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Frowny doctors are the worst

I took Ambien to sleep last night. I’ve always been plagued by nighttime anxiety. It doesn’t have to be anything earth shattering. In fact, the earth shattering things, I can usually sleep through just fine. It’s the little things that torture me. A call I’ve been putting off, neglecting to read with Quinn on busy weeks, registration paperwork, a class party email I forgot to send, something I said to a friend or in a meeting that I fear might have come across wrong. In the rational light of day, these things cross my mind and I know that I’m a good parent and a good person, regardless of small missteps, but at 2:00 a.m. the smallest demons throw huge shadows.

Aside from a rare theft of one of Matt’s muscle relaxants, I’ve avoided drugs to solve the problem because I know if I find an easy fix, I’ll want to use it. I have my notebook by my bed for writing down “to do” stuff and my Kindle with its soft internal light for when I want to read to settle my mind. I have ongoing story lines in my head that I try to spin further along each night to force myself to let go of the days’ swirl of thoughts.

These things work except when they don’t, which was manageable. But it hasn’t been the easiest six months of my life and I’m tired. I was at the OB last week for that general, annual thing they do and all was fine until he touched my neck and got frowny. Frowny doctors are the worst. “I don’t like the way that feels,” he said.

“My windpipe?” I asked, instantly feeling sure that yes, my throat was closing up now that he mentioned it.

“Your thyroid.” Oh, that. What’s that for anyway? “I’m going to order an ultrasound.””

“An ultrasound?”  I’m all for ultrasounds because they are very non-pokey as medical tests go, but I’m pretty sure I’ve had my thyroid levels tested with a blood test.  “To see if there are hormone issues? Like maybe that’s why I’m always cold?”

“No, to make sure there aren’t any masses that are a concern.”

Well. Then. That’s an unnecessarily unhappy word, isn’t it, Dr. Sunshine.  Way to bring reality  into it like a ton of bricks to the stomach.  In another story, this should have been my 36-week, everything-looks-good-cleared-for-exit appointment. But no. I no longer go to the OB to have cute babies with my cute, youngish little body.  I go to make sure I don’t have cancer.  Which is unlikely because Dr. Google and many friends who have done this tell me that “nodules” on your thyroid are very common and cancer of the thyroid is not, but STILL.  I haven’t had a non-crappy visit to an OBGYN in three years.

“Anything else? Other concerns?”

“Sleeping pills. Please. Immediately.”

So, Ambien. It certainly works. I don’t think I so much slept last night as lost ten hours of my life. I wouldn’t take it if I were alone with the children for fear they would discover my incapacitation and wreak their particular brand of havoc on my house like the brood of terrors in Nanny McPhee. I think my fears of forming a habit are unfounded – I’m not crazy about the “fall unconscious with drool running out of my mouth” way I’m left feeling and I have a weird soft, hangover-like headache. We’ll call it back up plan C, which I’m very happy to have in the house.

I shall refrain from suggesting that a smidge of Ambien crumbled atop dinner could solve so many bedtime issues and create so many happy parents.  Because that would be wrong.

36 Responses to Frowny doctors are the worst
  1. Robin from Israel
    February 8, 2013 | 8:50 am

    Sending much love, good thoughts, and a hand to hold while you wait.


  2. Mentor Mom
    February 8, 2013 | 8:58 am

    So sorry that your doctor’s appt. wasn’t what you expected.

    I won’t go into all of the details right now . . . but way back when I had 6 kids under 6 years old . . . I got the ugly news of “Thyroid Cancer”. Yikes!

    Surgery removed the tumor. No further treatment necessary. 22 years later . . . I’m still good as new (well . . . not quite . . . but you know what I mean).


    :) :) :)

    • Anymommy
      February 9, 2013 | 3:36 am

      I have heard many stories like this, it seems like a very treatable thing, as awful news goes. But, I’m sorry you went through it nonetheless!

  3. tracy@sellabitmum
    February 8, 2013 | 12:25 pm

    Thinking about you and sending so much love. Also, damn those frowny doctors! xo

  4. Arnebya
    February 8, 2013 | 3:44 pm

    Frowny doctors are the worst (especially when they’re also frowny and hmmm-mmmm-y. Stop all that damn non-medical humming and use your words already.) And you’re right; the use of Ambien pellets in the children’s food would be entirely wrong. I have never once even thought of such. Now, the crushing of Sudafed, on the other hand…

  5. Issa
    February 8, 2013 | 4:18 pm

    Thyroids are a pain in the…well neck. I hope whatever it is, it’s easily fixable.

    On the sleep. Sigh. You need sleep my friend. I wouldn’t take them for years. I resisted even when doctors flat out handed me a prescription pad. I am stubborn and I figured I can and do deal with insomnia well. Here’s the thing though, I love sleep. I just happen to suck at it. It was during the divorce when I finally said yes fine, give me the dang things. DUDE! I wish I’d done it sooner. I don’t take them every night. In fact, I’ve gone months without. However it is nice to have it when I need it.

