I have learned an important lesson this week: I am not a doctor. First I'd better explain...
I have JRA or juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. (Now that I am not a juvenile we mostly call it juvenile onset rheumatoid arthritis, but this is an important distinction from typical RA.) I was diagnosed at 10 so all you math whizzes know that I have been treated now for 21 years.
This, I guess is where things get fuzzy. You see, I presumed that 21 years as a patient meant I had enough know-how to change dosage on my medication and do it correctly. In my defense, I made almost half a dozen calls to two doctors trying to get a recommendation on what to do.
You see on Friday I had a very severe flare-up in my right hip. I was in excruciating pain and I was having a lot of trouble bending and walking. I take Prednisone and I knew that more would help. I just didn't know how much more.
So I called my Rheumatologist. There message said that they were out of the office until Tuesday. My hip couldn't wait until Tuesday. If I had the right dosage, my hip would be better before Tuesday. So I called my OB. I got a nurse that was really something of a *bubble-gummer. After my whole spiel she said, "Uh-huh, and we're treating you for your pregnancy?"
No, I just thought I'd call and give you a whole sob story for fun.
She said that she'd talk to a doctor and get back with me. To make a long story short she called at the end of the day and told me to sit in a warm bath and take Tylenol.
If there is anything that 21 years as a patient has taught me, it's that sitting in a warm bath and taking Tylenol won't help. Not only would I be a lot worse by Tuesday, but the flare-up could be so out of control as to leave me in excruciating pain for the rest of my pregnancy and perhaps several weeks or months beyond that. I personally feel that the end of a pregnancy is bad enough without adding ANY additional problems.
Now I'm not completely stupid, I did some checking on the Internet to make sure that the doses I was planning on taking weren't beyond the scope of the prescription. (As we all know the Internet is always right, right?) Then I began by doubling my meds on Friday. Increasing again on Saturday. Taking a triple dose on Sunday--and my wasn't my hip feeling a lot better! Back down to Saturday's dose on Monday. Only double dose on Tuesday, then regular dose on Wednesday. And this is when the problems start.
Wednesday night I have trouble sleeping. I get up Thursday after only 5 real hours of sleep to get the kids off to school. I run some errands. By the time I get home I feel awful. Weird. I'm nauseated, sleepy, I feel like my vision and thinking are fuzzy, and I'm strangely weak. I stick Annika in bed and climb into bed myself. 50 minutes later I wake up because Annika is crying. I try to eat a little, but I still feel awful. I pick up Nate from Kindergarten and I still feel weird. Through this cloudy state I begin to realize that all of these side effects could be the cause of messing with my Prednisone dosage.
Eventually, I got a hold of a nurse at the OB office and the basic thing is that I went off my meds too quickly. I'm kind of going through withdrawals. They recommend that I go back to double dose and taper off more slowly over time.
Thankfully, it worked and I'm feeling down right functional today. Plus I learned a valuable lesson.
*Person, usually a woman, whose main talent appears to be chewing gum; air-head; ditz; dumb.