I have friends who talk about how awful their pdocs (psychiatrist) are. They claim their pdoc never listens to what they say, and won’t make any med changes even when asked. It feels, at times, they are talking about Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde. I always felt lucky. The pdoc I first worked with, Doctor Lisa, would spend a full hour with me every visit. A large part of this was spent going through the various drug options for me. We would read the descriptions together and then select one that we both thought sounded good. It felt good to be part of a team rather than having presciptions thrown at me. We had a great relationship and laughed a lot.
When it comes to psych meds, what works for one person, may not work for another. In some cases it’s a guessing game. If you are given a prescription for a med that doesn’t work for you, then it can be a long process to wean you off that med so that you can slowly be weaned on another. That’s why there are so many different psych meds out there. It took over a year for Dr. Lisa and I to come up with a good mix of drugs that worked for me. Currently I only take 6 meds a day. It was not long ago that it was nearly double that.
Unfortunately, for me, there was a sad, sad day. Dr. Lisa finished her residency and moved away. She had hoped to stay on as part of the regular staff, but with all the cutbacks it didn’t happen. Now she is attending college again because she wants to be trained on working with children. I don’t know why that would be necessary since I was her patient, but apparently you have to get a piece of paper that you frame on a wall. Oh well.
When Dr. Lisa left, I was placed to work with her boss (trainer?), I don’t know what you call it, let’s just say it was a different person than Dr. Lisa. He was more like the old style, psychiatrist. At first spent a little extra time getting to know each other and discuss my history. I thought the mountain of paper on his desk from Dr. Lisa said all there needed to be said, but apparently not.
Slowly, without my realizing, the time I spent with Dr. Goldstein was becoming less and less. At first we met every other week. Today I realized we’re only meeting once a month. I don’t recall when that occured, but it’s been awhile for it to click in my brain.
Today I had an appointment with him at 10am. On my calender I marked that it would be an hour long. I wasn’t with Dr. Lisa anymore, so I knew it wouldn’t be a full hour, but I expected we’d spend a little bit of time together. I figured we’d meet meet for 30 minutes at most, but I wouldn’t expect to be any less than 15 minutes. My appointment lasted exactly 7 minutes.
When we got to his office he asked how things were going. I told him that I thought I was still depressed a lot more than I had hoped I’d be by now. I also told him that I memory loss is still very bad and that I get disoriented easily. He nodded his head a few times, stroked his beard and said, “I am going to leave all your meds the same.” I was dumbfounded. Did he not hear a word I said?
Then I asked if he would make me a prescription for a diuretic because the meds are making me retain a lot of water. He simply said “No. They flush too much out of your system along with the water.”
And that was it. We were done. After our 7 minutes together I left to catch the bus. Los Angeles is not well known for it’s mass transit system. In fact, it’s terrible. I had to wait 45 minutes for the next bus. A 1 hour ride home, for a 7 minute appointment with my pdoc, and nothing was changed! I’m wondering if we should just do our sessions on the phone now from now on. I like the guy, so I have no plans to change pdocs, but I now realize what all my friends are talking about.
I miss you, Dr. Lisa.