Saturday, October 8, 2011

Take two and be happy with it. At least you’re alive, kind of.

I know this is a boring part and I keep going over and over it in my mind. Trying to understand what has gone wrong with me. I have multiple health issues that have gone on for decades and have not only limited potential in many ways but have bent the life I intended to live into what it is now.
Here is a partial list, my medical history. 
This may be the longest and is certainly the root of all of my problems. With the exception of ADHD or whatever the alphabet soup for the way my brain works might be called by one specialist or another.
Current studies show that the knack of being able to delay gratification is learned early in life and may a talent one is born with. They say testing children as young as 4 years old can predict their scholastic and other kinds of success. Just like allot of people I have the ability to delay gratification in some areas and not at all in others. 
Conversely, responding to hunger up until the 1920s was a valuable survival skill. I tend to believe that, what is by some considered an eating disorder ‘compulsive eating’ is in fact a trait that in earlier times was a good thing. This is why attempts to circumvent this natural tendency is almost always met with defeat. 95% of obese people, after weight loss, return to their pervious weight, and then some. This is just one of an array of factors opposing change in the eating habits of people such as myself who are obese and morbidly obese. 
When I was 5 our family moved to Bakersfield because like me, my dad, was a bit of a lone wolf. Unlike the legendary lone wolf the lone human can be friendly, joyful, a good neighbor and friend. Dad had a problem working for other people, he did it well enough but it got under his skin. With 1 or 2 brief exceptions I never knew my dad to have friends. Guys to hang out with. Dad was a reader of crime novels.
Our family went into the fast-food business back before it was called fast-food (also before eating away from home was common). Dad worked at our A&W 16 hours a day on most days. Since this was also before inside dining, even with the charms of actual car hops (not on skates) the winter was slow. They eventually took to closing the place for a month or so in winter. 
Here, just like in our old house in Bellflower I was the only kid my age in the neighborhood. This is where the pattern of isolated living started for me. Two things happened to me during this time. (roughly age 5-10) I spent many days, weeks, in and around the drive-in where there were also not other kids. A lonely kid with his own deep fryer, griddle, and soft ice cream machine soon became a fat little kid. Being the fat kid in school is fairly common now, back then their were only a few of us. Being teased and ostracized became a pattern. 
I don’t have any memory of what it was like not to be husky, heavy, heavyset, big, overweight, fat. Mom took me to a diet Dr. that seemed to need to have the lights off when he gave me a rectal exam. I ate handfuls of pills and weird food from the food list (the first of many) that the Dr. gave Mom. The program changed a few times before they gave up. 
I was Mom’s favorite, or so my sisters told me. They were right, that’s why it took me so many years to figure out another piece to the puzzle of why I’ve never had a serious relationship. Her love for me was so complete that when her own obsession with weight became the basis for how I was thought of, the result was that I was great and wonderful and smart but not someone that could be loved. Not by anyone worth loving back at least. 
Both of my sisters have suffered because of this unfortunate way of thinking. My older sister got addicted to diet pills (speed) starting at 13. She had an athletic build and did well as far as keeping weight off. She was attractive and worked as a waitress for most of her working life. Her early introduction to chemically induced sensation and the other residue of mother’s quirks must have had a part in the miserable state she spent her last 20 years or so. A junkie, being crippled with osteoporosis allowed her to drop methadone in favor of daily morphine the last couple of years. Little sister eventually had gastric bypass and is one of it’s success stories, she also has a streak of anger and bitterness about our folks that makes me sad.
This is where obesity started for me. When I was a teenager I went to a special weight watcher’s group for teens. I got down from 220 to 198 when I was 16. The stress was too much after a few months. I tried dieting and other weight reduction schemes off and on for a couple of years but nothing serious in the last 25. I have started going to the gym a few times and liked it but something would interrupt the pattern and I would stop. That was mostly just to feel better not for weight loss specifically. 
Sleep apnea:
