Yesterday I decided to forgo my usual med cocktail in favor of trying something a little different: an alternative remedy!
What is this alternative remedy, you might ask?
It’s a nicotine patch!
Do I smoke? No. Am I using the patch with maximum nicotine, made for the most hardcore, 3-pack-a-day smokers? Absolutely!
In all seriousness, my neurologist did suggest that a nicotine patch might be a viable option for increasing my wakefulness. Nicotine is a stimulant, and the patch releases it throughout the day, so it has potential to improve my baseline level of alertness. Additionally, nicotine is a REM (dream sleep) suppressant, which means it would decrease the frequency of cataplexy, sleep paralysis, and hallucinations, since all of these things are intrusions of dream sleep into my waking hours.
Yesterday I decided to give it a go! I had a ‘good wake-up’ around 8am, meaning I woke up straight out of light sleep like a normal person, so I was able to get out of bed and start the day without feeling like death. Since I didn’t need my meds to get me out of bed, this was the perfect day to skip them and apply the patch! So I did.
Results of my alternative remedy experiment: The nicotine patch is BS!
Two hours later, I took the patch off, disappointed. It had worked a little, tiny bit, but it was 10 o’clock in the morning and I needed a nap, as usual. There was no point in keeping it on longer, since I can’t be waiting around for hours until the nicotine builds up in my system — I’ve got to use something that will wake me up right away!
Maybe if I combined the patch with my regular meds, it would have more of an effect, but I’m not going to do that without talking to my doctor first, because I don’t want my poor overworked heart to explode.
So my first alternative remedy experiment was a bust. Oh, well! Next I’ll have to try essential oils or some sort of hippie moon root or something. In the meantime, I’ll just keep popping my pills.