So, for the first four-ish days, I kept a little "journal" of how I felt and what the drug did to/for me. I am going to post it as a direct copy/paste, spelling/typos/grammar just as it is in the "note" I typed. It's quite long, because duh, I'm wordy like that. I'm going to give you a spoiler now, because I'm sure you don't want to slog through the whole thing (unless you do, then of course, I love you so much, man. No, seriously, I'm not just saying that because I'm on a whole lot of pain medication right now). So, here's the spoiler- I DO feel better.
The new medicine- 37.5 mgs of Venlafaxine HCL (which is the generic name of Effexor) arrived on Friday, June 27th. I called the VA pharmacy because in my pain-clouded brain, I'd forgotten to ask about interactions with my normal medicines (I take blood pressure meds, asthma meds, and a slew of vitamins prescribed by the doctor). And they told me everything was fine and I was to continue taking the Hydrocodone (Vicodin) as needed for pain, AND the Cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril) as before.
Now... on to the "journal"... If you want, you can skip to the end (after the asterisks) to see my summing up of the situation.
Day one (Friday evening)
Took at 645-ish PM. About an hour later, I felt sort of dizzy, like if I moved too quickly I'd make the room spin. I was also very tired, but I don't know if that feeling was from the drug or if it was from the crappy sleep I had the night before (the fake insomnia). Around 8, 830 PM, I went to bed. I watched TV and fell asleep before 930. I woke up once when the TV got really loud (Iron Man 3 was on) and I have a vague recollection of waking up with Jerry came to bed because "O Brother Where Art Thou" was on.
I slept through the night and woke up at 4 AM to use the bathroom and then couldn't fall back to sleep. So I got up at 430 and wrote this.
Went back to bed around 7-ish and had trouble falling back to sleep. Finally did and slept for over an hour. The biggest thing was the groggy-ish feeling I had at first. But the thing is- I don't know if any of these feelings are related to the new drug or if it's just leftover from my late night on Thursday. Because that's how I feel sometimes when I have fake insomnia.
I drove one town over (about a 20 minute drive) and had a meeting with the board from Shakespeare on the Edge for the Gathering of Rogues & Ruffians (well, I'm on that board, so yeah... we had a meeting). I felt alert on the drive, did okay on staying focused, I didn't go off on any rambling tangents. After that, I had to stop by the grocery store. I did well, wasn't overly tired from it. I'm still having pain, of course, but I'm not feeling that "drag you to the floor and kick you in the face" tiredness.
Day two- (Saturday evening)
I didn't feel flat out blargh so last night's feeling must have been related to the fake insomnia the night before. This time, it took me a while to fall asleep (around 1130-ish). But, I woke up with my alarm at 455 AM, snoozed it and got out of bed at 505 AM. But here's the thing- I slept through the night. When it was time to sit up, I didn't have to struggle much. I was able to get out of bed without the (lately) usual pain, grimacing, quiet whining, slight swearing as I have been for the last two months.
I just took the dogs out (615 AM) and while I was waiting on them, I said aloud: "I feel like I might be a morning person again."
Yes. It's true. I'm one of THOSE people. No matter what time I have to wake up (I worked night shifts for two years), I'm a morning person. Fibro, of course, changed that. I became one of those squinty-eyed, growly, mumbly jerks in the morning. I finally understood why people wanted to punch me in the face at 7 AM, so much energy and cheefulness. No fucking thanks, man.
Today's activities will be a test. I'm going to be at Bristol all day.
Day three- (Sunday evening)
So, last night, since I had trouble falling asleep (I've only been taking one muscle relaxer with the new pill, because I dunno... seemed like a lot of drugs to put into my body all at once)... well, since I had trouble falling to sleep, tonight, I took two. I had two Vicodin pills at my usual 6-ish PM, the new medicine at around 7-ish. And at 730, two muscle relaxers. I should point out that I AM taking less Vicodin overall. And I do feel a lot better than I have in the last two months. (I hadn't realized how much sleep I wasn't getting till that other night when I slept really good... like, Friday, right?)
9 PM and now I feel a little wobbly. I'm not going to edit any typos or mistakes out of this section, I'm just going to copy/paste this bastard as it is because with all this mind-altering medication in me, I can still type like a motherfucker. Albeit a slow motherfucker, but still, two hands on the keyboard and still not looking at those hands. Because eighth grade typing class- BOOYAH! Yeah, I said "booyah". I'm only a little ashamed of that right now. We'll see how I feel in a few days when I go to put this shit in a blog post.
