I'm just going to write a fairly short entry tonight (who, me?), because I have severe "Nocturnal Asthma" now, and it has been preventing me from sleeping much at all this week. I cough and wheeze and sneeze and get acid reflux all night long, and I often worry that I will literally drown in my own juices, and die a very ignominious death in my bed all alone. I was also recently diagnosed with hypothyroidism (low thyroid), and I have been on the hormone replacement medication levothyroxine for three weeks, but so far it hasn't kicked in yet to help me much. I gather from my research that it often takes at least six weeks to make any appreciable difference in how the patient feels.
Getting older is a real bitch, and never believe anyone who tells you that it isn't. Actually, this is one of the biggest issues that is slamming me in the face and the whole body right now, that I will no doubt be talking about in this journal. Do NOT ever tell an older person that "You are only as old as you feel." If that is true, then with my bodily and mental issues, I am about 99 when I finally manage to crawl out of bed in the late morning or early afternoon. Then my age drops to about 75 (I am 68) for much of the day--except for my ruined knee, which feels about 100--and then when the Nocturnal Asthma kicks in around 9 or 10 and I cough all night long, by morning I am about 120 years old. Tell people instead something like, "You are only as old as you act!"
My addiction situation is finally not bad. The current project is getting off my e-cigarette entirely. I quit smoking regular cigarettes three years ago, but I am clinging to my e-cigarette, with only 1.5 mg. of nicotine in the juice I am using, like I would cling to a life-raft when lost at sea. I seem to still need to act out the holding and inhaling of something, even if there is not much to it anymore. I hold it in my hand all day long...
Alcohol? Well, I am a former raging alcoholic who quit completely for eight years in my fifties after a serious DUI, but decided to allow myself to slide back into wine at the end of that time. Now, I sip wine spritzers that I make with more than half a glass full of club soda, so I never get drunk anymore or have hangovers or any of that awful old stuff. I think I am always still safe to drive, though I do try to avoid doing so if I have been imbibing. I am not worried about my alcohol consumption--I just have to cut it out for a few days pre-doctor's appointment, because I am on a pain contract and it prohibits alcohol, for god sake. So around the time I might get urine tested, I quit drinking for a bit. This is good for me, actually, and I don't mind it at all.
Drugs? Taking stock right now? I have been on benzodiazepines for the better part of fifty years, and an issue currently up for grabs is what a new psychiatric nurse practitioner I am to see on the 18th will decide to do with my two benzo prescriptions that were hacked mercilessly recently by my nurse practitioner.I have been in low-level benzo withdrawal for months now since she attacked my lorazepam prescription and cut it in half--from 6 mg. a day (a lot, I know, but I have a very high tolerance by now) to 3 mg. a day. I have been suffering, especially now with these relatively new night-time asthma attacks. I no longer have enough sleeping medication, although I am still also taking 30 mg. of temazepam every night, and 100 mg. of Seroquel (quetiapine). It's been a grim process.
There is a debatable question in all this benzodiazepine stuff. Is there really much merit in subjecting a fifty-year addict who is 68 to possibly several YEARS of withdrawal symptoms at my age? What about the quality of life issue? I see this new nurse practitioner very soon. She is with a large behavioral health outfit, which is all the psychiatric care that my insurance will cover. I will have a forty-minute live intake with her, and then she is then supposed to take over control of all my brain drugs? I am very anxious and frightened about this upcoming appointment, because it could become a really big deal. Luckily, a fellow professional from the Forum has taken a great interest in my plight, and he is going to try to help me navigate these troubled waters so I don't get screwed.
The opiates/opioids? I have been FREE for most of three years now! This turned out to be my single absolute worst addiction in my lifetime so far. I must have gone cold turkey at least fifty times in the course of my roughly six years of heavy addiction. Just to pills--I have managed somehow to stay away from heroin, and I am very proud of myself for that. Ditto methamphetamine and crack cocaine. In this past year, I took oxycodone one day, and I found that I didn't even like it anymore. I felt more sick than I felt stimulated, so I think that may have been my swansong with these drugs, unless I have more surgeries and truly need them--like a possible knee replacement coming up fairly soon.
My favorite fun drug right now is DXM. I only take it once every month or six weeks now, though I was taking it much more often when I first discovered it. I've become one of the queens of DXM around here, kind of inadvertently. I actually enjoy it more than the pretty poor quality LSD that I have been able to get my hands on this year. Pharmaceutical quality, totally pure MDMA was my favorite sacramental drug of all time--but good luck finding that quality now, and I will accept no less than that. So I haven't taken it in years.
Suicidal ideation and behavior now? Uh-uh. Just not happening anymore. My last passive suicide attempt resulted in me lying alone on a bathroom floor for eight days and nights, with no one knowing where I was except my beloved Ladywolf (90% Alaskan Grey Timberwolf) and Poppers, her Labrador sidekick. I can only imagine the agony that the canines went through too, although at least they did have a whole huge bag of dry food to munch on, and they drank water out of the toilet bowl, which would handily refill itself when it got low. I was found with an estimated fifteen more minutes to live. I weighed eighty pounds by then, and was so dehydrated that the medics had to scrape me up off the floor, leaving strips of my skin behind for me to clean up some weeks later. Gross!
In total, I was in a coma for ten or eleven days, and woke up in a university hospital Trauma Center with no idea where I was or what had happened. After a month in the hospital and a week in the Suicide Slammer, I reached a new and final life decision for myself. I decided that if I was going to be stuck here--which I obviously am, after about six or seven serious attempts--then I would dedicate the rest of my life to trying to help other people to stay on the planet so I would have fun people to play with.
So please drop in and play with me if you have the time! I love this Forum more than life itself. It is not just my home-base online--it has become my true home. My real-life friends are dying all around me, but there are always cool people to hang out with here, and some of my friendships here run very deep by now. I can only hope that I am able to offer as much help and support as was offered to me when I came here six years ago in the throes of opiate/opioid addiction...
That's all for now. I must try to get some sleep, even though I am coughing up a veritable firestorm again tonight. I send love to you all, and thank you for letting me babble on and make this new start in this journal. My goal is just to get healthier and happier as time passes. I think this is still possible for me at my rapidly advancing age. This Forum helps a lot to keep me young, since I am regularly communicating with new posters (and old) who are only 18 or 20 or 30. I love having friends of all ages, especially as my old friends are kicking the bucket at a frightening rate, or developing Altzheimers. I haven't forgotten what it was like to be 18 in 1968--actually, a truly astounding, complicated, thrilling time to be alive. So please drop in and post to this old hippie if you are so inclined...
By the way, that picture of me with the big hat on and the big smile is about 15 years old. I think it was the last pretty picture that I will ever have taken...
I love you all! Onwards and upwards!