Forgive me if this post goes unfinished. There’s a better than 53-percent chance that I doze off in the middle of it.
It’s not that I’m bored with my writing (or it’s not just that), rather my narcolepsy has been acting up. That’s not a joke; I do have a mild form of narcolepsy. The best my doctor could tell after conducting a sleep study, it was brought on by extreme sleep deprivation. It’s also exacerbated by a lack of sleep meaning that right now – extended football-basketball overlap at work and with newborn twins added to the family – I’m barely functioning.
Last week, I fell asleep several times while writing a story for work, inadvertently napping (sitting up) after each sentence. On Monday, I zonked out while standing over an isolette in the NICU, jerking away before I had the opportunity to crash to the floor.
But there’s a part of me that would be OK suffering some sort of flesh wound to prove a point. This is not an act – my wife used to think it was and that’s what led me to get checked out. I’m not always able to force myself to stay awake, and that’s disconcerting given how often I drive alone and long distances for work and/or am in charge of multiple children. Yet my insurance company doesn’t think I need that medicine.
To be clear: This is not a jag against the system – my dad has worked in the insurance industry for maybe 20 years, and I have no idea if it’s generally good or bad in the area of getting people the help they need. Rather, it’s a response to this specific scenario.
There are at least a couple relatively new and effective narcolepsy meds on the market: Provigil and Nuvigil. I got a 30-day sample of the ladder shortly after my initial diagnosis and have been rationing those pills ever since. Why? Because they work. I’m more awake and more alert, although I suggest this is a part of the problem.Word on the Ultra Nets is that non-narcoleptics – mostly scientists and perhaps some pro athletes – have started taking these drugs because of the heightened mental focus they can create. I can attest to that – just last week I hammered out a pretty solid football feature in less than an hour. It would have taken to 2-3 times longer if groggy.
But these drugs are expensive – the relatively new, generic form of Provigil priced out at $850 for a 30-day supply last week. Yikes. In probably related news, my insurance provider doesn’t want to cover this, instead suggesting amphetamines. Yes, amphetamines. As if my massive caffeine habit, another attempt to control this condition, wasn’t bad enough, now people are suggesting that I become a speed freak.
Dang. Just dozed off. I’m not kidding. I used to think narcolepsy was somewhere between hilarious and a license to nap. Now it seems borderline dangerous – what if I fall asleep out while driving in heavy traffic? – and frustrating. There are multiple medicines that help this condition, and I have insurance. And I barely use it because I’m otherwise healthy as a horse. And I live in America. And it’s 2012. Yet that’s not enough.
I have half a mind to organize a narcoleptic uprising except most of us would probably nod off during the first meeting. Right on cue, I just fell asleep again, and I’ve completely lost my train of thought, have no idea where this post was supposed to go. I’m tired of being uncontrollably tired.