Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Shattered

I was finally checked in to the mental health walk-in clinic. I sat in the corner, wary of all the couples present due to my social anxiety. I knew it would be a while. So I decided to check Facebook. I was reading about at a high school friend's overseas adventures when the trouble began.

The patient waiting at the counter seemed like a nice enough person. Nice clothes, hair done neatly, a red plaid wrap around her shoulders. She pointed to the receptionist and said, 'F*** you," in the calmest manner. She then smashed the nearby planter up against the wall, swept everything off the receptionist's desk, and attempted to further damage the wall (and perhaps the receptionist) with a decorative metal bird of some sort. When the gentleman behind her thwarted her from her attempt to inflict more destruction, she walked out. But as she did she smashed the glass of the front door and it shattered. Other witnesses said that the first explosion of glass sounded like a gunshot. I don't know whether she broke the door with her boot or if she had picked up another object, as my view was obstructed by a nearby wall.

The door continued to shatter throughout the evening, dropping pieces of glass at random times.

Oh, this adventure did nothing for my anxiety. I shook for hours after leaving the clinic.

But on the bright side, I got my prescription, after answering some awkward questions. About the wonderful show I was treated to in the waiting room. About the separation, About my old doctor's inability to help me and my new doctor's refusal to see me before November 30th. About my fun trip to the hospital that one time. About any manic symptoms such as overspending and hyper-sexuality.

I was on the verge of tears throughout the conversation. The physician's assistant concluded that, all things considered, I seemed a bit depressed.

The side door was locked when my appointment concluded. I exited with a few employees out the front, gingerly stepping over pieces of glass.


Saturday, October 24, 2015

My Social Butterfly

This Washington Post article brings up a lot of excellent points. As I read it, I recall a tale my mother once told me about how I was quite the social baby. I learned that once, as a tyke, I wanted a particularly ugly man at a bowling alley to hold me. I sat on the man’s lap, and laughed and smiled at him, as if nothing pleased me more than to babble at him incessantly.

That was long before the harm of bullying was inflicted, leading to my social anxiety. And I admit I now try to avoid most strange men I meet in bowling alleys and elsewhere.

My daughter, Violet, also had to cultivate stranger danger. She has always been a social soul. As a baby she once reached out for a female cashier at Albertson’s to hold her. She was insistent, and she eventually got her way.

Fast forward about a year and a half. There was an older gentleman in the dollar store who was raising my red flags for some reason. He was indescribably creepy.  He kept trying to engage Violet in conversation as she sat in the cart. She refused to reply, so he attempted to play a game of “peek-a-boo” with his sunglasses.

The man finally walked away. When he was barely out of earshot, Violet exhaled and commented, “Phew, that was close!” It was a phrase she had often heard watching her superhero cartoons. I couldn’t help but burst out laughing.

I am a somewhat the classic introvert. Violet is extroverted like her father, and often tries to make conversation with unfamiliar children, but she remains cautious around adults in social situations.
I still need to explain the “puppy” experiment to her, however. And I think she would fall for the candy trick in a heartbeat.


Yikes.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

More Medication Frustration

So where do I begin? Oh, yes, with the last two blog entries.

Called Tricare and they said to get an urgent care referral from my PCM. Called the PCM and the nurse refused the referral because my circumstances aren't considered urgent.

Called four people in Mountain Home, including the so-called advocate's office, which led to another dead end. Some pharmacy guy telling me at first he couldn't help because I wasn't active duty. Then he checked and wanted me to enroll in the medical facility on the base in Mountain Home. 

But I have anxiety, buddy, I don't do freeways. 

So I called up the local urgent care clinic planning on sucking it up and footing the bill. But they won't prescribe medication for an ongoing mental condition. I would need to see my regular provider for that.

Of course.

Once again, the PCM won't see me until November 30th even though I run out of meds in a few days.
And the old doc no longer has me in the system and won't refill my medication.

I called another local doctor and got a message saying they can't get to the phone and BTW, they are closed tomorrow.

I called a mental health place that has a walk-in clinic. I'm waiting to hear back. In the meantime, I'm going a bit insane.

