Follow-up to My life is FUBAR – a small, but vital, improvement…

I wrote about how grim things had become yesterday, and that I was in the grip of seriously worrying depression. Well, I’m happy to report that things have improved somewhat.

Oh, I’m still depressed, but the pull of my suicide kit, from its hiding place, has weakened a hell of a lot.

I have a suicide kit because, the way my health is going, there will come a point, maybe sooner rather than later, when I will become a burden to myself and/or to others. At that point I’m stepping out. I’ve already written about that before, at length, and I’m not going to do so now – just setting the scene, as it were.

I’ve managed to come to terms – to a degree – with some of what it was that dragged me down in the first place. Which I’m glad about, as there have been times in the past week when I thought, quite seriously, that I wouldn’t make it.

Not that I’m overly prone to depression, as I said. When it hits, it hits hard, but goes away again pretty quickly, before it can drag me too far down (in hours, usually). The scary thing was, this time, that after a week it seemed to be settling in for the long haul. That might still be the case, but I believe I’ve managed to take the dangerous edge off it. I hope so  because I’ve been there before, 20-odd years ago, and I have no desire for a repeat performance.

Part of the problem is being diagnosed with a fatal heart condition (the question, which nobody is willing to address, is how long have I got?**), which has rather distracted me from taking care of other stuff, like my ME/CFS, and its DIY treatment. Bottom line, I’ve been consistently forgetting to take the raft of supplements that have kept me on my feet for much of the past 20 years, which also includes a counter-measure for depression caused by one of my COPD meds.

**Even a ball-park figure would be better than what I have now, which is bugger all and, yes, I know it’s difficult to be exact, but I have a right to, at least, a best guess.

For those who have missed it, I have aortic valve calcification and stenosis, and congestive heart failure. The literature – and there’s a fair bit – says that the 2-year survival rate is 50% so, which ever way you slice it, especially factoring in my COPD, my future is just a tad bleak – I could have anything from a few months to a couple of years left – it’s be nice to know which!

So yesterday, I got my arse in gear, and got back into taking my supplements and, by the time I went to sleep last night, I was feeling a rather better (and, despite how crappy I feel, mentally, I am back to sleeping properly, though it’s so long since I was able to do that, there’s a lot of catching up to do, and I’m still profoundly tired).

I am, as I said, still depressed – not all of it is drug-induced, and the reason I gave yesterday is still valid today – but it’s now at a level which, while it makes life crappy, I can deal with though, obviously, I’d prefer not to have to because, as I said, I can’t take antidepressants – SSRIs screw with my lungs, and tricyclics screw with my brain, and neither is acceptable.

And, for a wonder, a little retail therapy has proven beneficial.

4 thoughts on “Follow-up to My life is FUBAR – a small, but vital, improvement…

  1. I am not sure that knowing when the end ‘may’ be near would be avoid thing for me possibly because I am the sort of person that ‘lives in hope’ . Ant long term illness/condition messes with your mind and emotions as we moarn what we have lost, what we need and what we had planned so depression is an understandable ‘effect’ that sick people also have to battle. I don’t know you well enough to know what you find helpful or comforting at these times or if you are indeed as stoic and accepting of yourself as you appear but I am sending (selfishly perhaps) my hopes for you to find strength to continue with your fight. Xx

    • I would far rather know I had three weeks – or three years – or whatever, than not, especially if it’s at the shorter end (and if I’m really as ill as I feel, it probably is – not three weeks, specifically, but not years either).

      There are still some fairly important (to me, anyway), matters to attend to if I’m about to pop my clogs any time soon. But if I have a couple of years (unlikely, to be realistic, I’m doing well to have made it this far, all things considered – I’ll be 67 in a week’s time – in my teens it was expected that I wouldn’t see 40), then there’s no rush. If it was just COPD I wouldn’t be too bothered – there’s every chance I’d see my eighties, especially as I’ve never smoked, though I’m not sure I’d want to given how badly affected I am now.

      With my heart problems, especially this specific combination, then all bets are off. Even the treatment is dangerous. Aortic valve replacement carries a 24% risk of stroke in an otherwise healthy person, and with my history of TIAs, that’s a risk I’m not prepared to take. For the heart failure aspect, there’s not even a remedy.

      I don’t hold with keeping information from patients, especially if they specifically want to know – and I do. If I was told I had until, say, Christmas, then I’d spend the intervening time going out in a blaze of glory, and in my own time, not moping around waiting for the end, which really is not going to be fun. Which, as I explained in an earlier post, is why I have a suicide kit – there is absolutely no virtue in suffering. As it is, not knowing is, for me, far more damaging, emotionally, than knowing could ever be.

      I’m dying, that’s a cast-iron fact. I have a right to know approximately when.

      As for living in hope, I’ve been living with severe ME for 27 years – the hope that tomorrow might just be a little bit better, a bit more bearable in terms of pain, is the only reason I’m still here. Still waiting!


  2. I don’t know what to say here to make you feel any better Ron, but I am tearing up reading this. I am saddened by your feelings of life and the precious amount left. Depression on top of what you are experiencing and whamo! That has to be an awful feeling:-/ I love life and do not wish it to come to an end ever, yet I find myself fearing loss….Not death….loss. We all have a chance of dying sooner than expected and every time my spouse leaves the house, I cringe. Though your bulldozer may not be as strong as others, it is just as big and mighty! Keep on keepin’ on Ron! (((((((((((HUGS)))))))))))

    • Hi Tammy,

      What really burns me is not the fact that I’m dying (though I can’t say it thrills me), but a woman, with whom I’d though I might possibly have been able to build a relationship (she knows how ill I am), no matter how short, has not only comprehensively lied to me (she told me that the relationship she’d been in for the past year or so was over – it’s not), but treated me, today, as if I were a total stranger. In fact, she was actively hostile.

      I can understand if she felt she wasn’t really up for it (or even if I was being too optimistic) – all she had to do was tell me – but not the lies (without which I’d not have felt I might be in with a shot), and the hostility – it’s just so unnecessary. As for her motives, I’m at a loss.

      And that hurts more than anything else. Death, at least, is impersonal – this is simply, and quite deliberately, malicious.


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