A word on being a mental health consumer to health care professionals and their staff

I have Bipolar Disorder, Anxiety disorder, and PTSD. But I am NOT my illness. I am a woman with a mental illness who uses prescribed medication as prescribed to manage her symptoms. I am not a drug addicted, drug seeking, head case, crazy woman, seeking head meds. My medication does cause my memory to be slow. That does not mean that i cannot remember a conversation thatt I had with you two days ago. It also means that if you are a health care provider and I had a conversation with you on the phone or in person, I am damned sure that i documented it because I know my memory sometimes takes a bit to kick in. That does not mean I am stupid. That does not mean I need to be patronized. That does not mean you can lie about a phone conversation you had with me on the phone because you think I won’t remember the details of it and then pass me off as crazy to your supervisor when you screwed up. Don’t forget that before I was disabled, I was a RN, an ER RN to be precise and a damned good one. I did not quit because I made med errors. I did not quit because I had lapses in judgement. I did not quit because my skills were not up to par. I quit because the high stress and my mental illness did not mix. So when you prescribe something to me and I think a dosage is excessive, a medication will interact, or a drug has too high a risk of side effects don’t think for a second that I won’t look it up in my current PDR, consult with my highly trained Pharmacist and call you out. And when I tell you a drug will interact, don’t treat me like a moron then get surprised when the pharmacist calls and reports the same issue. And if you start me on a drug that is 6 times the normal starting dose because you “think I can handle it” don’t think I will not be pissed when I come back complaining of a hangover and vomiting and titrate the dose myself when even the pharmacist can’t get you to change your mind. And when I ask you to give me a 1mg increase of a dose of medication that works, that I was on and you took it away when I entered your practice with no rationale, and instead of returning that 1 mg increase of a controlled substance, you put me on five more drugs and treat me like a drug addict when they don’t work when the 1mg of medication worked well before you took it away and I destabilized, you are the problem not me. I deserve to be listened to and not judged. I deserve to be given answers more than “because I am the doctor and you are the patient.” I deserve to know why my previous psychiatrist put me on medications that followed up to date clinical research and you cannot even identify then so you just keep prescribing them as they are without even looking them up or doing research and after a year still ask me what they are. I deserve not to go to the ER for a true illness like I am experiencing now and will have to go for surgical intervention for and without being even properly evaluated, hearing the nurse outside my room say to another nurse, oh she’s just looking for pain meds and will be in and out fast when in reality I had Acute Diverticulitis and a ruptured ovarian cyst. I am not my illness. I am a human being. I have never misused, abused, or used a drug other than as proscribed except when it was a dangerous dose that was prescribed until I could get it fixed. I abhor narcotics. I don’t even smoke or drink. For my psychiatrist who has treated me now for over a year to call in prescriptions because I am too physically ill to make it too the office and tell me sure they can do that I just need to make a follow up appt which I did for the following week. So they called the prescriptions in. 10 days supply. I expected a 1 months supply and just follow up with the doctor. Well the ten days supply cost me 200 dollars, the same as the 30 day supply, because they are concerned about me abusing medications. I now have to see them and get the remainders supply of the month and pay another 200 dollars for the rest of the months prescriptions. Double my monthly medication cost. The week before christmas.  Because I am treated inhumanely and with no respect. And then they have the nerve to lie about the phone call and tell me that they told me that they were only refilling ten days and that I did not tell them I could not see them for medical reasons. Flat out lies. My child now has half of a Christmas because my psychiatrists office is playing God with my life. I am human. I am not a drug seeker or abuser. I am not my illness. I am a young disabled woman with limited means and an even more limited sense of hope right now that the medical establishment that I rely on so much keeps continually treating me and so many others with such little empathy and respect. So if you are a doctor or a nurse or even a tech or a receptionist, remember to treat us like people. We deserve that much. A little empathy would be nice. Some common courtesy would be great. Just listen! Hear what we are telling you! especially if we are talking or crying asking for help and not screaming or yelling or ranting and raving. Maybe just maybe we have something important to say about our own bodies and minds.

Advertisements