Oh man… did I ever mention how I don’t like driving in snow? When I moved to Ottawa, I owned a Ford Focus and I didn’t have snow tires on it. My first snowstorm, my car spun out in a complete 360 in a major intersection. I luckily didn’t hit anything, but spent that winter and the next trying to avoid driving on days when it snowed.

Then I sold the car and didn’t drive at all during the winter, until this past January during Ottawa’s bus strike. Even then, I didn’t drive on days when it snowed – someone was always nice enough to give me a ride.

Imagine my shock when I went to see a movie yesterday and came out of the cinema to see a couple of inches of snow already on the ground and falling very heavily. I’m not gonna lie. I strongly contemplated leaving my car there and taking the bus home, but wasn’t sure who I could convince to go and get it for me.

So, I brushed teh snow off the car (how much fun is that? not so much when you don’t know your car’s nooks and crannies yet) and eased my way out of the parking lot. I should mention that I have four snow tires, and should feel pretty confident. Except no, on my second turn, the tires got stuck in a snow wake/rut thing and moved me out of my lane. Like… halfway into the next lane. Still facing the right direction, but a loss of control nonetheless. And, since it’s Sunday, the plows aren’t moving as quick as they would on a weekday.

I had to make a stop on the way home to get some groceries. I drove maybe 40km/h down to that store, bought my bits, and drove about 40km/h the rest of the way home (8km). On a three lane street, only one lane was in use and we were all going nice and slow, because the snow ruts were pretty intense.

There was sweat. There was anxiety. There was “oh my god I’m going to die and I haven’t wrapped or tagged the christmas gifts yet!”.  There was some attempt to use cognitive behavioural therapy (it was a long trip and I think fast, okay?) to rationalize away my fear. After all, going only 40km/h I’m not likely to actually DIE, right? Unless some jackass loses control and hits me? And there it was again… fear and anxiety.

It didn’t leave me, even though I spent 25 minutes shovelling (sweaty, hard work), and had a short nap. I still had that crushing feeling in my chest. I know intellectually it’s because I’m off one drug and still on a baby dose of the new one. I know that. It sucks though.

So, I had a follow up appointment booked with my doc today to talk about the new drug. Here’s the thing… I’m about as agitated as I get. It ain’t pretty. And I guess it was fairly informative for the doc, who’s only ever seen me medicated (she’s a one year locum for my regular physician). Needless to say, we’re upping the dose of the new drug quicker than expected, and she gave me ativan to get me through anxiety moments like the one in the car yesterday. I took one at 6pm and feel a lot better now. Like I can go to work tomorrow kind of better. This is a good thing. Hopefully by next monday the new drug will have kicked in enough to have some therapeutic side effects, though more likely it’ll happen sometime after christmas. Until then, I have the ativan to chill me out.

I laughed when the doc asked me if I’d taken it before. Oh yes, I said. What dose did you take, she said? “However many they gave me,” I replied. “They?” she said. “Yes… they. At the hospital. They used to give it to me to get my blood pressure out of heart attack range.” “Oh.”  LOL She wrote out the prescription and asked me what kind of side effects it had on me. I said you could hardly tell I’d taken it. She asked how many I used to take. I said up to three at a time. She wrote a prescription for 1mg tablets and I looked at her and said “hey! I didn’t know they made that in doses smaller than 2mg!”. It was sort of a come to jesus moment. She sees me agitated and gets a glimpse into my valium-ridden past. Good times.

In other news, my blood test results came back. GREAT news on one side. My blood sugar levels are perfectly normal. In fact, it’s at the low end of normal. This is good. Really good, cause it balances out my cholesterol levels. My LDL cholesterol is a little high and my HDL is a little low. The overall ratio is nothing to be concerned with though, which is awesome. So, the doc put on my chart “lifestyle changes +++”. She cracks me up. We had a discussion about getting to 150 minutes a week of heart rate raising exercise and embracing the thrill of oatmeal. I’m on it. I have a plan to outsource my cooking. I have the name of one company, but am looking for one that does healthy food, not just homestyle. Anyone know someone in Ottawa?

Long story short, the magic of pharmaceuticals are eventually going to take care of my mental health issues, and the miracle of exercise and better food will take care of my cholesterol issues. I have a couple of weeks to make a plan and consider how to implement it. Then I will do so, sometime in January, but not January 1st.

And with that, I’m off to wrap presents. Note: when you say this to my mother, she makes really bad beat box sounds. It’s downright hilarious. I’m just saying you should say it to her if you have a chance.

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