This morning, I did not want to get up. As I am usually an early riser, Martine was concerned that I stayed in bed past noon. I was feeling extremely lethargic. This is not the first time this has happened to me: It was an Addisonian Crisis, caused by adrenal insufficiency. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with my adrenal glands: It’s just that I no longer have a pituitary gland to send messages to the adrenals to produce adrenaline.
We’ve been through this before, so Martine knew exactly what to do. Over the period of two hours, I took ten 5mg tabs of prednisone and made arrangements to go to the emergency ward at UCLA Santa Monica Hospital. There, they put me on an intravenous drip and took my vital signs. After the first hour or so, the prednisone I had taken earlier started to kick in; and my improvement was rapid.
Fortunately, the ER doctor at UCLA was able to contact an endocrinologist who confirmed the treatment. My first such Addisonian Crisis was at a San Diego hospital where the doctor not only refused to contact an endocrinologist but started testing me for the functionality of a certain internal organ I no longer had. Upon the advice of my own physician back in L.A., I checked myself out of that hospital before they decided to do some serious damage to me.
The lethargy that comes with an Addisonian Crisis can be fatal. I keep thinking of those old movies where people are freezing to death and want nothing more than to drop off to sleep. It’s not a bad way to check out of this life, but, to quote Robert Frost: