Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Hi, My Name is Leila and I’m a Drug Addict

Since I’m on “vacation,” I allowed myself two slices of salami and olive pizza and five bottles of Sierra Nevada last night. I watched Wheel of Fortune and several other obsolete shows—which were apparently a huge waste of my life because I can’t even remember what they were—and then headed off to bed at 10:00 p.m.

Normally, I go to the bed—to my beloved Tempur-Pedic bed—at 10:00 p.m., fall asleep by 10:45 p.m. to a show on the Science Channel then wake up at 6:40 a.m. (or on the weekend 8:00 a.m.), it’s my schedule, it’s what I do. It never fails and it never wavers. Until last night.

I headed to bed, as usual, turned on the Science Channel, as usual and laid in my sea of pillows waiting for sleep to overcome me, but it didn’t. 10:45 p.m. passed, no big deal, 11:00 p.m., can’t be long now, 11:45 p.m., tossing and turning, 12:15 a.m., burning flesh and itching, 12:30 a.m., headache, 12:45 a.m., shooting pains coursing through the body, 12:50 a.m., aching legs, 12:55 a.m., spinning, 1:00 a.m. panic.

I was having full-blown withdraws from that evil red syrup that that evil greedy doctor prescribed to me.
I didn’t even realize it until I woke up Rey (who had to be to school early this morning), in a sweaty fit of panic and described to him the symptoms. “It sounds like you’re kicking dope,” he informed me, “go take some OxyContin.” But I didn’t want to take OxyContin, especially not if I was having withdraws because taking it only meant that I’d have to face the horrors of withdraws another day.

So, we stayed up for the next hour and a half as I cried and twitched on the bed. I finally caved at 2:30 a.m. and fell asleep with that sweet, red syrup coursing through my veins at 3:00 a.m.

Being addicted to a drug is not a pretty thing.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Back on the Wagon

Please excuse my recent absence, several days ago I discovered that OxyContin does not have to be used alone, it can also be paired with substances such as alcohol—which burns a hacked throat—and “greenery”—which does not burn a hacked throat, but depending on the time of day does make me think I’m dying of a heart attack.

Since that grand discovery, I’ve been diligently testing the results of the aforementioned substances, and through intense analysis have determined that each should be used individually, and in moderation, preferably when not recovering from a surgical procedure. But no worries, I’ve locked the juice in the safe and took a shower.

I’d like to say that those doctors lied. I did not loose ten to fifteen pounds from this surgery, I more like gained ten pounds, because all I ate for five days was KFC mashed potatoes and gravy, which apparently aren’t terribly healthy. I want their heads for false advertising; that whole weight loss schpeal is just a ploy to reel you in, don’t fall for it.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Painkiller Jane

I’m clawing my way into day five of recovery looking like a prisoner of war. Over the past four days, I’ve eaten no more than one Quaker’s cinnamon bun oatmeal packet, half an order of my favorite Mexican restaurant’s beans, and one can of Progresso Chicken Rotini Soup. I no longer comprehend the meaning of the word “food.” My world revolves exclusively around OxyContin and frozen Gatorade.

Actually, I’m lying about the last part, I couldn’t care less about frozen Gatorade—despite having drank nine gallons of fierce melon in the last 48 hours—what I really care about are my drugs. That sweet, red syrup that courses through my veins is what keeps me pushing on. It’s also what keeps me incessantly itching around the clock, but I don’t care, I’ve come to love the “heroin itch,” as Rey so lovingly calls it, and I think my skin looks nice with red scratch marks raked across my body.

That syrup, my handheld mirror, my purple flashlight and my digital thermometer are what I’ve been reduced to in this time of darkness. From my twelve-plus pillow bed on the sectional couch in the living room, my existence involves staring into space in a OxyContin-induced stupor, sleeping (only for increments of less than three hours, as not miss an OxyContin dosage), examining the rotten abyss previously known as my throat, taking my temperature, and bitching about my lack of nutritional intake. Really, it’s the life; beats the 9-5 grind, any day.

Now, please excuse me; it’s time for my precious...

Monday, August 20, 2007

Still Kickin'

My throat looks like I gargled with and swallowed a hot coal, but I’m alive! Alive and surprisingly well. As a person extremely versed in the horrors of strep throat, I must say that this tonsillectomy can’t shake a stick at that god-awful sickness. I feel like I could run a marathon, or more realistically throw back a beer and burrito.

(Now, this whole happy-happy-joy-joy attitude could be the Percocet talking; it wears off at 5:00 p.m., so I very well may be back at that time to rescind the preceding paragraph, and curse the day my doctor was born; but as of now, I feel great).

Sunday, August 19, 2007

And How Was Your Weekend?

