Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Little People

So Risperdal, the antipsychotic (the second of two) that my psychiatrist put me on hasn't exactly worked out. I've gained 20+ lbs in a month. My chicken legs are puffed up. My AAA narrow feet are puffed up & it's hard to put shoes on. I get winded going up and down the stairs. I have like 4 chins. It kept me asleep for exactly one night through, but has been nothing short of a nightmare since then.

I stopped taking the drug more or less over the weekend and talked to my psychiatrist yesterday, who okay'd it, understanding that I couldn't handle the fluid retention weight gain and I felt and looked like shit. I'm a tiny-boned, little but tall woman. The excess fluid I'm retaining makes me look like an elephant. I'm disgusted getting dressed and having to buy bigger clothes every week. I'm heavier now with fluid retention than when I was just slothingly fat from being a pig 5 years ago. I'm not over-eating. All I had to eat today was a banana, and that was at 6:30 this morning.

What's worse? I told Guy on the phone last night what was going on, and he told me I need to be on Lasix (a water pill) and a potassium supplement. He told me to go to my family practice to obtain these Rx's, though he's still my cardiologist of record. He wouldn't prescribe anything over the phone. So fine, I made an appointment with them to be seen this morning, which I was. I spent nearly 3 hours there today waiting for doctors to consult doctors, to have blood drawn from my shitty little invisible veins. The "student doctor" who saw me first said no problem, we'll give me Lasix (the water pill) and potassium and to elevate my legs when I sleep, and the weight will come off really quickly though I'll have to pee every 10 minutes. Fine. I'm on break and at home. I can wizz at will. The "student doctor" looked at my leg edema (swelling) and agreed that it was severe. She just needed her supervisor to decide on the dose. I felt hopeful.

Finally, the resident (relegated to Medicaid, I don't get to see a real family doctor) came in, evaluated me and once she realized I have POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome), which dramatically lowers my blood pressure, though I'm used to it and don't fucking faint like a goddamn pussy, and run a higher than normal pulse rate, pushed me back onto Guy for the decision making. She consulted HER supervisor, who wouldn't prescribe me the Lasix. Nobody seems to comprehend that with my extremely unique chemistry, I can have a blood pressure of 70/40 and function just fine, though 90/60 is my baseline. Today, I was 128/78, which for me is HIGH. Fluid is not only engulfing and swelling my tissues, it's hard on my heart. But pay no mind to that. I was *told* they called Guy in the office, who was "seeing a patient," and didn't take Family Practice's call, even knowing I was the patient. HE'S THE ONE WHO FUCKING TOLD ME TO GO THERE.

When the resident told me to go home after essentially waiting 2 hours for something to be done, someone to help me, I walked into my house whereupon my mother hearing the story of the morning, nearly had a stroke. See, she used to work for a physician as I did, and when another doctor calls, the doctor takes the call. I'd left Guy text messages and a voicemail on his cell, after the resident endured my explanation as to why it's ill-advised that I go into Balderdash & Verities for a proper appointment. She called B&V & Guy was busy seeing patients. Now, I don't know if the message from Family Practice was just taken as a message, or whether Guy was notified in his exam room that I was downstairs emergently, but I called Guy on the private line for the office during lunch hours. The phone was answered by the Henchwoman, who was polite and put me right through to Guy, for which I'm grateful.

Guy was glib and busy and snooty on the phone, citing he'd not checked his messages since 8am and had office hours, blah blah blah, which leads me to believe the call from Family Practice wasn't patched through when they called. He was acting like "GUY AT WORK." GUY AT WORK, unless he's sweet on you, acts like kind of a dick. Yes, I understand he has a packed schedule the next 2 days (he's not meeting Meg and I, by the way) but this is ME we're talking about. Not to over-inflate my ego (all of me is over-inflated), but Jesus, you bumped me to fucking Family Practice, they didn't help me. I paged my goddamn gastroenterologist at 10:30 last night, who never returned my call. My psychiatrist can't make heads nor tails of a case where a cardiac patient has THIS much of a reaction to an antipsychotic.

Guy said he'd try to squeeze me in later today (it's 5 pm) or tomorrow sometime, and someone would call me, the two in charge being THEM. I have no problem with that. I'm a BIG girl. I can be civil and polite (not trespassing) and react to them as a patient of the esteemed Guy, just like anyone else. I'd come in with a book, since he's perpetually late. He asked me on the phone if I was more comfortable going to a different cardiologist, and no, I don't want to. Guy has been on my cardiac team since I was diagnosed (after suffering for 20 years) with POTS, and is responsible for my beta blockers. There is no need to see him for checkups for my condition, and he just refills my pills every 6 months. But now, now, now something is seriously wrong, and he's dismissive. Making an appointment with a new cardiologist, not knowing if they accept Medicaid, having to regale my medical history and cardiac malady seems senseless when GUY COULD'VE CALLED IN THE WATER PILL YESTERDAY.