What now, since clearly the government does not care whether a psychiatric-patient dependent goes off of her meds? I'm so glad that up until now I have not had a problem getting them. Upon simple reflection, though, it appears that I am one of the lucky ones.

I can't begin to fathom what the struggle is like for many of our veterans.

  



Sunday, October 18, 2015

Help!

Ready to report that Ativan is a controlled substance. Very controlled.

My old doctor (the new one I was assigned right before I left Utah, mind you, not the one who prescribed my meds) could not fill the prescription because I was already enrolled here. No one told me this until I called the old clinic again, though I sent a detailed message describing my situation the day prior. Yet another dude told me to call Tricare/United Healthcare, which made me want to scream. “As jacked as it sounds, the whole system sucks…”

I had a conversation with a representative named Carlos who apparently thought he couldn’t help me until I had called every doctor on the defunct website list in my quest for a new Primary Care Manager (PCM). Since the numbers I was calling led to disconnected numbers, pediatrics, and neurosurgery, this whole prospect of actually finding someone on the list who was actually at their designated phone number was…hmmm…disconcerting. The phone numbers and addresses were not matching up to actual providers. And the provider I was assigned upon moving here was a floater in urgent care clinics. Apparently there was no way to verify her location or a good phone number for her.

I hung up on Carlos when he told me to take a look at the website with him. Sorry Carlos. “Said no, no, you’re not the one for me…”

My husband (bless him) went to patient advocacy and the Tricare representative at Hill AFB (another acronym, for Air Force Base). Anyhow, the liaison there put me in touch with the liaison here (well, scratch that, pretty close to here, about an hour away at Mountain Home AFB). Two ladies who were better versed in Idaho providers took over an hour to determine that my assigned provider was unavailable. They then assigned me someone who is an actual PCM, taking new patients in my area. “Hallelujah!!!”

Um, well, the new provider has no openings until at least November 5th. They can’t even make me an appointment until Monday because I’m not in their system. Back at the ranch, I’m running low on meds. “How am I going to be an optimist about this?”

The liaison lady told me they could help me at Mountain Home AFB Urgent Care. So I went there, waited 35 minutes for a pass for my Mom, and went to Urgent Care. The lady there said, oh, hey, sure, we may be able to get you a prescription without even having you seen by a doctor.

“You’re just too good to be true…”

Indeed, dead end. They could only fill narcotics on base and because it’s a weekend, there was no one at the pharmacy. I was told to go to the ER in Mountain Home, and they would help me. As an added bonus, it was again suggested that I call Tricare if I ran into trouble.

I have no idea why a doctor couldn’t just write a prescription to be filled off base considering that a mental patient is about to go off of one of her long term meds. But what do I know?

Went to the ER. Explained the situation. Was told I could only fill the prescription locally when I was in Triage. Ok. No problem. Then I was told they were only allowed to prescribe me five pills.

After all the medical mediocrity of these last weeks, they gave me a lovely bracelet to admit me to the ER. The doctor led me past another patient to a bed with my own curtain for privacy. Then the tears started, silently. I was at my limit. “As the tears of frustration roll down my face…”

When I was released I was told I could fill my prescription anywhere. Does no one know how to do his or her job anymore??? So much conflicting or inaccurate information.

I was diagnosed with Adjustment Disorder and panic attacks. Apparently they thought my tears were an overreaction to a recent, stressful situation. What they didn’t understand was that jumping through flaming hoops tends to singe you a little. “Doctor, doctor, can’t you see I’m burning…?”

So I have ten days of anti-anxiety pills (apparently 10 was the real limit) with no appointment in sight. I was told (har de har har) that I would be better off going to a local urgent care clinic if I needed more medication. But I need a referral from Tricare for that, so chances are slim that it will be covered. Apparently someone with multiple mental disorders does not merit any urgency in the eyes of my particular health care system. But for now, I must “Take a breath and take a seat and take [my] medicine…”

Imagine how difficult it would be to get this medication if I had no insurance.

I wanna be sedated.



