So I had a problem with my meds. Again. Let’s just say Fetzima (new depression drug that sounds like Princess Jasmine’s pal) and Xanax (no, not the Scientology god) and I are not pals.
Back to camp! I wasn’t so scared this time cause like I’d totally done it before and I was in there with a bunch of grumpy people but no one all that bad. Relaxation! No responsibility! Someone monitoring my meds so I don’t have major meltdowns at dinner parties! What could go wrong?
I went through the tedious process of getting admitted. It took so long getting admitted I started to cry but the guy talking to himself stopped long enough to go get me a kleenex box (honest to God truth). They told me I was going to be in the geriatric wing cause they were all full up everywhere else. Full moon brings out the crazies. And I was like, hey, kindly old people. No problem!
I’m an idiot.
There are a lot of rocking chairs in the geriatric wing. There are also a lot of people OFF their rockers. Really off. And not all of them were that old. There were a few like me that they were like, eh, put her here, whatevs, kindly old people. But mostly they were old. And nuts.
First person I met was Lulu (names changed to protect the looney). When they tried to get her vitals, she decided to lie on the floor and do the backstroke. Lulu was a very large old lady, and they were already short staffed with more patients being assigned all the time (one nurse basically threatened the life of whoever tried to dump another one on her without going through the proper channels, before politely introducing herself to me). Anyway, they just let her hang out on the floor most of the day. This was apparently not the first time.
But they had help! Enter Dr. Patient, who decided she would help Lulu by talking to her about how they used to know each other (no idea if this was true) and she could just stand and walk. Sadly Dr. Patient was not Jesus, so Lulu stayed on the floor, though she did add in some jazz hands to her act. Dr. Patient gave up, turned to us all and announced “Just ignore her everyone! She only wants attention.” I wanted to know where her stolen clipboard was, because I was pretty sure I was in the middle of the movie Dream Team.
I got assigned to a room with a sweet lady named Ruth. She pulled me over to whisper some important information.
“Hello, I’m Ruth. What’s your name?”
“You should know, Alice, that there are people who are not right in the head here. I don’t know what’s wrong with them.”
“Uh, mental illness?” I guessed.
“I don’t know where their brains are. You seem like a sweet girl. I like you.”
So at least my roomie was okay. And I was pretty popular. I wasn’t there fifteen minutes before another elderly lady told the staff “My roommate is violent. I want to room with her.” She pointed at me. Because clearly one look at me said I wasn’t violent. By the end of my stay this would change.
At first I felt really awkward here. All my fellow inmates were – well I’m not really sure where they were, though the bodies were taking up all the good rocking chairs. Because I concentrate on what’s most important.
I found out that they give meals to the old people last, which was odd. I mean these guys get senior discounts and everything, so shouldn’t they go first? What do I know? When we finally got to supper I was excited. I don’t know why so many of the healthy patients don’t go to supper. This is your only chance for freedom here. I had a cold corn dog, but the rest of the food during my stay was fantastic. That’s one thing I can give them. Food: A+
I found out there wasn’t a whole lot of structure here. Not even a written schedule that wasn’t followed. On the plus side, they helped you with your laundry while saying you really don’t need help with your laundry, and there were hospital beds you could move up and down. Whee. At bedtime I headed for my room and Ruth asked, “Is this where the women sleep?” Well, uh, this was where these two women slept, but whatever. Then she smiled at me pleasantly.
“Hello, I’m Ruth. What’s your name?”
My first night I had a hard time sleeping even with extra meds. I really wish I had slept that night, because that was the ONLY night I would not get interrupted.
The days sort of blurred together. I saw my shrink who is notorious for not looking or listening to people and he was sympathetic and patted me on the back and said “Hello Sunshine” while I was there and WTF did my shrink get new meds? Who cares, I liked it. He put me on a very small dose of abilify to activate the lazy meds. I tried this before, but he wanted to try it again and monitor it closer so I didn’t gain weight. I was willing to be a very fat happy person at this point. Like Santa.
I did meet another younger person I’ll call Susan. She had a walker with a cushy chair because of MS and we clicked right away. I can’t remember exactly when we started talking – it might have been around the time of the rumble. No, really. We got this new older lady who was like part Wolverine cause she bit the heads off of all the staff for losing – something. And wow did she shout about it. And shout. And shout. Oh, and if you didn’t catch it, she was in pain. PAIN!!! Not sure if she really was or not, but way to go motivating the nurses to help, lady.
She took off on her walker and another patient was in her way and I didn’t see the good part, but next thing I knew Miss Manners was on the floor howling that she’d been pushed and insisting on cops and lawyers and possibly Satan himself to punish the other patient. The other patient mentioned the “f” word and the nurses had to break it up. And here I was ready to get the popcorn.
Ruth left that day. Guess who they made my new roommate?
At night Miss Manners woke me up around 1 or 2 AM. She had wet the bed and needed new briefs. I got the nurses. I did feel some compassion for her – obviously we’ll all be there one day if we live long enough. But then I could not fall back asleep which meant it was hard for me to tell the docs how well I was sleeping. Um, well as you can with an incontinent woman?
We had some awkward times in Group after that, with both MM and her evil attacker there. Let’s just say Relaxation Therapy was a bit more difficult. Especially when the teacher shouted “GET OUT OF MY SPACE!” at me right before the lesson.
But mostly I was bored. I even went with my new normal pal Susan to the chemical dependency group because I figured I’d better know now what to do. We met with another unit. A girl tried to steal Susan’s walker by dragging it back to her unit. Twice.
