When the wheels come off

Aside from coughing up blood and hospitalizations and losing lung function, one other element of cystic fibrosis I hate is when you’re doing okay and then you’re not. It’s like a magician making a quarter disappear. One minute it’s there, one minute it’s not. One day I feel well, the next day I don’t. This then leads to more days of not feeling well and the mad scramble to play Sherlock Holmes and solve “the mystery of the disappearing good health.”

This recent “flip” started when I failed an anxiety/depression test. Well, I didn’t really fail it, and it wasn’t really a test. All I know is at some point during a recent CF clinic, I must have filled out a questionnaire about anxiety and depression, the latter subject being something I never think about. I know I have anxiety. The daily fluoxetine and “as needed” Ativan cocktails make it pretty obvious.

What surprised me was the call from the clinic telling me I’d scored higher for depression than anxiety. Let’s skip to the chase on this one: work problems? I’m thinking, “oh yeah.”

The medical solution: Increase fluoxetine from 20 mg to 40 mg. Okay. Why not?

This is how it went.

Day one: Nice buzz for most of the day. I like it. No depression here, there or anywhere. Not that I’m sure there was any before, but life is good and I’m feeling fine.

Day two: Still feeling good. No buzz, but not bad. Noticed some shortness of breath later in the day. Ate way too much food in my happy state. Paying the price with bloating.

Day three: Holy shit, I can’t breathe. The mucus is thicker, harder to get out. I’m all screwed up now. Bloating like a cow. What the fudge? The wheels come off.

Day four: Speak to the clinic. Back to 20 mg of fluoxetine and one of the worst, most necessary, medicines ever invented: prednisone.

The search for my equilibrium begins again and I am reminded of what happens when I don’t ignore the paperwork they give me at clinic.


My obese brain

If you’ve read my whiny posts recently, you know I’ve been trying to solve some challenges at work, and that I’m feeling like I’ve lost my equilibrium. Well, I can tell you I’ve discovered one reason for the mental speed bumps: I’ve been spending way too much time drifting on the web, reading article after article on any and all subjects. Especially ones about trump and the election, which I’m still amazed by.

I’ve concluded that part of my recent frustrations stem from my inability to concentrate for extended periods. I don’t blog as much as I once did, and I don’t read as many books. I tend to spend a lot of time on the internet visiting the same sites over and over, checking them multiple times each hour.

While watching TV with the family, I find myself picking up my phone to check twitter or Instagram. Or reading my email. I never used to do any of that.

To combat this problem, I’ve created new family rules. No phones at the dinner table, which is really my wife’s rule, but my daughter and I tended to push the limits of it. No longer. Now we follow it.

And no more phones or computers if we’re watching a movie or television show. We concentrate on one thing at a time now. I noticed my daughter not paying attention to movies and it drove me nuts. Then I started picking up my phone too. (Sound of a screeching halt). The new rule is if you want to use your phone or computer: you leave the room.

So if I’m having a problem like this, how are electronic “distractions” impacting my daughter? I worry about her consuming more than she creates. The phone rarely leaves her hand and is always close by if it does. It’s an electronic clutch and crutch.

It’s not easy to break a habit like this, and I’m an adult (at least in age). I find myself going a day or two without excessive surfing but then falling back when I’m bored or tired. Or while doing my 4.5 hours of treatments each day.

My last thought-and I have no proof of this, it’s just a hunch – is that my surfing large amounts of negative news stories takes a its toll beyond my poor concentration. My gut tells me it extracts a greater price: anxiety, depression and hopelessness. Yay, a triple scoop of hell.

Maybe there is such a thing as too much knowledge in this day and age. I’m thinking it’s time for my brain to go on a diet, especially with four years of a rich oaf leading our country on the way.