Monthly Archives: January 2019

Bad medicine

Don’t worry, I’m just using it for the “ludicrous number of pills” imagery… at least for now

I’m still on the pills to stop me from getting any more of those “mind static” partial seizures, and while mostly it works, at times things can still get strange for me — and it doesn’t help that I made a major error last year regarding one of the two drugs I’m on, while the quacks think I should come off the other entirely, as that’s likely to be the source of my weird symptoms (rather than the “space invader” making a comeback so soon).

It doesn’t help that, much like over three years ago (and still with that GLC quote in mind), I’ve got a cold — no, not the one I had over Christmas, a different one now — and both things leave me with the prospect of offending someone at work by being too “abrupt”, and getting myself in trouble again… especially today, when I had to rush home in the vain hope that my local pharmacy would have my repeat prescription, when in fact they didn’t, and I had to go see my local surgery again, just before it shut for the day!

Just to summarise, the hideous concoctions I’ve needed to take since my diagnosis early last year (2018, if you’ve forgotten it’s 2019 already… go ahead, put up your new calendar, I’ll wait…) have been let— levit— levetin— levetiracel—… oh, fine, Keppra, let’s go with that, which I think holds back the worst of my quasi-epileptic symptoms; and lamotrigine, which I think negates some of the Keppra side effects and helps me manage my emotions (my personal trainer said his mother was taking this drug as well), though the latter I started after briefly being on clobazam at the start (which helped me feel a lot better, but which I could only take short-term).

The quacks I spoke to late last year (with my supportive mother present) think it might be the twice-daily 1,500mg doses of Keppra that are leading to my not-quite-the-same-as-before dizzy spells, where although I don’t lose the ability to understand English, I nonetheless hear things differently at first, and may then experience what I can only describe as metallic sensations in my head, possibly leading to tingling on my right side (controlled by the left side of my brain, of course); on that basis, they may recommend I come off it entirely, and switch to something else with different side effects — but hopefully only until I can come off drugs entirely, when the pesky intruder in my cranium has gotten out of town and gone back where it came from.

(If only I had Trump’s budget to build that wall, eh?  Eh?… oh, please yourselves!)

Different brands have affected me differently over time, and I think I’m better if I’m not taking actual Keppra but one of the other varieties of leve-wossname — but it’s the other drug, lamotrigine, which I was prescribed at 50mg twice a day, where I made a critical error.  Remember last August, when I said I’d been given “clearance” to reduce my dosage?  Big mistake to even try — and not just for immediate health reasons: getting my quackery to approve a repeat prescription for 25mg instead of 50mg tablets, so I could experiment with taking two or one at each dose, seems to have made them think my overall dosage had been reduced to 25mg, and so the repeat prescription my local pharmacy gave me just before Christmas effectively included two months of “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Keppra!”, but what amounted to only one month of lamotrigine, and this has just run out.

Don’t you just love it when you need something important, but just can’t get a sensible update on its progress?  I asked for a repeat prescription at my pharmacy after work last Wednesday (couldn’t go to the quackery as they close early on Wednesdays), this time for 50mg tablets, and they seemed to be fine with it — but they said it’d take three working days… and though they told me nothing out of the ordinary when I chased up on Saturday (just that it hadn’t arrived), it was only today, when I rushed home early from work, that they said my doc hadn’t approved it, and I’d have to go visit the quackery!

Fortunately (a) the pharmacy were able to give me a week’s supply of 50mg tablets, and (b) the receptionist at the quackery was able to arrange a proper repeat prescription (with a doc who was offscreen for the entire scene), so hopefully I’ll have enough at least to last me until the second half of February, when (after my first MRI scan of 2019) I’ll be meeting another quack for what I hope will be a discussion of medicine, and how I should proceed on that topic.  Assuming it doesn’t get put back suddenly (and that Southern Rail don’t have any of their usual problems), I’ll have my mother there to support and guide me…

However, different brands of lamotrigine can also have different effects upon me.  The ones I had over Christmas (and for which I’ve been given another week’s supply today) weren’t bad, but as a stop-gap solution I’ve briefly switched over to the leftovers of the different brand I got in late 2018, and which may well have been in no small way responsible for strange feelings of déjà vu I’ve had at times.  For example, the play I saw with “Polish female best friend” just before Christmas seemed oddly familiar, despite A Very Very Very Dark Matter having only started showing in 2018, and at the weekend I finally began playing Batman: Arkham Knight for the first time, only to think I’d experienced cremating the Joker’s corpse before, realising it wasn’t a passive cutscene and that I had to actually press something on my joypad to make it proceed!

