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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Too Good To Be True?

This is Ann:  hum de dum.
This is Ann on steroids: whoop de do!
Steroids and me: such a baaaad mix. I prescribed steroids once before for our trip to Peru. Everyone gets altitude meds, yes; the doctor hands them all around, except to, oh, me. Altitude meds are related to sulfa, and I’m allergic to sulfa. When I take sulfa, I get very nasty hallucinations which are not at all skipping-through-the-flowers type things. They have to do with taste and my mouth and, believe me, that’s all you want to know. I stay faaar away from sulfa. Consequently, instead of getting nice, happy altitude medication for climbing the Andies, I got a course of steroids.
I began them in preparation for our arrival in Cuzco, and by our second day there, I was skipping up and down the steep streets like a mountain goat. Naps? Nope. Coca? Not needed. Sleep, practically unnecessary. By our second day, I was appalled that anyone would give this drug to a young, testosterone-laden athlete, and more surprised that the murder rate among them wasn’t higher. Not that I felt bad, of course. On the contrary, I felt good; I felt great! I felt like Wonder Woman! I didn’t even need the invisible plane; I was flying all by myself! But Wonder Woman slept, right? I mean, everyone likes to sleep for a WHILE. It seemed best to began weaning myself off them right away. There’s no going cold turkey from steroids, and I had plenty in my system for gamboling up and down the slope of Machu Picchu which was our next stop.
And that was all I ever wanted to know about steroids. I left for a touch-base visit with the PGs (Perfect Grandchildren) with a tickle and a cough. I rested. I LOST MY APPETITE! In fact, I suffered for a week from what turned out to be a full-blown case of bacterial bronchitis. Did’t go to a doctor in Muncie because most of the time I either (a) felt sure I’d be better in a day or two, or (b) was house-bound under a few inches of ice. We got back to our cozy house midday last Monday, and I was sitting in my doctor’s off ice within two hours.
As I anticipated, I was given a course of antibiotics and, unanticipated, I was also given a course of steroids to reduce the inflammation of and irritation to multiple tissues which, I have to say, were like a gift from hell. I knew, oh, I knew, to down the antibiotic right away but to hold off on the prednisone until Tuesday morning. I was to take two tablets at one time which I did right after breakfast. While it worked its magic, it also worked its happy-strong-indestructible magic. I was so proud that, for the first time in 10 days, I didn’t have to nap. On the other hand, last night at midnight I finally surrendered and took an ambien at midnight so I could get some sleep.
This morning I cut back to one prednisone. (Yes, I know to take a full treatment of antibiotics, but the NP told me I didn’t need to finish the steroids. I’m a good girl.) I can definitely feel the difference. I mean I feel worse, but I feel better about it. I hope you can follow that logic. I also hope this dosage will do me some good but be balance by the good of a good night’s sleep. You see? Goodness all around.

Modern drugs are a wonderful thing. I wish I could take more of them. (By which I mean I have a lot of drug sensitivities, not that I wish I did a lot of drugs.  Really.) Steroids, however, I’m not sure how wonderful they are. I guess they’re pretty good. I know they’re life-saving at times and pain-saving often. I’m willing to take ‘em if I have to, but they seem pretty dangerous to me. All that invincibility, is that a normal way to feel? Is it safe? Is it wise? When is something that’s good, too good?

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