I have had to adjust to changing body size from time to time. Periodic back pains, devising new methods of wiping from time to time and things like that. I somehow overcame those things. My best calculation is that I must have started having sleep apnea around 1982 or so. Mostly because I have always lived alone it was not discovered or diagnosed until 2003. In the 20 years it went undiagnosed it had a profound effect on the course of my life. I was a big pothead in the 80s I also worked in a liquor store from 1977-82. I was so wasted much of the time the distortion of my perceptions cause by the lack of oxygen during sleep and the lack of restful sleep went unnoticed. The job allowed me a luxury that most people never have. I could always sleep until I woke up, I never woke to an alarm, further masking the effects of sleep apnea. When I decided it was time for a career, choosing massage and making my own schedule allowed this practice to continue. 
The lack of sleep also hindered any attempts at dieting or delay of gratification back then. It also slowed my metabolism to such a degree 12 hour cold capsules and similar things lasted twice as long.
This started in 1984 when I was the in-house massage therapist at a big hair salon complex called Hair West. My friend C.L. and I had the habit of drinking mass quantities of beer, then Tequila & Whiskey, then Vodka because it was the cheapest. I came to understand that gout, the formation of uric acid crystals in the joints, is caused by excess uric acid in the blood caused by eating too much food with purines in them. It was known for centuries as the rich man’s disease because only the wealthiest people could afford to eat the highest purine containing food like brains and liver in large amounts. Since wealthy people with gout also drank wine and liquor that was also supposed to be a causative factor. The actual research shows no direct correlation. However Dr.s persist in telling gout sufferers not to drink. This was a big clue in my later understanding of the ineffectiveness of modern medicine in treating my various ills. 
Gout is the most painful fucking thing that you can’t even imagine it. Most common is to get an attack of gout in the last joint of the big toe. I’ve had them in all joints at one time or another. Only in the big toe once or twice. This of course leads the Dr to question if it was gout attack when I report it back to him later. Did I mention that it is a unique kind of pain unlike any other? 
The area swells and develops a bright pink-red color, also unique. Like a tooth ache the pain never stops. Sharp knife like and burning often an 11 on that 1-10 scale of pain they ask you about. You can elevate the limb and try to remain calm but a strong anti-inflammatory medication called indocin is the only thing that can break the cycle. It sometimes takes it a few days to work. 
Thankfully it is true that memory of physical pain is not vivid. However enduring that much pain over and over again for days at a time does change you. 
Most of my research was before the internet and done at the public library. The bottom line was that while they know the physical processes involved in an attack  understanding of why attacks occur is less than complete. It does seem to be true that eating foods high in purines like steak can trigger an attack. I’ve had it happen that was a few times. I love liverwurst and indulge from time to time but have never had an attack from it even though it is much higher in purines. The big trigger seems to be certain kinds of stress. The kind with lots of anxiety at the same time. 
One year I stumbled on an unlikely way to break the cycle of an attack. My buddies and me spend 3 or 4 days in the mountains every year. One year the combination of stresses I’ll talk about later on and the rich food we eat on our trips triggered an attack. Even with the pain I didn’t want to be stuck at the campsite and made my way down to the creek. It was the kind of mountain creek that runs through a channel in one giant rock. A wade in the icy mountain water was cooling to my swollen instep. I stepped on a slick moss covered rock, before I could react I fell hard into the shallow water just feet from a big water fall. I rolled out as quickly as I rolled in and had a tremendous adrenaline rush. Within a few minutes the gout attack was gone. I don’t know if it was the adrenaline it’s self or the break from the mental stress because of the adrenaline and shock but it was interesting.
I rarely smoke marijuana these days. No big story I just got tired of it. However if I have a big attack of gout I used the event at the creek to develop a cocktail that breaks the cycle, usually days sooner. I crowd the doses of indocin from 8 hours to 6. The initial side effect of indocin is a feeling of nausea and euphoria. They say not to but I also take Ibuprofen another anti-inflammatory at the same time. As soon as I feel the nauseous euphoria getting strong I smoke a most of a joint of the good stuff. This suppresses the nausea and lets the euphoria flow freely. Now since it’s probably not safe to trigger an adrenaline response when I an like this I found and alternative. In this state pornography is not usually required but an orgasm in this state is quite tremendous and can break the cycle. I might be able to focus enough for coitus but a blow job would be awesome way to do this. Not that I’ve had the chance to try it. There again I refer to the upcoming post on isolation. 
Once a day since 1984 I have taken a pill to help my body expel excess uric acid.
High blood pressure
I stared taking a pill for hi BP in the 80s. In 1996 my mother died following a massive stroke so I take them without fail everyday.