Despite ceasing the Risperdal, I continue to swell at a rapid rate.

Guy's office just called and an uninterested third party scheduled me to see Guy at noon tomorrow. I'll be sure to show up nice & TOTALLY SWOLLEN for my appointment. Until then, I'll share a Christmas dinner with Meg and wedge uncomfortably because I can't cross my fucking legs, which I shaved today for the first time in 3 weeks. (It's winter.) We'll enjoy a meal and festivities and try and forget that our lives are disintegrating.

I'm not going on any more, or any different psych meds. I don't care how goddamn loony I get. I just want to get back to the slim, sexy vixen I was before everyone & their uncle started adjusting my doses and medications. It's a dumbars struggle, to keep me stable enough to survive the rigors of graduate school, without losing my marbles altogether. For now, I'd be satisfied with being able to tie my shoes. Fuck....I'd be happy to see my goddamn ankles.

Unless you're a psych patient, I don't care if you're a medical professional or a psychology specialist, you DO NOT GET IT unless you've walked this road. The bipolar support group in which I participate assure me that the weight will come off once the Risperdal is out of my system and I take Lasix, but until then, I'm the fat cohort of the slim friend crowd, which does a huge number on my self-image, which is bad enough without being 100 lbs heavier than I was when I turned 40.  It pretty much just sucks.

My Mirapex, for restless leg syndrome, has run out as of the 14th, and since I'm on such a heavy dose of Valium, I haven't had the sensation of creepy crawlies up my legs as I try to sleep. (The student doctor couldn't believe I take 40 mg of Valium and 10 mg of Ambien every night to try and get to sleep.) I'm fine with eliminating as many meds and doses as I can; in fact, when I swelled up like a blowfish this weekend, sneezed uncontrollably and was all stuffed up, my mom put up a stink that I was going to Walgreens for some Benadryl. "Great. More drugs!" she said. But my eyelids were swelling shut. I've been out of Lomotil, the diarrhea pill, for a week. I hesitate calling in a refill because the gastro will want to see me, and I don't want him to see me in the condition I'm in. He's a DOCTOR. I'm THAT embarrassed.

And I'm going to let guy feel my legs up medically tomorrow? Jesus Christ. It is a mad world. Let it suck me in. Luke is oblivious and uninterested. So fucking what? 


Very Moon said...

Where to start. Well, I told you how one pill, possibly the Riperdal, made me lactate. Every single SSRI I've ever been on has made me bloat. I'm like a damn puffer fish, puff puff, PASS. One doctor suggested I had a sensitivity to the things, well that is fanfuckingtastic doctor as that does fuck all for my brain. I hate SSRIs, I've not yet found one that actually helps. (The valproic acid pretty much gave me heartburn. My sleep was semi-regular for maybe a week.)

Then again, sometimes we really are just surrounded by assholes, and no amount of anything is going to numb or fix that. By which I mean, I think you are surrounded by some assholes, at least in person. You are juggling a lot of jackassery. I'm only now beginning to appreciate how such levels can really throw someone off, because I was not doing well myself.

And then there is Guy. Dear baby Jesus. I maintain what I said. He's so not worth the energy. I totally get needing to see him for health stuff. I predict that you won't see him at the practice, there will be another doctor. I will be SHOCKED if I'm wrong, SHOCKED I tell you.

I've had edema that bad. You could press a finger or a thumb into my calf and it would leave a dent. Gorgeous legs, mind you, so let me tell you I understand that kind of pain. (I need to find a someone who wants all sorts of sexy leg and feet pictures. Seriously, I've got it going on.)

Anyways. Here's a upside for you. After the first, I'll be closer. I don't know that we will be able to do our awesome as hell meetup for New Years, this year, but definitely next year. We should plan on doing Valentines in THE PLACE we talked about for NYE.

Andrea Miklasz said...

Oh my Lord, when Guy showed up at my 40th birthday party in his khakis with Lady Guy Guy in her Keds and me in a mini dress with calf-high boots, and I weighed 120, I brought the house down. I have long, slim gams, tiny arms and a big rack. Every man's dream. Now I'm just the blowfish without Hootie. It's hard to go through the day in public when you're disgusted with yourself in the mirror.