  6. Korinthia
    February 8, 2013 | 4:31 pm

    Agreed about frowny doctors. Glad the Ambien helps. Sorry about the sad appointment. It’s hard not to keep counting the weeks.

  7. Melissa
    February 8, 2013 | 5:44 pm

    “I shall refrain from suggesting that a smidge of Ambien crumbled atop dinner could solve so many bedtime issues and create so many happy parents. Because that would be wrong.”

    YES. LOVE THIS. Apologies for your frowny-not-easing-into-it doctor, but I agree with the others. Thyroid problems can be overcome (my mother in law is 5 years thyroid cancer free woo). Keep us all posted :)

  8. suburbancorrespondent
    February 8, 2013 | 6:13 pm

    Good luck! I hate those type of medications, too. They knock you out, but you don’t feel the right kind of rested when you wake up. At least, I don’t.

  9. Alexicographer
    February 9, 2013 | 2:09 am

    Oof. Right, the thyroid is probably just a thyroid, but for whatever it’s worth I have a … cousin? … Darn this complicated family (in my defense it’s by marriage on both sides i.e. she and I both married into my husband’s family. I think technically she’s a niece but she’s my age, so … well, I digress) … anyway the point is she actually had to have her whole thyroid out but, the need for replacement thyroid hormones notwithstanding (which I also have, though not as much as mine is merely hypoactive but still present), she is in fact fine. So even a “bad” case scenario is still likely fine, though of course unlikely (good being far more likely).

    I have no expertise on Ambien but is that one of the ones they recently announced needed the dosage reduced for women, and if so, did your Rx reflect that? Maybe there’s a lower (and perhaps it should be lower, as I say, I don’t know) dose that would bring more rest with less drooling.

    Ouch, on different 36-week visit. I know you don’t want “I’m sorries” so I’ll just say I’m here, and hearing you.

    • Anymommy
      February 9, 2013 | 5:42 am

      Every story I’ve heard about thyroid stuff has been positive. It feels okay. Until they want to stick a needle in my neck!

      The doctor perscribed the wrong dose of Ambien, which did not reflect the new dosing for women, but Matt is a pharmacy and he said immediately to take no more than half. Which was PLENTY!!

      And finally, xo, thank you.

      • Alexicographer
        February 11, 2013 | 3:27 am

        Gee whiz: I thought I had done well in marrying a guy with the data skills to help me with my dissertation, but you beat me: You married a pharmacy? That was some smart thinking ;) !

        • anymommy
          February 12, 2013 | 6:27 am

          Ha! I wish ;-) A pharmacist. Very different. Not so much with the free drugs.

  10. Elise
    February 9, 2013 | 3:55 am

    Ambien crumbled atop dinner, probably not. But melatonin is “natural”:) Love you, and am by your side nodules or not.

  11. Alison
    February 9, 2013 | 6:58 am

    I know what you mean by that weird, druggy hangover feeling after taking something that literally knocks you out cold.

    Fingers crossed that all is well!

  12. Eileen
    February 9, 2013 | 8:20 am

    I have had the exact same issues with night time anxiety. I never really realized it’s things I can understand aren’t a big deal in the light of day, but you’re right! Explains why I can never give my husband a good reason for my whirring mind. I also hate how full on sleeping pills make me feel, but for me otc pills worked well enough. Things like Simply Sleep just take the edge off, providing the little push I need to get past my racing thoughts and fall asleep, but don’t hang so heavy over my sleep. Might be worth a try.

    • anymommy
      February 10, 2013 | 5:03 pm

      I will try! Thank you.

  13. Jen
    February 10, 2013 | 12:20 am

    Ambien. My best medicine of late. I used to pride myself on being to fall asleep anytime, anywhere. Perfect thing for a business traveler. I can take the open hotel room at the Hilton that no one wants because its on the Metro side and check in at 8 am after I arrive on the ungodly early morning flight and sleep until my 11 am meeting…totally said it was the result of my five kids. Permanent sleep deprivation

    Now I can’t sleep even when I’m exhausted. I love me some Ambien. Shamelessly. And it has a short half life…shouldn’t be making you groggy if you get something like 6 hours of sleep……..

    • anymommy
      February 10, 2013 | 5:17 pm

      It’s tough when grief robs us of at least a few hours of peace through sleep. I’ve been there. xo.

  14. Lady Jennie
    February 10, 2013 | 5:27 pm

    My one pack of Lumexil or Atharax (first one for day, second for night) usually last me about 2 years for one box. But I like to have them on hand for occasions such as these – visits with Dr Sunshine.


