It’s been two weeks since I started taking half-doses of Zyrtec and I’ve only had one day of really hideous itching. I soothed that with Benadryl and slept through as much of it as I could. Otherwise it’s not too bad and I think I’m ready for the next step: going down to a half-dose every other day.
A few people asked why I would even want to stop Zyrtec if it helps with my allergies and the answer to that is that I don’t even know if I have allergies, or if I do what they are. I added Zyrtec to my daily routine fourteen years ago when my thyroid was extremely hyperactive and I had terrible hives as one of the symptoms. The Zyrtec calmed the hives and made my life so much better. Eventually my endocrinologist coaxed my thyroid back under control and I tried to stop the Zyrtec only to discover that stopping made me itch all over so badly it hurt. After three days without, I popped a pill and the itching stopped within an hour. After that I tried to periodically quit and always went running back when the itching got too bad to handle.
Now my daily pill regimen includes Premarin, Lexapro, two enormous calcium pills, and a multi-vitamin. That’s so many pills, and with the Zyrtec too it’s just too much. I want to kick the Zyrtec to get back to base zero, then I can see what kind of allergies I’m actually dealing with. I’m sure I have seasonal allergies, I can treat those when they pop up. It’s not necessary to treat them year-round when there’s no pollen.
Other people mentioned that they have no problem starting and stopping Zyrtec and I think that’s true of the majority of people, but there are thousands of us who have experienced the withdrawal itching. It’s all anecdotal, but enough people have experienced it to know that it’s a thing. The theory I’ve read that makes the most sense to me is that it’s a histamine rebound reaction. After suppressing histamines for a while, when the suppressing agent stops my body responds by going crazy with histamines for a while before it calms back down. That explains why the itching eventually stops if you can power through a few weeks of hell. I have no idea if this is true, but it makes sense to me.
So that’s how it stands now. It’s time to step down to every other day, then we’ll see how it goes.
Today is day one of trying to wean myself off Zyrtec. Every time I’ve tried to go cold turkey I end up so horribly itchy all over that I can’t stand it after a few days and go back to the Zyrtec. This time I’m trying a step down approach. Last night I only took half a pill and I’ll continue that for at least two weeks before trying to take a half-pill every other day. Right now I’m already wicked itchy but I think it’s more to do with the mosquito bites that currently cover most of my body.
Zyrtec is a helluva drug, kids. After each of my surgeries I had to break a burgeoning addiction to Percocet and that was easy compared to coming off Zyrtec. I really wouldn’t recommend this drug to anyone.
It’s a well-known fact that Joxer is a lazy couch potato. His idea of a good day is laying on the couch or “his” chair until forced to move, then maybe having a little nibble, then finding a nice quiet place to go back to sleep. In Da Bronx, he would sometimes watch trucks go by outside, but we don’t have any truck traffic here in the suburbs. Mainly it’s sleep, eat, sleep some more for him.
Scott brought home a laser pointer some years ago and Goblin loves that thing. He still – even at his creaky, stiff 16-year-old worst – will go nuts chasing the red dot around the house. Joxer was into it a total of three times before he realized the humans were controlling it and gave up. He’s too smart for his own good. We’ve tried for years to find something, anything that would pique his interest, stimulate his mind, and get him to move a little, all to no avail. But then…
Enter the Catch the Mouse cat app:
You’re skeptical, I know. I was, too, but I have never seen this cat as engaged with anything as he is with this app on my iPad. He stalks it. He lulls it into a sense of security. And then he suddenly explodes and goes bonkers trying to kill it, KILL IT WITH FIRE. Well, kill it with claws, but if he had access to fire, he’d be all over that. I bought the app about three weeks ago and he’s still really into it. I try not to give it to him all the time because I don’t want him to burn out on it, so for now as soon as he hears the sounds the mouse makes as the app fires up, his head whips up and he comes running.
If you have a lazy ass cat, I can absolutely recommend this. For a buck, what’s to lose?
A Month In Photos: July 2013
This gallery contains 11 photos.
The first thing Scott said to me Saturday morning was, “A bottle of cider exploded in the fridge. I can’t even…”
I couldn’t even, either, so it was two cups of coffee before I dared to venture a peek. Turns out it wasn’t the cider that exploded. It was a glass bottle of brewed soda that exploded and it took a bottle of cider with it. Fortunately the bomber bottles of beer and the Veuve Cliquot all survived with only minor injuries.* The mess, however, was of epic proportion. Cleaning it up meant pulling every blessed item out of the fridge and washing the outside of them all, one by one. The shelves, racks, bins, and drawers all had to be pulled out and washed. This I did in the driveway because my kitchen sink threw up its hands** and said nuh-uh, you ain’t comin’ near me with that as soon as it saw me coming toward it.
It took hours to clean, but miraculously I didn’t hurt myself. The silver lining of this is that my refrigerator has never been so sparkly clean and well-organized. You have to take the positives where you can.
*i.e. They were covered with shards of glass and cherry-lime soda.
** Or it would have if it… you know… had hands.
I’m not a huge fan of summer, but I am a pretty big fan of summertime food.
In my recent post about being an introvert, I touched a bit on social anxiety when I wrote about how difficult it sometimes is for me to get myself to go out into a social setting. That doesn’t happen all the time, not even most of the time these days, but what does happen all the time is night-time anxiety. I’ve been plagued by night anxiety since I was in college, lo these many years ago. It always goes something like this:
The reasons my world is about to fall apart are many and varied, but it’s most often related to some small event that will snowball beyond my control. For example:
Crap, I forgot to do work for so-and-so client >
Shit, if I don’t get this done on time she’s going to sue me >
Fuck, I’m going to have to move in with my mother because I’m going to lose everything
Or perhaps it goes like this:
Dammit, I didn’t vacuum the living room >
If I have to vacuum tomorrow, I won’t have time to mop the kitchen >
If I don’t mop the kitchen and vacuum the living room, the house is going to be a wreck and we’ll get roaches >
Fuck, the county is going to condemn my house and I’ll be on Hoarders
Yes, it does escalate that quickly in my anxiety-ridden brain. Those are extreme examples of escalation, but not really all that far off the mark. (For the record, none of my clients has ever even joked about suing me for not meeting a deadline. It’s just my brain.)
No amount of deep, calming breaths or attempts at relaxing or meditating work. When this hit me in college, I would get up at 3am and go to the pottery shed to throw pots. These days I most often turn my light back on and start reading again until I can shut my brain down. That’s become a cycle where the light goes back on three or four times a night, every night. When it gets really bad, I get up and knit or work or clean out the refrigerator. This is how I sometimes become a 1am vacuumer. I don’t like to get out of bed, though, because that’s admitting defeat. Once I give in and get up, there won’t be any sleep at all that night.
Although this has been going on for over twenty years, I never spoke to a doctor about it. It was foolish of me to wait so long, especially when I’m such a strong advocate for knowing your body and not denying when there’s a problem. I suppose I never thought there was anything that could fix it, but last week when I dragged my exhausted ass to my first complete physical in thirteen years, I decided I had to say something. After a long talk with my new doctor, she gave me a prescription for Lexapro to tame the anxiety. It’s only been a week so it’s too soon to know if it will help, but the relief of speaking to her about it and having a plan feels like a weight lifted from my shoulders. Hopefully I’ll soon be able to say I have no anxiety troubling me and keeping me awake at night.
It’s hot. Too damned hot. I hate this hot, humid, sticky weather. Give me cool spring breezes, crisp autumn days, or even the bitter chill of winter. It’s all better than this disgusting, dripping-sweat, feel-like-you-can’t-breathe heat.