baa baa black sheep

9.14.2007

Dismissed

9:05 a.m.

(Our washer is fixed. I can now battle the load of clothing that has been dripping wet for a week, and um. Hopefully un-stink it. Hooray, clean clothes. Oh, and in the course of my washer/laundry googling, I stumbled across some message boards where women were complaining about husbands putting socks in the hamper not turned right-side out. What? Does it matter? How could it matter, and why not just wait until they are clean if you're that concerned? Was I the only child--and on some days, adult--in the world who ran around in inside-out socks? I had no idea people were concerned about washing socks right-side out.)

(Also, the uh, dog is expelling worms today, and he's been a saint about staying in the garage. Not that I'm not going to the screen door and cooing to him constantly about what a good boy he is, because I am. Oh, yes, I am.)

Yesterday was frustrating. I've been trying to find a job, and the results have been disheartening. The whole needs-employment-mindset is nasty, and there isn't much available in this tiny town. I've found a few things to apply for, but I'm feeling pretty terrible about the whole situation.

I also went to the new brain-doctor yesterday for the first time, and the experience left me tired, upset, and angry. Our insurance covers a place that is essentially a substance abuse organization, and a guy with prescriptive authority comes to town a few mornings a week to see patients who are on meds. (For anyone new here, I'm on medication for ADD, depression, and anxiety.) The waiting list to see him is long, and I'd already gotten stern letters from the place about being on time, bringing my tax forms, blah blah blah, and seeing a new psychiatrist is nerve-wracking for me anyway, so I woke yesterday feeling apprehensive. And somehow I was nearly late for the appointment and showed up all breathless and out of sorts.

First I had to meet with the financial person, and something was wrong in the paperwork and she had written down that J earns DOUBLE what he actually earns, and I had to argue that, which got me all defensive. Then I had to fill out paper work on any substances I've used/am using, including exactly how much caffeine I drink a day and in what form, which I understand, as they are treating substance abuse, but it also made me feel defensive. When the doctor came out to the waiting room and called my name, I was really sure he said "Hannah" and not "Kara" so I sat there, passively staring blankly at the ugly carpet, until I realized I was the only one in the room and he must have meant me.

I always feel awkward, when someone has a heavy accent that I am not used to, because I am embarrassed to ask them to repeat themselves. And I am even more embarrassed when they repeat themselves and I still don't understand the word and have to ask again. I don't know why it is so mortifying to me to have to ask for a repetition, but I always feel slow and stupid and non-understanding, and it is horrible. So you can imagine how my evaluation went, when I had to agonizingly ask over and over what the man was asking me because I was having trouble understanding through the accent.

I'm so ridiculous.

The evaluation was short, and left me all kinds of angry--he immediately told me to stop taking the afternoon dose of ADD med and said that he probably wouldn't refill the anti-anxiety, because he didn't like to prescribe it. He was abrupt, dismissive, and forgetful. He waved aside my current feelings with his hand, saying, "You've just moved!" and that was it. He didn't seem interested in my background, and asked typical background questions as an afterthought at the end. I felt he was a little, well, rude when I had to explain a past sexual assault. Or...something. I felt that most of the evaluation was spent in me spelling and slowly respelling my last name, and him trying to learn to pronounce it. He asked me a few times if the ADD meds were actually helping, and I ended up snarling, "Yes, it's changed my life" at one point in a not-very-nice way. And, because I am a glutton for punishment (and because I was wondering, as I have read all kinds of crazy things about it) I asked about pregnancy and Adderall.

He told me that it wasn't a big deal to take it (I asked about the baby going through withdrawal after birth and how it makes them grow slowly and he said, "Yes, that happens, but whatever") but that when I wanted to get pregnant, to let him know and I could stop. He started talking about how pregnancy hormones change women and how I wouldn't need anything for ADD or depression anymore, because the hormones change women mentally in a positive way. And I was sort of befuddled, because...I've never seen anything about pregnancy curing ADD, or depression, for life, and said, "Wait, what? But then people take it after they give birth, is that what you're saying? They feel good during pregnancy and then after birth continue treatment?" And he said, essentially, 'No, pregnancy and childbirth will change you for forever, and your hormones will be different forever and you won't need treatment for ADD or anxiety anymore. It's too life-changing. I won't see you anymore after that, it'll be a closed case.'

