I've just started a new med for my shaky legs and neuropathy called "gabapentin." It is often used to treat seizures, bipolar illness, and neuropathy. What many don't know is that neuropathy isn't always about the nerves; it can indicate muscle weakness and fatigue, which is what I have in my legs as a lively after-effect of months of chemo. At least I am not howling at the moon, or have suddenly grown a thick moustache. For all these things, we give thanks.
But, here's what happens with side-effects: By the time you read the papers the pharmacy sends home, you feel as if you might as well give up and jump off the deck. Or take a healthy slug of Jack Daniels at 9 in the morning. I put the pharmacy papers aside and applied my reason, figuring out that they have to list ALL possible side-effects (including a sudden desire to have a pet pig or run for political office), and I might only get one or two. Sadly, I didn't get the grand side-effects: I got flatulence and seriously boring dreams.
REALLY? Out of all of the possibilities I got those? Here is what I wish I had gotten:
--enough brain power to memorize Shakespearean sonnets and quote them at opportune times.
--the ability to say just the right thing when I have hurt someone's feelings, as in: "I am so sorry, I wasn't listening to you very well, was I. Let's try again."
--a skill in applying eye-liner so it doesn't glop up my eyelashes and smear under my eyes.
--some great erotic dreams that take place in a sparkling hotel room overlooking the Adriatic sea, instead of dreams about finding my shoes in the closet and shopping for underwear. (I am not kidding.)
--the spiritual resources to not worry and be anxious about our current president-elect and his band of merry, corrupt fellows.
--the ability to understand football and actually care about it, so I could join in my husband's jubilant shouts and happy mood when the Patriots win.
--the strength to power through my days as I used to without dropping like a used handkerchief unto the couch at 4:00, murmuring weakly, "Tea, please, then a large glass of wine."
--better thighs. Why don't they have that as a side-effect of these drugs? I would love this, especially if it meant no effort at all on my part.
--the grace to speak to people of other political opinions, without spitting or making caustic, semi-profane comments.
Ok, those are just a few of the benefits I wish for in taking gabapentin
instead of flatulence. My only consolation is that probably makes me somewhat like Falstaff, whom I adore. I will take comfort where it is offered, as always.