(And I’ve been listening to Gwar again lately… well, I’d listened to them so many times in the past, it could hardly be unfamiliar and brand new to me, could it?  I practically sing along, at least inside my head!)

Well, if it’s snotty, at least I’m past the coughing stage

I’d love to get off all that stuff sooner rather than later, since it’ll be three years before I can give blood again, and I feel like I owe the world such a donation (it’s not enough having done it around 25 times before 2018) — but it’s worth noting that I’m getting cold symptoms again, almost as though I’m returning to normal (for a given definition of “normal”).  Thus, Lemsip is one of the other major drugs I’m on at the moment, and I’m also popping vitamin pills at dinner times, in the hope of making up for whatever nutrients I’m lacking and thus getting sick.

The cold January weather isn’t helping: aside from wondering whether my hat-with-flaps is putting extra pressure on my skull (!), I’m finding it increasingly difficult to keep my room warm without resorting to turning on my wasteful electric heater; somehow I’ll have to persuade my female housemate to let me keep the heating on all day, every day this week (especially if we get snowed in and I have to work from home, not an entirely unpleasant prospect), and to turn off her own damn radiator if her room gets “too hot” in winter, of all seasons.

Plus, after meeting up with her for a visit to Freud’s museum, “Polish female best friend” has left the country once again (hopefully Brexit won’t stop her return in April), and “best mate” is stuck working outside London for another week, leaving me with virtually no-one to hang out with, especially since I can’t go climbing in this condition. Worse, I couldn’t visit my folks at the weekend because (a) they’re doin’ up the house, and (b) the trains were in a state once again and it’d have taken me at least two changes each way (Southern Rail get their second negative citation in this blog post).

Perhaps it was lucky, as I might have spread this phlegmy cold to my mother and/or grandmother, and they’ve suffered enough lately… but maybe the cold itself is a refreshing change: could I be entitled to take my first proper, non-surgery-related sick day in years?  I think the last bad cold I had was in August 2016 (shortly followed by a worse condition), so it’s about time, isn’t it…

Feeling down

Well, at least I’ve spread my germs to all the selfish jerks who want to use the Tube every morning

Much like last year, I wish I could start by saying I’d had a good Christmas, but three things have conspired to make me feel down.  Not, for a change, public transport or things going wrong at my job (no four-year cycle repeating early 2015… though I am replaying Batman: Arkham Origins!), and although one of the things is a health matter, it’s nothing to do with “mind static” or brain tumours.

Having said that, I can’t help but wonder if the reason I had almost no colds after the beginning of the real series of partial seizures wasn’t that I was somehow super-healthy (or that $DEITY was giving me good luck in infection terms to counterbalance the bad luck in other health terms), but rather that the condition was somehow repressing illness symptoms, and I was actually getting colds just as much as ever?  Did I mention having a cold in early 2017, only for it to last a couple of days instead of weeks?  Yes I did, there’s a good Dave-ros — and although I had another cold the following year, which lingered a lot longer, more recently I’ve had a mild one (around my 41st 29th birthday in October), and while it was short-lived, I went through all the traditional symptoms, including copious amounts of snot.

(Oh, that third cold-related post had a similar title to one five years earlier — am I running out of material?)

And in December, just before I went down to visit my folks in Worthing for Christmas, I started getting a sore throat, although for once my journey on Southern was entirely untroubled (well, except having to start at a completely different station, and travel on Christmas Eve because the entire south coast railway was closed between Littlehampton and Brighton over the weekend).  My folks were happy with their presents, and I was happy with mine, and it looked like it’d be a nice break from London…

But then my sore throat kept getting worse, affecting my ability to even speak, and a cough began, which also got worse as the days went by.  I ended up retreating into my room and hardly interacting with my folks at all (other than the occasional walk to meet local friendly dogs), and I stupidly upset my mother by being impatient with her, perhaps even more than last Christmas, and making her feel unappreciated.  I’d been planning to play Wii Sports Resort and Nidhogg 2 with her during my break (and let her win at marble soldiers), but hiding in my room just seemed so much easier… and little things, like knocking on my door when I was doing something, could make me angry and unwilling to even try to talk.

