Sunday, November 2, 2008

A Lesson Learned

Here's what I learned on Halloween:

If my desired activities cannot be accomplished with zero or one Provigil, the extra boost I can get from taking a second Provigil in late afternoon (as approved by my doc) is not worth the penalty I will end up paying in recovery time.

I knew it was ridiculously impossible when Scott asked me early in the week if I would be able to attend the annual Catlin Gabel rummage sale on Friday. It's a massive affair, and it by itself would be too much.

But combined with Ellie's preschool Halloween parade and class party starting at 9 a.m. and my desire to also go along for trick-or-treating at the mall?

That pair of activities or the rummage sale would have tired me out pre-illness. Could I even think about doing it now?

Well, I initially imagined that we'd go to the preschool Halloween festivities, then I'd go home and nap, and if I felt refreshed enough, we'd think about a quick drive-by at the rummage sale, then pick up Ellie and go trick-or-treating. Oh, and while we're out and about, I have a couple Halloween-related items I need to return to a store while I still can, and stop by the bank to deposit some checks as part of my MOMS Club chapter treasurer job.

If we'd done it like that, I probably would have vetoed visiting the rummage sale and other errands because I would not have recuperated sufficiently after the Halloween party. But Scott asked again while we were en route to the preschool party, and I was caught up in the anticipation.

Keep in mind that I'd already taken one Provigil, which comes with a possible side effect of euphoria. Was I euphoric? defines euphoric as a feeling of happiness, confidence, or well-being sometimes exaggerated in pathological states as mania.

I didn't think I was euphoric at the time. Somehow, I thought euphoria was a giddy sense of extreme happiness. I definitely wasn't feeling that on Friday. But somehow, I got optimistic that an extra boost would make it possible to Do It All. (In hindsight, I'm guessing that was the euphoria speaking ...)

After all, my internist has mentioned several times the possibility of taking a second Provigil in late afternoon if/when I needed it on a very occasional basis, especially if it would help me avoid a severe energy crash.

So I did it. I did all of it -- the Halloween party and parade, the errand at Fred Meyer and Washington Mutual, the rummage sale and trick-or-treating at the mall.

Was it worth it?

No. I'm happy I could be there for Ellie's school party and the trick or treating at the mall. But perhaps if I had passed up the opportunity to check out the Catlin rummage sale, I would have had more than a squeak for a voice on Saturday and been able to have some quality time with Ellie over the weekend.

At this point, after 48 hours of rest, I still feel like a zombie who can barely move and even the minimal exertion of standing (not even walking, but standing!) and/or talking gives me chest pain. I honestly don't know if I've felt this bad since getting over my July 2007 hospital stay, which was pretty much the worst I've been since developing this mystery illness.

So, like most lessons, I've learned this one the hard way: I need to listen to my body and, while it's good to push my limits gently to encourage them to expand, I can't just completely ignore my body and my intuition and camouflage the symptoms with medication to do things just because I want to.

You'd think I'd know this one by now, but apparently I'm a slow learner.

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