23 June 2009

Drugs and Other Changes

Now my surgery is only two weeks away. Fourteen days...each one seems to go faster than the previous one.

Today's also the day my medical regimen changes. A few days ago, I mentioned that my hormone dosage would be reduced to one-eighth of what I had been taking. For nearly six years, I've taken two 1.25 milligram Premarin pills twice a day. Starting today, I take only one-half of one of those pills, once a day.

And I no longer take Spironolactone, my anti-androgen. So it's good-bye Spiro; it's been nice knowin' ya. No more Spiro. Boo hoo.

Robin, who is Dr. Bowers' office secretary, warned me that I could lapse into a crying jag, or that I could have any number of other kinds of mood changes. As if that's anything new. I guess I should warn people about that. I mean, if I start making unreasonable demands (Just ask my students--I never, ever do that!), they should at least know why. Right?

At some point my body will have to adjust itself to the new, lower dose of hormones: This will be my dosage after the surgery, too.

Another thing: I can't take aspirin or ibuprophen. It's pretty weird: My hormone dose has been lowered because they're coagulants (and because my body won't need as much after the surgery). But I can't take aspirin or ibuprophen because it thins the blood.

My blood has to be just the right consistency and texture. Sounds like Dracula is in charge of quality control. Ahh, yes. Zees ees Chateau Justine, 2009 vintage. A fine texture, a full body, aroma of vanilla, bouquet of cherries and berries, and an undertaste of chestnuts and oak.

What did I just write? I haven't drunk any wine in almost 23 years. Do they still write wine reviews that way? And what in the world am I doing, comparing my blood to wine? I guess I accomplished something: I've offended every Christian in the world. As non-religious as I am, I didn't mean that. Really, I didn't. Oh, well. I guess my Muslim, Buddhist and Jewish friends will still talk to me. Let's see...There are about equal numbers of Christians and Muslims in the world. So I guess this is neither a net loss or a net gain.

Good thing I only took one statistics course, eh? Imagine what silliness I could create and havoc I could wreak if I knew more!

Back to my drugs: On my way home from the college, I had to stop at the Duane Reade in Woodside--the only drugstore that I knew for sure would still be open at that hour--for a bottle of Tylenol. I can't remember the last time I took it. I just hope it's as effective as aspirin or ibuprophen if I should get a migraine between know and my surgery.

I've been taking aspirin for my headaches mainly because, as I understand, it has the added benefit of helping to prevent heart attacks. Back when I was riding my mountain bike with Crazy Ray and his crew--actually, hopping rocks and streams and bounding off ledges and cliffs is more accurate--I used to take Ibuprophen because it seemed to work faster than anything else on my pain. I guess I was a sissy: Crazy Ray never used to take anything.

If he could see me now...

Actually, I had to be in a pretty fair amount of pain before I'd take the ibupro. Otherwise, I never took medications unless my doctor prescribed them. Sometimes, not even then. Once, I had an excuse: Back when you needed a prescription to get Claritin D, the doctor ordered a bottle for me. I took one pill, and it kept me awake for three nights. And I could see my heart pulsing throughout my body. The doctor said he'd never seen a reaction like it.

As with every doctor I'd ever had until seven years ago, I never told him what I really felt--only what ailed me at that moment. But that wasn't his--or their--fault, really. Well, maybe with the exception of one really awful doctor I had. Fortunately, I went to him only once.

That incident with Claritin D strengthened my resolve, which began the day I became clean and sober, not to take any sort of drug unless my life was at stake. When I went into therapy over my childhood sexual molestation, the doctor wanted me to take anti-depressants. I never filled the prescription he gave me and, of course, I lied about taking them. At some point, my resolution not to take unnecessary drugs mixed with my natural stubbornness. Not taking the antidepressant became another way of saying "F*** you" to "the system," whatever that meant.

Now I've just ended almost six years of taking a medicine--for that is what the hormones have been for me--every day, twice a day. Now I'm down to a quarter of my previous dose, once a day. In two weeks, that's all my body will need.

In two weeks, I'll be going to a place where I've never been before. In the hospital, I'll see people I've never met before. And, after I'm released from the hospital, I'll spend two nights in their "day after" house with other people who've had the surgery, but whom I haven't met.

Then I'll return to people, places and things I know.

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