Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Well, THAT Got Me Nowhere...

I had my psych appointment yesterday morning. Well, at least it was SCHEDULED as a psych appointment...

Let's recap, shall we?

I arrived at 9:30am, a full half-hour before my actual scheduled appointment, because me, in my ULTIMATE wisdom (heh) figured I wouldn't waste THEIR time or my own by arriving early to fill out the usual new-patient pre-visit paperwork that you are ALWAYS handed upon arrival. Here's where things get fun. Really.

I went to sit down in the waiting area, along with approximately 11,234 of the department's apparent GREATEST fans. I didn't even have the chance to write my NAME at the top if the first page before a woman sitting next to me piped up with, "Are you here to see Dr. So&So? Are you first?!?" and continued to bounce her legs for the next 30 minutes, while also simultaneously rocking a bit in a rather UNROCKABLE reception chair. Hmm. Okay.

I then spent the next 20 minutes reminding myself that, DEAR GOD! I have carpal tunnel! by completing a form-style biography on my name, birthdate, address, phone number, medical conditions, medical history, mental status, what color my toenails were painted, how many pennies I happened to have in my wallet at that EXACT moment... well, you get the point. There were LITERALLY *8* pages that I had to fill out... all with ITTY BITTY lines and NOT enough space to appropriately answer their questions... so I found myself "margin cramming" my answers in - in order to avoid anything that I could POSSIBLY miss that may affect my visit.

Ten minutes after turning in my paperwork, I was called in by intake. She basically repeated EVERYTHING back to me that I had written to verify accuracy before getting me into the system. Fab. Great. Glad we're clear on things, okay? She gave me a handout on "What to expect while in treatment." Nice. A little reading material. Okay, swell.

Meander BACK to the waiting area, where luckily, twitch-tap-rock lady is no longer seated. *WHEW* Heh. After another ten minutes, I was called again, this time by some woman who I *think* I recall her name as being Janet, but...? Not so sure, as I have built a wall of flame between me and any exact memories of HER at this point now. Let me explain why...

Before I even had the chance to sit down, she asked me *why* I was there. Um... hello? Paperwork? Do you NOT look at what I just wrote out, making my right hand crawl up into a tiny ball for?? Apparently not. I told her that I am ON medication, but felt it had NOT been doing it's job. I summarized just the last 6 WEEKS - in the super-condensed version - and why my depression has simply gotten the better of me.

Towards the end, she CUT. ME. OFF. To ask if I had any friends. WTF!?!?! Nice, lady. Nice.

Then, she accused me of my TRULY occasional beer negating the ENTIRE competency of my current medication. Ummm, okay. If you say so - though that's not what my DOCTORS HAD TOLD ME PREVIOUSLY.

I was asked if I had any feelings of hurting myself or others. FOUR TIMES. Do you think she was concerned? LOL After the last inquiry, I finally told her that, if she wanted total, BRUTAL honesty, I'd say yes. Heh. But only in a spur-of-the-moment, ohmyfuckingGODwhereisthenearestspeedingsemi kinda way... but would never ACT upon those thoughts because, well? They're *passing thoughts* - not IMPULSES. I'll show her, right? Eh.

I got asked if I finished high school. Now, you tell me - what EXACTLY dooes that have to do with ANYTHING regarding the fact that I feel I need counseling and a change in my already-prescribed medications? Not coming up with anything?? Yeah. Me either.

After a few more questions, she looked me dead in the eye and asked/stated, "So, you're basically just here for medication?" Umm, apparently she was too busy DOODLING in the margins to have acknowledged my need for an outlet, for guidance, for support... all of which I felt I just wasn't getting in the form or quantity I needed outside of seeing a therapist. I was honestly appalled, because in that moment - I felt like she labeled me as a "drug seeker." Why, on the planet, would I WANT to put myself through taking anti-depressant medication (which I was ALREADY ON, so the need had obviously ALREADY BEEN ESTABLISHED PREVIOUSLY) if I DIDN'T NEED IT? Gah.

And after all the LOVELY indications in the reading I was given PRIOR to speaking with this woman, about how the most intensive therapy would be in the beginning, for about 8-12 weeks, etc... She told me that I should go to a Pain Clinic with on-board psych. Ummmm, okay? I'm not HERE because of my physical pain, lady... I'm here because of mental and emotional anguish. A point that she apparently did not grasp.

She literally SCRIBBLED down a phone number onto the back of a "Missed Call" pink slip out of her rolodex for me. No name of the clinic, no location, nothing. Just this mysterious "Pain Management" title which was barely legible above the hastily-written number. The ethereal boot kicked my ass out the door with a quick, "Good luck!"

I cried in the elevator on the way back to the parking garage, while clutching this little piece of pink paper that was now my apparent only hope.

My car decided to yell at me on the way home, threatening to run out of gas. And I had forgotten to get my debit card back from MetalliDad's last use, since we are back to *sharing* a card while he waits for his new one to be issued after the whole number-stealing extravaganza. Luckily, I made it. Obviously.

