What. A. Day.

To most of you, having to be somewhere at 10 am might not seem like a crisis.  Far from it.  Many of you have “real jobs” and have to be there at 8, or even 7, in the morning.

I have never been a morning person.  If I’m up at 7, it’s because I’ve been working since 4 pm the day before.  I have always crafted my jobs that way.  Since I don’t sleep anyway, it works out for me.

But.  The “not sleeping anyway” part turned out to be part and parcel of my bipolar, so in the end it contributed to my professional downfall and eventual total disability.

Now I do sleep, thanks to the handful of drugs I take at bedtime.  And those drugs take at least 12 hours to wear off.

I have also developed a strict program of sleep hygiene.  I take my drugs at 9:30, am asleep by 11, and wake between 9:30 and 10 am.  Works for me.

But today I had to see the orthopedist about the crunching noise and pain in my right shoulder, due to the fall I took on September 9 in Israel.  The shoulder bit was part of the damage incurred in the fall that also gave me a nice concussion and a scar that runs from my elbow to my wrist.  Very nice.

So I managed to drag my sorry butt out of bed at 8, and got to the orthopod’s office right on time so I could wait another two hours during which I could have been asleep in my cozy bed.

Once again, I chose not to disclose my mental illness or medications on the intake form.  It has been my unfortunate experience that once the medical personnel see that one has a mental illness, they immediately assume that one is a drug-seeking crank.  So I have adopted the policy of disclosing on a need-to-know basis, and they didn’t need to know.  So much for abolishing stigma in the field of medicine.

The ortho examined my shoulder and of course cranked it in a way that caused me to say (actually scream) bad words, but judging by his non-reaction I guess he hears a lot of that.  He confirmed my impression that something is going “crunch” and “clunk” in there–never a good sign.  Then he proposed injecting it with steroid.  I proposed that we get an MRI before performing any interim treatment measures.  I hate to deprive him of an extra procedure charge to Medicare, but hey, I didn’t go to med school for nothing.  My motto is “first diagnosis–then treatment.”

So he good-naturedly signed me up for an MRI, to be carried out sometime in the next few days.  And he wrote me a script for some pain medication that is way, way too strong for me.  He was astonished when I asked for a specific med that is much less potent, and hesitated to write it for me because he thought it wouldn’t be strong enough.  I told him that if it wasn’t, I could always take a Tylenol with it.  So much for drug-seeking.

My next stop was the Subaru dealer.  Ever since my car was stolen and wrecked, careening into four other cars before running off the road, and despite the extensive repairs that had it in the shop for over a month, the steering has been squirrelly.

In the US, I live in a mountainous area.  Squirrelly steering is just not OK here.  In fact, it could mean the difference between staying nicely on the road and plunging down a rocky ravine.  So I took the car to the Subaru dealer where I bought it, on the advice of the insurance adjuster who has been allegedly supervising the resurrection of my 2011 Subaru.

The dealer’s mechanics also thought the steering was squirrelly, but they refused to fix it because they were not the ones that did the original work.  The shop that did the original work is a body shop 2 1/2 hours away, that deals in American cars, not Subarus.  Why the body shop was allowed to do the mechanical work (the entire front end was caved in in the wreck), I will never understand.

So I asked the service manager at Subaru to please call the insurance adjuster and tell him that they also thought the steering was squirrelly but that they refuse to fix it because somebody else did the original work.

The insurance adjuster called me and said that he saw no reason why they shouldn’t fix it, since they are a Subaru dealer and all this and that.  I told him I thought the same but since I seem to be powerless in this situation that I would let him deal with it, since he is the insurance adjuster and all this and that.

So now I am faced with a fair probability of needing surgical repair on my bum shoulder, and further surgery on my bum car.  Quite the pair, we are.

And just to sweeten the pot, I got a summons for jury duty.  What a day.

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  1. oh, im so sorry to hear about all your trouble happening all at once. thats how it usually is for me, too–when it rains, it pours! i hope your shoulder gets worked out one way or the other, and also that your car does too–and i agree that you are best served by having the insurance adjuster deal with the dealership/shops to get the steering fixed. trying to deal with it yourself is just crazymaking, designed to have you flip out and never get it resolved. but knowing that is half the battle (i know, i just started learning how to put it back on the people who should be doing it myself. such a clever little thing to know!). try to take it easy and not get too triggered-you’ll make it 🙂

    Oh, and about the sleeping, i completely understand and agree. i never make appointments before noon. it is just way to hard to be not only out of bed, but also dressed and ready any time sooner than that. i also worked nights for 20 yrs, and slept barely if at all during the day. it also eventually led to my eventual crash and burn and loss of life as i knew it. so now i also take meds that help with sleep, and i too sleep at least 11-12 hrs before even considering emerging from my lovely bed! I even worry that should i become well enough to eventually return to work, that i wouldn’t be able to work any job where i would need to arrive prior to 12 noon. but that’s thinking too far ahead and only borrowing trouble–and i already have enough of that right now!

    sending hugs, hoping you and your car have a quick recovery and back to ‘normal’ (or whatever passes for it).

