February 22, 2008

Just for fun:

Here are some things I wrote last Summer, that I never got around to finishing and/or posting:

As Much As I Love That Mariachi Thump...
8/30/07 1:00 a.m.

If I can hear your bass and treble in my vehicle - even though I have in ear buds - while you're behind me in traffic with your windows up, your music is too fucking loud.

No, seriously.


Tuesday I was really craving fried food. When I told my boss about this she offered to fund our lunch if I would get her some too. She did not have to propose this twice. When I got out to my truck my time-line changed dramatically. My right front tire was pancake-flat. So I headed back in on the verge of tears. You see, I have fifty dollars taken out of my check each week to pay for the extensive repairs I had done a month ago. The bill included two new tires in front. Three months prior to that I bought two new back tires. Now one of these tires was flat.

(The end result was that my tires had been slashed and I needed 4 of them, not just one.)

My Narcoleptic Life

Back before I ever saw a sleep specialist, a friend of mine encouraged me over and over again to do the same things every magazine article titled something like "Always Tired? 5 No Fail Ways to Increase You Energy," or "Boost Your Energy - Naturally!" has ever suggested:
"Make sure you go to bed and get up at the same time every day," he said. "When you get up in the morning, expose yourself to sunlight as soon as you can, and exercise early in the day to increase you circulation and metabolism." He'd tilt his head to one side and say, "Do you drink a lot of caffeine or alcohol before bed?" And he would always sum it up with, "If you stick to a schedule you'll regulate your circadian rhythms and you'll have no trouble staying awake in class."

When I did see a sleep specialist, she first suggested Provigil (I currently take it), but I had taken it before with little benefit. "There are other options," the doctor said, making a note in my file. "We could try out something a little stronger; Addderol or Ritalin may be beneficial." The reason I chose to stick with Provigil is dominated by the stimulant addiction history of my family. Provigil is supposed to be less habit forming. In the end I was switched to the highest dose. "It may also help to de-fragment your sleep by taking a sleep aid. Here, take this pamphlet. Many of our patients with Narcolepcy find this one very helpful. Read over it, visit the website if you have any other questions, and we'll discuss it again in a month when you come back for a follow up." The sleep aid she suggested was prescription GHB. I declined. "I can only imagine the trouble I'd have trying to travel with something like that," I told her on the next visit. "And, I am not very comfortable with the idea of taking it while I live alone. Plus, what if I were to get pulled over and I had it with me, or someone stole my bag? I'd feel responsible for however it was used." She tiled her head to one side and frowned a little bit. "As long as your prescription is marked you should have no problems." Why do people always have to tilt their heads like that? I have since been pulled over with my Provigil bottle visible. Though I was not taken in, the cop did find it highly suspicious, and spent quite a bit of time examining it.

When I worked two jobs this dosage was appropriate. The hardest time for me to stay awake is mid-day, so I occasionally had trouble with my 2:00 p.m. Tuesday/Thursday class, but every other day of the week I was a waitress at that time of day. For the most part, being sleepy was not an issue when I was running my ass off. I'd usually pass out around midnight and wake up the next day after three alarms and an hour's worth of snoozes on each.

"Circadian rhythms" don't mean anything to people with Narcolepsy. The rhythms are controlled by a hormone "switch" in the brain. In people with narcolepsy this switch has a shorted out fuse. Ironically, many people who have narcolepsy have other sleep disorders, like insomnia, because of this. I do not quite have this problem. 999 times out of 1000 I am asleep with 2 minutes of laying down (This is no exaggeration - I have medical documentation).

However, just imagine for a second that you have been tired, or just feeling sluggish all day, and it starts to wane around 5 p.m. By 9 p.m. it is entirely gone, and you finally have the energy and motivation to do all of the things you needed to do during the day: grocery shopping, laundry, dishes, cleaning, etc. Once this becomes a regular occurrence you can't help but feel that you must take advantage of it. Otherwise you'll never get anything done. This is my problem. I think of "one more thing" to do before bed over and over. The next thing I know it's 3 a.m. I have to get up for work at 7 a.m, but somehow, regardless of how much sleep I did or did not get the night before I have trouble making myself lie down.

I tried not taking the 2nd daily dose of provigil, thinking it would make it easier for me to avoid this DO THINGS! urge, but instead I just fall asleep at my desk.

That's all of it. Like I said, not all finished, but the last part is a little educational.

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