Tuesday, December 28, 2004

its on now

My move to DC required certain things. Some of things were difficult, like leaving friends behind, but others were expected to be somewhat easier, like refilling prescriptions.

I take various medication for my problems with depression and anxiety. This is no big secret, as anyone who takes a look at any part of the archives should be able to see.

September, tra la la, I return to my old general physician to get a refill on my meds until I can find a suitable psycho-pharmacologist or psychiatrist. My doctor gives me a stern talking to about definitely getting a specialized doctor, that I totally agreed with, and then leaves me with a doctor-in-training to go about the silly business of actually writing the refills, etc.

I tell doctor #2 aaaaallll about the very long and protracted MAJOR depression I went through and the search for the right combination of medications to help me "help myself" (without killing people). I tell her EVERYTHING I was ever on and what I am on now and how I have been stable on these meds for about a year. I even tell her some of it more than once, because she is typing it directly into the database with a nifty little laptop hooked up to the office's intranet, that I think is totally a cool way to invest in information technology. Instead of sloppily writing me the scripts, she prints them out, pats me on the ass with a "go get 'em, tiger", and I'm out the door.

I fill the scripts, I take the meds- like I have been, every-good-god-damn-day, for over two years. School hits the shit fan, I don't make an appointment until last week (for next week) and now I'm running out of pills. So I call in and let the nice lady taking the message know that while I DO have an appointment with a licensed psychiatrist, I just need a teeny little favor from my good ole doc.

Now children, comes the tricky part of the story. My last prescriptions should be in my file, since I FILLED THEM THERE just a few months ago, right? My history on medications should be there, since I spent half an hour with the other doctor telling her all about it, RIGHT? So getting the right dose of the right medications should be no problem, right? And if any of you recall the odd lump and fear of ass cancer from a while back, you would know that I went in and got five million blood tests and they all came back negative, right? Five million blood tests done at that office, in my file, part of my history, right?

Right?

But no, no, because my doctor calls my house and tells my mother that she really doesn't like me being on the 80 milligrams (one of three that I take), no that dose is just too high, so she's gonna cut it in half. My mother offers to give her my cell number so that she can talk to ME, the patient, about the medication she is changing. She refuses.

Ok, back story- 80 milligrams is high. Its the highest you can pretty much go on this medication. But before the 80, I was up to the limit at 250 millies on a different one and still out of my mind. I tried a lower dose, believe me, I really really tried. I made a hard switch from 250 milligrams to 40 milligrams (did not dare taper off at that point), spent a month walking around with numb feet, electrical currents running through my left side, and other fucking strange side effects, and still wasn't better. Even on the 80 I had to add another 350 of another medication JUST TO STABILIZE. We're not talking about getting better, because at this point in "the crazy" the goal wasn't getting better, it was not getting dead.

I find out, from my MOTHER, that a doctor who hasn't been treating me, knows she hasn't been treating me, recommended that I see someone especially specialized in the treating of me, has gone ahead and decided that whatever I was on, its not good for me anymore.

She wrote me a prescription for 40 fucking milligrams.

A doctor, took a patient with a history of major depression, and changed medications without letting that patient know. She went from 80 milligrams to 40, with no (highly recommended by the entire medical and scientific community) taper, and no (legally required) warning.

Luckily, that patient is me, and I happen to be the kind of patient that is very annoyingly informed about the medications they are on and the kind of treatment they are involved in. I happen to know that a patient with a history of recurrent major depression shouldn't even switch generic brands without caution. I happen to know that drastically reducing or ending an antidepressant can actually cause a depressive relapse, withdrawal, and in some cases, seizures. I happen to know that, besides the obvious downers of withdrawal and/or seizures, it is often the relapse, not the first depression, that can lead to dangerous suicidal behavior. I happen to know that a doctor cannot talk to anyone else about the medications a patient is taking, even the patient's own goddamn mother, if that patient is over 18 and hasn't signed a release.

If in the next couple of weeks, any of you who happen to be on a Medical Board read something that starts with "to whom it may concern", lists all of the above, and ends with "tell that fucking bitch to go back to medical school"-- you will know my real name.

Because I'm writing that fucking letter. And I am cc'ing a copy of it to that doctor, along with an explanation about why I will no longer be seeing her for medical treatment ever again.