He laid open his palms, and then snapped them shut in a clap, slamming an invisible book, as if to say, "Duh! Childbirth will cure ADD and anxiety forever!" He said, "This is temporary for you!" He then turned on a tape recorder and spoke into it quickly, giving an overview of the session and stopping it to have me pronounce my last name a few more times, and he spoke so quickly into the mic I didn't know what he was saying. The drone of doctor speak made me feel very much like a subject or lab rat, and perhaps it is normal, I've just never had a psychiatrist do that while I was still in the room.

I was feeling a bit incredulous, and then we went out to the waiting room again to make my appointments, and on his way out, he yelled, in front of the now-full waiting room and office staff, "Oh, hey, I have to see her every month instead of every two, because she is on a CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE. Every month!"

And then the earth opened up in a giant yawning crack and swallowed me whole, the end!

Seriously. How is that appropriate? Behold! This woman is on a controlled substance!

I need to research and see if I can see someone else I am more comfortable with. And with whom I feel like I can communicate effectively.

The Adderall has changed my life. I spent so much of my life forgetting things, losing things, not being able to prioritize, getting overwhelmed when I had an afternoon of chores. I once forgot about a midterm and once forgot about a final exam. I dropped things a lot, I couldn't keep things straight, and I would get so angry. So angry! With myself! It didn't take much to frazzle me, and anytime something unexpected would come up or my plans would change, I'd freak out and get anxious. I felt depressed, I felt bad about myself, I felt guilty for things that I wasn't supposed to feel guilty about. I was a distracted driver, I had trouble listening in conversations, I couldn't remember things I had been told repeatedly. My frustration would escalate to rage quickly, and sometimes I felt I would explode from the sheer anger and disgust I felt at myself. I wanted to hurt myself when I got that way, and sometimes I did. An afternoon of paying bills was enough to send me into an angry fit of tears, because I was so...out of it. Just drowning. I was up and down, I jumped from thing to thing to thing, and never focused clearly. I remember how clear things were the first few days I took it--it was like I was noticing my surroundings for the first time. I wasn't a ball of overwhelmed confusion. I could see. I felt normal. I could sit through an entire movie.

Adderall is a stimulant, a mix of amphetamines, but on it I am calmer and more focused. I feel more productive and less obsessive. I am more stable and less angry. I like myself. I can listen better, and I don't lose things as much. I don't have nearly as many mornings where I lose things and forget things and have to run in and out a million times to grab something I missed. I feel like who I really am was underneath all these clouds of confusion, and I swam to the top and here I am! I feel good! I feel normal! I can handle living my life now! I feel capable. Capable! I'm not being swallowed by my inability. I'm not being suffocated by frustration at myself.

In fact, the drowning feeling has gone away. I can breathe.

I've been on a variety of anti-depressants, and this is the first time something has made sense or truly worked for me. Reading about ADD was like reading about myself, reading about all the parts of myself I was so ashamed of. When I left the doctor's office for the last time in Wyoming, I grabbed his hand and shook it and babbled about how he had changed my life, thank you so much thank you. I feel like an intelligent person who worked WITH her doctor to find a good solution, and it's like a huge slap in the face to see someone who dismisses things so lightly. I know how I was before, and J has seen a huge difference in me too. Even friends and former bosses noticed. I can't imagine having a new baby and being so overwhelmed with everything anyway, let alone with ADD overwhelmed-ness, and not having at least a doctor who would talk things over with me. Who assumes that pregnancy hormones would just make me feel SO GOOD and SO FOCUSED, and will also cure anxiety disorders, because, um, isn't there postpartum depression? Is this a part of childbirth I've not heard about? Please correct me if I'm mistaken. And don't get me wrong here, of course I'd love to not be on meds forever, and I hope I can find a way to work things out so I won't have to be, but I don't know that this doctor is the one who's going to help that happen in a productive way. Maybe after birth, whenever that is, I will feel awesome and won't want to be on meds, and that would be fantastic. I just would like to be able to have some say in the matter, give some input.

