Wednesday, September 09, 2009

To Hell with Skepticism

When I got sick, I first tried to tell myself that I should just deal, and I may have felt pretty bad, but that happens from time to time, so whatever. The ironic thing is that I was really getting into what hypochondriacs dream of - a life-stopping, sympathy-garnering, ambiguous medical condition. If I was going to go on living, I had to be a little flexible, and to stop going along with the luddite guilt trips about "overmedicated" Americans. I take at least six medications on any given day, and who knows if they're doing exactly what they're proven to do?

What I have just isn't on a label. I was diagnosed with an advanced case of WTF. There are lots of symptoms that I address variously, and I feel pretty good most of the time. The classics like eating healthy food and exercising tend to do what they're supposed to, but sometimes I'm exhausted and I have to choose if I'm going to go for a walk or do the dishes. Or to just eat the damn burger and stop my tummy from growling. I don't always make the right choice, and I try to learn from it when I do the wrong thing. I was holding out against particular drugs because I didn't really think they were necessary (IANAD), but soon enough I was completely nonfunctional and miserable. I had to do something.

Empirical purity be damned, I'm not going to circle down the drain for the sake of principle. There were possibilities I hadn't fully explored, and things were getting ridiculous. I dropped the wishful thinking and coyness about symptoms and laid it all out for the various doctors I see, and we got down to some brainstorming. When insurance balked a little, I laid out the cash in good faith* until they relented. I'd held out as much as my health could afford. I'm young and have a whole life ahead of me where I'd rather avoid disability and pain. Mistakes I make in recovery could be irreversible if we don't get astounding new medical technology within my lifetime. I'd like to say that I can prove that I need to take all these meds, but I don't think I can. Precision is great and all, but I'm happy if I feel better. My life completely destabilized, and I can't afford to pare down on these drugs until I have more stability. In the meantime, I'm trying to cultivate an environment in which I can thrive, and keep things as simple as possible.

My unified theory of what to do when there isn't anything to do is that you need to know when to break your own rules.

This can also be stated as, "All things in moderation." But that's boring.

Sometimes I become obsessed with the temptation of a guilty pleasure, and it's a lot more of a problem for me than eating a Twinkie will be in the long run. So, whatever. Screw purity. I rarely act out of hedonism, and when I do it's usually pretty harmless.

*Do you have any idea how expensive speech therapy is? I didn't, but I went in for an appointment before insurance would approve it, and they ended up retroactively covering the consultation.

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