Forward, March

On Thursday, April 24, in the morning the new homeopaths came to see me, as reported in “500 and Climbing” ( ) In the afternoon, I went to the doctor for acupuncture, including the needle in the chest that is supposed to lower blood sugar, and a prescription for routine lab work. On my way home I stopped at the lab and had the samples drawn for the tests, then I went home and ate supper, regular diabetic diet as prepared by Meals on Wheels. After supper the doctor’s office called to tell me that my glucose, as measured by the lab before supper, was 604.

Clearly, the acupuncture was not lowering my glucose, probably because the acupuncture was aimed at diabetic hyperglycemia when, in fact, what I’ve probably got is chronic fatigue immune dysfunction hyperglycemia. But I can’t take insulin for it, so why bother to get our panties in a twist? It is what it is: a really, really bad situation. We’ve tried everything, now we’re trying a new homeopath. It’s the last gasp. Either this works, or I lay around until my kidneys quit and I die. Funny thing about that: GFR, the measure of kidney health, is five points better this month than it had been last month. Go figure.

On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, I rest quietly, more or less at peace with the Lord. On Monday, my 14-day glucose average is 484, and I take the homeopathic remedy: three tiny pellets of Mercurium Aceticus LM7. Then I go see the podiatrist and it is a lovely spring day. I wheel around his neighborhood and the first daffodils are in bloom.

By Thursday my glucose average is up to 493 and I receive word from the lab that last Thursday’s testing revealed that I have a really bad urinary tract infection. Really bad. So I email my health care team, asking them for non-pharmaceutical suggestions. Two people recommend cranberry juice but this infection is way beyond cranberry juice. On offers an herbal remedy but I’ve tried them before and anything in concentrate causes me to react. The friendly physician says “That one needs an antibiotic . . . Sorry,” to which I reply “You have to treat the whole patient, and the whole patient cannot tolerate antibiotics. Sorry.”

The homeopath tells me to take ten drops of the remedy. I do. After I go to sleep, I repeatedly wake up feeling terribly hot. I can’t keep blankets on, and I’m dreaming of flames.

On Friday, my glucose average is 500. The homeopath says that the heat and dreams are good signs; it means the remedy is working. Only problem is that I feel terrible. My psychotherapist comes, then the Reiki therapist. I feel some better until I go to sleep, then I wake up in emotional torment. I am thinking about my landlord, a neighbor, some other woman, and what I’m feeling about all of them are frustration and powerlessness. I am tormented by painful emotions.

Decades ago, I learned that this is some kind of brain fever. It is not an emotion that can be worked on in psychotherapy. It is awful pain that exists in the body. For decades therapists tried to attach it to some life event and it would easily attach, but I learned that it was not caused by those events. It was caused by something in the body—quite possibly bad chemicals in the brain—that left me in torment.

All I could do was keep it from attaching to a life event so that I didn’t go chasing down a path that went nowhere. Instead, I lay awake suffering, trying to find a way to escape from the prison of pain. I got up and spent a couple hours on the computer, which almost but not quite distracted me enough to lower the level of pain.

On Saturday, my glucose average is down to 492. The only thing that has been changed in my treatment is the homeopathic remedy. It is the only thing that can reasonably be credited with the lower glucose, but I feel worse. I feel horrible—negative, depressed, angry, in despair, fraught with pain. Somehow, I keep going. (See also Lt. Bob Dobrow [USMC, dec.], “Chin into the wind and keep marching.”)

On Sunday, the glucose average is down to 488. It is, perhaps, time for rejoicing, but I am encapsulated in unendurable pain. It is crying, screaming emotional pain but it has no locus or focus. It just is. It was like this in 2001 when I stopped taking all medications. In the morning I would awake like this. Torment. Unbearable pain. I CANNOT STAND IT. But there is no escape from it. This is the residual pain from 26 years of antidepressants and tranquilizers. They caused this pain in my brain and I cannot take them to get relief.

The homeopath says my immune system is releasing all this crap at many different levels. What we have to do is work to move me through it. I am reminded of the words of the song: “If you’re going through hell, keep on moving.” He tells me to put one drop of remedy in one cup of water, stir, and then take one teaspoonful. Call him this evening. I have no idea whether or not this guy knows what he is doing. I do not understand homeopathy but I do understand people, and I have a fair amount of trust in him. The doctor at Upstate’s Joslin Diabetes Clinic saw me once, then told me not to come back for two months. This homeopath is now talking to me twice a day. Besides, what else is there?

I take the remedy. Someone suggests acupuncture. Yes, that also will provide relief but my next appointment isn’t for three days. I take a hot shower; that always relieves nervous pain. A friend comes, accepts my pain, and spends a couple of hours with me, then I take a nap. It always gets better toward the end of the day.

I fear that tomorrow morning will be bad again; I hope that there will be forward movement.

About annecwoodlen

I am a tenth generation American, descended from a family that has been working a farm that was deeded to us by William Penn. The country has changed around us but we have held true. I stand in my grandmother’s kitchen, look down the valley to her brother’s farm and see my great-great-great-great-great-grandmother Hannah standing on the porch. She is holding the baby, surrounded by four other children, and saying goodbye to her husband and oldest son who are going off to fight in the Revolutionary War. The war is twenty miles away and her husband will die fighting. We are not the Daughters of the American Revolution; we were its mothers. My father, Milton C. Woodlen, got his doctorate from Temple University in the 1940’s when—in his words—“a doctorate still meant something.” He became an education professor at West Chester State Teachers College, where my mother, Elizabeth Hope Copeland, had graduated. My mother raised four girls and one boy, of which I am the middle child. My parents are deceased and my siblings are estranged. My fiancé, Robert H. Dobrow, was a fighter pilot in the Marine Corps. In 1974, his plane crashed, his parachute did not open, and we buried him in a cemetery on Long Island. I could say a great deal about him, or nothing; there is no middle ground. I have loved other men; Bob was my soul mate. The single greatest determinate of who I am and what my life has been is that I inherited my father’s gene for bipolar disorder, type II. Associated with all bipolar disorders is executive dysfunction, a learning disability that interferes with the ability to sort and organize. Despite an I.Q. of 139, I failed twelve subjects and got expelled from high school and prep school. I attended Syracuse University and Onondaga Community College and got an associate’s degree after twenty-five years. I am nothing if not tenacious. Gifted with intelligence, constrained by disability, and compromised by depression, my employment was limited to entry level jobs. Being female in the 1960’s meant that I did office work—billing at the university library, calling out telegrams at Western Union, and filing papers at a law firm. During one decade, I worked at about a hundred different places as a temporary secretary. I worked for hospitals, banks, manufacturers and others, including the county government. I quit the District Attorney’s Office to manage a gas station; it was more honest work. After Bob’s death, I started taking antidepressants. Following doctor’s orders, I took them every day for twenty-six years. During that time, I attempted%2
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