Today I had the 4th (allopathic) doctor in a month bemusedly tell me there is no point in taking naltrexone. She shook her head and, with a quizzical look, said, “We don’t prescribe it – no doctor I know prescribes it. It was used in the past to help drug attacks, but I don’t understand what naturopaths are doing with it now. If you’re worried about taking drugs, melatonin is far, far safer than naltrexone.” Of course I know this. I know it’s not FDA approved, I know most doctors don’t prescribe it, I know it is a long- shot, but there are so many amazing stories out there, I felt like I had nothing to lose. Although, it’s true that I really have nothing to report except losing sleep, gaining weight and being constipated. The dizziness, sadness, fatigue, muscle pain, and all the rest of it seems to be the same.
Today was my sleep study consultation at the medical center. Luckily, these people actually seemed to be experts — it was a much better experience than the chronic fatigue circus. Although, it was still like pulling teeth to get information. The woman in the front office made a good point when I bitched to her about how doctors treat patients like they have an IQ of 50. She said that they have so many patients from different cultural backgrounds or with limited English or with limited education that doctors usually do dumb everything down. It was a good point. It’d be nice if they could really quickly read their client and adapt their communication and level of engagement, but I guess they leave that to the savvy bartenders and servers out there (do NOT underestimate what sort of skill is needed to be in the service industry — not only because of the patience, stamina, intelligence, and highly sophisticated organisational skills needed, but mostly because of the fine-tuned social tact and interpersonal communication skills that are necessary. In short, you have to be charming, perceptive, intuitive, smooth, have street smarts and be able to adapt to any situation, as well as all the physical and mathematical stuff. When a nuclear bomb decimates humanity, it’ll be the intelligent restaurant workers that are walking down The Road).
Anyway, today I had my sleep study consultation (by the way, it took me two full hours to fill out the paperwork for the appointment. Managing a health problem is a full-time job. Maybe I should make that my next career: managing the appointments, pills, paperwork, test results, Rx refills etc. for people. Problem is, no one with medical problems and medical bills can afford help…). They want me to definitely do the overnight sleep study because my insomnia is “quite complicated”. I don’t fit into the typical profile for someone that has sleep problems (don’t drink, smoke or do drugs, not overweight, not very old, don’t have any of the typical health problems, don’t have kids, don’t watch tv in the bedroom, don’t even have a job anymore). They gave me advice on how to change my lifestyle:
Don’t exercise or eat within three hours of sleep.
No tv or computer in the bedroom.
If you can’t sleep, get up — whether that’s at night or in the morning.
Don’t nap during the day.
No caffeine or alcohol in the evening.
Don’t read your book in bed.
Most of this is obvious and I already know. But, my problem is, if I go to bed only when I am so exhausted I feel like I must sleep, then I will either be in bed all day/night or I’ll never be in bed. I always feel like I could fall asleep and I always do, but then wake up half an hour later… I can do this cycle for 12 hours. They said the sleep study would measure how often I am in deep sleep, REM etc. and I said, wait, I have a Zeo that tells me that info. Is this as sophisticated as it gets? Thankfully, they said the sleep study would also measure my heart, oxygen levels, whether I have sleep apnea, whether I snore, how much I thrash about and the brain monitoring shows much more than the Zeo. They said, even though it may feel like I wake up 16 times a night, my brain might actually be so active that it is more like hundreds of times a night in terms of sleep quality. Also, if I happen to sleep like a baby when I am in the hospital, it might just be a vicious cycle of my worry about not being able to sleep causing me to not sleep. In which case, they recommend drugs. They couldn’t believe I hadn’t caved and tried sleeping pills during the last 30 years of bad sleep and, especially, the last year of nonexistent sleep.
For the last 6 nights, I have only had 6 hours sleep each night, but it honestly feels like 2. I am so tired! But I am still taking the LDN and sticking with the diet and the supplements. Tonight, I might start taking melatonin again and up the dose to 1mg. The doctor today laughed at me when I said I had been taking 0.5mg. She said, “Do you mean 5mg?” They never start anyone lower than 3mg.
The pulled muscle in my back feels better, so, my goal today is get to the dog park and finish the laundry. And meditate without falling asleep per the doc’s instructions.
Finally, I am grateful for my husband. It’s almost futile to write about it because there are no words to express the depth of my gratitude. I found the kindest, most generous, most patient, most selfless man in the world (or, at least, in MY world ;)). He has literally saved my life more times than I can count and he takes care of me in sickness and in health.