Thursday, 22 May 2008

My period of abstinence lasted 8 days. Once my mouth was about healed, I decided to make us a nice dinner and had a glass of wine or two while cooking. I've had a couple of beers on two occasions since. Each time I've been woken during the night by acid reflux, puking up small amounts of burning fluid. So much for my theory of leucopenia, I've probably just had heartburn.

Despite not selling things I bought on my last spree, I have treated myself to a new camera, I really shouldn't have. I'm ashamed to say I am also trying to write a novel... fuck, what a creep, it sounds such a cheesy idea. Hopefully it will be a three day wonder and I will stop being a luvvy and return to being an ordinary Joe.

I saw the doctor for my annual physical today, the only thing of note was my continued weight gain. Would I like to see a lifestyle adviser? No, but I asked if he could recommend a good baker and confectioner. We then focused on the positive aspects of my personality... my misanthropy, sloth, gluttony, severe irritability and general selfishness. He asked if I was happy to live like this for the rest of my life. I avoided the jazz hands, looking enthusiastic and shouting out that this was my life's ambition realised. Err... duh.. no... I replied sheepishly. He asked what I would like to do and so once again I explained all the dead ends I had met with the psychiatrist, occupational therapist, the mental health charities and the voluntary services when I had tried to get some simple manual work. I really fucking hate repeating all this crap, why don't they share records and if they do why don't they read the bloody things? I never know if it's true ignorance or if it's some sort of mental test. He asks me things like what medicines am I on while he focuses on his PC monitor, clicking the mouse, almost certainly looking at my prescription.

Anyway, the bottom line is he has increased my depakote from 2g to 2.5g due to my vast bulk, again reminding me I have put on several stones since I started it, so the dose has to be upped. As I left I almost expected to hear him roaring "So long, you immense fat freak, see ya, you giant mound of blubbering jelly, bye bye fatty, cheerio greedy pig, watch out folks.. fat man walking.... who ate all the pies? who ate all the pies? you fat bastard, you fat bastard, you ate all the pies!"

Yup he really cheered me up. I jest of course, as far as doctors go, he's actually a good guy. A big arrogant shit. He doesn't beat around the bush, he calls a spade a shovel and that kind of directness prevents me from getting paranoid. I don't like any hesitance or sign of covertness in a doctor. Plus he likes me. You know when you know that someone has a soft spot for you, you just know. It's weird, but while I have generally been despised by authority figures throughout my life, the really horrible ones that nobody likes usually like me. Like the meanest teacher in school or the toughest manager at work. Somehow, some of these people often took a shine to me, whereas their "nice" colleagues were often kind to everyone but me. Dr Portillo is the big bad wolf of the surgery but is always a lamb with me. I'd better stop there, it's not like me to speak positively about doctors. It must be time for bed.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

My mouth sores are gradually healing and I'm now being weaned off lentil soup onto semi-solids like macaroni cheese. Wow, soon I'll be almost as independent as a toddler. God I'm dying for some real food. I've been tired and lethargic all week spending much of the time sleeping. This is a real bummer as my wife is on holiday this week and we had planned to go away for a few days. Instead of a nice break in the highlands, she has been left to do the garden, shopping, etc. and nurse me in between.

I haven't had a drink since last Thursday afternoon, almost a week. No shakes, no problems, not missing it at all, can't be arsed about anything in fact. Turned out I didn't even need the diazepam that much either, after 6 days I've still got 12 of the 21 left.

We did manage to get out for a walk yesterday and I took a couple of photos before my camera packed in. Funny how things always go bad when it's bad. I've messed about with Photoshop for a while but I'm going back to bed now. I hope this is drug induced leucopenia and not the start of the summertime blues.

Friday, 9 May 2008

Things got back on track after my bad day. Yesterday I went down to the health centre and got bloods taken for Valproate levels, U&Es and cholesterol to pre-empt my review. I know the doc will want these done when I see him later in the month, so this will save me going back for a further review. The weather is glorious here at the moment so later in the day we were sitting outside enjoying our salad in the sun when I suddenly I got a pain in my mouth. Thinking it was a bit of leaf caught somewhere I quickly took a drink of tea... OUCH! I went inside and looked in the mirror only to find my mouth full of blood. I rinsed a few times but still couldn't see anything for blood. When it stopped I found a large area on the roof of my mouth where the skin had sloughed off to reveal a large ulcer.

I presumed this was a side effect of the chlorpromazine, shame it had been working so well.

I woke early this morning feeling shabby, with various mild aches and pains so I went to see the doctor (God, that sounds like the opening line from a blues song). The duty doctor turned out to be a nice young woman. I must admit that although I loathe positive discrimination, I do enjoy the fact since going mad, doctors who were previously fairly hostile and abrupt with me, now seem to be kind and have all the time in the world. They introduce themselves, ask questions quietly and politely, listen patiently, nodding their heads, before asking me what I would like... strange days indeed, worlds apart from my previous experience of arrogant bullies.

Anyway, Dr Smiley checked my temperature and stuff. She didn't think mouth ulcers were a side effect of chlorpromazine so suggested I continue with it and she treat my mouth. I didn't want to tell her her job and mention my concerns about neutropenia which can be induced by chlorpomazine, so I just said I didn't fancy continuing it and she asked what else I could have instead. I explained that I was a heavy drinker and would not be drinking at the moment due to my sore mouth and in case alcohol irritated it. I said I thought Diazepam would be a good idea. She asked how much I usually took and I said 5mg three times daily, which she duly prescribed. Excellent. She also prescribed an anaesthetic mouthwash.

