A Swab for the Ages: Adventures Through Medication

This weekend I paid my monthly visit to the psychologist so I could get a refill on my meds. I’ve been on and off medication for a very long time. I was a terror as a child and it took until I was about 12 for my family to realize they might need some professional help with me. I was diagnosed with depression and ADHD and was medicated accordingly. We tried a myriad of different combinations to try and fix my broken head. My mom tells me at some point I was on Wellbutrin but it made me even skinnier than I already was and turned my skin green. I don’t remember this but I was always deathly thin. Thin to the point where my mom would make me weight gainer shakes with ice cream every morning. One of the constants was Ritalin. Ritalin was always helpful. I was a sharp kid but maintaining focus was always a challenge. I took two doses daily. About 30 minutes or so after my morning dose I had this one to two hour window of joyful productiveness. My grades in the classes closest to my Ritalin doses were always highest. Around college I took myself off all medications, which I believe was Ritalin and Prozac, a cocktail I had been on since I was 14. I believed they were rotting my brain and destroying my memory. Surely it had nothing to do with the fact that I started every day with a gravity bong hit. I lasted three semesters before failing out of college.
After struggling unmedicated for years, I decided to give it another shot while working for Howard Stern in New York City. Many of my coworkers were in therapy and saw great results from proper medication so I decided to give it another shot. I went back on a small dosage of Lexapro but wasn’t sure it did much for me other than the initial placebo effect. Eventually the monthly trips uptown to see the doctor and refill my prescription became too annoying a task so I just stopped. Going off meds cold turkey is never a good idea but I had never felt the effects in the past so why would this time be any different? It turned out to be quite the fuck up on my part. The withdrawals from Lexapro had me constantly on edge and anxious. Week 2 without Lexapro started giving me brain shocks which basically feels like someone’s holding a 9 volt battery on my exposed brain.
After moving to Los Angeles and being 3000 miles from my friends and family and job security made my psyche even more vulnerable. When depression and panic hit me, it hit me especially hard. I went back to my typical American over medicated ways. I’m always striving for improvement in any aspect I can. Perfection is an impossible goal but the second you give up pursuing it is the moment you’ve let life defeat you. If there’s a chance a handful of pharmaceuticals can improve my quality of life I’ll give it a try.
During my most recent visit to my licensed pill pusher I disclosed that I’m still struggling with anxiety. I had quite a few panic attacks in the past week and one of them happened live on the radio. He recommended I take a pill called Buspar rather than try something addictive like Xanax. It’s hard to tell whether my anxiety is from within or caused by outside forces. When something impacts my life I react. It’s likely I react more than the average person and stress myself out over it. More often than not I’m able to keep my outward composure but inside I do suffer. I’m not sure if that’s something that goes away by swallowing a pill. Being neurotic is in my DNA.
My most recent change before Buspar being added to the mix was switching from Paxil to Wellbutrin. I knew the risk of Wellbutrin turning me green but Paxil had just killed my penis. Getting an erection has never been a problem. I’ve never once in my life not been able to get hard when I needed to be. No amount of drugs, alcohol or just recently having sex has ever hindered me getting a boner. Even though I’m only a month from turning 33 I suppose I should still consider myself lucky in that regard. When I say Paxil killed my penis I mean it took all sensation from me. When I would have sex or masturbate I would just keep going and going with no climax. You’d think this would be a superpower for most men who rationally fear premature ejaculation. This might even be worse. Girls don’t want a two pump chump but they also don’t want you sweating on top of them pumping away for 90 minutes straight. These marathon sessions might be a pleasant surprise once in a blue moon but not every time you have sex. My libido has always been unusually strong and these medications never dampened my desire for sex. I also feared that having sex for 90 minutes straight without cumming would cause some insecurity in my girlfriend that she wasn’t getting the job done. Unfortunately, going back to Wellbutrin also sent me back to being a minute man.
When it seemed like our session was wrapping up the doctor told me about a new program they’re trying out which he claimed was soon to be a staple in psychology. It’s called a buccal swap. Supposedly all they need to do is swab the inside of my mouth for some tissue samples that a lab can analyze and determine which medications will work for me and which won’t. This would eliminate any need to blindly sample pills for a month at a time and move on to the next one. It’s an alarming thought for some anonymous lab to have my DNA on file but I’ve already whored my genetic material out in the name of entertainment. On the Jason Ellis show this year all of us on the staff sent samples of our saliva to a lab so we could get our complete history of our geological make up to reveal on air.
My shrink sent me to the receptionist who was to administer the swap. The receptionist took me to a side room and pointed out to me that the only rubber gloves left in the building poorly fit his big gorilla hands. This was clear to me by a massive tear in the wrist area. Watching him put the ill fitting glove on his other hand was what I imagine it would look like if a well hung porn star tried to use a non inflated balloon as a condom. He then explained how this swabbing was going to play out. He had three cotton swabs that would be used on the inside of both cheeks and the inside of my upper lip and gum area. He shyly approached my face and expressed that this would be as awkward for him as it would be for me. At this point he pulled my cheek out and began rolling the cotton swab against the soft tissue of my mouth and then began to poke the cheek from the inside. Once again my mind goes to porn. I felt like one of those girls you see giving a sideways blowjob that you only in porn flicks where the mans dick presses against the cheek from the inside. This move never really made sense to me. I don’t understand how that would feel better than a regular blowjob where it just goes straight in. And now seeing how it feels from the woman’s perspective I can say wholeheartedly that is a lose/lose sex act. The final act of my swabbing was the gum area was to get tissue from the inner upper lip. This was strangely violent and the pain hitting the gums above my teeth was unexpected. I actually felt pain tears welling up in my eyes but my pride would never allow me to ask this poorly gloved receptionist to calm down with his aggressive swabbing. Luckily the 30 seconds ended quickly, my oral violation was finished and my DNA was off to some unknown scientist to do with whatever he so pleased. What’s the worst that could happen? Maybe my DNA could fall into the hands of a rogue laboratory lunatic who would clone me. I can see how having a spare me could have its benefits in case of disease or limb loss.

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