Life comes with defining moments, things that stick clearly in our minds that we use as markers along the route. One of mine came in March 2010.
I had been struggling through a very bad phase after the death of my Mother. Not that her death was a surprise, but the drama before and that which followed took a year to clear up and exhausted all the energies and finances I had.
My doctor had been adding and subtracting medications in an attempt to gain some kind of control over the tumble into the abyss I was once again taking. I was already being treated for Major Depression before Mother's death and I had been reasonably stabilized, clinging to the crevices in the darkness, neither moving upward nor downward.
It was decided we would try to add a larger dosage of Welbutrin to my already extensive medication package, which included but was not limited to Prozac 60mg, Chloral Hydrate 15ml(1500 mg), morphine and a couple of other drugs I cannot recall at this time.. Two days into the increased Welbutrin something snapped and my mind went sideways.
Out of the carpet erupted small silver spiders, like ants rushing out of a hive, flowing over one another, spilling into each twist and loop of the sculptured carpet. I watched in amazement as they started forming lines like military men, shoulder to shoulder and arms length from the row before, lines of four wide marching around the room.
I was aware of the usual outside noises, cars passing, voices of people walking by, the maintenance workers setting up ladders to trim the dead branches from tree outside my patio door.
I remember noting that I was not experiencing any auditory changes. Odd to me that I would even consider that in my mental state. I moved towards the patio to open the curtains to visually confirm what I was hearing, but the spiders stopped moving and turned to face me, I felt they were preventing me from opening the curtains further. At that point the rational mind took hold, and I dialed 911, I told the woman on the other end that I was seeing things, and felt I was in physical danger from people trying to get into my apartment using ladders. I need medical assistance now!
I remember the police in my apartment, I remember trying to point out the spiders, then saying "but you cannot see them because you aren't experiencing what is going on in my mind".
I do not remember the trip to the hospital or the hours spent as they set an IV and took blood. I do remember telling them I would not stay in that facility and needed to get to the hospital where my personal doctor had access. My sister-in-law was called ( twice I was told) to pick me up. She claims I spoke about seeing ghosts along the drive home and pointed out every spot there had been a fatal accident. She dropped me off and said she would pick me up in the morning and take me to the other hospital. I was alone with my psychosis. ( my family is so caring, but that is another issue and yet another blog)
I took no further medications that night, but did tear apart a feather mattress and duvet to get the bugs out. I took a powdered carpet cleaner to the carpets in an attempt to kill the bugs before vacuuming them up. I bundled anything I saw the arachnid infesting into plastic bags, tied the bags tight and set them out on the patio.
My sister-in-law showed up the following day and drove me to the hospital I requested. The doctor on call was so stunned by my slurred speech that he ordered a CT scan for a brain tumor.
I had the forethought to gather up all my medications to present to the emergency staff. I was admitted to the psychiatric ward.
The following day I met with the resident shrink and a doctor who specialized in drug treatment. Both were astounded at the medication regime I was on and suggested I was lucky to be alive.
My personal doctor no longer had hospital privileges but would be informed that I had been admitted. Had I know this I would have stayed at the original hospital. And now in retrospect I wonder why he no longer has hospital privileges.
I languished for two weeks in hospital while they attempted to withdraw me from the prescribed medications. I saw the shrink everyday and he was satisfied that I was capable, knowledgeable and aware enough of my Depression to be released. However the addiction doctor wasn't. We worked out a plan that made her happy, I asked to be referred to the Mental Health facility and agreed to continue the chosen drug reduction therapy as an out-patient.
At the Mental Health Facility I found a great case worker and worked hard on my recovery, taking every course I could, and participated in every group that was suggested. I also went back to my personal physician and asked him what the hell happened. I never did get an answer that I was happy with. And now I second guess and research each and every drug combination he proposes. I do not limit my research to "the web", I do the book work and leg work too.
Somewhere along the line I got lazy and started accepting without getting full answers to my questions regarding the treatment course. I stopped researching and data mining . Twice now I have come far to close to leaving this existence (as bleak as it feels at times) because of a medications or their side effects. Knowledge may make me a pain in the derriere, but better a pain in a health care providers buttocks then a dead patient.