Earlier in the week I was wishing for a chance to stop drinking without seeing the addictions team. Well, maybe this is it. I dropped a valium at lunchtime and slept for 2 hours. Bliss.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

I had a bad day yesterday. I suddenly crashed like Icarus from the sun, all my wax melted.

I have started trying to recoup some of the money spent on my springtime spending spree by selling stuff on Ebay. My first item went for way less than half of what I anticipated. Fair do's, that's what happens on Ebay, you puts in yer ad and you takes your chance. But I was still upset about it. But to add insult to injury, I got a snotty message from the guy who won it for peanuts, to "make sure it is well packaged!" On top of this I had to go to the Post Office to mail it.

The Post Office was a nightmare, there was a huge queue, I had no idea Tuesday was pension day.

Anyway, eventually I was nearly there, there were two ladies behind the counter and as I got near the front they were both trying to help this old dude renew his driving licence. Unfortunately neither of them seemed to have a clue what they were doing. After about 5 minutes listening to them debate whether they had to just witness his birth certificate or if they had to keep it and send it off, I was hotching around, rubbing my brow, sighing and mumbling "for fucks sake!". I could feel the queue behind me draw back. This was actually nice, as folk tend to push up on you a bit in queues, as if pushing you will actually make the till work faster. Anyway, I got eventually got served, quickly made my way out and then indulged in a bit of planned road rage, driving round well known bottlenecks, where badly parked cars mean other drivers have to drive onto your side of the road and I get to swear at them. This is a good release.

So was this a great relapse into depression? Well, hell no. This was just a bad day that I over-reacted to. See, everybody has bad days but once you've been diagnosed as a nutter every emotion and behaviour seems to become some sort of pathological sign or symptom. I was reading a post on Mental Patient About Town last month about thought broadcasting. Now I'm not going to comment on Tony's unfortunate experience at all but it reminded me of other experiences. How many times have you sat on a bus and thought "Oh my God, they all know I just looked at that lady with the port wine stain on her face" and how many times have you gone into work and thought "Oh my God, they all know I had sex this morning before I came to work, shit I hope I'm not smelling"... or is that just me?

I mean, although I think that medical staff are often all too quick to try attribute some deeper meaning to everyday acts, I think maybe patients are too. I think we have to be careful to realise that it is normal to have ups and downs, everybody does. The daily ups and downs are normal it's the ones that last months that are abnormal.

Just as grieving over a death is normal, staying up drinking all night with friends at a party is normal and getting a fit of the giggles at Avid Merrion hamming up Scary Spice is normal.

My wife and I often waltz around the house, dancing on the kitchen tiles a la McFly. Whenever we hear the theme tune to QI we immediately jump up and boogie, we always have, no big deal. I often think if I laugh at a joke I will be seen as "mildly euphoric" and if a shrink catches me picking my nose he will record this as disinhibited behaviour... as he sits in his office picking his nose.

Nobody lives life on a plateau of perfection. Although mountainous ascents and descents are hazarduous and dangerous, rolling countryside is surely closer to the ideal. After all, we're only human....

Monday, 5 May 2008

I’m feeling much better. After a couple of days on the chlorpromazine I was much calmer and more focused. Yesterday I even ventured out of the house for the first time in ages. We planned to go for a walk at a local beauty spot but we arrived to find the car park overflowing and cars queuing up to park on the verges. I was unaware it was bank holiday weekend. I definitely didn’t want to be among other people, never mind bustling crowds of them, so my wife drove us to a little known walk where we could saunter in peace. I even took the camera with me and took some pictures…

Despite just having had my meds reviewed last week, I have received this letter through the post…

I love that caring, personal touch you get with computer generated letters. I can almost hear the PC proclaiming… Let me put it this way, Mr. Amor. The 9000 series is the most reliable computer ever made. No 9000 computer has ever made a mistake or distorted information. We are all, by any practical definition of the words, foolproof and incapable of error”.

Anyway, back to the doctor, I think I will go in and see him... SHOCK HORROR!!!

Regular readers will no doubt gasp at my change of heart and will be sneering at their monitors at my sudden lack of conviction and me dropping my principles. But I feel I must strike while the iron is hot. As he is currently prescribing me “as required” meds I’ll try and get a permanent arrangement.

The truth is that I’m sick of using alcohol to manage my symptoms. I think I’ve finally got past that pre-contemplative stage and now recognize that booze has become a problem. I’m praying that he just gives me the pills and doesn’t refer me to the bloody addictions team… otherwise known as the dour harbingers of doom, the scowling ones, the great unwashed, miserably cloaked in old scruffy clothes and reeking of roll ups and patchouli.

Thursday, 1 May 2008

After the last post I became less active, spending more time lying in bed but not sleeping well. Despite this physical inactivity, I was increasingly anxious and agitated, profoundly irritable and intolerant of my poor wife's help and support. I can be an utter bastard. I refused to see a doctor but she phoned the GP anyway. I'm now back on chlorpromazine.