(Special thanks to the Beatles, the Jacksons, KT Tunstall, Handel, Bastille, Frankie Valli, Curtis Stigers, the Thompson Twins, Floater, and the Ramones, for making all of these songs in my head possible).

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Medication Complication

I’m having some major anxiety about running out of anxiety medication.

My old doctor, who I saw last month, was supposed to renew my Ativan prescription along with my other psychiatric meds. He neglected to do so, and when I moved to Idaho the countdown began. I couldn’t get an appointment here until the 19th of October. My old medical facility graciously offered me a “bridge” of medication to cover the days until I could see a new provider.

And now, for your reading pleasure, a clusterf*** of massive proportions.

They assigned me to a new provider when I got here. Unfortunately upon calling her number I discovered that she no longer had a regular clinic to work at. She is what’s known as a floater for urgent care clinics, and she has been floating for two years now. So much for the accuracy of my insurance company’s information.

So I scheduled the appointment for the 19th with another provider at her old clinic. I called my insurance company to verify that I could see this particular provider. But when I called to double check my coverage it turns out that she only accepts the standard version of my insurance, which is not the type that I currently possess. So I was forced to cancel the upcoming appointment and find yet another provider.

I can’t find a doctor to save my sanity, basically. I’ve called my insurance company at least five times trying to sort this out. Each time they referred me to the website, which is completely out of date and doesn’t even have current phone numbers for the listed providers.

I got a lead from a provider who said a few health clinics in the Boise/Meridian area actually take my health insurance. I made an appointment with a local nurse practitioner, but that glorious occasion will not take place until the 18th of November. I searched, and searched, and searched for her name in my insurance database and finally found her. So I *think* I might actually be good. But I’m still not sure if my old doctor is willing to write me a prescription to cover my crazy ass until I can see this new provider.

So I got another lead through the behavioral health search tool for a nearby mental health clinic. The main providers are listed on the site, and therefore take my insurance. I’m fairly sure, at least. The guy who was available for a new patient? Not so much. The clinic told me to (HA HA HA MOTHER OF GOD) check the website to verify that I was covered before I came in on November 2nd.

I’ve decided what my new profession will be. I will be in charge of verifying the accuracy of information on my insurance website. I figure I’m already halfway there, at this rate.

In the meantime, I have four more days of anti-anxiety medication. I may end up in the ER if I run out, which is a really fun prospect. Cutting out a controlled substance cold turkey can be difficult, especially if the drug prescribed is a benzodiazepine. In fact, Ativan is so addictive that you’re not supposed to be on it long term, and I’ve been on it or years.

Still no word from my old doctor.


Yikes.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Separation Communication: Common Denomination?

I’m not ready to do this yet.

We were at a family member’s wedding last night and this morning everyone is exhausted. I so enjoyed seeing members of my extended family. But this week has worn me out physically and emotionally.

Now I have to speak with a member of my family who is currently living by himself in Utah.

I hate being in limbo. From not having our military orders on time. Or from the six weeks we spent in lodging while looking for a house in Utah. Or the many deployments and other assignments we were required to endure. Now this, a separation (of my choosing this time), lasting an undetermined length of time, is the latest limbo bound to drive me loony.

I am trying to create my path to happiness and preserve my little family, but I’m not sure I can have it all.

My husband is bound by duty to stay in Utah until he can separate from service. I need to determine my own wants and needs and see if I can fit into this equation again, this strange and complicated word problem.


Unfortunately I’ve always sucked at math. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Where I Hang my Hat

Standing in the front window at my mother’s house always reminds me of waiting for dates when I was a kid.

Here, I am home. My friends are here. My family is here. Memories are here. My first kiss was on this street. Who needs a new house when you have one with great character and company?

Here I have three dogs to laugh at, but I have traded one sickly cat for another.

Then there are the little differences. I can use water straight from the tap and not filter it. I can eat what I want without fear of admonishing eyes. I don’t have to separate the fiction from the non-fiction on the bookshelf. I add fabric softener to the load of towels like a normal fucking person. There is stuff, stuff and more stuff, and clutter everywhere. I can clean up after a pet without being told that I’m not doing it right. Everyone helps clean up after themselves so I don’t feel like the maid.

