Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Prescriptions, Panic, and Points to Ponder

I've had more serene days.

This morning I called a local pharmacy to see how a refill for one of my prescriptions was coming along. It had been several days since I'd called it in, using their automated system.

The last two refills of this particular medication hadn't gone all that smoothly, but hey: how many times can paperwork get scrambled? I was half right: the prescription had gone through.

That was the good news.

Now, the bad news.

The pharmacy would be allowed to fill the prescription on the 19th. That's next Monday. I have enough pills left to get me through Friday morning. Which could mean a really interesting weekend for me.

The pills are methylin: a drug that helps me control ADHD-inattentive. Until a few years ago, my trains of thought acted more like berserk dune buggies than anything running on rails. The experience can be entertaining: but getting serious work done was a real struggle.

Psychotic Symptoms as a Possible Side-Effect — And I Take it Anyway?!

Methylin/methylphenidate1 is a sort of generic Ritalin. It's sometimes described as a central nervous system stimulant. A quite effective one. That can be habit-forming. Which probably explains the rather tight controls on how much I can get at a time.

Methylin's possible side effects include psychotic symptoms, stroke, and sudden death — but the odds of those happening are pretty low. On the 'up' side, I now can use my brain without 'fighting the machinery' quite so much. It's an acceptable benefit/risk situation.

On the other hand, I can get a little nervous about taking a medication that's been known to kill folks, and throw others down the cliffs of madness. And now I may be discovering what happens when I stop taking the stuff.

Aren't Christians 'So Heavenly Minded, They're No Earthly Good?'

I think a person could get the impression, from what shows up in the news occasionally, that religious people — Christians in particular — are
  • A few tacos short of a combination plate
  • Half-baked
  • Not playing with a full deck
  • Nutty as fruitcake
  • Out to lunch
  • Round the bend
  • Un-
    • balanced
    • glued
    • hinged
    • zipped
And definitely not up to dealing with today's world.

After all, aren't they always saying science is evil, and keeping their kids from getting life-saving medical treatment?

Some, yes. But that's not what the Catholic Church teaches.

It's Faith and Reason; Religion and Science

Uff da. I've made a link list for my posts on "Science, Religion, and being Catholic."

Basically, the Church is fine with science. When it's done right, science is a serious study of the observable world. That's no more 'against faith' than thinking that humanity has dominion over the physical world.2

We've got a patron saint of scientists, for crying out loud. Bottom line? I don't have to check my brain at the door when I go to church.

When it comes to making sensible use of medical technology and pharmaceuticals — I put a sort of quick introduction to what the Church says under "Background," near the end of this post. Remember, I'm just "some guy with a blog." I don't speak for the Church — Which is why I have those links. 'For further reading.'

Taking Medication, Showing Appreciation for God's Gifts

I've said this before: I don't think trusting God means being stupid. Or lazy.

I live in a time and place where I've got access to some remarkable technologies. I'm using one of them right now, to write this post. A few years ago I got defective hip joints swapped out, and am now enjoying pain-free walking for the first time in my life. Around the same time I had my wrists and two fingers worked on.

Does this mean I think I don't need God? Not at all. God continually sustains my existence. (Catechism of the Catholic Church (301) But God's also made a world where the creatures in it — myself included — have a role in making things happen. (Catechism 306)

The way I see it, I'd be showing disrespect to God, and lack of appreciation for my ability to act: if I failed to do what I can to regain and maintain my health.

Stress, Uncharitable Thoughts, and Lots of Phone Calls

It wasn't until about 2:00 this afternoon that I had my last phone conversation about those pills. I think some of the uncharitable thoughts I had about what might have happened could be blamed on stress — but I'd better take a close look at how I see the world, and pray for a more patience.

A lot more patience.

Right now, it looks like I could get that prescription sometime Friday. Or Saturday. Or maybe Monday. Or sometime, anyway.

We'll see what happens.

I can't be too upset with others — turns out, part of the SNAFU came from my failing to contact the psychiatrist's office about two or three weeks ago. I gotta remember to write down all of a procedure that's new to me.

Oh, well: lessons learned.

A call to a local pharmacist gave me a plan for rationing the meds I have left, so I won't be going cold turkey late Friday.

Looking back on how I handled the situation, I could have — maybe should have — prayed about it. And made those phone calls. Maybe next time I'll remember.

Related posts:Background
  • Health
    • "Life and physical health are precious gifts entrusted to us by God. We must take reasonable care of them, taking into account the needs of others and the common good...."
      (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2288)
    • Making an idol of my body is a bad idea
      (Catechism, 2289)
    • Taking stupid risks with drinking and/or driving is — stupid
      (Catechism, 2290-2291)
  • Curing illness
  • Using drugs
      • "The use of drugs inflicts very grave damage on human health and life...
        (Catechism, 2291)
    • Yes
      • If drugs are needed for health
      • "...Their use, except on strictly therapeutic grounds, is a grave offense...."
        (Catechism, 2291)
        • This isn't an order to never take aspirin
          (See "painkillers, below)
    • But let's get real - - -
      • "...Clandestine production of and trafficking in drugs are scandalous practices...."
        (Catechism, 2291)
  • Surgery
    • John Paul II had a benign intestinal tumor surgically removed in July, 1992
      ("Events in the Pontificate of His Holiness Pope John Paul II")
      • Looks like the Pope's okay with surgery
        • Good enough for me
    • Organ transplants
      • Okay "if the physical and psychological dangers and risks to the donor are proportionate to the good sought for the recipient"
        (Catechism, 2296)
      • Voluntary organ donation after death is "noble and meritorious act and is to be encouraged as a expression of generous solidarity"
        (Catechism, 2296)
      • Involuntary organ donation isn't right
        • Like killing someone for the parts
          (Catechism, 2296)
  • Euthanasia
    • Don't
      (Catechism, 2276-2279)
    • But "medical procedures that are burdensome, dangerous, extraordinary, or disproportionate to the expected outcome" aren't required
      (Catechism, 2278)
      • I'm about as sure as I can be that getting impatient about getting an inheritance isn't "burdensome" in this context
    • "Ordinary care" of someone who is dying is required
      • Including painkillers
        (Catechism, 2279

1 I've written about methylin and me before:2 I quoted Genesis 1:27-28, among other things, while discussing what sort of creatures we are:

1 comment:

Brigid said...

Ending a paragraph with a comma: "the prescription had gone through,"

Fist? "walking for the fist time in my life."

Extra letter/word: "pray for a more patience."

Odd place for a backward slash: "There's more to healing than pills and knives\"

The Friendly Neighborhood Proofreader

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