Small note…I started this post on Friday, April 18th. I updated it today. It’s a bit long, sorry. I apologize if it is a little bit jumbled, my head is in that frame of mind right now. Trying to get everything in, and just now knowing where to stop. As normal, there may be grammar, typo’s and all kinds of mistakes, if it’s too much, just let me know. But you may get a long letter back. : )
After much toil and trouble trying to get help from my psychiatrist, it’s time to give up and move on!
Hey Doc, You’re Fired!
I wonder if firing a doctor makes them understand much, after all, they still have a job, but they don’t have me as a patient any more. If she continues to treat patients the way she has treated me, I don’t see how her new practice is going to survive! Also, where I’m concerned, she will be told why she no longer has me as a patient, maybe it will bring some understanding. I’m sure part of this is my issue, but some professionalism must be maintained between a doctor and patient.
From my last post you may remember that I saw my psychiatrist on Wednesday, April 9th. (This was after a month of trying to get my medication straight and get an appointment to see her. All of that after having side-effects from a medication that I should never have been put on. She did not look at the medications I had been prescribed by other doctors. If this had happened, and we had discussed this, I would not have been prescribed a medication that interacted with my other medications.) On the 9th, we discussed my medication, and I discussed the fact that I felt the need to start an emergency plan in case I was going to hurt myself because I was having many thoughts and desires of doing just that. I really felt this was not taken seriously, perhaps because my husband is with me most of the time, and cares for me? I don’t know, I do know I left the office wondering why that was just brushed off. One reason she may have thought I didn’t need more discussion on this is because I was taking precautions. I had my husband lock away all of my medication and only dispense them as they are prescribed. I had him looking for more clues, other than just me balled up on the floor falling into an abyss. Yes, I was cycling, so on the good swings I was able to try to set an emergency plan in place. But on the down swings….well, that’s a different matter all together. However, I cannot stress enough, if you have any mental health issue and feel you may harm yourself, try very hard to make a plan that will help you. If you want to know more about what I did…please contact me, just look at my About Page. It may not be everything, but I found it a great help that I knew I was helping myself in some small way even when things were spiraling out of control.
During the latest visit we did make a plan for my medication, but she wanted to talk with my neurologist to make sure the medication she put me on wouldn’t interfere with any other medication she had me on. Finally, I thought, a Great plan. She said she should know by Friday, April 11th, and would be in touch. That didn’t happen. My husband called on Friday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday….and Friday (when he called on Friday the 18th he learned the office was closed for Good Friday). Each day he only got a recording to leave a message, he never talked to a real person. I emailed the main office on Wednesday to reiterate that my husband was trying to get in touch, and no one had called him back. I also made sure they were aware that he is authorized to speak for me, as I cannot talk on the phone. (This is listed in my files, he has full power of attorney for me.)
My husband also talked with my neurologist. She said the medication would be fine. (I’m not sure if the psychiatrist ever actually got in touch with her or not.) Thursday, April 17th hubby and I talked and decided we would ask my neurologist or general doctor if they would write the prescription for the medication. Preferably, my neurologist because it is a medication she often prescribes. (I had already decided I was going to change psychiatrist but I needed to start the new medication now, who knows when I’ll get an appointment with a new psychiatrist.)
The plan for Friday was to call the psychiatrist first, trying to reach out one more time. Then call the other doctors mentioned, and to get in touch with my therapist, and hubby’s therapist to see if they might have recommended psychiatrist for me to change to. However, when hubby called, (as I said earlier) the psychiatrist office was closed for Good Friday. Yet, she still had not returned any of our calls! (yes, I am so disappointed in this woman, you have no idea!) He also called my general doctor, and her office was closed. He called my neurologist, and she was in!!! Yay! She also called in my prescription! (she was already calling in a prescription for me for steroids to see if we can break this cycle of the killer migraines). I must say, most of my doctors are WONDERFUL! I love them, and I know they care about me.
These are just a few of the reasons that I’m firing my psychiatrist, but there is something else that really bothers me about the whole thing.
When I first saw this doctor I had a very good first visit. It felt right. Then when I returned for my second visit she seemed to have forgotten everything we talked about. No, I don’t expect my doctors to remember everything from every visit, but I do expect them to look at my file and be a bit up to date when they walk in the room. She met me by telling me that she was leaving the practice I was seeing her at, when I was referred to her I was told she was not taking new patients, but since she worked so well with my therapist she would accept me. I was conflicted about this because my therapist is with that practice and I like for my doctor and therapist to have a good working relationship. But I felt very good about the first visit so I decided to follow her to her new practice. (and when I say new, I mean, they were just starting it, so it’s a big deal for the doctor’s involved. I realize this has to be a lot for her to deal with, but it shouldn’t be at the neglect of her patients).