High cholesterol
In 1998 I think it was first given a statin drug called Zocor. During the 00s I have suffered from a dramatic increase in mental confusion, memory loss, depression etc. It took me until 2010 to figure out that the symptoms of these other medical issues had been accelerated/exacerbated by what the statin drugs do. Now a year later some clarity is returning. From what I've found it takes the same amount of time to heal form the damage caused by the statins. University study. Link between statins and Alzheimer's. Other problems.  
I first saw a psychologist about this in 1994. I was on the county medical program and they sponsored 5 sessions. It was very informative and helpful. I believe it started a few years before when I was still doing massage full time. I was given this new drug called Zoloft. It took a few days for it to kick in, for the next 2 weeks everything felt good. After a couple of years I had to stop taking it cold turkey. The thing of no highs or lows got to being intolerable. Depression is a ongoing and recurring theme to this day. 
It was only a matter of time I suppose. I had a quack Dr I was seeing before my Dad died in 1998 who warned me about the risk of diabetes. I was in the process of changing my eating habits when Dad passed away. I was so distraught and despondent over his death that I lost all of those plans. 
In 2000 I was not doing too bad in some ways I was even using whatever Yahoo was calling their dating site to line up dates. I took this one girl for a swim in the pool of some friends who were on vacation. I did it in a hot tub I had years before but never in a pool until then. My friends who own the pool are too reserved to actually do that themselves and are shocked to this day. Later in the more intimate setting of my bedroom things didn’t go so well. I was ready, she was ready, Mr penis remained un excited. I learned later that this too has a warning sign. 
The last couple of weeks of 2000 I spent in bed with what I thought was the flu. I went to my quack Dr. I told him I thought I had the flu so he gave me antibiotics. After those were gone and I was even worse he gave me more. This was the guy who diagnosed me as pre-diabetic. Near death my sister Stacey dropped by for a visit while passing through town. She immediately took me back to my Dr. Seeing that I could barely walk he told her to take me to emergency. 
The county was in the midst of a major flu epidemic and the place was packed. After several hours in the waiting room I was unable to walk and faded in and out of consciousness. Stacey demanded that I be seen. I only have glimpses of memory of what happened then. When my blood sugar was finally tested the normal stick test was useless and they had to send my blood to the lab. They say the blood sugar over 400 and you are in a coma. Over 600 and you are most likely dead. Mine was over 1600. It took 72 hours to find me a bed in ICU. They started an IV of insulin and a catheter. I don’t remember them starting the IV. I do remember them installing the catheter. Yoiks! It took a while for my blood sugar to go down enough to put me into a regular room. I was in the hospital for 7 days total. And just like they told me it took 7 weeks to recover. 
I was on insulin for 6 months or so and my weight went to 360. Insulin will do that. I took the diabetes classes the 7 day Adventists give. After I went on the oral medication a special diet was not necessary to keep me at the right blood sugar so all that good learnin’ went to waste. Mostly. 

ADD or is it ADHD
This one has been with me all along but wasn't diagnosed until 2007. Although I do have a vague recollection of being tested and taking medicine as a kid. I'm not sure what it was for. Understanding this has lead to many a realization of why I had done and though many things. Taking Adderall has been the treatment until August of 2011. Not taking Adderall is also enlightening. 

This brings us up to date with the basic medical issues I deal with. After being diagnosed with diabetes the last decade has been one nightmare after another dealing with side effects and complications. Details in following posts.