Well, I got my mind back, which is nice, and I'm mostly recovered from the food poisoning or whatever that took me out last week. Still a little shaky on my feet, but recovering.
A dear friend who helps train medical students has asked me to write down what it feels like to go from normal to manic to share as part of his collection of materials he uses in his job. It's very easy for professionals who work with people with various mental problems to write off things like mania when they are part of a patient's normal, but he says that his students can't handle the stories from those of us who experience such things as a result of a drug interaction or other things that can happen to anyone. The 'night I lost my mind' essay is apparently a good way to deal with this, emotionally. The closest I've ever come to this myself before was getting paranoid on a high dose of epinephrine I was given in the hospital for a terrible allergic reaction...but the paranoia there seemed normal to me at the time. I've told that story in several situations. It's funny. I really thought the car in front of us was following us, and when I was better, within an hour, we laughed really hard about it... it was my 'mile in another's shoes' event, because if you'd sold me on a really weird conspiracy theory at that moment, I probably would've believed it.
I'm quirky, but I've never been certifiable before. Going from being able to be understood to speaking so quickly that people cannot understand you, finding yourself scrubbing the floor at four in the morning...this is scary shit if you're like me and don't really dig altered states of consciousness (lucid dreaming is enough for me, I don't need to take drugs to see any gods, and I'm even a cheap drunk, a couple beers is enough to give me permagiggles.) I also found out that I am apparently on the hyperactivity spectrum, so the sedatives they gave me for the mania helped me with the mania but also kept me wide awake...So I ended up on the sofa sort of staring into space between bouts of cleaning and mood swings. It was terrifying.
I've started the essay about ten times now, and I swear to you that if I can ever get it done I will share it with you all...it might be the hardest thing I've ever tried to write. I've had the high doses of steroids cause me to have weird feelings before, mood swings, stuff like that, but this was an experiment with a different steroid, which cleared my lungs completely at a lower dose than other steroids and didn't make everything taste like prednisone, didn't raise my blood pressure to unsafe levels (I have to take blood pressure pills when I'm on steroids, then go off them when I'm off steroids) and for the first two weeks were amazing. I'll get back to it, I promise, but even now I'm finding myself avoiding writing that essay. heh. That would be why writing it will be good for me. :)
So, I have an appointment with another specialist tomorrow, one of the best people in the state for the type of lung disease I've been dealing with. The hardest thing with this lung snot is actually being fragile. I have never been a thin person, but I've always been the strongest lady in the room. Some of it comes from just being all over the place, going camping, climbing mountains, diving, just rambling. I think it comes from being Scottish, and having the concept of going out to ramble...
I'm not butch, but people tend to see me as the flannel wearing outdoorsy type...since I have joint damage, we know I'm going to pay for it if, for example, I stand in the backyard throwing 50lb bags of mulch, but I've never had trouble with that kind of stuff. It's been a long time since I tried to hit a gym but I've always been able to lift ridiculous amounts of weight for a non-weight lifter, and when I was in physical therapy for my shoulder I was lifting an equivalent weight of 200lbs as part of the whole shoulder/back machine thing, which was based on how much I could lift comfortably...so you have to imagine what it's like now for me to not be able to lift even 25, 30lbs. I even had my kid put my rowing machine in the basement because I just can't do even that with the tension set to nothing and on oxygen...it just all wears me the hell out. Obviously this has slowed down my writing, too, but everyone's been awesome and understanding.
So, that's where I am. We take me off steroids when my lungs are clear, put me back on them when they fill with crud, and we hope to find a better diagnosis sometime soon...and sometimes the new drugs we try go terribly, terribly wrong.