Ten hours of doctor appointments. Okay not really ten hours, but I was in and out of a doctor’s office for ten hours yesterday-after a paltry two hours of sleep…
First was my follow-up appointment from my appointment from last Thursday to check on my test results and find out if I am diabetic. I’m not. HOLLA!
Editors note: That picture was meant for humorous purposes only. I am not going to eat a me-sized donut. On that note, where does one get a me-sized donut?
The resident came in to discuss my test results. She really needed to get her “doctor speak” down. This was her:
So like, you have elevated white blood cells. Don’t freak or anything, even though your count is high it’s totally not high enough to be concerned. And like, your cholesterol is slightly high? You gots to stay away from fried foods, you know?
My blood glucose test came out perfectly normal (SS-it was 81 and my actual score was 5.3), so no diabetes. That was pretty good news. But nothing was set in stone about why I’m peeing like I’m a man-made waterfall and coughing up a lung while I eat. Normal blood work is both a blessing and a curse: you’re happy that it’s normal, but annoyed that nothing explains why you feel the way you do. There are times I just want Dr. House to see me so he can tell me “you’re perfectly healthy. Just a fat ass”.
After talking to the real doctor, he asked for a urine culture and prescribed me antibiotics (“just in case you’re asymptomatic”) and an allergy pill for my stupid cough issue. He says if the test comes back normal and I’m still having pee/food issues in two weeks, I need to come back. Oh joy.
I grabbed my meds and met my grandpa for lunch at Red Robin. Bad idea to take the antibiotic on an empty stomach before I ate because I wanted to throw up the entire time. I have wanted Red Robin for about a month just because their fries are the shit and I couldn’t even eat them (which was probably a good thing, I know). I was going to drive around and hang out at Barnes & Noble until my second appointment two hours after lunch, but I was so nauseous I followed my grandpa home and crashed.
My therapy appointment was uneventful. We’re now starting the “tell me about your family” sessions. Those will be fun…
I rushed to my next appointment because this one was THE BIG ONE. The psych appointment that I had been agonizingly waiting for for nine weeks! And you know what? It went pretty well. The experience I have had with psychiatrists in the past has been “get you in, get you out”. You tell them a few things, they write you a prescription. I hate that, but that’s their job. This one was different.
Since I was at a teaching hospital, the resident and I went into a lot of detail about my 18-month episode and the things leading up to it (it was like I was reading her my whole blog!). She asked me if I believed my Bipolar diagnosis, and I told her that all my life I had fought the label, but at this point I am whatever I am as long as I can just get freaking better!
After almost three hours, she and the main doctor came to the conclusion that they would treat me with the following drugs:
*Effexor (venlafaxine) 75mg twice a day. This is an antidepressant I have taken before successfully-with only one stupid side effect I can remember, that being eye problems if I missed a dose. A lot of the time this isn’t prescribed for Bipolar patients because it could throw them into the manic phase, but the doc thinks this would be good mixed with a mood stabilizer to hopefully lift me out of the depression.
*Lithium 300mg twice a day-This is the gold standard mood stabilizer for Bipolar people. The one I have always been afraid to take because it’s the stereotypical “damn, you got some shit going on to be taking THAT drug” drug. The main side effect is weight gain (lovely), and periodically I have to get a blood test to make sure it’s not wreaking havoc on my internal organs (!!!).
*Desyrel (trazodone) 50mg as needed. This is a weak tricyclic antidepressant with anti-anxious and sedative properties. It was prescribed as kind of my “in case of emergency” drug if I can’t sleep or am feeling REALLY up or anxious. Haven’t taken this one before.
Success! Step one. I drive straight to the pharmacy to drop off the ‘scrips. I ask the pharmacist how much it will be, and he gives me the number: $171.00 HUH? The reason it took so long at the psychiatrist was because they were researching the drugs to make sure they were affordable since I don’t have insurance (and since these were old drugs they didn’t have any samples lying around). I take back the ‘scrips and drive home. And cry.
When I get home I start pricing the drugs. I find out it’s the Effexor (the generic version!) that’s setting me back so much money. Of course my husband tells me “babe, if you need it, we’ll find a way”, but the thing is sometimes one drug doesn’t take and you have to get a new one-I don’t plan on spending over $100 for something that may or may not work.
I go to the drug manufacturer’s website and YAY!!! They have a prescription assistance program for people like me that will cover Effexor for a year! The only downside is that it takes 3-4 weeks to process my application. Sigh. Then a light bulb flashed through my head. You have Pristiq, Hed! You have over 60 tablets of Pristiq from when you were in Australia!!!
Effexor’s drug name is venlafaxine. Pristiq’s is desvenlafxine. It was created apparently as kind of a remedy for people who worked well on Effexor, but it was no longer working for them. I look into the prescription assistance program, and Pristiq is also covered! Woo hoo!
Now obviously I am not going to just start mixing pills without asking my doctor first, so when we speak I tell her about the program and the 3-4 week time frame and tell her I still have Pristiq from my last doctor-would it be okay to take those so I can start my course of treatment right away? She said that was a great plan, so starting tomorrow I take 50mg of Pristiq once a day along with the two Lithium and Desyrel. After I post this, I’m going to go fill my prescriptions.
This may be me tomorrow, and I may be writing about how the fate of human race rests on lemon meringue pie and you should never trust a fire ant.