Better living through chemicals

Medicine is a serious business, and you shouldn’t experiment with it unless you’re being advised by a qualified medical practitioner. So, not a Homeopath.

One of the things we like about our local family GP is that he doesn’t reach for the pill bottle every time. He’s interested in diet, in exercise, in counseling. He’s very big on testing. By the time he’s writing out a prescription, you know it’s a decision he’s come to after weighing a lot of evidence.

In the time we’ve been here in Canada, I’ve seen our doctor quite a bit. Sometimes because one of the kids had something and they needed a parent to go to the appointment with them. Sometimes I’ve been under the weather for one reason or another. I’ve asked him about my inability to eat vegetables, my bus travel phobia and some of the other, less embarrassing things that turn up as you approach fifty years old.

This is me, looking on the bright side of getting older…

But recently I had a bit of a revelation. Mrs Dim had been prescribed some medication to combat her fatigue (as I mentioned here), and it didn’t work. It was, the doctor explained, for treating ADHD, but in people without the condition, it may be calming. When it didn’t work, she stopped taking it, but we had some of the tablets – about 5 – left over.

You know where this is going, don’t you?

I took a tablet on one of my days off, reasoning that if it sent me off the deep end, at least my co-workers wouldn’t have to deal with it. But it didn’t make me hyper, didn’t make me sick, didn’t send me to sleep.

It was like there had been a radio playing in the back of my head for years, and someone switched it off. My head felt quiet. When I talked to my wife, I could listen to her entire reply and keep thinking about what she was saying, not what I was going to say. I didn’t feel jittery,or overwhelmed, or like there were a dozen things I should be doing.

Over the next few days I took one tablet each morning. Travel on the Skytrain was easy, because I wasn’t swamped with anxiety. My unreliable stomach calmed down, because I wasn’t so worried about everything. I started a task, and continued working on it until it was done, or it was time to do something else – I didn’t flit between tasks, or constantly open social media, or music players, or videos.

When the tablets ran out, I worried that I was going to be inundated with all the wild, woolly thinking that I had been holding at bay, but the return to “normal” was a slow process. Worse was trying to figure out how to tell the doctor that I would like some more of this medication that I had taken on a whim.

He was great about it. Of course, he couldn’t just prescribe me a bunch more of it (shame!). He sent me a questionnaire as a prelim to an assessment for ADHD, and prescribed me a similar medication to see how that worked out. He assured me that the clinic would be in touch about the assessment.

And they did get in touch. They offered me an appointment in 2024, and asked what my availability was. I don’t know about you, but after the LAST two years, I am not optimistic about booking things two years ahead of time…

And that’s where I am. It’s not like the dream I used to have, a dream illustrated by the movie “Limitless”, where the character takes a drug that makes him focused, and able to retain every piece of information he’s ever received, and to put them together. My favourite scene has him sitting at his laptop as letters fall from the ceiling all around him, showing how the words he needs are flowing right from his brain onto the page. 

That’s what I hoped for, but this is a close second. I may not have a limitless flow of words, but I can sit down at a piece of work and actually do it. That’s worth a whole lot.

One response to “Better living through chemicals

  1. What a wonderful discovery. I hope your doctor can keep you in pills until then. The speed of our medical system is a frustration. I’m fascinated by the way ADHD medications work. My son has ADHD and in addition to the meds, stimulants work differently on him.

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