Saturday, December 11, 2010

Steroid Insanity

We were recently on a trip to the Caribbean. There were palm trees, waterfalls, rainforests, iguanas, monkeys, cacti, white sands and best of all, turquoise waters. Soon after we returned, I learned that my lungs would have preferred to stay south. Lower back pain, difficulty breathing, coughing, all spelled out one thing...time for a trip to the doctor. Unfortunately, for an asthmatic this usually also means prednisone.

"Do steroids make you crazy?" was the doctor's first question. Since I have been drug free ever since my retirement a number of years ago and since my memory is waning, I couldn't really recall and had no actual documentation of my reactions.

"Hmmm...I don't think so," I responded wondering exactly what amount of weird behaviour he considered to be "crazy". I had heard stories on the news about about aggressive tendencies from prolonged steroid use, but since my children had in fact survived their teen years with me, I expected the rest of the world would be safe from my potential steroidal wrath.

Prescription clutched in hand, I headed home. As I drove, I did remember two unenviable side effects. I wondered which of my visible body parts would be sprouting new growths of unwanted hair and how much weight I'd gain this time.

I took my first pill without adequate water and soon made another delightful discovery. My tongue became numb and the taste in my mouth for the next several hours was nothing short of foul. During the night, I realized that I wouldn't be doing much sleeping. Insomnia. It was all coming back to me. I lay tossing, turning, thinking and recalled that some of the traits which I possess, whether good or bad, had in the past become exaggerated through the use of these drugs. My attention span and focus has never been stellar and I remembered that during my last encounter with steroids, I showered at 4:30 a.m. and went grocery shopping only to find out who actually goes shopping at those 24 hour stores. That was followed by a trip to McDonald's for breakfast where I read the paper for awhile hoping to bump into a friend who went there every morning. When she didn't show up, I sought out cheap gas but found none. So I headed to the dairy and bought milk and a low fat pudding cup. I was excited to see that I was given one of those old fashioned long handled spoons that I examined it for awhile. I went home and drove my daughter to school hoping that I had called at some point to book off work. Then, I went to a bagel shop to buy an "everything" bagel. I walked out staring, in awe at my one bagel in a little brown bag. I stared and I stared. I wasn't certain why I went there or why I bought a bagel. I wasn't working that day, so I guess I could. And so it went, on and on although I don't remember many more details except that at some point I decided it would be wise to cease driving for a couple of days.

So now, after 2 doses of the meds, here I am. I haven't slept much but, I have accomplished things. Laundry done, bedding changed, some strange cupboards cleaned out and rearranged on a whim, gingerbread houses assembled, dog dinners made and frozen and the dishwasher which I started up at midnight got emptied at 3 a.m. I feel like one of those cartoon characters with the little tornado spinning around her. Caffeine has nothing on this stuff.

When hubby suggested that I sounded as if I was getting sicker, I remembered something else. The last time I had this problem, I eventually realized it was time to stay home and in bed. Whether or not I could sleep made no difference. I could read, watch tv until I dozed, do crossword puzzles, talk on the phone. The point was to rest. It seems that since I've retired, I have forgotten how to do this. So it has taken me two days to figure it out and I am now headed for bed in the hopes of rest and recovery. Wish me luck!

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