I’d like to point everyone’s attention to the little counter on the right hand side of the screen. Notice that I’ve run out of days. I’m in the final hours. The tonsillectomy is inevitable.

There are two individuals who helped to make this weekend a living hell, and I’d like to acknowledge them individually.

First, the attorney in my office who informed me on Friday afternoon that, “Oh my god, my friend’s daughter had her tonsils removed a couple weeks ago, and a few nights after the surgery, the girl woke up spewing blood from her throat. My friend was terrified, there was blood everywhere.” Apparently the kid lived, which is a positive, and it was just the scab being prematurely ripped from the throat that caused all the bleeding, but this was not the type of information I needed to carry me through the weekend.

The second person I’d like to acknowledge is the anonymous commenter who graciously stated the following, “You can never be too careful...did you know that a known risk of tonsillectomy is injury to your external carotid artery? Yep, it's true…and another known risk is hemorrhage…don't believe me? Search it -- it happens…it happened to my son...and he died…ask your doctor…good luck.” I don’t know if that was someone’s idea of a sick joke, but it totally was not fucking funny. I’ve spent the last two days obsessing about my external carotid artery, although I guess I could view that as an improvement from obsessing about death by anesthesia.

I’m pretty much terrified right about now, and I can’t even pour myself a drink to relax. If I suddenly disappear from the blogosphere, you’ll know what happened. It’s been fun.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

These Thumbs Were Made for Video Games

I’d love to sit here and bore the world with more thoughts on my surgery, and my recently developed ear infections and deafness, but I went to the driving range last night, which means my thumb looks like this:

Apparently, I thought that giving the golf club the death grip would make me a pro golfer. It didn’t.

Monday, August 13, 2007

T Minus 6 Days and a Wake Up

Seeing as this place has recently turned into Tonsillectomy Central, I thought I’d take the liberty of laying out my fears surrounding the dreaded surgery. With the procedure rapidly approaching, I find my anxiety intensifying and my days increasingly spent worrying about the following:
  • My chart will be mixed up with another patient’s and I’ll wake up with some random body part removed;
  • My doctor, due to sleep deprivation, will unwittingly butcher my throat and I’ll either die from drowning in my own blood, or excessive plasma loss;
  • The anesthesiologist will overdose me just enough to cause severe brain damage, or with my luck, death;
  • My voice will be transformed into an earsplitting squeak or raspy croak;
  • I will have a heart attack in the waiting room from my heightened anxiety;
  • My liver, so damaged from alcohol and drug consumption, won’t be able to handle the anesthesia and I’ll die on the table before they can pull out the scalpel; and
  • The facility will be unsanitary and I’ll develop a sadistic post-surgery infection that will infiltrate my brain and other vital organs.
Deep down I know the likelihood of any of these scenarios happening is minimal, but I’m becoming increasingly irrational about this procedure. My brother had brain surgery for goodness sakes; I should be able to suck it up for a forty-five minute tonsillectomy.

Friday, August 10, 2007

T Minus 9 Days and a Wake Up

Never say things are going good, it’s like asking for something to go bad.

After I rattled on the other day about how great things were going, I had a major meltdown. I did what no hypo should ever do, no matter how great the urge; I googled. I googled “tonsillectomy.” And when that wasn’t horrifying enough, I googled “tonsillectomy + death.” The results were, shall we say, not good. They were so not good that I sat at my desk for the rest of the day in a state of sheer panic with wells of tears threatening to spew from my face. I bawled the whole car ride home and late into the night, the whole time playing my death out in my mind, first by anesthesia then by post-op bleeding, over and over again.

I read somewhere that chances of death by tonsillectomy are 1 in 15,000, another site said 1 in 250,000, neither odds sound terribly appealing. Rey assures me that I’m a strong, healthy, young women with nothing to worry about. I say it’s the strong, healthy, young ones that the freak accidents always happen to.

I have ten days left to live, and I’m not taking it well.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me, Happy Birthday to Me, Happy Birthday...

I started this blog one year ago. One whole year ago! I can’t believe it, it feels like it’s only been weeks. On the other hand, at times each post has felt like a week, but I digress.

And okay, for the record, it’s been one year and three days, but who’s counting, and either way, that’s not bad for a procrastinator of the worst kind. I started this blog on a Saturday morning one year ago in an attempt to relieve the intense pain and humiliation associated with my bouts of hypochondria. What began as a personal and private attempt to beat back insanity, has morphed into a community discussion, from which I’ve drawn great support and insight.

Just one year ago, as I sat at the computer with sweaty palms and a sense of impending doom, I could barely bring myself to admit that I needed help, even though I silently knew I was slowly losing my mind. And now, today, because of this blog, and the support I’ve received through it, I’m an unapologetic hypo, with one foot out the closet door.