But still, I got used to where I was. I started to enjoy most of the people, and the nurses were awesome. I had to stay extra time because of the weekend (no one is discharged on the weekend . . . because) and I cried a little (my shrink was like oh no, don’t cry! Really, wtf with this guy) but then I decided, hey, it’s not that bad. I can hack it with a little help from my friends.
So of course they decided to move me to another unit. Much like getting moved to the worst level of Dante’s Inferno.
To be continued . . .
Lately I have been experiencing the Sad Ponys. I don’t like to talk about this much, because let’s face it, Sad Pony is a real downer. But sometimes his weight is really, really heavy and I need help getting his big pony butt off of me.
Part of my problem is with my medication. Now I’m not one of those people that fears aspirin and thinks Big Pharma is planning a major takeover with doctors around the globe and that if you have depression all you should do is take vitamins and hop on a couch. But I will say that getting the correct meds and the correct dosage can feel much like a nasty trip down the rabbit hole.
Recently I was put on Abilify. They have commercials about it all the time, just like they do for every other medicine, as if we average schmoes can decide if we need a new heart medication even if the side effects are dry eye and death. I always figured that’s why we went to doctors, you know, so those peeps with all that education would tell us what medicine we need. But sometimes they don’t know so they just kind of throw stuff at us cause, doctors.
So I was a bit skeptical about taking this stuff, but I did because lately I’ve had the depression that makes you tired all the time and reduces your emotions to “don’t care”, “really don’t care”, and “fuck off”. So I took it. And it was so far out. It worked. I started having this energy I haven’t had in so long I’d forgotten what it felt like. At work I got some actual work accomplished. I didn’t have to go to bed as soon as I got home from work. Of course I kind of couldn’t go to bed because I was so freaking wired, but that was a small price to pay for experiencing energy and actual emotion. I played a moving song and actually cried because it was so beautiful and I was feeling something.
So when I went to see my shrink I was expecting an attagirl and a prescription and a bye-bye, cause my shrink doesn’t exactly talk to me or look at me for very long, which is generally fine with me. But this time he was very alarmed. ZOMG. I had gained ten pounds in two weeks! Hadn’t I noticed? Well, no, not actually. I experience a fun thing called bloating a lot of the time so I just figured it was that. And anyway, it wasn’t technically 10 pounds because he didn’t realize I gain and lose five pounds like every morning and if he’d weighed me then he’d realize I’d only gained like six pounds. Or so. And also once I told him to check his chart he realized it had been a month, not two weeks, since he’d seen me.
I don’t have a great deal of faith in this shrink. For one thing, he didn’t know when my last visit was. For another, I don’t think he knows who I am. I’m pretty sure he couldn’t pick me out in a line up. In other words, my shrink is an asshat, but that’s not generally a problem cause all I need him to do is sign off on my meds. But this time he took me off, because weight gain is a major problem. I told him I had so much energy, though. And he said, “Good thing, cause you gain all the weight!”
He is still living today by the grace of God.
So after tsking a while about THE WEIGHT he decided to take me off that one and immediately put me on another medication that was “pretty much the same thing.” You know, don’t worry your pretty little fat head, Alice. So I left and just as I was feeling it couldn’t get worse, I realized I had split my pants in the front. Ah. So yeah, I guess I might have put on a little bit of weight. Yay.
I tried the new med. But I wasn’t doing well on it, judging by the amount of crybaby per day increasing exponentially. Of course, since he took me off one and immediately put me on another, I wasn’t sure if it was this drug or coming off of the other drug or something else all together. I looked up this drug and realized it was a medicine for your thyroid. Which he didn’t actually tell me, cause, well, I’m a woman and a regular person, not a doctor, so who needs to know that he’s messing with my endocrine system, am I right?
So I called the shrink nurse (her name is Boo and no I’m not kidding) and she told me to stop taking it and “see what happens.” I love being experimented on. It’s like when Alice was like, wtf, I’ll just eat this crap and drink this stuff and oh SHIT I am 16 feet tall. But I did it, and well, stuff was still crappy but it was hard to tell the current crap from the other crap. This experiment was not very well done. I think these people need to go back to rats.
My friends said I needed a new shrink. So I tried two others. The first one would not take anyone who had seen another shrink in the same town (there are a total of five in this town, two of them children’s shrinks) in the last year. Well, great, so that’s really helpful. Then I tried the other shrink and surprise, she doesn’t take insurance. Of any kind. These people apparently don’t want to have patients. I guess that makes it easier on them, though I’m not sure how they stay in business.
So I was kind of stuck, and I don’t like feeling stuck, and that made the Sads even worse, and I was having trouble even going to work. But I did yesterday, and I made it through. Not with doctors, or meds, but with a little help from my bloggy friends, Merbear and Twindaddy. These guys stayed with me on the Internet, checking in constantly, and keeping me sane. It’s not like they didn’t have other things they could be doing besides entertaining me, but they did it anyway, because they care about me and they are awesomesauce. We talked about intellectual topics like all the ways to say pee (“piss, number one, urinate, oh what a relief it is, etc.”) I made it through the day because of them. Thanks, guys.
I’m not sure what’s ahead, but I figure eventually I’ll get out of this damn rabbit hole. Because there will be someone to throw me a rope. I’m very lucky for that. But I wanted peeps to know because sometimes I use humor to cover up how I really feel (no shit, right?) and that doesn’t help those who are in the same boat floating on a sea of tears, dealing with the mad hatter and that bitch the Queen of Hearts, and everything else Wonderland tosses at you. We aren’t alone. We aren’t ever alone. There’s always a place at the table. New cup, move down.