Careful, Someone Might Get Hurt
Whew! It’s been a long time since I’ve written a personal entry. In fact, it’s been two months! Of course, I haven’t written any other entries either, including my C programming articles and my Dragon Warrior episodes. Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten them, but unfortunately, a lot of things happened these last two months that made blogging, or doing anything at all, difficult. The two major negative events that found their way into my life was that my medication got messed up, and I came down with a mysterious skin condition on my foot and eventually my hands. However, there were some positive events as well, including my anniversary present: a live Lady Gaga concert at the Pepsi Center! I’ve also been introduced to using essential oils during my treatment of my foot, and I have a new psychiatrist that I see at The Wholeness Clinic, a more holistic mental health firm. However, I still wanted to go to groups at the local mental health clinic so I’m seeing a therapist there as well.
Let me tell you about the first thing. My foot mysteriously came down with a condition that I didn’t catch right away, so it got even worse before I discovered the extent of the damage. I think it was my shoes, so I’ve gotten new shoes (they’re really just Maus’ old converses, but I like them). It started I believe as a couple lesions on my front two toes to the right of my big toe, under the toe where you don’t usually see it. I think it was seeping for a while too on the sides. When I finally discovered the extent I didn’t know what to make of it, but I went online and did a little bit of researching and discovered that it was probably Athlete’s Foot. So I tried Lotrimin Ultra for a couple weeks, during which I had my first stay in my childhood home with my parents. That’s part of a parallel story about my mental health, so we’ll get to that in a bit. Anyways, the Lotrimin wasn’t working, it seemed to be getting worse. It was purple and looked kinda swollen and it was gross all around, so I went to the doctor. He took a look at it and said that he believed it was a fungus, possibly an extreme case of ringworm. I was so nervous about the appointment I had Maus come with me so if the doctor waffled about giving the strongest stuff I could have Maus say something to encourage him to take me seriously. I’m always afraid doctors won’t take me seriously, or won’t know what to do, which did happen, but later. So I took an oral, called, excuse my spelling, terbinafine, and I had a topical ointment as well. He said that he was going to hit me with the strongest stuff. So I took that for two weeks, had another stint in my childhood home with my parents. This time Maus came halfway through and visited for a couple days as well, so it was nice.
You have to understand, having anything wrong with me like an illness that doesn’t necessarily have a straightforward cure is really stressful for me. On my second trip to my parent’s house, I started developing terrible eczema on my hands. It was bad, and it was spreading and getting exacerbated fast. This ties into the other condition I was battling at the time, the invisible condition, which was extreme anxiety and obsessive thinking, but we’ll get to that in a moment. Needless to say, I was paranoid that whatever was on my foot had spread to my hands. It was nerve-wracking and I had a really difficult time doing anything else other than thinking about my condition, cause I just didn’t know what it was. Things were improving with the anti-fungal for a week and a half, and then suddenly, they just got worse. I was hoping my toes would be cured by the strong antibiotic-al attack I was subjecting them too, but it just wasn’t happening. This is what my toes looked like after two weeks of the “strongest” anti-fungal (warning: graphic pictures of icky toes):
What was I to do? Obviously the anti-fungal hadn’t worked, so what was wrong with my toes? And what was going on with my hands? I immediately scheduled another appointment with my doctor. God, waiting for the appointment was so hard, but I was able to manage it. Not like I had much other choice. I finally see the doctor and he looks at it and basically realizes one of my worst fears by saying, “I threw the strongest stuff I had at this, and it didn’t work, so I honestly don’t know what’s wrong with it.” I was crushed, and it only increased my desperation, but he said, “I’m going to refer you to the dermatologist. I’m sure you won’t have to live with this for the rest of your life. (Yes, he said that.) I bet you can get in this week.” So I call up the dermatologist line and make an appointment. They offered weeks away, oh no, but if I went to Loveland I could see one right away. I did that. She took one look at my feet and did a scraping, so she could look at it under a microscope. I told her I was applying anti-eczema cream to my hands (at this point) and anti-fungal to my feet. She said the two medications confused her investigation so she was going to do a biopsy comparing the sample against spongiotic eczema or tinea (fungus). I was surprised when they came back as eczema and not tinea. So she prescribed this strong ointment that can only be applied for two weeks before you have to stop. I did this, all the while still having mental health issues which we’ll get to, and progress was slow which was really frustrating. I had to rub the ointment in and each time took about half an hour each time. But my hands healed, mostly, and my toes got to a stable point. They’re not completely healed, and I have an appointment with the dermatologist, but they seem stable, finally.
The whole time this is happening my brain is going nuts. I was seeing Dr. Matsukawa at the local mental health facility, and I’ll tell you this, it was not working out. She decided that I had bipolar, which is fine because that was the diagnosis I was operating under for a long time in my adult life. Unfortunately, she decided that my brain was being too activated, and took me off my antidepressant. When I naturally became super irritable, angry, and super anxious she decided she needed to up my 5 mg of olanzapine (an antipsychotic) to a whopping 30 mg! This didn’t go over well. I couldn’t even take the full 30 mg, it made my feet get all restless in the evening. The feeling was awful, I don’t know if I can really describe it, it feels like your foot has to move it almost hurts. Sometimes it would even twitch. But the effect it had on my brain was much more important. I couldn’t think straight!
