It's a GAD GAD World
Monday, March 08, 2004

One of the disadvanatages (yeah right, like there are any advantages) of being depressed is that it leaves you completely helpless and unable to do anything. That's why I haven't made any entries here in over a month despite a hell of a lot going on with my condition. I just haven't had the energy.

As I said in my last entry, I went back on riluzole. When I didn't get much better, my doctor put me on Provigil & told me to double the riluzole even though it meant I would run out faster. That helped a bit. I was still miserable, but able to manage. Then my riluzole ran out on 2/13 & I was just on Provigil 200mgs/day. I was doing better, but still no energy. During my last February appointment (it was on a Monday) my doctor suggested I double the Provigil & set up an appointment for the following Monday.

I got home that night, counted my Provigil, & realized that if I doubled up I wouldn't have enough to last me until my next appointment. I called my doctor's office # that night & left a msg telling him that. I was feeling pretty good that day, so I said that I thought I could manage on just the 200mgs until I saw him again.

Then I woke up Tuesday morning feeling like hell. It started around 3:30 am when I woke up & the insomnia kicked back in, rendering me unable to sleep. There was a free job fair in the city that morning, but I ended up not going because it just seemed like way too much effort to take a shower, put on a suit & go into the city & pretend to be normal like everybody else. I tried sitting at the computer, & I tried reading. That was about as strenuous as I got that day.

By noonish I realized that I couldn't take much more of this, so I called my doctor & got his voice mail. I left a msg saying that I didn't think I could make it till the next appt & that I'd like to come in just to get a prescription & a coupon. 90 minutes later he hadn't called back, so I sent him an email. Shortly before 3pm he finally called me back & said I could come in for a prescription.

When I got there I just burst into tears. He asked, "What's wrong?" (Like you have to ASK, shitferbrains??) I said something to the effect of: "I'm sorry...I don't mean to jerk you around. The disease is jerking me around. I know I'm being a pain, but if you think this is a pain to you, just imagine what it's like for me. I never know from one day to the next what kind of day I'm going to have. You saw me yesterday, I wasn't putting on an act. I was fine. And today I'm not." I took the prescription from him, then against my better judgment took $20 from the ATM & splurged on dinner at Wendy's.

That was Mardi Gras Tuesday. Wednesday I was OK. Thursday I was just totally stressed and anxious the entire day. On the way home from work I came down from being anxious & slipped back into depression. Friday morning I woke up early (insomnia again) & turned on the computer. As I was sitting there I could literally feel the depression lifting from my body.

That day (Friday) I called my doctor and again got his voice mail. Left a msg requesting to change my Monday afternoon appt since I'd picked up an interview. I also asked if I could have blood work done since I wasn't really getting much better and I thought maybe there might be something else going on that we might have missed. He called me back & said I could come in Tuesday morning & do the blood draw. He also said that it was going to be a very busy clinic day for him and that I should try to get there as early as possible.

So Monday night I'm getting ready for Tuesday morning. I decided that since I was having blood work done anyway, I should do a 12-hour fast and maybe have my cholesterol looked at as well. Tuesday morning I had a swig of orange juice and a carrot stick for breakfast & busted ass to get there by 10am. I walked into the clinic at 9:45 am. Doctor strolls in @ 10:15am. We go into a private room and sit down. As we're talking I start pumping my hands. He asks me what I'm doing & I tell him I'm trying to get my veins ready since I'm having blood work done. He tells me that he doesn't think it's necessary. I said, please don't tell me I did a 12-hour fast & rushed to get here for nothing. He then said something to the effect of "Well, it sounds like you're trying to call the shots here, and you need to let us do that." Then he starts ramming psychotherapy down my throat. (The only times in the past he's ever done that is when I've been emotionally upset--like the Effexor disaster and the Sybil episode--and I now recognize that "psychotherapy" is his code for saying "I can't deal with you and I want to pass you off to someone who can.")

Then he says that I need to be seeing someone once a week and that "I'm not equipped" to do that. He goes on to say that I've already received more treatment than anyone else in the study, and that I can't keep coming back. He then tells me I should try to get on Medicaid.

Then after he got done saying he couldn't continue to see me once a week he handed me a package of memantine (yay! it finally came in) and said he'd need to see me once a week for the first four weeks I was on the drug. (WTF?!?!?! First you can't see me every week, now you're telling me I have to come in every week!)

I walked out of there feeling like I'd been punched in the stomach. While I suppose I couldn't go on getting free treatment indefinitely, the whole time I've been going to see him since completing the study he's been reassuring me that this is normal, that "we treat ppl for free all the time", that "you're going to be in our system for a long time", "we can provide you with [meds] indefinitely", etc. And now this. I feel like I did something wronng and now I'm being punished.

Later that day I did a video shoot for Pfizer. (Long story, but they were looking for people who were on Xanax XR & had benefitted from it. So I signed away my privacy for $250.) The interviewer was a very nice man who also has a mood disorder. After the shoot was over he offered to buy me a cup of coffee. Since I hadn't had anything to eat that day, I gratefully accepted.

He was very sweet and very funny. It felt so good to be able to talk openly with someone about my condition. There's such a stigma about mental illness. It's like being gay. I totally understand about gays being in the closet now. Not that I didn't understand it before, but I understand it even more now. When I told him I had a master's degree in higher ed, he offered to spread my resume arounnd at a local university system where he has connections.

I'd give anything to be able to talk to him now. Friday I called and left a msg on his work # suggesting we get together for coffee or something. I was hoping he'd call back today, but he didn't.

I've also been looking into the Medicaid thing. The bottom line is, if I'm under 65 & hold down a job, I'm not eligible.

In another interesting development, I've interviewed for an admin position at the same institution where my doctor works. That would certainly make things interesting if he continued to see me as a patient, wouldn't it? My follow-up interview is tomorrow. I was supposed to have an appt with the doctor tomorrow as well, but I sent him an email telling him I couldn't make it. I just can't face him right now. I'm too hurt and angry and upset.

My kingdom for a pint of chocolate ice cream...

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