The other day I wrote a story about getting stranded by the road. I went on a bit. Today, I’m going to talk to you about drugs. Which are good and which are bad.

Before Christmas, I was at the doctors office for presription refills. (Does it ever feel like I’m turning into my grandma, with a constant obsession about medications). So doc and I have a little chat about the state of affairs in the country of Darcy. He tells me that we need to do some experimenting to find out where my dosages are optimum for the desired affect on my body. So just a little background, my cholesterol wasn’t an issue, except that I’ve had a stroke. In my case, his advice is to get rid of my bad cholesterol as much as possible and lower my risk to as low as it can go. So what he had me do was double my doses and see how it went over Christmas.

Since my mom and my dad didn’t really care, I went with the doctors advice and took double the dose. Over the next couple days, the stuff kicked in and had it’s affect in my system and I became very aware of what was going to be the new norm if I kept doses at that level. I began to feel like someone was beating me with a big ugly stick every day. My muscles were achy like I had a bad flu without any of the other symptoms. Then my joints kicked into high gear with a choir of complaints. I kid you not, my joints were howling like a pack of wolves on the hunt. It got so bad with the joint pain that I had trouble kneeling and moving my knees. My arms joined in, presumably because they felt like they were getting left out on the party. I grit my teeth and forced myself to do as much as possible, but there wasn’t anything that was easy anymore. I couldn’t even enjoy scratching my own ass. And I love scratching my ass!

The real scare for me was when I was growing weaker. I was having to be cautious of going up and down stairs like I hadn’t been since I first had a stroke. I was also beginning to slur my words much earlier in the day as I had to work so much harder to say what I wanted to say. It would have been so convenient if I would have been doing some heavy drinking over the holidays so that fewer people would have suspected. But I wasn’t. In the back of my mind, leaving it unspoken, I was fearing that I was reverting to my initial state of ability right after I had had the stroke, or that I was having another stroke. There are these fears that crop up in the mind of someone who has sustained an injury, has worked so hard to make a comeback to greater ability, and then sees all of the things that once were and are now back again.

I’ve realized something very important over the course of this little drug experiment. I’ve lived life having very little fear of anything physical that could have zapped me like this. Close calls just seemed like a game to me before. I’ve been hit by a truck twice in my life and for the most part was able to walk both encounters off. Yes, I had a bit of a limp both times, but the trucks got the worst end of that negotiation in both cases. The first time, I was racing on my motorbike to go back to the grain bin to help my father with the clean up. He and mom had already finished and got to the same blind corner I did at the same time. Partially loaded grain trucks are fairly unforgiving, but I managed to bend the bumper and the only reason the blood was spraying all over the place as I flew through the air into the hay patch was because the truck hood crumpled up into a sharp point and gouged a part of my finger out. I still managed to console my screaming mother in the truck while flipping wildly in the air. I yelled, “I’m alright” to calm her down. It didn’t manage to have the affect I wanted though. She cuffed me on the head when she ran over to me in the alfalfa yelling, “How do you know you’re alright while you flying through the air you stupid kid?” She was right as usual. Mom’s are always right. This injury was the only time I “broke a bone”. The metal had gouged so deep that it took a part of my finger bone so the doc said that I had to wear a splint, even though the bone wasn’t cracked or really broken.

The second time was a little more fun, and only proves that you can get stupider as you grow older because you still haven’t learned you lessons. I truly thought I could jump up on the hood of the truck and roll off like in the movies. It would have worked too, if it wouldn’t have been that my truck driving friend thought it would be funny (I hope that’s why he did it) to speed up last minute so that my jump wasn’t high enough at the right time. I ended up denting that hood in ways that are hard to accomplish with other means. I think I still feel that charlie horse sometimes.

The point with these stories is that I used to live pretty wildly, and close to the edge. Not much would phase me, and if I was afraid, I did my best to stuff that down and go for it anyways. But the stroke, the drugs, this new shot on life… it’s changing me. I hold railings now. I spy ice on the driveway as I’m shoveling and watch it with contempt and a measure of loathsome respect. After my incident with the my truck the other day I am much more cautious of cold. I never thought that cold would be something that would make me think twice about going out. I have to measure out my days in accomplishable tasks as they accumulate. I can’t push myself to just bull through and make what needs to be done happen anymore without paying for it for days. And it’s hard for me to even recognize what all will be something to be cautious of when I’ve never lived that way before.

Since I stopped taking that crazy pill (the doc said I should stop taking it and try another), my strength rebounded overnight! And I don’t have anything more than regular old guy aches and pains in my joints and muscles. I can once again walk long distances without having to spend the afternoon in bed. Those were some BAD good drugs. I’ll hope that they new pills will accomplish the good stuff without bringing on the bad stuff. Coming back from the dead has given me new hope. And hope is most always an excellent thing.