Now that I think back on this, it bothers me. First, it was questioned if she was taking new patients, and she decided to take me on because she likes my therapist so much….ect. I was thrilled at the time. Now I think, she should never have taken me on as a new patient when she knew she was leaving that practice. She had to know, my first and second appointments were only 2 weeks apart.
I know this post is getting a bit long, but I feel I would like to say some good things too. When I first saw this psychiatrist, I felt validated for the first time in years. She understood how I couldn’t just exercise…ect. She seemed to really understand my chronic illness and was willing to work with me. We discussed that at some points I may have to cancel my appointments on short notice, she understood and set me up special appointments on her planning days, so if I couldn’t come, she wasn’t losing any money. This plan was still in effect at her new office. I only had to cancel at her new office ONCE, so I don’t think this should have been an issue; but I don’t really know. There are 2 other big things that bothered me when she moved. I have severe asthma. She put an aromatherapy thing in her office, I could not breathe in there. I put on my mask and got way to hot and couldn’t stop coughing. We had to move to the conference room. I was very uncomfortable there. We were even interrupted by her husband and that made me feel very odd. I know it is too much to ask, but after her extreme understanding, or so it seemed, at our first meeting, I kind of expected the smelly thing to be gone from her office when I returned. I guess she doesn’t have any other patients with scent issues. One huge thing, as you all know, I have a big problem hearing. this doctor talks very fast. I ask her often to slow down. She will apologize and then continue to speak at the same speed. This is the reason I have to have my husband in my sessions. I would prefer not to have him in there. It takes more time, and I feel I’m just spending time going back and forth trying to understand things.
Now, we wait for a bit to see if she will actually return my husband’s calls next week. If she does, he will explain in detail why we will no longer be in need of her services. If she doesn’t, I will be writing her a letter. At this time I’m not sure what other actions I may take. I do feel doctors should be more responsible for how they treat their patients. They are in charge of a person’s health. A mental health provider could the that cog in a person’s life that changes a life forever….or puts it in a delicate balance of life and death. Am I being overly dramatic here? I don’t think so. If I believe my doctor cares and is trying their best to help me, I feel better. If they ignore me when I have made it clear that I am in a very tenuous state, I feel less like a human. This is a huge responsibility.
If she calls, we will simply discharge her. I can understand that she may be way over her head in the new office, that she may have hired the wrong front staff people….ect. I feel compassion for her about all of this. There may be extreme circumstances in her own life. In a business, especially one of this magnitude, extenuating circumstances should have been relayed to the patient and taken care of by another doctor on call. But she doesn’t even call??? No one called.
So now you know my whole story.
On closing….my therapist got in touch and recommended a new psychiatrist. We have been in touch, and will see where we are going from here. I’ll keep you updated on that.
Always remember, we need to be an advocate for ourselves!
If a doctor doesn’t treat you with respect, or if you are just uncomfortable in their care, and you have any way possible, change doctors! I know some people just can’t do this as easily as I can. I grew up in a very rural area, I had two choices for a general doctor. No choices for specialist. The nearest doctors of choice were over an hour a way. (this may have been a major reason I was not diagnosed with Bipolar I Disorder as early as I might have been.)
Yes, I may have a mental illness, and recently I may have been very depressed because of my medication has not been working properly, but I am a human being. Oh a better note, I am feeling much better (I know I need to get my medication straight because with Bipolar I Disorder I might feel fine one day and not so much the next). Doctors still need to take patients seriously.
Yet, I realize that a lot of people will think, “She has a mental illness, is admittedly not stable, she is probably exaggerating about things.” Or something like that. I’m lucky I have someone (my husband) who can also help be an advocate for me and explain this is not “all in my head”. But what if I didn’t? What if I didn’t have the ability to just change psychiatric doctors?
There needs to be much progress made to help people who need mental health care. (or health care in general) If they can’t afford it, they are often put on a LONG waiting list to see someone that the state provides. They have no choice in doctors. They are often lost in the system. When you are having mental health issues, trying to navigate the system to be seen at all is extremely hard. (Yes, I am speaking from experience). Things need to change. How can we bring about a change?
I’ve thought and thought on this issue, and I just can’t see how to make things better in this country. Are the mentally ill meant to live a life of less?
Mental Health care (and general health care) in this country is great….if you can afford it!
Thoughts? Ideas? I’d love to hear them.