I called the mystery number, letting them know that I had *just* gotten back & being referred to them. The woman I spoke with was, well? A bit dumbfounded. Because typically, they refer to THE PLACE I JUST WAS. Durrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. But! She transferred me to one of their intake counselors to discuss my situation and determine that I was, indeed, qualified for their services. HALLELUJAH!

They gave me an appointment this Friday afternoon. But! they want me to bring my medical records and the medications I am currently on. Ummm... I'm not going to be able to *get* my medical records that quickly. MAYBE the ER records, but not the doctor's office. They're CLOSED today. That would leave Thursday for them to make copies of EVERYTHING from the last year in my chart? Oh HELL no. LOL I guess they are going to have to deal with what I can get.

I'm glad to finally see a specialist... while at the same time, I'm just NOT looking forward to it. Their goal, obviously, is to avoid any narcotic pain medication if at all possible. Great! If you can find me something else that WORKS, I'm all for it. I will bow in your greatness. However, the ONLY time I felt like ME before the back pain, before the knee pain, before the hip and neck and shoulder pain... was after my last ER visit with a hefty dose of injected Morphine, and an Rx for Dilaudid and Valium. Yum!! The mild stuff that I HAVE tried in the past? Before the pain even got WORSE? Yeah, might as well have been Flintstones. So, I guess I'll have to be apologetic for my lack of enthusiasm and optimism when I get there on Friday.

By all means, I hope they can prove me wrong. I want nothing more than my LIFE back... the one where I could sleep, I had energy, I could stand or sit or twist even the slightest bit without a hiss escaping through my teeth. I want to be able to feel like I am living in my own skin again, rested and clear-headed and ready to take on whatever lies in front of me. I owe it to Greyson. Damnit, I owe it to myself! But, I haven't been able to GET there other than that week of medicated in August. *sigh*

Do I have high hopes? No. Am I going to go in there with an open mind? HELL YES. A THOUSAND times yes. Because I'm just plain worn out. When you have taken literally EVERY prescribed medication for insomnia, and not a single one of the five helps you in any way... when you have been on 6-8 different pain medications and 4-5 different muscle relaxants in the last YEAR... when the act of crawling into bed can sometimes take up to 10 minutes at the age of *27*, and you have to, once again, try to explain to your adoring two-year-old son that, no, honey, Mommy CAN'T carry you right now... it's just been enough. It's more than enough. If I didn't even HAVE the other shitstorms that have rained upon me in the last six months, it would be enough.

I just can't bear to look into those big, brown eyes of Grey's anymore and have to tell him that I can't pick him up for "big, squeezy hugs" anymore. To have to deny him even the simple pleasure of walking around the block hand-in-hand, because by the end of it, I'm walking like my GRANDMOTHER did with severe osteoporosis and the old-lady hunchback. In her SEVENTIES.

At times I think it's not even so much about the physical pain anymore (as I have somewhat grown accustomed to it, no matter how difficult it is) as it is about the emotional pain I have from it all. And the emotional pain I *don't* want Greyson to bear because of it.

I need this to work. There has to be SOMETHING, right?

I'll be walking into that clinic with my head held as high as I can )and hopefully, it's NOT a bad day for me, or else that head will be chest level to anyone over 5 feet tall)... but still with a broken heart. I need to heal... everything. If you have the time, can you send a happy thought my way on Friday? I'll take anything you've got. =)

8 Harmonizations:

Valerie said...

Good luck Larissa! I hope they are able to provide you with the tools needed to start being the happier you.

I hate when the people on the front lines dont listen, and have the personality of a cruton. I have been there far too many times and its more frustrating than what brought you into their office in the first place.

Fiesty Charlie said...

Sorry that you are having a rough time. I worked in the medical field for 20 years and they did not handle things the way they should have.

Keep me posted and if you need anything, drop me a note.

Larissa said...

Thanks, Val!

And Charlie, I TOO worked in the medical field for a time and I would NEVER dare to treat a patient the way that I was handled at my appointment. And I only worked in POdiatry... if there's EVER a field that you treat with TLC, etc., it's Peds and PSYCH. Grr.

Bee said...

Damn! I hope things go well Friday. The paperwork is totally useless. They never fucken read the stuff and I know because I work for a doc who makes people write everything down then asks the same questions.

Really, I hope they do find what ails you and if not the better give you the meds!

moo said...

wow, she really sucked; I'm so sorry.

For the record, although we have those huge intake forms, we always ask, "why are you here?" because we need to hear from your lips what your take of the problem is ... so much more informative than those itty bitty lines can tell us (those are just for the file).

I might call the office to complain about her, though. She was totally unprofessional.

Larissa said...

Just for the record, I completely understand DISCUSSING what's on the forms. However, the way that she HANDLED it all? That's where my problem lies. She was curt, she cut me off, and was generally NO help at all when I assumed, for obvious reasons, that the visit would be beneficial. Instead I left feeling more defeated than before, if that's possible.

I'm just hoping that FRIDAY goes much, MUCH better. *sigh*

BacktoBarnwell said...

That is takes special people to work in the medical field and if they aren't, then they need to embark on a new journey for employment

Your Pal Pinki said...

Good luck. I'm sending good ju ju.