the mentally ill are just a bunch of fakers and drug addicts and lazy people, right? I'm such a slacker....if I just pulled myself up by my bootstraps, I'd be fine, right?


I have been in tears ever since, trying to figure out how much medication I have left and being terrified of what will happen when it runs out. I've been trying to find another doctor and possibly a specialist to do battle with them and convince them that ADHD is real. Still freaking wondering if I can I parcel my last meds out carefully, how many social events do I have? How will I appear in public? What will I do when I get lost, get into car accidents, get speeding tickets, lose my purse, lose my phone, lose my way, am late for every single appointment, school pickup, forget to pay bills, and most of all tell people off.

Off my medication, I am the master of the vicious retort, the nasty awful comment that hurts and tears down others. On my medication, I might think it, but I keep my mouth shut. Medical people call it inappropiate verbal impulsivity. I call it Foot in Mouth at it's most benign, and terrible bitch at it's worst. Adderall works perfectly for this symptom for me. Nothing else does, and I've tried them all, trust me. Without it I have no spatial awareness and no social perceptions. I truly cannot read a room or the people in it. I fall over things, stumble around like a drunk even when I'm sober, injure myself, choke on food, (Heimlichs are painful, didja know?), and just generally am too loud and act like an ass. Off my medication, I have failed every academic test I've ever taken, and screwed up every job for pay I've ever done.

And jobs I don't get paid for? Like being a Mom? I suck at it....I forget to make meals and get kids to activites and school and lose notes and lose track of papers and just generally feel so angry and frustrated with myself for endlessly failing it all, that frankly, I'm scared of how bad a parent I'll be off the medication. I lose my patience, and yell at my kids like a shrew instead of calmly just making them do what they should do. As a wife, I embarass my husband in public by saying and doing ridiculous things and I become a burden on him, not a partner. When I was pregnant and breastfeeding he kind of blamed it on my hormones, but after a while, that excuse got pretty weak. It's not fair to him or to our lives to suddenly incapacitate me because a doctor doesn't think my disease exists.

And before you say it---I know that there are people with ADHD who function without medication. Well, every illness has degrees and mine is severe. And frankly, I do question how well people function without medication. They make a big public thing about it and in the end just make it harder for people who do need meds because they make it look like we're the weak ones and they just managed find the bootstraps and all of us fuckups could just get it together, we'd be fine too. I sincerely wish I could find someone who would publicly stand up and say that they can't function without medication and how awesome and wonderful it is so the rest of us wouldn't feel so inadequate.

This diagnosis explained my entire life, and since I started medication my life has changed so completely, that as a consequence, no one believes that I could really be that bad off meds, because it's been so long since they saw me such a mess. When I was pregnant and off medication, before Motherisk said it was okay to take it, I just hid in my house and spoke to nobody. (And, yeah, I made some awful comments on blogs by accident then until I stopped because I saw that I was a mess.) I'm worried that I will now screw up even more and make ridiculous comments and hurt the very people I care about the most, all the bloggers I read, who have been so wonderful to me, and who love me. I would die before I would hurt you, but I don't know how I can blog and comment and not hurt you all if I'm off my meds. If this forces me into retirement and then I can't get any support, then what the hell will I do?

I have begged my doctor at two different appointments this past week, and cried and tried to explain what this means, but she really doesn't understand. At this point, without meds, I cannot go back to school and try and do my graduate degree, and I cannot work because I'll just get fired. I can't participate in the Liberal Party because I will inevitably fuck up and wreck everything and I'd rather they think I just disappeared than permanently ruin my public reputation. (Yes, there are dozens and dozens of people in the party with mental issues who may or may not take their meds---and trust me, there is an obvious reason so many of them have political problems. It's all I can do not to urge them to get help...) My husband has enough stress what with his brother's mental illness and his business and he can't take over everything. It's one thing to say that a nanny can do the laundry and make sure the kids get fed, but as wonderful as ours is, she can't be their mother, and frankly, I want to do that. After all this work to get live kids I want to be the one to enjoy them and see them and talk to them and be the one to comfort them. I don't want to be the blob in the corner who lives in her own little world and stares at the wall.

