It’s 1:17 am, and I don’t know what the freak is going on. I took my third dose of Meridia 16 hours ago. I sleep with a CPAP machine due to sleep apnea, and while I was chillin’ in my sleep, something woke me with a start. This happens often since Meridia, as one of the side effects is difficultly falling and staying asleep. Typically, I’d change positions and drift back off to sleep, but this time was different.

Changed positions. Noticed left arm is asleep. Flex left arm, circulating blood. Left foot goes numb. Brain starts thinking: “omigod, we’re about to have a heart attack! Lie still! Maybe it will go away!” I can’t lie still. I turn my ankle in circles, hoping the numbness is just a momentary lack of circulation. Start running down list of heart attack warning signs: numbness in left side (check), shortness of breath (nope), increased heart rate (stop… count for a minute… nope), pain in chest (check), shoulders, or back. Cycle back into freaking-out mode.

I just decided to stand up and walk around, maybe take some aspirin, see if things get better or worse. Consider calling ambulance or heading to emergency room. Decide not to disturb Lee, because he has to get up at 3am for work.

Take a look in medicine cabinet, no aspirin. I have Aleve… is aleve an aspirin product? Check label. Back side reads: Naproxen sodium may cause a severe allergic reaction, especially in people allergic to aspirin. Front reads: 220 mg NSAID. Think back… Meridia can’t be taken with NSAID’s prescribed for heart health. Ok, well does that mean Meridia can’t be used with an aspirin regiment, or that even 1 aspirin would cause a severe reaction? Decide to not take aleve. Drink a glass of water (hydrated veins are happy veins, no?)

Head to Life-Saving Information Resource Portal (laptop). Re-read Meridia’s complications. Read up on heart attacks again. Note: by now, numbness in left side has mostly subsided. Weird pain at/around the collar-bone area on left side. Notice that I hear a high-pitched tone in my ears, and I can also hear my heartbeat clearly (symptoms of increased blood pressure). Read information on women’s failure to heed heart attack warning signs up to 6 months before a cardiac event. Read stroke symptoms, which also match tonight’s event. Start writing blog to record event and calm myself down.

So here I am, with a steady heart rate of 73 beats per minute (normal for me is 68-72ish), only the slightest remaining numbness in my left foot, some weakness in my left arm, no more clavicle pain. If that was an episode, I think that maybe it’s over. I’m left with questions:

  • Biggest question: did I just experience legitimate heart issues, or was it more like anxiety/nervousness or trouble sleeping? All are side effects of Meridia.
  • Did I make the right decision in not calling an ambulance, or should I have called just to be safe? Will ignoring tonight’s episode open the door to a more severe one later on?
  • How in the hell are you supposed to differentiate between legitimate heart problem or stroke versus something benign like anxiety? (I know the answer: you’re not. You’re supposed to get to a doctor.)
  • Did I wake up because of the sleeplessness effect, a heart problem, or an apnea episode (a possibility, even with CPAP)?
  • And most importantly, do I stop taking Meridia, or do I write this off as over-worriedness and continue with the medicine?

I’ll probably call Dr. Aung’s office in the morning and see what they recommend. Dr. Aung was hesitant to even prescribe the Meridia, so I know she’ll tell me to stop taking it. I just wish I knew: is this the medicine, or is this just me freaking out?

The dumbest thing of all: I’m pissed that I just spent over $100 on a medication that I probably won’t get more than these three doses out of. Stupid, I know, because I’d pay $100 a month to not take a heart attack / stroke / anxiety – inducing medication.

Update: Dr. Aung wants to see me in person right away. Unfortunately, I’m already at work over an hour away, so I’ll just leave work early today and meet with her at 4:00.


One Response

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