I have faith in my abilities. I am appreciated and loved. People acknowledge my natural talents instead of trying to stuff me into an ill-fitting cookie cutter.

I have emergency contacts that you can actually rely upon in case of an emergency.

There is always something going on; it’s certainly not as isolated as I have been for many years. I’m a rather phobic introvert, and yet that lack of daily socialization caused much internal strife and seemingly unquenchable loneliness.

Most notably: there is no inference of I love you, but I would love you more if you kept up with the house in the way I prefer. Or if you lost a little weight. Or if you had a "real" job.

This is contentment and comfort. This is home.


Sunday, October 4, 2015

Scars Sublime


As with all freaks of nature, I have scars to prove my trials.
 
When I was in kindergarten, a little boy named Jason was picking on me in the lunch line.  He shoved his tray at me, and I shoved back.  He then shoved me up against the nearby rail in the lunch room.  I got two bruises from this incident, which my parents immediately inquired about upon seeing them that evening.  I told them what had happened, and we all figured that was the end of it.

I developed chicken pox the next day.  And I admit, I was scratching all kinds of places I shouldn’t be scratching, including my back.  Most people would have had a few small, circular scars left over from this illness.

So what happened to me?  My bruises scarred over.  I have two large oval shaped scars on my back that have spread over the years since.  They itch like hell.  Once in a while, I toy with the idea of getting something tattooed over them.

I’ve always contended that to live is to “walk with scars sublime.” The Goo Goo Dolls back in the day sang that “the scars are souvenirs you never lose…the past is never far.” And the past can certainly be part of the present with my particular obsessive disorder.

I’ve already discussed my disgust with a certain individual in my past. The one who clearly didn’t know what the word “no” meant. I’ve yet to delve into the scars left by a much longer relationship. I need to somehow go beyond these hurtful words and incidents, to learn what it is to forgive.  I may never forget, but I have to move on.


The scars might be indelible but I have to learn from them, lest the years should lose their meaning. 

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Cheap Shots

I was thinking of you while I wrote this song
But a list of your offenses would take too long
Let’s just say I won’t do another dish
For a no-good, lying, evil son of a bitch

The cheap shots you’re taking are making me take cheap shots
Old Crow, Wild Turkey, Mad Dog, Thunderbird, anything hits the spot
Every night I end up doubled over in the parking lot
Because the cheap shots you’re taking are making me take cheap shots

I’ve been stupid but faithful all these years
So terms like slut and whore don’t apply;
You’ve pushed me past hurt and grief and tears,
One more “See you next Tuesday” and I’ll just say goodbye
           
‘Cause the cheap shots you’re taking are making me take cheap shots
Old Crow, Wild Turkey, Mad Dog, Thunderbird, anything hits the spot
Every night I end up doubled over in the parking lot
Because the cheap shots you’re taking are making me take cheap shots
           
Your critical clamoring makes me twitch
But when all is said and done
I’d rather be an ugly, lame, frigid bitch
Than a beer-bellied psycho with a forked tongue
           
The cheap shots you’re taking are making me take cheap shots
Old Crow, Wild Turkey, Mad Dog, Thunderbird, anything hits the spot
Every night I end up doubled over in the parking lot
Because the cheap shots you’re taking are making me take cheap shots

Maybe I just need to detox
I don’t want to get on a soapbox       
But the cheap shots you’re taking are making me take cheap shots

I know that this might come as quite the revelation
But I need an extended vacation
From this unjust character assassination… 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Change

A lot has been going on lately. To say the least.

I moved with my daughter from Utah to Boise, ID on Sunday. 

I am not interested in placing blame. I feel lost and yet completely at home at the same time. I don't cry until someone expresses sympathy. I have plenty of support here, but I worry. 

I have a disease that thrives on uncertainty, yet here I am.

I will continue to write, because I have to put these ill-formed brain children somewhere. Even if their mother feels a bit shattered for a time.

Same soul, different setting. Time to find my somewhat twisted path to happiness. To strive for improvement, not perfection. And to reflect on the endless possibilities at present.

It is both the least, and the best, that I can do.