Monday, July 23, 2007

On a High Wire Without a Net

After months of battling raging insomnia I finally decided to cry uncle. I've tried long hot baths, herbal tea, lavender candles & body lotion, soothing music... all that sort of stuff. But it's no good. I manage to get to sleep just fine. But then somewhere between 2-4 AM my eyes pop open, my mind is racing and there is NO WAY I'm getting back to sleep. I go for days upon days utterly sleep deprived until I'm goofy. I keep saying when I get tired enough I will sleep. No. When I can no longer stand it I just crash - not sleep - but collapse in a twitching pile of goofiness that makes no sense. Not good.

I've been extremely resistent to taking any sort of sleep meds. But after this last most ferocious bout of the big eye, I finally decided to cry uncle. So I called up my primary care provider to see if I could get a referral to the local sleep clinic for a full evaluation and possibly a short term prescription.

I was told she no longer works there - moved on to the VA some months ago. Didn't I get a letter? NO. I did not.

So now, not only do I not have anyone to help me with the sleep ickies, I have no one to do my annual exam or to turn to in the event I get sick. I'm back at square one with no medical professional that I know or trust.

I have HUGE issues about picking doctors. I've had horrendously bad experiences in the past with a doctor who spent the whole time she was examining me talking in detail about OTHER patients (not using names, but hey - we live in a small town and I'm not stupid, so it's not all that hard to figure out...). I wrote a letter of complaint for which I was labelled as a "problem patient".

After a long, long time with no doctor at all my pal Juliana took me to see a Nurse Practitioner she trusted. I was delighted to find a good match. I am seldom sick so I did not go in often. But it was very comforting to know that Eileen would be there any time I needed care.

Now she's gone.

I'm feeling frustrated, disappointed, nervous and scared. I do NOT want to go get poked and prodded and asked questions by somone new I don't trust.

Besides which, most the good doctors in this underserved rural areas are no longer taking any new patients. So I'm stuck. Do I play Russian Roulette with my healthcare by relying only on the walk in clinic? Yikes, that feels too creepy for words. What to do? Go back to the yellow pages and throw darts?

If I were looking for a therapist - which I most definitely am not - I would have the option of calling several, having a brief phone call to get a feel for what sort of services they offered, and then do screening interviews to find the right fit. But MD / DO doctors tend to say "take it or leave it" and consider their time too precious for that.

I really hate having to start over. This stinks.


Ruth D~ said...

Ahhhhh . . . sounds familiar, the insomnia. I took a walk this morning at 5 freakin 45 a.m. Then went back to bed, and still took a nap later.

Want to play the "Have you tried -----" game?

Valerian? My favorite is Benadryl, but I still wake, but I drift back to sleep better. Benadryl and beer? Even better, although it was an unintentional combination; I've never tried it again. But I just might!

Belladonna said...

When I say I am resistant to meds, I mean ALL meds, even OTC. I resist taking even tylenol or apirin. I spent seven years in a haze of substance abuse in my early youth. Now I've been clean as a whistle for 26 yrs and just don't want to mess with ANY sort of chemical altering of my system. I don't drink at all, don't do caffiene and basically just "tough it out" when I'm hurting. I play with biofeedback, self hypnosis and serious whining when the situation merits it. But taking chemicals feels too much like opening the lid to pandora's box. I know I'm not about to revert to my days of playing the acid queen...but's a slippery slope I prefer to avoid all together.

~Deb said...

That's awful! I know the feeling all too well. What I have learned through my therapist and CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy) is deep breathing before going to bed. Meditation or some sort of relaxation technique, such as new age music or even soft music so it soothes you. Music and deep breathing techniques work best. I totally agree with you on the fear of taking sleeping aids.

I'm suffering with my breathing. I stop breathing when I sleep. I have to go to a doctor to see what's wrong. Some say it's sleep apnea, or other things that may be worse.

Good luck!

Mr. H said...

I think you are correct in your desire for the sleep clinic. I remember Dr. Johnson telling me at the County that Insomnia is a symptom of another issue and not a diagnosis that stands on its own. There is a sleep clinic in Tri-Cities that is in the book that might be able to help you. St. Mary has a good facility but there have been mixed results with those whom I have talked to that have been treated there.

May this cup pass quickly.


Tristi Pinkston said...

I'm so sorry -- I know I'm going to cry when my doctor retires.

I've heard that hormonal imbalance causes insomnia. I have a hard time sleeping too -- and I may have to look into that hormone thing.

Belladonna said...

You know, I've heard a few people say that insomnia can be one of the signs of the the hormonal soup of menopause starting... I suppose since I'm almost 50 yrs old that COULD have some influence. although so far I'm still waiting for that to kick in.

The truth is I've fought with serious insomnia my entire life - I learned as a very young kid how to keep myself amused and quiet during the night so I would not disturb my sleeping family. That has a lot to do with why I write - it was one of the activities I could do in the wee hours without bothering anybody.

Over the years I've tried all sorts of things - including medical doctors, homeopathy, hypnosis - the whole gambit, trying to "FIX" the problem. We bought a new bed, I've tried behavior mod, I've tried herbal stuff, I've tried more different methods than I can count on my fingers and toes. I finally came to the conclusion that all the kings horses and all the kings men would never be able to put this broken humpty dumpty brain of mine back together again. So I try to just keep a sense of humor about it and do what I can to take care of myself.

However, lately it's been much worse, so I may be ready to try the doctor route again.

So it goes. At least I have really good insurance which is a blessing.

heather said...

Oh this sounds familiar. I've had a couple of truly horrendous experiences with doctors, and it's very tough to find a good one. My last "doctor" (quotation marks because it's kind of dubious calling him that) turned his clinic into a factory for doing employment physicals, and triaged them first because he made more money from them. Last time I went in I had to wait 4.5 hours to be seen for a serious allergic reaction. That was the last straw. I'm trying a new place, and so far I'm happy with my new doc.

It's weird... in some ways this is easier in a big city (there are always more docs to try, and eventually you usually find one you like). In others it's harder. For instance, I've been unable to find a good psychiatrist since I moved to the city from a rural area, and everyone I talk to here who's in the medical profession has nothing but bad things to say about the local psychiatrists.

Best of luck finding someone new who'll do right by you!

Belladonna said...

OK - after much grumbling and swearing I'd just avoid all medical people all together, I'm giving it another shot - I've made an appointment with a Nurse Practitioner tomorrow with the hopes this MAY be my new primary care provider. Wish me luck!

Heather said...

Best of luck!!! I know how nerve-wracking such appointments can be. Fingers crossed for you!

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