Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Doctor day DONE!

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.

*Happy thoughts*

*Holding breath*

*Happy thoughts*

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.

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  1. You lost me at Red Robin. I started fantasizing about their Parmesan garlic fries, and got a food-erection.

    Yay for progress! I hope you're not trippin balls by this time tomorrow. But hey, if you are, at least make the most of it. :D

  2. if the effexor website doesn't pull through, maybe check out costco. they're supposed to have really great deals on prescriptions.

  3. Fire ants are filthy creatures and would as soon stab their grandmother than tell the truth

  4. It's definitely a move in the right direction. I so hear you on the cost of these meds without insurance. It really does suck. Give these new ones a little bit of a chance and hope they take you out of that downward spiral and lift you up where you should be.!!! I'm pulling for ya kiddo. Love ya, EC Mom.

  5. Idago-Only been to Red Robin twice, but those steak fries with ranch pulled me in!!!

    TILTE-That's what my mom said too! Time to get a membership card eh?


    Barb-You know me, I am going to blog the hell outta my side effects and moods! Hee hee :)

  6. lots of words after man sized doughnut

    I take sertraline and lorazapam for acute anxiety/social anxiety disorder.

    Good luck with the drugs. I'm glad you are staying on top of the medical part of this. Thanks for the update. Good to see your awesome sense of humor isn't sick.

  7. that sounds like a great game plan! i'm glad that you were able to find a solution for getting the meds to start the therapy plan.

  8. Hi There,
    I just started reading your blog, it's great!

    I have been using Effexor for 8 years now, and it has it's pros and cons for sure. I am taking 275mg a day. It takes about 3 weeks for you to notice any difference, but you will. The only thing that is horrible are the side effects if you miss a dose, and let me tell ya they SUCK Big Time!
    Good Luck,
    I will be reading to see how it goes :)


  9. I agree with Lost, I want damn garlic fries now.

  10. Hugs, more hugs and a drunken happy dance for you, love!! As usual, I am happy for your progress and crossing my fingers for better days for you!!

  11. i so want a donut. or doughnut for you fancy people.

    on a serious note.. you are badass for laying all this info out there for us to read. it takes guts and you never know who is benefiting from it!

    also...the royale at Red Robin is heaven.

  12. I have taken trazodone before. I liked it. It was one of the few things that actually worked for me without having major ass side effects. My "omg this means I am major insane" drug was/is prozac. It freaked me out having to take it but luckily for me I had major bizarre side effects on it so they put me on other meds instead. Not that I actually took them or anything but the thought of just being prescribed prozac was just too much for me to handle.

    So glad you're getting things sorted out with your health. :)

  13. Aren’t white blood cells the good guys?

  14. Another step forward darling Hed. Wonderful seeing you being proactive rather than sinking into a "its too hard" state of mind. Well Done

  15. I have been on an antidepressant for some time and I think it something like the one you were talking about and mine is 75 mg one a day. Fortunately I get mine through the VA hospital or I probably couldn't afford it.

  16. HED, do yourself a favor, go to my blog and order you some RUDITOL. It pretty much does EV ERYTHING!

    Glad ur doing right!

  17. I promise if you tell me the fate of the human race rests on lemon meringue pie, I will BELIEVE. I will preach your gospel.
    (I didn't have birthday cakes growing up, had lemon meringue pies instead.)

    Sounds like an exhausting day, but it's good to hear you had someone who gaveashit on your case.

  18. YAY!! Glad that you were able to figure out the prescription thing....I almost had a heart attack a couple of weeks ago when I filled my prescription even with my insurance...
    Good luck to you!!

  19. YAY! I am so glad your appointments went well. I hope the drugs are helping and that you are able to get that plan :D

  20. When I read the line RED ROBIN ... I actually paused to say "YUMMMM!"

    I have been backlogged on my blogs. But I am catching up slowly. I love reading yours. Just thought you should know! ROCKSTAR!!!!

  21. Lance-Self-deprecating humor is the best. If you can't laugh at yourself, who will, right?

    Teresa-Thanks! Now it's just the icky process of transitioning onto them :(

    Anon-I have taken Effexor for more than one stint-it seemed to be something that worked well. What I did remember the most though was missing a dose-even by a few hours. I would get the weirdest brain zaps...the doc says Pristiq has a longer half-life, so hopefully that will keep that particular side effect at bay.

    OT-And see, now I have to try the damn fries!

    Heather-You better cross your toes too. Just in case.

    Jerrod-Can you order the royale...with cheese? (Sorry I had to write that). Donut was easier to type hee hee!

    Maasiyat-I tried the trazodone last night and didn't notice anything until about three hours later when my body felt like it was filling up with concrete. I've been sleepy all day.

    Drake-You're right. When you get too many white blood cells it usually means the body is fighting off some sort of an infection. They just have no idea what that may be :(

    Mynx-Baby steps! :)

    Odie-It's so good now that pharmaceutical companies are starting to cover people in need and not be so greedy!

    Rafa-Loved your post!!

    Danger Boy-You know I have never had lemon meringue pie, so I am probably going to hell.

    Colenic-My mom too-something like $200+ in co-pays for one month!

    Jax-YAY! I hope they help too *crosses fingers*

    Rock Show-You hear the songey "Reeeddd Robin!" too, don't you?

  22. Yes the brain zaps suck big time.. i also go into a bit of a fog if I wait too long and my fingers tingle and zap... oh the joys...but in the end...it is worth it?? yes yes it is I say!!

  23. It's so great to hear that you are being proactive! You've had a lot of drugs thrown at you, so chances are high that some of them will work for you. Keeping my fingers crossed!

  24. The Lithium helps my brother as well as Seroquoil with his Bipolar.


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