That said, I remember being heavy before and after I had Luke, and how goddamn hard it was to lose the weight post-Luke. That was fat. Sloth. I worked out 6 days a week for 1.5 hr a day to lose that weight. This is different. This is edema. It's unnatural. I was doing just fine on the antipsychotic Geodon since 2009, then Dr. Who-see-what's-it's added the Risperdal because I was sleeping so erratically. The first month I was pretty ok. The "student doctor," the nice one of the bunch, looked at a history of my weight and couldn't believe the rapidity of the gain. It's insane. More insane than I am.

Guy's practice doesn't pawn patients on other doctors, not that any other doctor would see me there. I'd trade my shoe collection to be closer to Guy, which says a lot, but if he's deliberately pulling away, he's doing a fantabulous job, nevermind what Kate thinks.

SSRI's don't trouble me. Zoloft didn't curb my sex drive (nothing can curb my sex drive). Went off of that. Increasing the Geodon dose was meh. Increasing the mood stabilizer dose, meh. All this chemical mood stabilizing is making me more crazy. I need yoga, meditation and a couple of weeks in India in the Himalayas. Sweet Baby Jesus can't do squat.

I don't know what subscription doctors are oathing this century, but "First, do no harm" seems to be a figment of the past as much as ECT treatments without anesthesia.

I have some great, true friends, which I can count on one hand. The other hand dangles with fair-weather, come-hither, on-their-own-terms friends. That's not fair. Especially to someone who I self-profess to be incredibly loyal and loving.

Hiding my insanity at the medical practice had me in XXXS scrubs. Not that I minded. Roughing it at school and a volatile home environment has me looking like 200 lbs of butter. I am NOT happy.

Very, if the Depakote's not helping you sleep, STOP IT. You'll blow up again.

I'm off to celebrate Xmas with Meg.

Very Moon said...

I'm not on anything right now. :/

I'm looking forward to seeing how much I drop with dropping the ex. Pretty sure the stress alone was killing me.

And how could I have forgotten what SSRIs do to my sex drive! They always have killed it. Though, the valproic acid didn't do much damage that way, really. Now, depression can wreck me for the sexy time too, sometimes.

Andrea Miklasz said...

I braved B&V and was very kind and civil to the staff, and likewise. Guy was fine...he finally gave me the water pill to take for 10 days, after which we'll see if I've improved. I'm currently lying on my bed with my feet raised because my ankles are puffed up like volleyballs.

While I was in Guy's waiting room, Family Practice called & left me a voicemail that they'd gotten in touch with Guy. Thanks! So did I!

We ended on a good note, had a big hug, and I went to the pharmacy. I had to wait in line for like fucking ever w/the druggist, and my feet were starting to hurt. It was when I got home that I noticed my ankles were swelled beyond belief and put my feet up.

Well, then I fell asleep.

BMF said...

We're not assholes! We love Annie!

Annie, you goin' tomorrow?

He'd love to see you.

Loved the pics you sent of the Hindu meditation bowl from Meg. You're straying from Der Lutherans quite a bit, missy! I couldn't be happier.

Guy was just doing his job. Included in his job description is being sort of an egoist. All doctors are. He thought he was sending you down the right path and he fucked up. He remedied that and you got the medicine you needed. You'll deflate soon enough, and must I say it again? DO YOGA!!!!!

You're forgetting that I've known you fat, anorexic and in between and I love you in any shape you are. It's you who has the hang up, though I don't blame you and would be as self-conscious. But you're a beautiful girl with a triple-beautiful heart, soul and mind and I will always be head-over-heels for you.

I hope that makes you feel a tiny bit better.


Very Moon said...

So when I can't sleep and you've gone to bed, I watch the videos and listen to the songs I didn't when I was reading the post the first time.

A question has come up.

Wouldn't it be somewhat of a show of mental presence to be belligerent in a psych ward? I'd be mad I was there too.

Also, that's totally Gary's version of the song. I think someone had to have just put it in with the clips, but I'd have to go digging to know for sure.

Andrea Miklasz said...

Very, I'm sure that video montage was put together by someone other than the artist.

When I was in the psych ward, I felt very much like Nicholson's character. He wasn't insane, he went there to not have to be in jail for stealing a car or something. He was belligerent because he saw how mistreated everyone was, and how they'd all indeed gone "mad" being locked up in there, though some were there voluntarily and could leave if they wanted to. He didn't understand why they would ever decide to stay.

There were patients in my psych ward who'd been there for MONTHS, who couldn't function out in society, who had nowhere to go, and while I was only there for what--6 days?--I asked every day when I could go home.

My ward was all dual diagnosis patients--substance abusers (I was there to alcohol detox) with mental illness, and many of the patients were perpetually suicidal. But I was on the "Safe side" of the ward. The "Dangerous people" were locked in an opposite ward, and I can't imagine what they must've been like if they were more nuts than me or the people with me.