The other day sucked.

To explain, I need to backtrack a bit. A few years back, my therapist referred me to a psychiatrist to look into getting something prescribed to help with my insomnia/fragmented sleep. He had some ideas of what to try, based on what had worked for a couple of other Aspie clients, but psychotherapists cannot prescribe medication so that’s where the psychiatrist came in. She was all the way up in the moderately sized city near me, but in an area that was reasonably easy to get to, so it wasn’t that bad.

After the consult, the psychiatrist felt that gabapentin would be a good fit, because it seemed to her that my issues had a physical cause (this was before my POTS, EDS and MCAS were diagnosed) and this would calm my nervous system, plus at higher doses, have a sedative effect.

(As an aside, the irony was not lost on me that, out of all the doctors I’d ever seen trying to get help with my symptoms, the only one who didn’t try to shove antidepressants at me was the only one actually qualified to identify whether I needed them.)

The dose was increased every few days until it had an effect on my sleep – and as an unexpected and wonderful side effect, it almost completely fixed my bladder issues as well!

Fast-forward several years and I am still on the high dose of gabapentin. It still works, but as I’ve slowly gotten some of my issues under control, I wondered if I could now wean off it? I don’t like taking unnecessary medications, and I don’t like that gabapentin has been in the news lately as a drug people are abusing. It’s pretty ridiculous – it does not get you ‘high’ by any means, but the scrutiny means that it will probably end up being more controlled which means driving to the city and getting monthly paper prescriptions from the doctor, and who knows what other red tape. I don’t want to deal with that. Also, my weight has crept up almost twenty pounds in the past few years and this could possibly be a side effect. And lastly, since the doctor moved locations to a really congested side of the city last year, I really dread making that trip twice a year. So all in all, I thought it would be worth at least trying to do without it.

I slowly lowered the dose and it seemed to be going fine, but when I got down to 600 mg. my neurogenic bladder issues came back with a vengeance. I had several horrible nights dealing with the pressure and outright pain, finally giving up and going back up to my original dose. This also meant that I needed to make the trek to renew the prescription.

Our local interstate system has not kept up with the explosive growth of the area, to the point where getting anywhere during daytime hours can be a nightmare. The day I drove up to the appointment was one of those days. Both lanes were at a dead stop due to a wreck. I had allowed extra time for delays, but after 15 minutes of no movement, I texted the office to warn them that it looked like I would be a few minutes late. As traffic finally started moving, I noticed that the oncoming cars on the other side of the interstate all had their headlights on. That usually means bad weather ahead, and I noted the dark clouds brooding overhead. “Just great,” I thought to myself, “the only thing worse than this stretch of road is this stretch of road in heavy rain.”

A couple of miles up the road, the rain started. At first it was fairly heavy, then it was torrential, and then it was like someone was in the sky dumping a giant bucket over the highway. Visibility was almost nil, and the rain came so fast and heavy that the water had nowhere to go and the interstate actually started flooding! I white-knuckled it along as best as I could, taking it slow with my hazard lights on (as most other cars were) and wondering if I needed to pull off before we got to the big junction of three highways that was usually hazardous even in normal weather. If I had to detour, it would make me even later for my appointment, but conditions on this road were becoming quite dangerous and I didn’t want to end up in one of its legendary pile-ups.

An asshole in a Hummer made up my mind for me. As I came up on a dip in the road where the water was about half a foot deep, taking the cue from the cars in front of me to slow down even more to get through it, there was a sudden blur of motion to my left as this jerk hit that pool of water going way too fast and splashed it about ten feet into the air. The sheet of displaced water slammed down on my car so hard it rocked it, and for several terrifying seconds I could see absolutely nothing through my windshield! Added to that was the instability of blindly navigating the deep water and it was all I could do not to completely shut down due to panic. I made it through, but my nerves were shot and I joined about four other cars in bailing at the next exit.

It wasn’t the greatest place to detour, as the exit led to a particularly flood-prone road, but at least we could all pull into a gas station and stop. I watched the water on that road rush by like a river, deepening rapidly, and realized that while I was now safe, I wasn’t going anywhere any time soon. I texted the office again to let them know that it looked like I was not just going to be late, but would miss the appointment entirely. I was over three quarters of the way there, but had gone through all of that mess for nothing and am really frustrated that now I have to do it again another day. I scheduled the new appointment for the slowest time of day I possibly could, but that means I need to take the whole day off work that day to deal with it. The trip back home was uneventful; I had managed not to have a meltdown from the frustration and sensory overload, but I numbly sat around for the rest of the day, feeling like one was hovering over my shoulder waiting to pounce. Even the next day it felt like every little thing might tip the scales and send me for a crash.

I guess I should look on the bright side, though, and be grateful that I was not in a wreck.

Featured Image: Cars navigating a flooded road. Filter is ‘SepiaIII’ and a rough edged border applied. Heavy blur and grain filters were also applied, to represent my sensory overload at the time I took the photo.

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