Monthly Archives: August, 2017

Back to School, Therapy, and Dueling Shrinks

I’ve been in therapy many years, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s this: the best way to determine your sanity is by how well you tolerate your doctors.  I saw the Dallas doctors, and insisted repeatedly and to several people – including the nurses, the nurse practitioner, and finally the psychiatrist – about wanting to have a definite time for treatment to end.  By the way, you get to talk to the psychiatrist on the hospital bed while they are preparing to hook you up to a machine – not distracting at all!  Don’t worry, I was prepared to leap off the table and do karate-like chops had they decided to go ahead and treat me.  I might have ended up in the looney bin, but their looney bin is kinda like a hotel as compared to the one in my hometown where people are stacked like cord wood- I saw pictures.  Also my friend is a lawyer. So you know, I was prepared.

How could it possibly be awkward for you to talk to me this way?

As expected, he got “oh-no-doctor-frowny-face” and rambled on about how studies show something- something.  I said I want to know how many more treatments cause I’m ready to stop.  Again.  So he finally came around with spacing out two more treatments.  One two weeks away, and the next another couple weeks.  Well, he said two to three which to me means TWO.  So I got knocked out, and they did whatever they do while I’m asleep – supposedly the treatment but you know they could be animating me like in that movie Weekend at Bernie’s, I don’t know.  Then we did the long, long drive home but this time I was more sleepy than usual, so I don’t remember as much.

After getting home, life moved on.  My Things started school again – weeeee!  Thing Two is in 8th grade this year – one more year of dreaded junior high – and Thing One is . … . a junior in high school.  Because I am kinda old.  I was helping them fill out paperwork and remembering when I first filled out paperwork for Thing One at the pediatrician’s office.  Under “Mother’s Name” I wrote my mom’s name.  Now she’s 17 years old, and next year she can vote.  Thank God!  She and Thing Two should have been voting in elementary school.  I believe in something called “mental age voting” which means that younger people who use their brains can vote, but older people who don’t use brains can’t.  As I signed, Thing Two told me her teacher said most of us parents could be signing up for almost anything because we don’t look at what we’re signing.  I protest – had that been a PTA form, you can bet I would have avoided it.

That’s a watermark there, but I like to think of it as a black hole.

Later that day, I went to see my local shrink.  He wanted to know about my 10 to 12 treatments.  Funny.  When I told him it was slightly more than that, I got “confused-face”.  Lovely.  I explained how I got better, but then I didn’t, but then I DID,  but then kinda not and so many treatments later here I was.  Then I started to get rather angry.  Just how many treatments was I supposed to have?  This is rather important stuff here when you’re dealing with a human’s brain.  I happen to have one of the few remaining working ones, so I’d rather not change that, thanks.  This is why we have to be in charge of our own health care, cause you can bet they are not going to have a clue.  Their heads are filled with stuff they learned in school, which does not include interacting with people.  People like patients, or their own medical freaking colleagues, for instance.  I guess I should have checked back, but when during all the travel and such?  Got me!

My husband was there to hold me down.

On the plus side, everyone else thinks I am better.  And I am, I guess, now that I have time to sit and think a little.  It’s taking a bit to get back in the grove of things, but thank God for Google, which will look up anything I need.  Like when I couldn’t remember where the italics were for just a second only to find them again on the toolbar above the text box in WordPress.  I’m sure if I had actual Microsoft Word on here (my former computer guy used to get me bootleg Microsoft Word before he went to jail shhhh) I would know where that toolbar is as well.  I also finally figured out how to get into a program where I can talk to a counselor over the computer!  I think!

I should warn her there’s an article that says some patients were flashing doctors.  Because of course they were.

I haven’t made it back to work yet.  After this summer of FUN, not sure I’m ready for that yet.

 

~Alice

 

 

 

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Maintenance

I think they’re trying to tell us something.

In case anyone was wondering why I haven’t been here in a month (I know I have), here’s an update.  Still having ECT.  Right now they say I am in maintenance treatments which is much like actual maintenance on highways and such- uncomfortable and lasts forever.  I have been at this since June 5th or in my estimate, the beginning of time.

Earlier I promised to give a review of this controversial mental health treatment.  Turns out it’s not really as cut and dry as medications.  With those you can say “Well I took the Zufrika but it made me gain 15 pounds in my elbows and start watching Fox News so I stopped.” or “Scaramouchi gave me diarrhea but really got rid of my depression and I hope they get it back in stock soon.”  It’s not either definitely successful or definitely a waste.  I might be able to make a better determination after it finally ends, but it’s almost mid-August, and they haven’t given me a hint about when this stops for good.

When you start treatments, you generally do three a week, then you start spacing out once you feel better.  I did feel better, enough that going back to work sounded good, but then as I mentioned I went back down again so I tried part-time, and then I tried no time.  I have been on no time for a while, and though this has been good for my relaxation it hasn’t been so hot on my pocketbook.  And it’s hard to tell just how much better you’ve gotten when you are still frequently driving six hours to a big city to spend the night, get shocked, and travel another six hours home again.  The people at the hospital are nice, but that is wearing thin.

I should also note it’s not just depression but anxiety chumming around with me.  And since the treatment meant stopping a medicine for that, I am Squirrel as often as Sad Pony.  Vroooooom.  Beep beep.  Oh, if only I could feel better as easily as little boys, or our President, with a big red truck.

Twice I have felt much, much better.  But each time I’ve gone back to – not so great.  While yes I am better than I was before any treatments, I can’t really tell you exactly how I’m feeling now, because therapy requires way too much naval gazing.  How are you now?  How about now?  Or now?  Or now – compared to yesterday?  Or last week?  Or before you started?  Here, fill out this sheet of questions about whether you are definitely sad, or kind of sad, or slightly less sad than that, or happy!  What do you mean you’re confused?

I’m starting to wonder if I have to start lying on the “happy sheet” in order to make them stop.  Tapering down on treatments is the best way to go – but this taper is not just slow it’s a crawl.  I went from three times a week, to two times a week, to once a week.  We might go back two weeks after my treatment tomorrow.  And then – I don’t know.  Three weeks apart?  A month? How about a never?  My brain may not be scrambled (completely – you have to remember the condition before) but I’m tired.  Each treatment, besides being away from my Things and requiring a trip to Dallas, requires fasting the night before, having anesthesia, getting disgusting goop stuck in my hair, and then the fun waking up where I stumble around and hope someone catches me.  It gets old.

I have many ideas for posts that I would like to write.  I’ve not been good about sitting down to do it.  Or at doing much else useful.  It has been nice to just breathe.  But I don’t quite know what’s next.  I do want to get back to it, though, because a lot is happening right now!  Maybe I will finish my treatment before North Korea blows up Guam!  Or us!  I definitely want to be there should justice actually happen and our dear presidente get taken to his next vacation home behind bars.

If I figure anything out, I’ll let you know!  Probably.  If you read this, feel free to leave me links to anything you wrote so I can have something to read.  It’s good to get out of my head.

~Alice