As I mentioned in a previous post, I developed a breathing problem while visiting Phoenix. My diagnosis was an “acute allergic reaction”. The Urgent Care clinic gave me an inhaler and said I should be back to normal in 24 hours. The inhaler helped but the problem wasn’t totally resolved the next day. I returned to the same clinic to be sure I didn’t have pneumonia or something serious before leaving for Mexico.

They gave me a chest x-ray, no pneumonia. They told me I should have used the inhaler more often, although the instructions said not to. OK…how about if I just start using it more now?

No, they told me I needed to start taking these pills. These horrible pills. They were Prednisone, a powerful steroid. This was my first experience with a steroid and it was certainly memorable! I was prescribed 40 MG per day for five days, then 20 MG per day for five days.

Those pills messed me up. They cleared my breathing completely and immediately but I felt the way I imagine I would if I smoked a bunch of crack. I felt spacey and racy, breathless and sweaty, jittery and nervous with no way to direct my energy. We were flying to Mexico in just a couple hours and I was high as a kite. Should we go? Yes. I have to get out of Phoenix. It’s killing me.

As we traveled, I just followed Brian through all the silly things that must be done when flying, and it went fine. We took a direct flight to Cabo. Yay, Mexico!

A Cabo immigration worker was really mean and made me cry. Those pills were making me crazy. At least they let me through immigration and customs instead of giving a one way ticket to the Mexican loony bin. Brian comforted me. We made it out of the airport and once out in the tropical, humid air I felt calmer.

We were relieved to arrive at the boat and find it in good shape. I was also relieved to see how Brian handled a poor health situation with grace. Now we can officially say we’ve done the “in sickness and in health” thing, and we rocked it. Well, he rocked it anyway. I was kind of a mess.

I was desperate to stop the Prednisone. My body was not adjusting to the drug and I was lucky to get two hours of sleep each night. I called the Urgent Care clinic to see if I could stop after two days. They said yes. Then it took a week for me to feel normal again.

The clinic didn’t mention any side effects, but I did a lot of reading during my sleepless Prednisone nights. It suppresses your immune system. For six months after taking it, you’re supposed to tell your doctor or dentist because you’re more prone to infection. It’s common for it to cause psychotic episodes, too. At least I only cried, but it could have been much worse. This is a horrible substance.

Now I have been off the inhaler and Prednisone for over 48 hours. We’re floating in a bay near La Paz on the boat and I’m feeling pretty good. The only silver lining of my time on Prednisone was creating a piece of art in my cracked out state. Otherwise, it was an experience I hope never to repeat.

Lisa Hackett

About the Author

Hi, I’m Lisa. I’m a tall, blonde superhero and I live in a van. I do it all. I rappel big waterfalls, drive from Idaho to Alaska solo, live and work in a van in the wilderness and dodge encounters with wolves and bears. Seriously. More

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About the Author

Hi, I’m Lisa. I’m a tall, blonde superhero and I live in a van and on a sailboat with my superhero husband, Brian. I do it all. I rappel big waterfalls, scuba dive with sharks, dodge encounters with bears and wolves, and work remotely as a full time computer programmer.
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About the Van

Hi, I’m Vanifest. I’m a big, 4x4, off-the-grid van complete with solar panel for power. I'm a 2000 Dodge Ram Van and Lisa has had me since 2009. Read more about me here.


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