I began feeling really lousy yesterday--very weak, very tired. Susan was here in the afternoon; she did some laundry and put it away and helped in the search for the missing medicine. Marty had to go out for the evening, so before Susan left I had her put a chicken pie in the oven, and so just had to bring it into the bedroom to eat. But I kept feeling worse and worse--I get a strange feeling that's hard to describe. The best I can do is that my chest feels hollow, so that when I breathe the air just "leaks out." I know that's not what's really happening, but it's a very scary feeling, and I got into a panicky mood. There's a certain cough that happens when I feel that I'm not getting enough air, which is exhausting. By the time Marty got home I was feeling miserable, and I was in one of those states where I didn't want to go to sleep. I finally fell asleep from exhaustion some time after one, waking up around five but then falling asleep again till eight.
I was still experiencing the same awful feelings, and some time during the morning I put in a call to hospice. They weren't able to find Kathy, but I talked to another nurse, LuAnn, and she came out to see me within the hour. She suggested I take extra morphine and ativan, as well as a nebulizer treatment, but it's the reassurance, the knowledge that I am taken seriously as a reliable reporter of my own needs, that is as important as anything else. She also called the pharmacy and ordered replacements for the missing medication (which I'm sure will turn up eventually), which will be delivered tonight.
My friend Lauren, who lives in D.C., had said she would visit in mid-morning, and when she called yesterday to set up the details, she asked if there was anything I needed, and started listing things--when she got to "chocolate" I said I could always use chocolate! I told her I had an acupuncture treatment scheduled for two, so she said she'd also bring lunch. She arrived just as LuAnn was getting ready to leave, and presented me with a beautiful flowered shopping bag decorated with ribbons, containing what could well be the contents of a well-stocked chocolate boutique!
I decided I'd be most comfortable in the living room on my new chair, but was feeling so weak that I needed to lean on Marty to get there and get settled. We had a nice visit, talking about her trip and the state of the psychiatric survivor movement. She works for the national organization I was involved in setting up a few years ago, the National Coalition of Mental Health Consumer/Survivor Organizations (http://www.ncmhcso.org/), which has been growing and becoming more visible in policy-making. Lauren told me that she is one of many people who first became aware of the movement by reading my book, which is always something that makes me feel happy.
We decided to order some Chinese food, which Marty went out to pick up. I was feeling a bit stronger and was able to sit at the table to eat. and Marty and Lauren were able to get to know each other a little. Just as we were finishing lunch, Anne arrived to give me my acupuncture treatment, so I said goodbye to Lauren and went to lie down on the daybed.
As always, I found the treatment was relaxing, and I am definitely feeling better and stronger. Feeling better means my mood is better, too. When Anne inserted several needles into my feet, she said they might release some strong emotions, and I told her that I try to keep my emotions close to the surface (last night I was doing a lot of loud bitching and moaning, for example).
Right now I feel tired, but not the deep exhaustion I was experiencing earlier, and I'm breathing better and feeling stronger. I need a good night's sleep, which I hope I can get tonight.