If I get a cold, I know what to do. I know to drink decaf tea. I know to eat certain foods. I know which medications to take and when and why. But the second I have a fever, all that good knowledge gets lost somewhere in my brain and I forget what I’m supposed to do. When I talk to a friend or my mom, though, they remind me. Too bad they don’t know what to suggest for my extreme fatigue.
Even in my lousy state, I knew it started with all of the extra activity on Saturday. I did a lot that day, moving and being alert almost nonstop from 7am to 3pm, and I assumed that was the cause. Or maybe I ate something I shouldn’t have when I went out to lunch on Saturday. I was careful, but you never know. In the haze, I knew I shouldn’t push myself. I watched a lot of tv, read, watched movies, read, watched more tv, and read some more. I left the house for groceries and for a medical appointment, and felt much worse after each outing. It bothered me so much that no one knew why this was happening.
Except someone did. I did. Or I would have, if only I could have thought clearly. I knew I wasn’t thinking clearly. I knew there was a metaphorical strip of gauze over my brain, obscuring the information inside. Thank goodness I was able to peak under the gauze for just a moment last night. That changed everything.
Last night it occurred to me that I could take an Isocort tablet. Isocort is a supplement that can be used to help treat less severe adrenal insufficiency. At one point I was taking 5 tablets. When I eventually weaned off of it, my naturopath told me to take it occasionally as needed (and we discussed what “as needed” meant.) Thankfully, I had a fair amount left, since it’s since been discontinued. I almost never take it, but last night it occurred to me that I should. However, even in my poor cognitive state, I knew better than to take it at night. Thankfully, I knew enough to take it out and leave it with my other pills where I wouldn’t miss it.
This morning I wanted to try getting by without the Isocort. Ah, what a state I was in to think that could happen. I finally took one tablet around 1pm, knowing I still had time to take more in the afternoon if I needed to. I didn’t need to. By 3pm I was feeling much better, and at 3:30 I went out for a short walk. It felt so good!
More than the physical improvement was the cognitive improvement. The gauze lifted, and it all made sense. I should have taken Isocort preventatively on Saturday. I’ll do that the next time I’m in a similar situation. I overdid things on Saturday and that caused my adrenal gland to go on vacation for a bit. While it was lying on a beach in Malibu, I was suffering. Taking an Isocort or two on Sunday would have helped me to recover more quickly. Resting so much was the right thing to do, but I needed to support my adrenal glands also. Without that support, they weren’t about to return from their peaceful vacation away from my overwrought body. And of course, each extra bit of activity, each outing, only made me feel worse as my adrenals retreated even further.
Today is Friday. It took four days for me to realize that Saturday’s activities were the trigger to my recent downturn. It took another day to realize what I should do about it. And it wasn’t until I felt better that I figured out what really happened. So the question is, what do I do differently next time? Obviously I should take preventative measures, but usually I don’t know I’ll need to. By the time I would figure it out, I’m no longer thinking clearly enough to do it. I can write down a list of things to do the next time I feel fatigued, but that only works if I remember to look at the list. I don’t think I can trust myself, so I’ll do the only other thing I can think of: I’ll tell my parents and a few close friends what to suggest the next time I tell them I’m fatigued. With any luck, at least one of them will suggest the right thing and I’ll take that advice. But if I don’t, and if I write again about a downturn involving fatigue, I hope one of you will point me back to this post!