It was an early morning for me this morning and the day didn’t go quite as planned. Eddie had to be at work at 7:30 this morning and I was going up to Halifax for a day of school. Everything got off to a good start. We woke up about 6:20 and I grabbed a quick shower since he had showered last night and I hadn’t. I drove him to work and then started out for Halifax and my plans just went to “hell in a handbasket”, as my grandmother would have said, from there.
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The drive is a two-and-a-half-hour drive typically. I got as far as Aylesford about an hour away and had to call my parents to come to get me. Again. After dropping Eddie off at work I got as far as Annapolis when I started getting really drowsy. I was supposed to take my modafinil at 7:30 and it was now 7:20. So I pulled over and took it and then sat on the side of the highway for 30 minutes to give it time to kick in.
I started to feel less drowsy and more alert which I assumed was partly because of the medication, partly because it was getting lighter out and partly because I had been up for almost an hour and a half at this point, so I pulled back onto the road and started out again towards Halifax.
I got to Bridgetown where I had planned to get a hot chocolate and use the washroom. I was starting to get drowsy again as well. I put on my mask and went inside, used the washroom, got peppermint tea because I read somewhere that in studies it was shown to have an effect on fatigue and daytime drowsiness and got my donut and went on my merry way.
Got a little further to Middleton and again I was finding I was drowsy and this time I found that I was literally falling asleep at the wheel. Thankfully in Nova Scotia, our main highways have a rumble strip on the center line and also on the right-hand line (we drive on the right if your from a part of the world who drives on the left) and this thankfully startled me awake or rather more awake than I was. I couldn’t just pull over and pull a u-turn there so I was stuck until Aylesford so I kept going and it happened again. Luckily I could see the exit.
I pulled off and pulled over into a park parking lot and called my mom. There was no way I was going any further and risking my life or the lives of anyone else on the road. I called my teacher, explained and he totally agreed with me. I sat for an hour for my parents to get there and so two and a half hours after I left when I was supposed to be pulling into the parking lot of my school I had managed to end up right back where I started. At home.
This has been the story of my life lately. Endless exhaustion and fatigue. It is so overwhelmingly strong that I don’t even want to go anywhere or do anything. Covid-19 has not afforded us many chances to just go out and hang out with our friends and family outside our house or mom and dad’s but even if I could at the moment I don’t think I would be able to. I feel like I am constantly dragging myself around. I drift off when I am doing schoolwork, blogging, watching tv, reading, having a conversation and now when eating and apparently when driving
Being given the prescription modafinil at the chronic pain clinic the other day gave me a bit of hope that I would be able to start functioning again. I have been taking Vitamin B6, B12 & B9 (Folic Acid) as they are supposed to help a lot with fatigue, energy, falling and staying asleep and help with brain fog. They do seem to work and I would recommend getting checked to see if you are deficient if you are experiencing the same symptoms but in my case, they just aren’t doing enough so I was prescribed modafinil to help with the fatigue and drowsiness.
Modafinil’s effects do not build up over time, they only last for the day you take it (10-12 hours) and it’s used to help promote wakefulness in people with conditions related to fatigue such as narcolepsy, shift work disorder and sleep apnea among other things so basically what that means is it should work right away and not need to have weeks to build up in my system. I am also taking the full dose.
My mom and I talked about it on the way home and we know some of what is causing my fatigue is poor sleep, on average my Fitbit shows between one and three hours of sleep a night mostly between 5 and 8 am. I lay there in a semi-conscious state but never seem to fully fall asleep though I lay there for about 7 or 8 hours typically from around 11 to 7. I just can not sleep. It’s like I have fatigue from lack of sleep on top of fatigue from chronic pain and illness.
I toss and turn all night. I just can not get comfy ever. I get searing pain in my legs and buttocks and the sensation of being stabbed. I jump and jerk after I start to relax and go into that semi-conscious state causing me never to really get any further into sleep than that. I startle awake at the slightest sound. I get a sensation of falling which startles me awake, which also typically happens when falling asleep. I also feel like the bed is on a boat in motion and is rocking in a wave-like motion. I actually get motion sickness in bed and get disoriented, dizzy and feel sick.
If I try and get up I feel lightheaded. My vision blurs and fades and I feel like I will pass out. It eventually passes until the next time I get up or until I have been on my feet too long but sometimes even a trip to the washroom can feel like navigating a boat in a storm. Then I got to get up and do it all over again the next morning after a night of no sleep until eventually I crash and actually sleep for a while and still wake up tired, exhausted and feeling like it’ll never stop and I will always be fighting it.