Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Mom’s episode was apparently a side effect of Ambien, her sleeping pill for the last ten years. All the blood tests found nothing abnormal in her blood, and not a trace of alcohol.

This discovery, which we siblings had suspected, triggered a rash of emails to one another, including a link to a list of rather scary side effects people have suffered from Ambien.

My sister took Mom to another doctor appointment later in the week, and Mom signed papers allowing my sister and me access to her medical records. This was a great relief as many elderly staunchly refuse to give up anything – access to records, rights to make medical decisions for them, power of attorney. It’s simply not an easy time for either my parents or us grown kids.

Mom changed sleeping medication, which apparently isn’t as effective. But my personal feeling is that any medication designed to knock you out cannot be good for you, certainly not in the long run. A drug dependency like this worries me. Most of the world’s population doesn’t have access to sleeping pills, so why should we North Americans drug ourselves just because we can? I struggle with this. I take no medication regularly and would have to be absolutely convinced that I couldn’t live without a particular medicine. As far as I’m concerned, a medicine for your thyroid or for high blood pressure would be necessary; a sleeping pill is not. But then again, I don’t have trouble sleeping…

However, I am struggling with my lupus. I felt better the day I came to my parents, and two days after that when I took my dad to the dermatologist so that my mother didn’t have to drive. (We weren’t yet sure of the test results then.) I was getting better, better, and then – crash! – I crawled into bed and didn’t get out for a day. That was last Friday. Now I’m up only a little bit, then have to lie down, nauseated by the exertion of merely sitting up. My joints ache, and even large doses of Bufferin or Advil don’t make a dent in the pain. I thought I’d be well; instead, I’m right back where I started in late April.

The company nurse called to let me know how many weeks of short-term disability payments I have left, how long my job would remain open for me before someone else was hired to fill it, and informed me about long-term disability – something I don’t want to think about. She suggested that since I’m no better off now than I was initially I see a rheumatologist.

I think it’s time I began to pray harder for healing.

But through all this, I continue to homeschool Jacob…

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What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.”
— Albert Pike, Scottish Rite Freemason (1809-1891)