  15. Laura
    February 10, 2013 | 5:48 pm

    My mom is a thyroid cancer survivor and always says the annoying but true line of if you’re going to get any cancer then thyroid is the one to get! I’m sure it’s nothing though and the frowny doctor was just being over cautious. As for sleep, I take 2 benadryls many nights as it helps me with nighttime anxiety and no yucky side effects the next day! Also super cheap!!

  16. Margaret
    February 10, 2013 | 9:01 pm

    I had to get a fine needle biopsy when I was 18, and it sucked. But it wasn’t the worst thing in the world. It’s pretty standard issue as far as thyroid stuff goes, they always check for cancer stuff first. I have hypothyroidism and take a pill every day and get blood drawn every so often and I live a normal life (thankfully, I was definitely symptomatic before I was diagnosed and the diagnosis was a fluke when I had to get my pre-college physical). You might have some post-pregnancy thyroid stuff (pregnancy can tip off thryoid problems. My one huge tip is to go to an endocrinologist. Most PCPs are a little out of date with their thyroid info, and an endo will know more.

    BUT all of this is just the blah blah of your post. I’m sorry you have that anxiety at the end of the night. You’re right, your last six months haven’t been easy. I hope you’re taking some time to yourself to recharge!

    • anymommy
      February 12, 2013 | 6:26 am

      I am. I have a little recharging planned for my birthday. Thank you for the thyroid information. I’m currently in the “really hoping they don’t want to stick a needle in my neck and biopsy” stage.

  17. K-Line
    February 10, 2013 | 9:29 pm

    Lord. Couldn’t you have a happy visit for a change?? (Suggestion: Next time you go to the gyn, take an Ambien first! :-)) FYI, I’ve known a few women who have encountered this moment at the doc (one who even had her thyroid removed) and all are just fine. So try not to worry. I know. Easy words.

    • anymommy
      February 12, 2013 | 6:25 am

      Good words, though! Thank you.

  18. anna see
    February 10, 2013 | 9:43 pm

    Sending you love, friend!

  19. maggie may
    February 10, 2013 | 11:39 pm

    I hope you get this done and whatever answers sooner rather than later. Waiting for tests is hard. I’m glad you got Ambien… I am so there, staying up because my brain won’t stop worrying. I do melatonin when that happens. Let us know as soon as you know anything. xo

  20. maggie may
    February 10, 2013 | 11:40 pm

    Ack it ate my post! Anyway, I’m glad you got and took the Ambien. I take melatonin occasionally for nighttime anxiety. Yurk. I hope you get answers soon, less waiting is better, I know. xo

  21. Candice@NotesFromABroad
    February 11, 2013 | 12:44 am

    xanax is my best friend for those nights that I look at the clock every hour until around 3 then decide it is time to get help. I wake up normally and don’t try to kill anyone .. so I recommend it.

    I have a thyroid, my sister in law does not.. my mother does not ( she has no brain either so maybe she doesn’t count ) and 2 old friends do not.
    I hope you get a quick easy answer to the question and that it is basically – Go Home, Nuthin Wrong With You, Honey !!

    • anymommy
      February 12, 2013 | 6:24 am

      I have talked to so many people who know someone living without a thyroid. I hope I never get there, but it’s soothing to know.

  22. Ellen
    February 11, 2013 | 12:56 am

    I have the same nighttime issues. Used to take the over the counter sleep aids but they just weren’t helping. Dr. gave me a low dose (1 mg.) of Lorazapam and it has been life changing. Once I wrapped my brain around the fact that billions of woman suffer the same sleep issues and there was a little pill to solve woman!! Good luck!

    • anymommy
      February 12, 2013 | 6:22 am

      I’m always glad when I share something like this to know I’m not alone.

  23. Angela
    February 12, 2013 | 12:50 pm

    I had the same exact exchange with my doctor about my thyroid about six months after my daughter was born. The ultrasound revealed nodules. Harmless. I swear pregnancy hormones throw a lot of things off for a year or more. Hormone related “things” didn’t seem right in my body for at least a year. My doctor laughed at me, but we know our bodies!

  24. Roshni
    February 15, 2013 | 1:09 am

    I’m sure everything will be fine; especially since it has been detected early! Take care!

  25. Melissa C
    February 21, 2013 | 3:14 pm

    Good luck! I hope everything turns out fine. God, I wish I could take a decent sleep pill. I’m allergic to Benadryl (so most OTC sleep aids are out), and Lunesta, Ambien, etc have no effect on me. I have to resort to good old fashioned Valium when necessary. Wouldn’t it be so, so sweet to just be able to sleep?

  26. Deidre
    February 27, 2013 | 11:38 pm

    So it appears from your other post, your ultrasound was fine? I’m trying to catch up on old posts here. Add me to the list of post-thyroid cancer, thyroidectomy,radioactive iodine, good as new people who have commented. Well, maybe not good as new, but my thyroid wasn’t working right anyway, so who needs it? And you were right in thinking that the biopsy would be less than enjoyable, so I’m glad you avoided that.

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