Tuesday, December 12, 2006

As Seen On TV

Well, I am officially one of those people who takes drugs advertised on TV now. I’ve watched the ads for years, wondering what the hell it was that purple pill did and why there was a sneezing bee, and what on earth anyone would want with a luminescent Moth of Death (or possibly sleep). Pharmaceutical ads can be confusing when you watch them with the sound off.

So, if you’ve read my prior postings, you might have noticed that I, despite being female, have been having the feminine equivalent of prostate trouble – stress and urge problems, having to get up in the middle of the night several times to wee, even having wee problem dreams. It just got worse. Finally, I decided that it was not going to go away, that I could face a doctor to discuss it, and I did. I’m now on Detrol LA, for overactive bladder.

I couldn’t be happier, and if there’s anyone else out there who’s wondering if they can afford to spend the last 30 years of their lives trying to avoid life in Depends, I urge you to go talk to your doctor about it. It has been and continues to make a huge difference in my quality of life. I can drive further away from home without obsessively scooping out all the likely emergency pee stations along the way, I can shop without worrying, I can bend over and stretch out my back without steeling my courage in advance, and I can cough or sneeze or lurch to my feet unexpectedly without certain consequences. I can even sleep in large enough chunks to count as actual rest, like 3 and 4 hour stretches now, which was unheard of for me for the last couple of years.

That lack of sleep, in addition to the need to stop frequently, was seriously affecting my enjoyment of my life. I was tired all the time. I had such tremendous problems with initiating any task because of my state of perpetual exhaustion that less and less got done, and I could fall asleep sitting at dinner, with the food still steaming on my plate. I missed 90% of West Wing – all seasons – due to zonking out for 20 and 40-minute periods. And the embarrassment and socially isolating behavior that was a consequence was no good for me either.

So, bit by bit, I feel better, I’m getting more done, I feel more rested, and generally happier. And feistier; I missed my feistiness, perhaps most of all.

We women do this, you know, and we teach our daughters to do it too, in so many ways. We teach them to make do and compensate and accept lousy conditions and bad circumstances. We teach them to put up with male chauvinist doctors that think all women are hysterical complainers, instead of teaching them to look the wankers in the eye and fire them for incompetence. We teach them to put up with lousy mates and crappy conditions and shortchanging themselves for the “family” good. We teach them to deal with physical deterioration instead of fighting and investigating to make it better, to be heard, and to be treated properly. We teach them to give up and give in, and we don’t even notice when we’re doing it.

So, not now, not today, and not about this. I have something else to teach my daughter instead. And all my new female doctors are great.


Anonymous said...

Incidentally, I want you to know that you helped me make up my mind to not put up with crap from my doctor.

We (hubby and I) are somewhat stuck with this guy because of our insurance (that's a long story made short). When I went to this jerk the first time, a couple of months ago, he talked to me with a sneer and a sing-song tone in his voice. I got what I wanted (prescription refills) and got out of there, but grew madder and madder thinking about it.

I recently had to go back to him and went loaded for bear! His assistant talked to me first and I off-loaded on her. To my surprise, she agreed with me on every count and said she'd had the same problem with him and had talked to him about it.

He was running late and I had to wait for quite a while after I'd talked to his assistant. When he walked in it was like he was a different man. We spoke to each other eye to eye, he listened to what I told him (an involved bit of experimentation on my part to figure out which medication was making me sick) and agreed with my conclusion.

She must have told what I'd said and what a difference it made! I left there with a whole different feeling about him, but it remains to be seen if he'll revert to his earlier behavior. You can be sure I won't let him get away with it again.

Thanks to you!

Knitnik said...

I once was once of those people, before chronic illness happened. My kids now think I'm a "pill popper", but truthfully I'm grateful for the quality of life those pills give me - I'm not a lump on the couch, I can sleep at night, I can knit, I can work, I can drive. I never wanted to be dependent on them, but I'm thankful I don't live 100 years ago! Congrats to you on finding something to improve your life!