Chinese Zodiac

You Were Actually Born Under:
Popular and crafty, you are a master at the art of seduction.
You are intelligent and intuitive – and make a savvy businessperson.
You live life to the fullest, even if it means maxing out your credit cards.
Many people are secretly (and hopelessly) in love with you.

You are most compatible with a Rooster or Ox.

You Should Have Been Born Under:

Resourceful and practical, you are a quick thinker.
You are very observant – and it’s hard to get anything past you!
A total perfectionist, you are especially picky about looking your best.
You’re a big dreamer – such a big dreamer that reality can disappoint you.

You are most compatible with an Ox or Snake.

I Probably Won’t, But…

I probably won’t do it, but I did give some serious thought to taking the patch off before going to bed last night, with the intention of putting a fresh one as soon as I got up. I didn’t, though, and the dreams were just as crazy as they have been.

Argument in favour of taking the patch off at night:
Getting some decent sleep

Argument against taking the patch off at night:
Risking failure

I’ve come this far and wouldn’t want to fail again. Plus there’s the grand scheme of things: there’s only two weeks left at Level 1, and BeeGoddessM assures me that the dreams will get noticeably less vivid when I go down to Level 2.

What do you think I should do?

The Sword

I had the Queen of Sheba over for coffee yesterday. Since it was still raining like crazy (again!), I called her earlier in the afternoon and offered to pick her up, which I did.

On my way to where she was, I had the local CBC radio station playing in Junior, and there happened to be a piece on anti-depressants, particularly the new strands known as SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors). Most people know of these by their commercial names: Prozac, Zoloft, Luvox, Paxil, Celexa, Remeron or Effexor. The focus of the piece was on the increased risk of suicide among some who take these drugs, and referred specifically to a Halifax resident who threw himself off the Macdonald Bridge last year. He was getting increasingly agitated with the drug, but all his family doctor knew to do was increase his dose. Two days after the last increase, he threw himself off the bridge.

I have to admit up front that I’ve always had serious reservations about prescription drugs — all in general but anti-depressants specifically. I’ve seen too many instances of people suffering through so-called “side-effects” which were often as bad if not worse than the initial ailment. And with anti-depressants specifically, I’ve seen too many instances of them being used as the only line of attack, with other “talk” therapies being neglected. What’s more, we don’t seem to be interested in looking into the larger causes of what seems like an epidemic of depression. While I’d readily concede that each depression is unique to the individual, I also think we’re collectively afraid to question and look into the pressures we’re having to deal with and the expectations we’re implicitly expected to live up to. I think there’s an unhealthy expectation that every minute of our lives must be busy or productive or glorious. Even on vacations, we’re expected to do things and have fun doing them, and if you don’t have fun doing them, there must be something wrong with you. With so many things needing to be done in so little time, no wonder we often feel that time just whizzes by! And of course, there’s the constant expectations of success, of fitness, of behaviour, of appearance — all subjectively defined and, for the most part, very superficial.

That said, even the woman whose husband jumped off the bridge admitted in her interview yesterday that she doesn’t think anti-depressants are inherently bad and should be banned. They have a role to play. In fact, I’ve seen it in my father: he was on a mild dose of Effexor for the last two years of his life and, as a result, his depression was relatively under control — certainly relative to how it was when he wasn’t medicated. But even in his case, his doctor didn’t seem to know that to counter a side-effect of Effexor, namely sleep-disruptive agitation, my father should also have been prescribed a mild sedative. In the last two years of his life, in addition to the physical pain he suffered, my father slept a lot but rested little. So I’m mixed about the whole thing. Yes, in many ways, my father had a better quality of life thanks to the anti-depressant he was prescribed, but it could have been a lot better if more thought, consideration and follow-up beyond the prescription.

Enters the Queen of Sheba, who just returned from a trip to visit her family “out West.” Specifically her own brother’s health is very poor, and he said to her this time around that he considers himself a “victim of Vioxx” — not that taking the drug led him to suffer the side-effects for which it was pulled off the market, but because his state has deteriorated rapidly since he’s been unable to take the drug, which did provide him the relief it was designed to provide. Meanwhile, there’s a belief (if not evidence) suggesting that the drugs her own son was taking to control his seizures may have caused the damage to his heart that led to his untimely death. So the choice seems to be between prolonged agony with no quality of life, and less pain, more quality of life but potentially less life.

Do I have the answer to this dilemma? Certainly not. I’m not even sure what I’m trying to say with this entry. All I know is that I’m riled up about something …but what exactly, I don’t know.

Production Line

I’ve downplayed it mostly to myself, but the truth is that I’ve managed to get a lot of good work done on my CMS in May. I think the reason I’ve been downplaying it is that, concurrently, I’m not feeling productive in terms of trips to the bank. It’s very normal in my line of work for things to go from crazy busy to normal or slow. This month, one big job has stalled — I can’t do anything until I get the material — but a new one has come in, so it looks as though things will shift back into crazy busy mode sometime in June.

But like I said, the slower time in terms of demands from clients has allowed me to check off a few significant things from my to-do list for TextStyleM. It has also made me look at one monster module differently. It works pretty damn well as it is, but it would be more flexible if it were separated from something else. (Don’t look for an explanation; it’s too geeky.) If I figure this one out — I usually figure these things out eventually — I’ll be a huge step closer to having password-protected menus instead of just the current single password-protected area per site. I’ve also been giving a lot of thought to an installer. Currently I install manually (with a checklist I’ve devised for myself), but I have reasons to think ahead to when I won’t necessarily be the one installing the little beast.

They’ve Got to Stop!

I can’t remember them all, but I can assert that the Nicoderm patch definitely induces the strangest dreams. I also notice that I’m sleeping a lot these days, but I’m not sure the patch is the direct cause. Surely the lousy weather of the last weeks hasn’t been energizing. But I’m thinking that I’m sleeping a lot because of all the crazy dreams, which are far from restful.

I’ll be starting Week 5 on Tuesday, theoretically the last two weeks at Level 1. But aside from reaching my goal, the biggest reason I’m looking forward to the end is that I want my normal crazy sleep pattern back, not this crazy crazy sleep pattern.