Thursday, November 3, 2011

I'll Take 20 mg of Lexapro for $1000 please, Alex

     I was 22 years old when I suffered my first heart attack. Over the course of the past 18 years I’ve had at least a dozen more. I’ve also battled Lou Gehrig’s Disease, multiple sclerosis, brain tumor(s), both Type I & Type II diabetes, Inflammatory Breast Cancer, Celiac disease, lupus, had 2 ectopic pregnancies, skin cancer, & frostbite.  I have a propensity for anxiety, a tendency for hypochondria, and a flair for the dramatic. Even though no licensed medical professional has ever been able to find a God damned thing wrong with me, I know better.

     One heart attack was even Beaumont worthy. Like middle-of-the-night-ekg-machine-worthy. As my (very) obliging father hastily drove down 13 Mile Rd desperately trying not to laugh at me, I clutched the left side of my chest screaming shit like, “Dad! My jaw hurts!” and “My left arm is going numb!” Upon arrival I was immediately seen by Nurse Jackhole (not her real name). After a barrage of questioning and confident I wasn’t on a post 8 ball freak out she agreed to hook me up to an ekg machine. I remember telling her, “Those machines aren’t 100% accurate for woman” and asking, “What if you miss something?” Her mouth told me to, “Calm down.” Her eyes told me to, “Shut the fuck up. It’s 4 a.m.

     Confident I would be vindicated once the doctor saw the permanent cardiac damage I suffered at the hands of this incompetent bitch (after all, this heart attack had been going on for over an hour) I began mentally spending the spoils from my class action lawsuit.  I was rudely interrupted by a young resident standing in front of me with acrid coffee breath, acne, & raggedy, worn NIKEs. “You’re having a panic attack,” he said in a flat monotone. "Lay off the caffeine and fill this prescription for Xanax. Follow up with your primary physician as needed. Have a good day.” Oh. I guess I wouldn’t be dropping my kids off at Country Day in my Mercedes. I would, however, be able to add panic attacks to my Arsenal of Illness.

     The weeks following Jeremy’s disappearance from my life was a nightmare. I was already popping Xanax like candies--and had been for the last 6 weeks when I originally learned of his infidelities (isn’t that a polite way to say when I found out he was fucking women that weren’t me?) I spent morning, noon, & night in my red tattered Lands’ End nightgown. I didn’t sleep. I didn’t eat. I walked aimlessly from room to room. I smoked cigarettes. I forgot to feed the girls. My house was filthy and my fridge was empty. I lost my keys. My purse. My husband. My boys. My breath. My mind.  By mid November I was having daily panic attacks and could barely bring myself to leave the house. It was time to take a shower. Scrub a toilet. Bring Madeline to school. Go to Kroger.  I was ready to begin to feel (semi) human again. It was time to peel off the God damned nightgown and call Dr. H.

     Dr. Robert T. Hasbany is my own personal Jesus. As soon as he walked in the examining room where I was busily gnawing at my bloody cuticles I opened my mouth and black tar poured out. God love Dr. H. He sat there nodding and “hmmmm-ing” and when I was all done sobbing and ranting and calling Jeremy a, “Mother fucking dick suck” he looked right at me and replied, “Yeah. He is. But you need meds. Good ones.”

     Wielding his prescription pad and pen like a sword and shield I was introduced to 20 mg of Lexapro 1x a day. With a Xanax chaser. I drove directly to CVS filled my prescription and returned home clutching my pills exhausted form my field trip to the outside world. I closed my eyes, clicked my heels, & repeated, “There’s no place like sanity…There’s no place like sanity…There’s no place like sanity.” After all, the Cowardly Lion might be in Kansas, but Dorothy was still in Royal Oak and the Tin Man and Scarecrow wanted lunch. Every day.