Now I'm going to go do laundry and work on a painting and do some more job hunting.

Have a beautiful weekend,
black sheeped

14 Comments:

Blogger Jess said...

Huh. You should have asked the doctor why, if childbirth is a magic cure for ADD and anxiety, more doctors don't recommend it to their patients with those problems. It sounds like you had a great and productive relationship with your last doctor, and if this guy won't even listen to you and isn't considering your individual needs, you are totally right to be looking for a new doctor, stat.

P.S. I once dated someone who complained about washing socks inside out, saying that most of the grime was on the outside of the sock and that if the sock was inside-out, the dirtiest part wouldn't get clean enough.

10:38 AM, September 14, 2007  
Blogger Black Sheeped said...

But I think the INSIDE of the sock is dirtier, because...it touches sweaty feet. That's still weird, because after seeing the innards of my washing machine and the clothes that never got rinsed, I'm pretty sure everything in there gets soapy and wet.

10:43 AM, September 14, 2007  
Blogger PixelPi said...

No. No. No. No. This guy is No. Good. At. All. And it's probably because he does see 7543 substance abuse patients a week and you were in that setting. Try every route you know of (including phoning the insurance company) to find another route to a shrink. And establish a primary care physician who can also prescribe these meds until you get a better psychiatrist. This Is Very Wrong. And, gee, did that guy ever hear the words "postpartum depression"?

10:58 AM, September 14, 2007  
Blogger Marie Green said...

Oh, my Kara! This is awful and you need to see someone else. Even if you have to drive to another bigger town every month. There is SOMEONE in Iowa that will be more like your last provider. I am SURE of it. Don't give up. And don't go back to that bastard. Ever.

Pregnancy did cure me of migraines. I used to have them so much (3 or more times a week) and now it's more like 2 or 3 times a year. And only once during each pregnancy. So it's true that pregnancy can change mysterious things about us. But some people have MORE problems with migrains during pregnancy. So, you NEVER KNOW how things will go.

I took Zoloft during the second half of my pregnancy with Marin. She *could* have been born needing to withdraw from it (being extra extra fussy for the first few days after birth), but luckily she didn't experience it. I still take it, even though I am breastfeeding... For me the risks were present but minor, especially compared to me being crazy, depressed and anxious.

There are many wonderful people out there (lactation consultants especially) who will help you navigate your drug intake when you are pregnant/breastfeeding. You will not have to deal with that quack again.

OK? Never go back?

2:10 PM, September 14, 2007  
Anonymous Pickles & Dimes said...

This guys sounds like a doctor from an SNL skit!

Run far, far away. I'm sure he's jaded with all his experience with substance abusers, but that's no excuse to dismiss all of your questions and concerns.

2:47 PM, September 14, 2007  
Blogger Tessie said...

What the frickety frack? Seriously. I am just...I...I am speechless. CHILDBIRTH WILL CURE YOU? Not to go all Hater, but that sounds like something only a MAN would say. Oh, Jesus. I need to go lie down.

Well, you handled it well.

Also, I cannot ask people to repeat themselves more than once either. After the first repeat, I am forced to just nod sagely and panic internally.

3:12 PM, September 14, 2007  
Blogger Shelly Overlook said...

How absolutely dreadful. Seriously - WTF??? I agree with what has already been said, do whatever it takes to find another doctor. & if that means you drive to another city, then so be it. That man is absolutely ridiculous and don't let him make you doubt yourself, even for a second!