I did okay at Bristol today. I should mention that, because why not? I didn't really walk all that far, just from the apple tree (near the entrance) to the Globe Stage and back up again (the way back I walked with Odiferious Thunderbottom because he just six kinds of awesome. I got to see Clayton- who is playing William Shakespeare- throw down an impromptu and quick monologue doing both the parts from "Taming of the Shrew" when he met "Kate" because he's just six kinds of awesome too. Got a hug from him. And Joseph, and Rachel, because I think they all enjoy hugging fat, sweaty housewives with great personalities and more prescriptions than blood in her body.
So... this is still Monday, not yet time for my doses of drugs. Today was the first time in two and a half months that I didn't need to take Vicodin during the middle of my day.
Day four (Monday evening)
It's now 9 PM and I'm only up because my daughters stopped by to pick up clothes for Christine. She turned 21 yesterday (Sunday, June 29) and Kathy took her out for a giant Margarita and she's spending the night (drunk) at Kathy and Tyler's house. We're having pretty big thunderstorms all evening/night, so I'm trying to get the dogs to go out one last time so I can go the fuck to bed. I'm tired. And I want to lay down.
I don't remember if I typed it up there, but so far, the only "problem" I'm having is about an hour after I take the pill, I feel a little queasy. Like riding in the back of the station wagon and your brother is sitting too close to your side and it's hot and he keeps putting his leg across the invisible border your mom said was his side and your side and you're not really carsick, but you don't feel really good... that's the extent of it. I drink something like juice or a soda with sugar in it (or eat something small), I feel better. Almost as better as punching that brother in the face when he puts his finger in your face and says: "I'm not touching you!"
Yeah, I had an older brother. It shows, doesn't it?
So, it seems that I had trouble falling to sleep again last night. I was tired and I was laying in bed like a mushy pile of human, so there was no reason NOT to fall to sleep. I felt hot, like oppressively hot, but we were having storms and it was a thousand degrees with four thousand percent humidity (those are just my estimates, the Weather Channel said something like "89 degrees" and "85% humidity"... I rounded up). But when I DID fall to sleep, I again slept through the night.
Worth noting- we had the open eye to hell drift over us in the form of three back-to-back thunderstorms all yesterday evening and into the night. And all I felt in the way of my fibro was "oppressively hot". I'm still having some pain, but it is much, MUCH lower than it has been for the last ten to eleven weeks. Like I said, yesterday I didn't take any Vicodin in the daytime.
Right now at 622 AM, I still feel a bit hot, but when I touch my skin, it feels cool. My hands are sore and itchy, but not anywhere close to a flareup type of pain. Our weather is supposed to be good today, so that's something. I have to do some errands today and I'm going to take my Vicodin with me, but I might not need it.
Tuesday Night- Day four? Five? Whatevers...
Today wasn't as great as the previous few, couple, whatevers days. It wasn't terrible, but I did take my Vicodin before I left for the store (a lot of walking around and I had to lift really heavy bags of dog food, 40 pounds each, actually). My human knee has been achy all day too, like the olden days of arthritis. That doesn't happen very often, not since the cyborg knee thing happened. The new pill seems to still be working and I assume this is a period of adjustment, but around 3 or 4 PM, I get really tired, like REALLY fatigued. I don't like to nap that late in the day because it'll keep me up at night.
It's almost 1030 PM and blah blah blah... I'm going to bed to enjoy that solid block of sleep I've been getting. Well, let's hope I didn't just jinx my goddamn self.
Well, there you go. I stopped keeping notes about it because the way it makes me feel hasn't changed. (I'm currently typing while on it as well). I haven't been getting as queasy as I originally did- but the pharmacist said that it was normal and would clear up after a couple weeks. The last day or two (or three?), I've been a little achy/itchy. But everything has been dialed back several notches. Those two and a half months I had were fucking awful and by comparison, this is much better. This weekend is opening weekend at Bristol, so all this will be put to the ultimate test. But, till I flood all the internet with thousands of faire photos, here are some macro shots I took yesterday. I was outside for about thirty minutes but it only felt like ten. I haven't done that in so long. And it felt awesome. Except for the mosquitoes.