Stairway to Heaven

Hey friends! It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged and it feels good to be back. Today’s writing (at least right now, at 12:00 noon) will not be accompanied by any beer. Not that I couldn’t, mind you. But much as I love its muscle-relaxant qualities, beer makes me tired. It’s a depressant, after all. And I need more tiredness like Kim Kardashian needs longer nails. I don’t know why I wrote that, I don’t follow or like her. I was just thinking of that one pic/meme circulated a LOT, of her in her car, featuring something with those claws. Anyway. Back to the tired part. Those of you who know me well, know I’ve dealt with chronic fatigue/fibro-like symptoms since forever. I don’t like to talk about it (except here!) I just deal. And drink. And get massages. And do supplements. And yoga. I do All. The. Things. And inevitably, things I shouldn’t. We each have our crosses to bear, and in the scheme of things, aching and brain mudslogs are pretty low on the suffering spectrum.

But lately, it’s been worse. As in, I had a glass of water sitting next to my possibly worthless vitamins in my hand, and I dumped the pills INTO THE WATER. I fished them out, muttering WTF, WTF is WRONG with you? to myself. Those are the moments that have you scrambling to look up signs of dementia. I mean, a great memory has never been my strong point (in my defense, this also depends on what it is. I was great at remembering customer preferences as a server. Or now, tidbits about Facebook friends I’ve never met. Ask me what I did two days ago and it’s a blank stare…but really, which of these feels more important to recall)? I also know that when my body hurts, my tank goes straight to empty, and so does my noggin.

So, I decided to make an appointment with my regular doc, a new guy I hadn’t met yet. His name is Eli Sager, and if he’s 2 days out of med school I’d be surprised. I tried to hide my cynicism with medical professionals, because he was easy on the eyes and pleasant to talk to. And also because I wanted him to dole out some prednisone. Here is sort of how it went:

Doc: “So, you’ve been dealing with these issues for awhile, seen several rheumatologists who were unable to help you.”

Me: “Yes. They literally did not know what to do with me, and their visits cost hundreds even if in-network. Don’t tell me to go back.”

Doc: “Ouch. I guess I don’t blame you for your reluctance to re-visit that.”

Me: “I don’t even care what this immune system mystery is anymore. I just want to feel better. I’m 57, I have a 16 month old grandbaby I want to be healthy for.”

Doc: Laughs. “Oh, I have one of them too!”

At this point I am thinking, wait…you are WAY too young to have a grandchild. And of course he means his own kid.

Doc: “I get it.” (I doubt this, looking at him bursting with energy in his Nike track suit and shoes, clear eyes, dewy skin and sharp physician brain, but I say nothing). “Extreme fatigue can be disabling,” he adds.

Me: “Yes, and I hate it. I refuse to accept it.”

Doc: “Let’s do some blood work first to see if anything is up with that. And I’m going to send some paperwork back with you to read, about a drug that might help you with alertness and focus. We give it to patients with narcolepsy and sleep apnea.”

It took me a second to digest this. When I heard the word narcolepsy I thought of necrophelia, which is having sex with a dead person. I sure as hell don’t need to get those two confused. But see what I mean? I’m a writer! I need to get my shit together.

Me: “Okay, I’d be interested in learning about that. In the meantime, do you think you could give me like a short term script for prednisone?”

I felt like a meth addict begging to a dealer, but I didn’t care. The stuff is like a miracle drug, and like all powerful miracle drugs, it’ll kill you at some point. I went on:

Me: “Look, I know docs hate prednisone for anything other than poison ivy, and I know it dissolves your skeleton, but it helps me so much. Besides, I like beer, which preserves bone. I know it could counteract that little issue.”

Doc: Laughing, long and hard: “Okay. You might be right. What dose are you thinking and for how long?”

Me: “Even just 5 mg. For a couple weeks?”

Doc: “Really? That small of amount makes a difference?”

Me: “Yes.”

Doc: “No problem.”


I see him in a month, and for once, I feel hopeful and listened to (Ask, and ye shall receive)! by a doctor. So, that’s progress.

I took my measly 5 mg wonder pill, which leads me back to the title and image here. My beloved beach. I had enough energy to trek there and back AND write this. Yay me! The peaceful water, trees and sand will always be my well to dip into for restoration, no matter how old or sickly I become. I thank God frequently my parents moved here from Chicago in the seventies. On days like this, 70-ish and sunny, zero bugs and humidity, it is true paradise. I simply cannot wait to share this joy with that 16 month old. For those of you who are local, you know. At a wedding recently one of our friends asked my son what he missed most about Michigan, and he said, “Definitely, the lake and the beach.” I so understand this that I didn’t even get miffed he didn’t say “my parents.”

Thanks for listening, friends. And like I beseeched the doc for meds, I beg you to not avail me of your remedies and sympathies. I’m not taking up special diets, drinking ionized water, aligning habits with the moon and electric patterns, or eating grass-fed, organic oatmeal. It’s what it is, meaning, getting older and acceptance of that, to some degree. If you’re a certain age, you remember the marathon runner/doctor Jim Fixx, the picture of vitality who wrote the bible on running, who then dropped dead of a heart attack while running. At 52, no less! You can eat every color of the rainbow, avoid gluten, sugar, alcohol, exercise like Jane Fonda, and still end up a vegetable staring at a nursing home wall. (Which is one of my greatest nightmares, by the way. Shoot me up with something lethal and send me away…but…that is a whole other blog post right there). Most of us do the best we can do with the cards we are dealt. And honestly…for me, one trip to a doctor’s waiting room is all it takes to see how much worse it could be.

With all that said, may this day find you healthy, and not throwing your pills into your water, or looking for your phone WITH the light on your phone…(I’m not there YET) I lift a can of LaCroix in your honor!



One thought on “Stairway to Heaven

  1. Marge Proudfit says:

    I’m right there with ya Lil Sis! I had some prednisone for some severe jaw pain. OMG! It was a miracle in a pill! Nothing hurt!! I forgot what that felt like! Of course my doctor wouldn’t extend my course of treatment as it compromises your immune system. 😩
    So I can definitely relate. “Getting old is NOT for sissies!”


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