I will say that being pregnant did wonders for my asthma and allergies. The way my doctor explained it to me is that pregnancy forces your body to function as it is supposed to normally. In my case, since asthma and allergies are an over-reaction, my body simply did not over-react anymore and I had very few problems throughout my pregnancy and for a few months after. It doesn't work for everyone and I know I was lucky. However, allergies and ADD/anxiety are hardly comparable, and what that genius said to you about birth eliminating ADD is nothing but shit. You deserve much better than him.

3:17 PM, September 14, 2007  
Blogger Mommy Daisy said...

I agree with what everyone else is saying...find a new doctor. This guy sounds like a quack. And if you're not comfortable with him and the things he's saying, then you need to find someone you are comfortable. Can you call your old doctor and see if he knows anyone in your area in the new location? That might help. Good luck.

The sock thing...I'm with you. I don't bother righting them until they come out of the dryer. Strange.

4:01 PM, September 14, 2007  
Blogger Black Sheeped said...

Tessie--I thought it was incredibly chauvinistic. That was the feeling I was left with most, the feeling that I had encountered true misogyny.

Lame!

5:26 PM, September 14, 2007  
Anonymous Swistle said...

1) I don't care which way socks are WASHED. But I do care if I'm folding laundry and feel it's been left to me to turn the socks rightside-out again--like why should Paul worry about it, since the Laundry Fairy deals with it? I felt better as soon as I realized I could just leave them inside-out, and let the person who left them that way deal with it. Now I have a fresh thing to mind: when he leaves socks in a ball, so that they come out of the dryer still wet--and when I unball them, I see they're still dirty, too. Great: I dried my clothes with a dirty-sock sachet.

2) Oh, I am the SAME WAY about asking people to repeat themselves! I would almost rather die than ask for more than one repeat.

3) Oh my god. That doctor. Is he actually going with some sort of version of the whole "the womb causes/cures hysteria in females" thing? Or a "having children is what settles a woman down" thing? Actually, I don't want to think about what he's doing. I want you to never go back to him again. But if it's the only place your insurance covers, then I don't know what. I mean, theoretically I'm in favor of calling the insurance company to complain/argue, but my reluctance to call insurance companies is rivaled only by my reluctance to ask for another repeat. Plus, it usually doesn't work. So I guess all I'm doing is feeling VERY VERY ANGRY. That's helpful, right?

9:25 AM, September 15, 2007  
Blogger jen said...

Wow, and I thought my OB was being a dick. I think you should never go there again, call your insurance company and find a new place, even if you have to drive an hour and a half to see this person.

I insist you put things in the wash right side out, because I have to fold them and it annoys me to have to turn them right side out while doing so. Husband socks I do not care, since I don't sort them, I just throw them all in a bin. It has nothing to do with cleaning properties though. Glad you got your washer fixed.

9:58 AM, September 15, 2007  
Blogger Erin said...

I only recently realized that if I wash my kid's socks right-side-out (is that a term?), that they would look cleaner. Huh! Who knew? I still don't take the care to put them in that way (I'm waaay too lazy for those kind of standards), it's just something I noticed.

2:56 PM, September 15, 2007  
Blogger Modern Day Hermit said...

I'm curious what that doctor's thoughts are on PPD with that type of viewpoint. Just a figment of one's imagination?

I hope you are able to find a doctor that listens.

Good luck on your job search!

11:32 PM, September 15, 2007  
Blogger Artemisia said...

Black Sheeped - you MUST find someone who will not be dismissive of your thoughts, emotions, and concerns regarding your health. You have thoughtful, legitimate concerns and preferences regarding your treatment. You deserve to be taken seriously as you know yourself better than some masoginistic son-of-abitch. YOU MUST. FIND. A. NEW. DOCTOR. I am INSISTING. I will drive out there and help you find someone. I AM NOT KIDDING.

You deserve SO MUCH MORE, K.

Now that I've voiced my concern, it is time for the rage: WHO ELSE WANTS TO GET THIS MOTHERFUCKER BANNED FROM PRACTICING?!?!?!

Seriously.

Hold your ground and demand appropriate treatment. YOU DESERVE IT.

8:08 PM, September 16, 2007  

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