    • Thanks, Kat! I truly appreciate your encouragement. Wow, you had the night-worker crash-and-burn too, eh? I bet among those of us whose brains work a bit differently, it’s not uncommon. Part of the reason I was ruled totally disabled is that there are very few hours in a day where I am actually functional.

  2. What a drag! My sympathies, and I hope the insurance company can persuade the car dealership to be helpful.

    I am going to remember your “first diagnosis – then treat” motto, because over a lifetime of orthopedic adventures, I’ve paid dearly for the opportunity to learn that treating willy-nilly can have unintended consequences. I am thrilled to have a succinct policy for the next time an ortho comes waving a needle full of steroids at me, promising to “make it all better” without bothering for find out what “it” is.

    That drug-seeking perception is one of the most degrading of the stigmas that attach to mental illness. I understand why it exists, but it really ticks me off.

    • Oh, sorry to hear you’ve been enriching the lives–and bank accounts–of the Ortho-pods. I can call them that because they call us pediatricians Pedo-pods. Although they hate being told what to do by mere patients, I try to frame it in a way that will make them laugh long enough to write the referral for the imaging that I think is most appropriate LOL! So why is drug-seeking attached to mental illness? I know there are some people with dual diagnosis, but certainly the majority of us would rather be far, far away from drugs of every kind.

      • I think that the drug-seeking stigma attached because there are undiagnosed folks who attempt to self-medicate and wind up with addiction problems. The silly part, of course, is that anyone who walks into a doctor’s office with a list of meds they are taking for a mental illness is already being medicated appropriately (we hope.) In any case, the last thing most want is meds that will upset the delicate balance of the meds they are already taking. So while I can understand a person making the connection between med-seeking and mental illness, it’s hardly an intelligent assumption to make, especially for someone who (presumably) gets the concept of drug interactions.

        My entry to the wonderful world of Ortho-Pods and chronic pain was by way of a bunionectomy gone wrong almost thirty years ago. Since the foot undergirds the knee and the hip, my left side has provided many a house payment for various docs. I’ve come to regard that foot as my little science experiment, since no one knows what to do with it and I am attached to it.

        • Ouch, and quadruple-ouch! I learned about the foot and its relationship to the whole body in a much less painful way: I had a Physician’s Assistant who was also a Podiatrist. In between patients he would draw pictures for me, and he educated me about the fact that the toe bone really is connected to the foot bone, the ankle bone, the knee bone, the hip bone….hey, that Ezekiel dude was onto something!

  3. I completely understand about your sleeping situation. My inability to fall asleep and sleep well is due to depression and chronic pain, though. Of course, during the day I can sleep at the drop of a hat. I also have sleep apnea and while I do have a CPAP I don’t always wear it and even if I do 25% of my apneas are centralized so it doesn’t help with those anyway. Now that I’ve strayed off topic, let me get back. I take meds to help sleep, too, but nothing heavy duty or addictive…an antidepressant and a muscle relaxant. But, it does mean that morning is a bad word. Really, really dislike mornings! When I have a choice I make all my appts for after noon…usually 1:30 or 2:00. I’m so glad to know I’m in good company! People that are morning people just don’t understand. And like you said, normal people who work have to get up in the morning and tend to think it’s really lazy to want to sleep the morning away. Well, I don’t sleep all morning, just a good portion of. But, it also takes me a long time to get feeling good enough to get dressed and out to do anything…fibro/chronic pain adds a lot to this in addition to waiting for the night meds to wear off. And, I am not lazy (at least usually) and I know you aren’t lazy because of all the stuff you write about. I don’t know where I’m going with this…I guess nowhere except that it’s good to have someone who understands 😉

    • Well, I hate to say it, but the more people who say that sleep and mornings are an issue, the better I feel because I don’t feel so alone and warped, if you know what I mean. I used to get up at 6 am when I wasn’t working nights, go to a 7 am aerobics class, back in time to get the kids off to school, then go to work a day shift and maybe fall asleep around midnight, get up and do it again. What happened to me? I guess I got sick, is what happened. (**BAD WORDS BREAK***) I don’t know how you put up with CPAP. If there was something on my face I would go stark raving mad. I guess you have to, huh? I’m a very bad patient in general, though. I sincerely hope the Universe stops throwing shit at me right and left, because I’m about at the end of my rope with it. My rope is not very long, you see.