(I hope it’s not a return of anxiety at sudden loud noises, though my team getting rowdy at work can certainly drive me into my shell, and make me put my headphones on… at least I don’t work with that woman any more!)

It’s not just my folks that I’ve disappointed, though: my American friend wanted to send me another package (most likely a third set of Transformers he’d bought for me), and though he got my address wrong in October, when it was eventually returned to him, he put my right address on and re-sent it, just in time for Christmas.  Indeed, it came so quickly that I got the card in time to pick it up from the depot on the weekend before Christmas, and open it on Skype in order to bring a smile to his face…

Nope, the local post office depot (let’s name and shame, like I first officially did in 2016: Finchley Church End Delivery Office) seem to have lost my “birthmas” present entirely — despite the postman having ticked the box to say it would be back at the depot for pickup, they couldn’t find it there when I came in with my card and passport, and they later admitted it was never checked back in after the attempted delivery before Christmas, so its location is now completely unknown.  Our neighbour on one side denies receiving it (we often take in packages for each other), and the house on the other side is vacant (the nice old Irishman sadly died a year or so ago), and no-one else in our street has tried to bring it to us.

They’ve even suggested it went to that flat up the street with the same number and postcode as our non-flat house (which I told you about in code here), but if that’s the case, why was the card put through our letterbox, and why didn’t the resident of “Flat 7, Yorkshire Works” bring the parcel to our house when they realised it wasn’t for them?

(Unless someone with my name lives there, of course, but how many Dave-roses are there in the entire world, let alone in this nice bit of London?)

Hey, what if the deliveryman put it in one of our bins, without actually telling us, and it’s thus been thrown away (or recycled, which would probably mean stolen and given to the thief’s children)?  If it does get returned to my Michigan friend a second time, I’ll ask him to change my address again — this time, to my family home in Worthing (still the destination for post relating to my student loans), so I can pick it up from somewhere it’s more likely to actually be delivered.  And if our local post here gets any worse, I’ll get my NHS letters redirected there as well (I’ve got more tests coming up in February, and naturally want to ensure I attend them).

Of course, it might not be our local post office that’s responsible for one final concern I have, but you never know: our energy company (name and shame: Eon) have now twice sent us not quarterly bills, but angry chasers for unpaid quarterly bills (August thus paid in early October, and November in early January).  Since the account is in our landlord’s name (not our landlady, but her dearly-departed husband, who we lost in 2013), it’ll be difficult getting through to them, but nonetheless I’ve been advised to ditch them entirely.  Perhaps it’s worth noting they also screwed over my folks, arbitrarily increasing their bills simply because they could…

I certainly can’t help but ponder the thought that they’re “accidentally” doing this at their end, to increase the chance of us running up a fine… wouldn’t be an isolated example of a private business trying to trick people into getting penalised as a revenue stream, judging from Mr. Mustard’s blog about parking/traffic fines, would it?

Well, I’ll just have to hope I get over this damn cough, patch things up with my mother and grandmother, and cope with the dreadful postal service… well, at least my cough’s lightening up a bit today, so that’s a good start — but last night it was so bad, my hacking actually made me feel like I pulled a muscle!  Indeed, senpai wanted me to go home from work early, despite the important stuff that needed doing, and it was only thanks to luck (and bumpers) that I beat four other people, including “best mate” and “drummer-trucker”, at bowling.

(Yes, lucky: my first bowl was a strike, straight down the middle of the lane — that hadn’t happened since my very first bowl ever, in October 1992!)

I’ll continue resting this weekend, hoping it’s just a cold my folks inadvertently brought back from the Canaries in November, but if I’m still feeling horrible on Monday morning, I’ll take a sick day so I can see the quack, in case it’s a throat infection (not for the first time, and neither was that, as I had one instead of “Fresher’s Flu” back in 1996).  This isn’t impossble, as I’ve had very little nasal activity so far, whereas at times my ear canals seem to ache, as though my Eustachian tubes are infected with the same bacteria.

I don’t want to be taking antibiotics at the same time as my anti-epilepsy medication, but hey, what choice would I have?