Really that's what this comes down to. I really didn't like the person I used to be before medication. I like the new person I have become a lot more and as I accomplish more and succeed at things I like myself even better. I finally have my family complete and I could have a career and not screw it up, and maybe just maybe actually be a success in life instead of the mess I have always been.

I think that is also why I am most angry and offended at this Doctor. I am grown adult with an ability to understand the medical issues and weight the risk/reward ratio. I know what an SVT is, (a big fat nothing) and I know how to handle it. I also know that I have had these SVTs dozens of times since I was a little kid and I sure as hell wasn't on ADHD meds then. But whose body is it? Don't I deserve to make the final decision? If I, a grown woman, decide to refuse medical treatment for a physical ailment like cancer, it's legal in Canada, and then I'm the one facing the consequences. Same for mental illness. There is a huge amount of literature on a patient's right to refuse medication. Well, why the hell doesn't it work the other way? Can't I make sure I GET treatment for an illness I have been proven to have? If I have a Charter Right to security of person, then doesn't that imply that I have the right to get medication for mental illness and not just to refuse it? And why are mental issues treated so differently from physical issues? Why is mental quality of life not as important as physical? Why is the medical profession so invested in creating physically healthy patients who are forced to endure foggy brains and vegetative-like states? To me, that isn't the quality of life I want for myself. I have a right to live my life the way I want to, as an intelligent calm rational person.

I have a right to sanity.

Friday, May 08, 2009

I'm here, just blocked

I'm not disappeared totally, just blocked on something big I need to write about. This week I have been hysterical and upset and freaking out and calmer and angry then strategizing. Sort of in that order.

Doctors suck, life sucks, and then----you just decide to forget about everything.

Political buddies--friends I met in Vancouver? It was lovely lovely wonderful and awesome meeting you, but FYI, this is more of a personal blog, and although I do write about politics sometimes, you might not find what you are looking for.

Oh, and Manuela and I did not end up meeting, darn. She is doing well, single, and enjoying her life in BC. (Psst, she is on Facebook if you ever want to say hi!)

My pumped breastmilk made it back, in my checked luggage, although it did get squished, and I lost about 1/3 of the bags to bursting or spoiling. Made me cry. All that work, down the drain. I still fail to understand why Stephen Harper is terrified of my breasts? They really aren't that scary dude! Even the Americans aren't scared of pumped breastmilk and Medela breastpumps. In fact, in every country around the world, they are just fine with women bringing breastmilk back after being separated from their babies. Meanwhile CATSA scanned me like I was a terrorist and ignored my letter from the breastfeeding clinic stating it was a real medical device.


Saturday, May 02, 2009

More Constitutional blahblah

Spending a lot of time on twitter these's just easier to do off of the blackberry, especially because wireless costs a gazillion dollars a day here. Starving imminent, if you ever want to go on a radical diet, go to a Liberal convention.

Feeling better this morning, but still quite unhappy. I think I also miss my kids and especially the baby so likely that's causing me to be more emotional! pumping sucks when you already have low supply and then have a machine set to low power.....just waiting for CATSA to tell me the machine is a bomb again and that my frozen breastmilk is a biohazard. Fucking morons....

I'm meeting a lot of lovely wonderful people these days, and old friends who are fun to hang with, so I'm just going to focus on that, K?

Also, I met Tara from Run for my money, and her supercute baby Ruby! And later Manuela from the former Thin Pink Line blog and I will be hanging out and I will be sure to update you on that.

Take care peeps, back to twittering!

Such an odd convention

I'm kinda out and kinda in and hell I've met a lot of nice people so far....I've actually met in person a whole bunch of Liberal bloggers and they are great!

So far there are lots of fun and great things happening and I'm glad I came for that reason.

Only problem is that I've had a weird issue come up with a friend. And because my usual style is to blog like I'm bleeding all over the page, I really really want to talk about it. Just open up a vein and spill every emotion, y'know? But I can't.

I can't cry or look sad or talk about it at all.

Off to eat and have a few drinks.....sigh.....