      • Maybe we need to get you a shit shield? I could use one myself right now. My husband and true soul mate is very, very ill right now with a terminal illness and it’s so hard to watch him suffer so much! Not to mention that I can’t imagine life without him!! So, the old depression rears it’s head. I’m hoping my doc will add something new to the antidepressant I already take because I really don’t want to go through switching again. Maybe we could tie the ends of our ropes together and it would be easier to hang on? *gripping tightly* Peace to your heart

        • Yes, let’s get us both a shitshield and a long piece of rope that we can hold onto each other with, like in mountain climbing. I’m so sorry to hear about your husband! That is cruel beyond belief, to have your soulmate and then be losing him, and him suffering. I just can’t imagine the pain you live with day and night. My thoughts and prayers are with you ((hugs)) and hang on **tight**

          • Laura, Sorry I’ve been absent from the computer for a while and didn’t see this until today. I was walking to my car and my ankle just went…tearing ligaments in my ankle for about the millionth time in my life. UGH! I’ve been in bed with it propped up for almost a week. But, now here I am and I wanted to say thank you for your message. I see us holding onto each other with that rope and it makes me feel good, Laura. Thank you for that. Your writing and sharing inspires me and gives me hope. Your caring, and sometimes humorous, words in our conversations are so supportive and I appreciate you. ❤ Thank, my friend. Peace to your heart

            • Oh, NO, I’m so sorry about your ankle!!! What a drag! It’s terrible to have one of those “trick” ankles that gets torn up all the time. I’m really glad to be hanging on with you. We help each other, and it’s a wonderful thing. Sending love and healing energy–L

          • Oh, and my doc did increase my antidepressant. It’s been a week and I think maybe I’m starting to see a little improvement, thankfully.

  4. Yikes! That is a full and crazy day no matter what time you get up. Good luck!

  5. Midwestern Plant Girl

     /  October 23, 2013

    I hope everything works out very quickly!

  6. Gregory Hamerter

     /  October 23, 2013

    i enjoyed reading your article, i sometimes stay up to 3am and oftentimes i am isolated 24-7, i an’t make friends, and i think people are trying to kill me, and that everybody hates me, and want me beneath the ground, i thought about suicide before-now they say i have prostate cancer that will spread and i will sucumb to it-if i don’t get it taken care of; but i am afraid to leave the house, check my mail, or take my trash out-i need help, and i need a friend- i pray and read the bible daily


    • Dear Gregory,

      That sounds very serious. I think the first thing you need to do, if you haven’t done it already, is to get yourself to a psychiatrist and get some medication that will help you with your symptoms of thinking everyone is trying to do you in. That will be the first step. After that, you will be more able to get out of the house and get the treatments you need. You do need to get into therapy. It’s literally a life-saver. I go to therapy once a week, every single week. For you, it might be good to do some group therapy, because you will meet other people who are having difficulties too, and it’s good to know that you’re not the only one, that other people also have similar situations and thoughts. One way to find really good friends is to volunteer. Sometimes I will volunteer at a soup kitchen on holidays like Thanksgiving that usually make me depressed. So if I can do something nice to make someone else feel good, that makes me feel good too. And the other volunteers are usually good people, so that’s a good way to find good friends. But first you need to get medication so your brain will feel better and you can get out of the house to check your mail, and get your physical health taken care of. Please stay in touch.

  7. I totally understand…Tonight (in OZ) I’m pumped full of morphine and cortisone – not a good combo really. Head is pounding like a bongo drum with a mad drummer. Aches.and Pains – I’ve had a few, but then again to many to mention 🙂 Hope everyone gets some rest and help, friends, whatever your wonderful lives need to be the wonderful lives you deserve, Ciao, Susan x

    • Oh no! morphine and cortisone??? Awful!!!! Sounds like you got one foot on the accelerator and the other on the brake! Sending you healing vibes…jeez, I’m going to have to do a world-healing ceremony right here in the barn I live in (no shit Sherlock, I do…no indoor plumbing, very inconvenient at times). Feel better and stay in touch!!!

  8. savemefrombpd

     /  November 1, 2013

    Ech. I’m sorry.. Don’t ya hate this kinda stuff.

    I wish you the best for everything and am catching up with your posts now.

    • Thanks and I’m glad to see you! I’ve been worried about you, no posts and all. Hope to catch up on what’s been happening on your blog–Good Shabbos, Chodesh Tov–may the light of Kislev shine into all of our lives and bring enlightenment, peace, and le’malei et sha’ei’loteinu le’tova– (sorry folks who don’t know that language–secret code 😉 )


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