This year has been more rewarding than I’d ever imagined it could. While the acknowledgment of my problem hasn’t made it magically disappear, the “fits” have significantly decreased. I’ve found colossal comfort in articulating my episodes and pulling the humor from otherwise humorless situations. Many times at the onset of an attack, I’ve gone back and reread old posts that, low-and-behold, describe the same symptoms and fears I was experiencing at the time. This little corner of the blogosphere has been a great refuge for me.

But, what’s amazed me the most has been the response from people who’ve stumbled across the site and felt compelled to share their stories via email and comments. I know it sounds cliché, but it really does help just to know there are others, many others, out there in that same scary place, with those same irrational thoughts, and those same irrational fears.

And even more surprising—being the sociophobe that I am—are the bonds I’ve formed with other bloggers, namely: Lacey, Barbora, Tournesol, Addie, Dave, SA Dave, Sean and Debaser. Not to mention the frequent commenters who have provided just as much support as those who maintain their own sites. And even the readers, who don’t say a word, but keep coming back, let me know I’m not alone.

So, with death by anesthesia only twelve days away, here’s hoping I make it through another year.

Monday, August 06, 2007

It's All About Perspective

If only I could see the world through the eyes of the director of this spoof on The Shining. Hair loss would be just a great reason to stop combing your hair. A panic attack would be a wonderful opportunity to experience an increased state of sensitivity. And Alzheimer's? An easy way to forget your problems.

Oh, in a perfect world...

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Spreading the Panic

Yesterday, after finishing the last disk of season four of our beloved Six Feet Under series, we decided to raid the town’s Hollywood Video stores (because Blockbuster doesn’t carry them) for the last five DVDs. Much to our delight, the store just one exit away had the disks. So, we grabbed the keys and dashed to the garage. But, before I could get in the car, it hit me, I should bring the cat.

She’s a very mellow cat, she doesn’t even attempt to fight when given a bath, (and any cat owner will tell you that’s an anomaly of great magnitude). She’s ridden in the car several times, without incident, (given it was only to the corner store), but what’s the difference I thought. Down the street; a freeway exit away; it’s all the same; a car ride is a car ride. Boy, was I wrong.

All was well until we hit about 70 mph. Suddenly a loud distress call echoed from the gut of my “mellow” little cat. Mounds of hair filled the air, and our eyes and mouths. She was frantically searching for a way to escape. We finally arrived at Hollywood Video, and this is when the full-blown panic attack set in.

She started to pace, still emitting the distress call. No petting or talking could calm her down. She began to wheeze and pant like a dog. By the time we got half way home, Rey and I were both convinced she was having a heart attack, which of course translated into me having a heart attack, and the two of us spent the rest of the ride wheezing and panting like dogs. Turns out we both are fine.

The moral of the story? Leave the house cat at the house.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Doing My Best to Accelerate the Aging Process

I didn’t start getting zits—for lack of a more flattering word—in my earlobes, until about eight months ago. Don’t get me wrong, puberty more than assaulted my face and back with acne. Inside, I’m still that same little girl who was asked by her mom “how [she] could live with all those zits? Then told to, “…try and shave them off with a razor blade.” I’ve had zits on my face, neck, back, chest, arms, legs, even in the mouth on occasion. But the earlobes? Never. Those sacred little ¼” awkward flaps of skin that hang off the side of my face have always been off limits, or so I thought.

My first earlobe zit, or “poisonous boil” as I referred to at the time, was a major ordeal. For a week, I was convinced that if I even looked in the direction of the swell, it would spew a poisonous stream of venom into my veins that would kill me, or cripple me for life if I was lucky.

But, it’s been a long eight months since that poisonous boil, and somewhere along the line, I came to love these little inner-earlobe zits. Disgusting I know, but as soon as I feel that little round mass starting to grow, my mouth begins to water, literally.

I long for the snap that emits from my lobe when I squeeze that pussing mass. I love to pop those little fuckers so much that I habitually tug and squeeze at my earlobes throughout the day. All day. Every day. At the rate I’m going, and assuming I make it to forty-five, my earlobes will be hanging to my knees.

And as a side note, if after reading about this disgusting compulsion you decide to never visit my blog again, I completely understand.

Truth be Told

The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem.
-Theodore Rubin

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


I have no interest in anything anymore. Not my blog, (as you can see). Not exercise. Not work. Not alcohol. Not food. Okay food, but only Mexican. And TV too, but just the Six Feet Under series, (of which I’ve watched more than forty hours in the last week, so I’m more like obsessed than interested, but who’s counting).

On the hypochondria front, I’ve been battling bowel cancer, but I’ll spare you the details. Also currently on the list are: impending liver failure, heart problems, imminent death by anesthesia, and brain tumor. I wish I could elaborate, but with two seasons of Six Feet Under to go, who has time for death?