Before I sat down to write this I pulled on a pair of sweatpants. Backwards.
I could just stop there, but there’s more. Anyone can make a simple mistake. Recently I have been on a quest for more thoughtful and sophisticated ways to screw up–like two months back when I was doing the bills, and following my system, I wrote down the amounts for all of the bills I pay on-line carefully in my checkbook. Somehow though, I never made it over to the computer to actually get into the “bill pay” page and get the payments sent out. I sussed it all out when “past due” notices began to sprout from my mailbox like an unwelcome weed infestation. There are also some months where I pay all my bills twice. It just helps to round things out.
I know what you are thinking. He’s losing it. Dementia.
Normally, I’d go straight for that diagnosis also. That and brain tumor are my go-to thoughts if I get anything worse than a hangnail.
But at the time all of this happened, I was struggling with chronic dizziness (probably a brain tumor, right?). It isn’t incapacitating, but I can feel kind of “foggy” at times. It’s one reason I haven’t been writing of late. I first went to see my doctor about it in April, but I’d been having problems for at least a month before. It’s not the first time I’ve had this issue, but it was being so persistent that I decided to get my doctor involved.
That started a marathon round of appointments. He checked me over and sent me to a head and neck specialist and recommended I see a vestibular physical therapist (yeah, who knew there was such a thing).
The head and neck specialist did a couple of tests and deemed that whatever was causing it was probably cardiovascular or neurological. The physical therapist spent two sessions making me do a series of bizarre exercises trying to make me dizzy (or more dizzy than I was at the moment) and failed miserably. Shrug.
Went back to my primary care doctor who thought I should go see a head and neck specialist (wait, didn’t I already do that?). I ended up seeing exactly the same woman, who did exactly the same test, and came to exactly the same conclusions. I decided to check in with my neurologist. He suggested I go to the head and neck department.
I sought help from my acupuncturist who concluded there were clouds of smoke in my brain and that I needed to stay away from television, politics, basically, the world.
My local health provider held a small ceremony for me where I was given a certificate of achievement for my tenacity in unsuccessfully trying to find the cause of the problem. There was cake and everything (I’m making that part up).
Finally, I decided to quit listening to everyone and pulled down the box where I keep my daily meds and started looking at everything I was taking to see if there was anything I could eliminate, anything that might be the culprit.
Most of my meds are “old dude” regulars for blood pressure, cholesterol, and a couple more exotic ones. I take some Chinese herbs from my acupuncturist also, you know, for the whole “smoke in the brain” thing.
Oh, and I’d been taking Melatonin. When I stopped drinking nearly a year ago, I had trouble sleeping though the night. I was waking up more and more often at odd hours and finding it impossible to get back to sleep. Two in the morning is just not a fun time to find yourself awake and yet still groggy and exhausted.
When Mary suggested Melatonin, I thought, sure! It’s over-the-counter and therefore “safe”. It worked great! Magic! Later, when she mentioned that maybe I wasn’t supposed to take it continuously, I dismissed the suggestion. Pssssh. After all, I bought it at Sprouts. It was doing exactly what I wanted it to do. I didn’t even read the label until the day I began to examine all my meds.
Yes, the label that stated “If any adverse reactions occur, immediately stop using this product and consult a doctor” and “Limit use to two months with a break of one week.” I was checking out this information, written clearly on the bottle, after taking it every night for, oh, ten months straight.
It gets worse. I googled Melatonin and looked up possible drug interactions. Under “serious interactions” I found one of my daily medications. Possible side effects–dizziness. And the timeline fit. The dizziness had begun shortly after I started taking it. I just never made the connection.
So I quit taking it right away and the dizziness did not go away immediately, but at least the insomnia returned. It actually took three weeks before I was symptom free.
I’m pretty sure I didn’t do any permanent brain damage or anything although, you never know. I enjoyed 4-5 weeks of mental clarity without the low-grade sense that my brain was slowly rocking or spinning occasionally. I was quite proud of myself for chasing down my own stupidity.
And then the dizziness came back (“heavy sigh”). What are you gonna do? I’m just going to enjoy the ride for now. I’ll go through the pill box and see if I’ve got something else I can toss out. Maybe I can put my yard blower up against one ear and see if I can blow out some of that smoke on my brain.