I’m having a lot of anxiety around next week’s surgery. I have an anesthetic phobia. Lots of people have phobias…heights, needles, spiders, birds even. All common phobias. Fear of anesthetic is also a common phobia. Doctors know this.
I’m having anxiety attacks and making very poor decisions. I know, logically, that I am being ridiculous. But it’s a phobia. A real thing. Not at all logical. Very intense, irrational fear. It’s not something I can help or just stop feeling.
I can’t help what I feel. I can learn to manage my feelings and try not to act on them. But these things take time. And this is a short term problem. So I went to the GP to ask for some valium to help me through the next week. I use valium regularly. She refused. She was much more concerned with me being addicted to a drug, than helping me with anxiety and irrational fear.
For me, valium is safe and effective. I’m having a megaflare day, but she mistook my demeanour due to high pain levels as depression. She said valium is very bad for depressed people. Obviously she wasn’t my usual GP. I couldn’t get in to see him. I doubt he would have argued. He knows I’m not addicted. But I didn’t argue with her. If you argue with them they start making all sorts of notes about being argumentative and difficult patient. Clearly an addict getting angry about not being able to get their fix!
So I thanked her for her time, and got my blood pressure taken so that the appointment wasn’t a complete waste of time. (Still too high). Then she charged me $166. Yes that’s right. $166! For lecturing me and helping me not one iota. Nice work if you can get it. I got most of that back as a medicare rebate. But seriously!
My usual GP understands that I’m not in a good place right now. I can’t start a new arthritis medication until I get down to 5mg of prednisone, at least. And get my blood pressure under control. My current rheumatologist is at wits end. So I just have to deal with the pain and get to 5mg. It’s not fun.
Because I’m walking and talking few people understand that I am in pain. And no one sees me at night, and in the morning, when I can barely move and I can’t help but cry for the pain. Before the oxycodone kicks in. Every night. Every morning. He knows that the pain levels would be increasing my anxiety. He knows that I don’t have any support at home. He knows that I am infact the only support for my kids, and they have high needs as well. He knows I’ve taken a lot of hits lately, losing my hearing, needing a wheelchair, needing surgery…he would have understood that even if I were addicted, that’s the least of my problems, and just given me some valium to help me through the next week. That’s kinda exactly what it’s for.
But this GP said no. She told me to go to my pain management specialist (six week wait…somewhat redundant). Or come back next week and see my usual GP to talk about ‘other options’. It’s a long weekend. That’s 4 days to get through. *sigh*.
Fear of addiction is reaching crazy proportions. I don’t display any signs of addiction. I use valium regularly, but ad hoc. It helps with back spasms. It helps with PMS anxiety and mood swings. It helps with sleep. My use is not increasing. I am not asking for it for no reason. I ask for it when I need it. I don’t take it daily. I haven’t had any for a week, and I don’t feel any withdrawals. I am not craving the drug. I just know that it takes the edge off anxiety very well, so I’d like some please.
Phobias and anxiety are real. I’d love to not have them. But right now, I do. I’m very grateful that I don’t suffer these things very often, and I have great empathy for those that live with these feelings daily. But anti-anxiety meds like lexapro or aropax and even cymbalta aren’t appropriate treatments for short term anxiety. Valium is. But doctors are too afraid to prescribe it. I know my oxycodone is next. If they stop prescribing that, it’s going to be a very long seven months while I get off prednisone.
Today is a high pain day, but I still have to function. I still had to go to the hospital, where they recognised my pain and were very helpful. I still have to go to my neurosurgeon in half an hour. I have timed my oxycodone to peak for 2:00pm, when I need to make the 25 minute drive to his rooms. I’ll manage, because I have been using these drugs appropriately for many years, and I know exactly how they affect me. I know how long they take to take effect, I know what those effects are, and I know how long those effects will last. And I don’t take them for fun. I take them for pain.
But I will not have any valium tonight to help me sleep and to calm the churning stomach, and quell the rising, baseless fear that peaks with me becoming a sobbing mess, and asking the wrong person for a hug. Anxiety is real, and it sux.
So I’ll meditate and visualise and use relaxation techniques. I’ll play calming sounds – rainy forest sounds, waves crashing, rumbling thunder. I’ll take a bath and listen to music. I’ll breathe. Fine. All of that works to an extent.
But you know what would work better? Valium.