It’s hard to describe but, it got to the point that I couldn’t think of anything without being overwhelmed with all the details of that thing. I couldn’t think of doing anything on the computer because it overwhelmed me. I couldn’t think of cooking anything for dinner, despite the recipe being taken care of by Blue Apron, because my brain would fill with the details of every little step. For several weeks, I literally laid on the couch and didn’t do anything all day long. I couldn’t watch television because it messed with my brain, and I had constant unabated anxiety. I had so much anxiety I literally stopped pooping for three weeks. I had to use a suppository once a week for three weeks in order to get anything out of me. I’m sure you wanted to know that, but there it is. Oh, the olanzapine was awful, I couldn’t sleep well, and when I did sleep I’d wake up at like 4 or 5 in the morning and be unable to fall back asleep. I’d literally just lay there for hours waiting for the alarm to go off.
I couldn’t get an appointment with Matsukawa, and when I went to the crisis clinic, in so many words they basically said, “You have anxiety, everybody does, deal with it.” Oh, that pissed me off. So I decided I needed to go see my mom and be in a better place. So I did. Maus luckily had called Dr. Nagel who had seen me in Mountain Crest, the inpatient facility, and talked with him about what was going on with me. Dr. Nagel actually provided five different psychiatrists I could call to see if I could see somebody different. I started calling them, and all of them weren’t taking new patients until I got to Dr. Shannon with The Wholeness Clinic. He said he’d see me, and boy was it a relief. The first thing he wanted to do was get me down on olanzapine, which was what I wanted too. He also has me taking Inositol which is a natural supplement meant to ease anxiety. And now he has me taking CBD which is basically an oil from the cannabis plant. Don’t worry it doesn’t have any THC in it, but he said that eventually, that might be able to replace the olanzapine.
The first time I saw Dr. Shannon I was a wreck. I was so anxious I could barely talk straight. This last appointment I was laughing and talking like a normal person. He gradually reduced my olanzapine each time I saw him until I’m down to 5 mg at night. He also represcribed an antidepressant and anti-obsessive clomipramine. I take 50 mg of that every day with 600 mg of oxcarbazepine.
What was the turning point was that one day I was laying on the couch while Maus was home after work. I literally would lay on the couch all day completely overwhelmed by any kind of living. When Maus would come home from work, I would just lay there and stare at him. He said, “Why don’t you play a video game?” I had resisted this for weeks, I didn’t want to do anything, video games were too overwhelming. Well, one day I finally said, “Fuck this shit.” I was getting so tired of just laying on the couch doing nothing. So I set up my streaming equipment and started playing Final Fantasy for the NES. It’s funny how things work. Once I started doing that, I had something to do, and funny enough I started feeling better. I started to do better, thank god. And all of a sudden, I started to live again. I started doing other small things, like one day I decided I was going to try reading a manga. So we went to Barnes and Noble and picked up a manga with a coupon, and you know what? I enjoyed it! I also started making dinner again. And you know what’s funny, my hands got better, and my toes got better as I got better. My toes and index finger still have some weird things going on with them, but my attitude has changed and that’s not going to hold me back. I’m still not programming anything on the computer yet, but we’ll get there.
Other things that have happened that I haven’t blogged. Well, my friend Ferret and I really enjoyed Jaboody Dub’s video on the red copper pan which looks something like this (I think I’ve posted this before):
So I got Maus to draw me a nice picture, cause Ferret and I would talk about the “powah of da red coppah”. Ferret hangs out around my neck while I do stuff sometimes, so I put him in there. Here’s the picture Maus drew:
Ferret says it’s beautiful. He did a good job! Thank you Maus!
My mother bought me an amethyst necklace. I got the blue lace agate from the Crystal Galleries on Pearl Street, Boulder. I wrote about that in a previous blog post, but there’s also a crystals store in Old Town, Fort Collins! It’s a nice store, and the proceeds go to help people with developmental disabilities, which is cool. So I went in there to see what was up, and I found an amethyst necklace which is supposed to help with anger and self-loathing. I got a picture of it, looks like this:
I also saw a neat car in the parking lot of Walmart. I thought it was funny, but I don’t know if I ever posted it anywhere so here it is:
I also went to the Garden of Lights park in Fort Collins this week with my friend and Maus. I’ve gone there previously, I kind of make it a yearly thing. However, my phone would always die before I could take many pictures. It was dinky and would get too cold. But my new iPhone 7 is much better, plus it has a leather case. So here’s the Garden of Lights:
Maus made a gif of me, which seems fitting:
But the most exciting thing that’s happened is I got into the Pepsi Center to see Lady Gaga! Maus got tickets into general admission (the floor) and we were able to skip the super long line because we had flash tickets. So we got a nice spot on the floor. I instagramed the stage, and it took a while, but Maus was able to piece together all the video he took of the concert and uploaded it to YouTube. Here’s my picture of the stage and a selfie Maus and I took:
And here’s the video:
Maus said that it was the best pop concert he’s ever gone to. It was a great concert. Anyways, now that I’m better, I hope to be posting more on my blog and not wait two months for another entry. I’m glad things are doing better. So I’ll see you later!