Sunday, April 17, 2011

Doing a Rip Van Winkle

It was two weeks ago Friday, as I was watching the Maury show--the one about the guy who was baby-daddy to six different women at the same time--that I realized something was wrong with me. Two judge shows later, some Jamba juice and a long, relaxing foot massage with that nifty shiatsu thing my kid got me for Christmas and I knew something was wrong with me.

Late February, I was hit with an IRS typo. I always do my taxes manually, and even though I filed correctly, back in 2008, data entry entered my husband's date of death as 2007 instead of 2008 and some kind person fixed my filing status for 2008. Maybe she thought grief lead me to file married joint instead of qualifying widower, I dunno. Seven hours on the phone, days in the IRS office. Forms on forms on forms--it took a long time to figure out, and a longer time to convince them there was a mistake in their database--thank God for my anal-retentive paperwork tendencies, since I had everything from the actual forms to the scratch paper I'd used to do them.

I'm guessing I had some kind of bad karma because everything tipped over like a row of dominoes. It's been a bad couple of months and the hives came back with a vengeance--this time on my face and neck. I coughed and gagged and wondered if I was going to die, and popped Benadryl like candy. Check the wrists, feel around the hips, cough to check my throat--the mirror for facial swelling. Try to eat a low histamine diet, stay calm. Not easy with bills piling up, Social Security asking to see me in person, my kid's health going down the drain, and a week off for spring break.

Benadryl literally saved my life.

I still remember the last time it saved my life. I relaxed out on the deck, watched TV with my kids, made dinner--family stuff, you know? I got along so well at I fit in. It was nice, and so totally "not" me.

I don't watch TV, I don't relax, I don't sleep and most of all I don't have the time to sit around for a foot massage.

I carry Benadryl in a pill container, just in case and thought nothing of using it, although I wondered why I didn't have a thought to spare. No blog posts, nothing to say...nothing at all.

A few years back, I remember this discussion thread on RD where someone asked about the best drugs for depression, and I thought about chiming in but didn't, because I'm afraid of antidepressants. I don't want to be someone else. Someone who watches Maury and Judge shows, makes a nice dinner and gets enough sleep.

Turns out the Benadryl molecule--diphenhydramine--is the base ingredient for Prozac. The National Highway Traffic Administration says, "All first generation antihistamines, including diphenhydramine, have been demonstrated to diminish cognitive and psychomotor performance in healthy volunteers. Impairment might even be of greater clinical significance in patients when the allergic disorder per se adversely affects CNS function, as suggested in studies in which a reduction in cognitive functioning in patients was exacerbated by diphenhydramine . Laboratory studies have shown diphenhydramine to decrease alertness, decrease reaction time, induce somnolence, impair concentration, impair time estimation, impair tracking, decrease learning ability, and impair attention and memory within the first 2-3 hours post dose. Significant adverse effects on vigilance, divided attention, working memory, and psychomotor performance have been demonstrated."

Yeah, well--I sure couldn't learn anything new, and the old stuff was beyond me. It took weeks to come down off it, and for the record, I've been Benadryl free for about five days.

Lots of stuff piled up, lots of things to do. I have a workshop I couldn't form until yesterday, and more things to do. But my brain is back, and I missed it. Normal is fine for other people. Although I might still make dinner.


deanna said...

Oh my, Jodi. It's been a weird couple of months, sounds like. I figured you were busy with the new job and was hoping you still had writing time. But I've been weirding out a bit, myself - can't believe I totally missed your previous post - it must have come out when I was hiding from the Internet.

Like you say, normal is fine for other people. I'm glad you're all right (because you as you is the only way to be), and I think (and hope) I'm tracking with reality again, too.

Kathryn Scannell said...

Normal is a washing machine setting.

Seriously, I've used benadryl for severe reactions for years, and it does have major cognitive effects. I never knew about he connection with prozac though.

I wouldn't even consider trying to drive for at least 4 hours after taking it. I think it has far more impairing effects than the other OTC allergy medications that come with drowsiness warnings. I used dimetapp for many years without much in the way of side effects.

That said, I'm still glad it's around. It's what I grab when I think the next step is the epi-pen and the ER if it doesn't work.

Zyrtec works pretty well for me for the day-to-day stuff without a lot of side effects.

Kaige said...

See, I knew I was right to be worried about you. *hugs* Glad things are looking up. We had an accountant typo on DH's SSN one year. OY! What a pain in the tuckus, I can't imagine the angst you were put through.

I'm not in a rush, so don't let me add to your chaos. It and I'll still be here sponging up things until you have something for me.

Oh, and Kathryn: Zyrtec is good, but dunno if you know that Allertec from Costco is the same stuff. You can get a year's supply for about $15 instead of a month for $45.

Jennifer Leeland said...

Oh man!!!!! Like you haven't had enough going on!

I love benadryl. But like you, I've had to be careful about when I take it.

Alice Audrey said...

Good to have you back. I wondered what happened.

jodi said...

I missed you, Deanna. And sometimes I hide from the internet too. I hope you're back in sync because you're so totally connected it feels funny when you're also other than yourself. :)

Hi Kathryn! The next step for me is an epi-pen. I'm still carrying Benadryl and I have Zyrtec in the medicine cabinet for my kid, but I think I'm going to risk it and try to stay off medicines.

It's like a fog has lifted and I can see again. And I even got excited about thought strings! A good thing. *happy sigh*

A little more iron and that tonic (which doesn't taste so bad when you get used to it) and I should be good to go. :)

Hi Kaige! My God, you should have seen how much effort it took to help Taneasha--like I was swimming through molasses. And then I watched some Maury. I still wonder what I was thinking and why I thought it was hilariously funny. *unhappy sigh*

I'll be back soon. Now that I dropped my RWA membership I can say that I'm backed up on my editing stuff so that's my primary focus right now (no brain=no communication). It won't take but a few days. :)

Jen!!! *squeeze*

My karma isn't just crappy, it's ultra crappy. I downloaded the Virus from Hell and it ate everything this morning. Even my kid couldn't fix it. I need to wipe my hard drive and start over downloading all my files. Even then a lot of them are going to be missing.

I hope this streak goes away fast. I can just see myself doing a Final Destination on the way to NY. :)

Hi Alice! I always turn up. Sort of like a bad penny. :) Although sometimes it takes awhile.