so, no more Dr X

Contrary to what I wrote in my last post, I'm extremely sensible about taking my medication and continuing therapy. I might dream of acting otherwise, with better consequences than are likely and I do often question whether being treated by a psychiatrist automatically places me into a certain category of unwellness. It's a slippery fish, this crazy/sane business, but that's one of the reasons why up until recently I was visiting the doctor every fortnight, every month at the very least. So she could keep me in line with the treatment. Tell me that I'm making progress, even when I can't see it because I'm stuck in a gloomy place (like poor old Eyeore), that I'm getting better and when I forget, remind me that I really was quite unwell. Because sometimes my judgement strays, especially when I start to feel well after being unwell. It's classic, and it's in the very nature of a mental illness. And as she reminded me on my last visit, she's doctor, that's her job and that's what I paid her for.

However, it's pretty obvious that for one reason or another, I am no longer her patient. As the intake nurse at the place where this doctor's business used to be, said, she's taken her book with her. Her big scruffy book of appointments and patient contacts. Although you would think that, in this day and age of the internet and email, her new practice, or someone else on her behalf, would be able to rustle up a mailing list and at the very least send a form letter, Dr X has  <insert plausible platitude here> and will no longer be able to treat you. Your options for further treatment are <insert names of expensive possibilities>. Please call <insert number of clinic here> if you have any further queries. We wish you well on your journey to sanity, blah, de blah blah.

I've been surprised at just how upset I've been about all this. I was referred to Dr X on release from the mother baby unit after the psychosis in 2005. She's seen me get well, loose the zyprexa weight, come off lithium, go back to work, get depressed again, get well again, start putting the weight back on, go nuts again, get well again. She's seen me at my lowest and blackest more than once and approaching an awful state of mania. I've told her when I've had those silent and disturbing car crash thoughts and although they're part of my inner landscape when the black dog comes to stay, they're not something I share easily because I know I would never act on them. So I don't talk about them unless asked, and she knew when to ask. I've burst into tears telling her that I want to go to hospital. Let her see when the actor is getting tired. And right at the beginning I told her my whole history, as far back as I can remember. Including my dodgiest behaviour as an adult, like how many drugs I really took back in the day and other less than savoury aspects of my past.  She's given me a sense of somewhere to go, of security, of backup. And although I paid for that service, it goes deep. I should have been told that I was no longer her patient. Or whatever the deal is.

So anyway as I explained my situation to the intake nurse, I found it hard not to cry. As I ran through the whole sorry saga, the intake nurse really did seem to have heard it all before and I got the impression that I am not the only one of Dr X's patients being assessed by a new doctor. While I was sewing the other day, with the autumn sun on my cheek I found myself thinking that maybe Dr X is unwell herself. It would be hard to listen to all these crazy neurotic people and not take it on yourself. I really hope she's OK but I wish she'd made arrangements as per the RANZCP (of which she is a fellow) code of ethics. Still, it's time to stop being a sook and find a new doctor. Because even if I knew where she was, I couldn't really go back. Not now. Hopefully I'll be able to get my file transferred. Deep breath. Good to have made a decision.


Missy said...

I'm shocked about Dr. X's behavior...very unprofessional. I too hope she is well. I'm so sorry your having to go through this.
I too am familiar with the roller coaster of wellness/sickness. Feeling well and not needing meds (so I irrationally think) then spiralling down down down.
You are in my thoughts and prayers...prayers for a supportive new dr. and continued success with treatment.

sooz said...

Yeah, that's really not OK. Despite her own situation she has a duty of care she has not fulfilled and this is really serious!
I hope you do well getting a new person on your side, quickly and painlessly.
And perhaps at some point consider telling RANZCP what has happened so it doesn't happen again.

Saha said...

I agree that she should have told you. it seems very strange as she would be aware of the doctor patient attachment.
Janet, considering the stresses you were under before your experience of psychosis, isn't it possible that you may not actually have bipolar? I don't want to put a spanner in the works and I'm obviously not a doctor. I just know that people often diagnose based on extreme behaviour, but if the person was given a chance to really rest, the thoughts might subside. One off the great things that I've realized is that many of the crazy thoughts are just a result of total mental exhaustion, not necessarily symptomatic of "illness".
Mental imagery relating to suicide is something I have struggled with too, but I tend to be open about it, because I know that it doesn't mean that I want to or would do it. But people find it difficult to hear, as though it's attention seeking. I really think that the more matter of fact we are about these things, the more people will realize that it's just another health issue.
Get better and take care.

Susan said...

I too hope you strike another doctor with whom you can feel comfortable.
I have finally found some people I can work with, gosh it makes a difference.
Doctor X has not behaved well at all, in spite of anyy issues (or not) of her own.
Love the photos Janet.

Stomper Girl said...

Doesn't seem right. I hope you find someone good who'll restore your faith.

Alby Mangroves said...

I'm really happy for you that you've made a decision, I reckon there's nothing worse than being in the in-between place. Bugger Doctor X, whatever the reason, it's not for you to worry about! I hope Doctor Y is just what you needed :) xox M

saha said...

sorry that was a bugger of a stupid comment, I'm thinking aloud again, sorry.

janet said...

Not at all Saha, I think I've struggled with the whole diagnosis thing myself. And it's not really set in stone anyway.
And actually, now that I've made the decision, I'm starting to feel a lot better.

Girl on The Avenue said...

This is bizarre behaviour on the part of the doc. Maybe she had a mental breakdown, but then the clinic should have gotten hold of her "book" (and as you say, surely there would be electronic databases?) Or perhaps she's been struck off? I would complain to the AMA or whomever handles these things...
Best of luck with Dr Y.

Kel said...

sincerely hoping you are on the path to being comfortable with a new health care provider

Laura J R said...

Hmm, sad to hear that a relationship such as that could be walked away from without a word of communication. It does seem unusual.
I too hope she is OK, just thoughtless in this instance.
And here's hoping for a new beginning with a safe and more thoughtful new (to you) practitioner.
Raising a glass to you and the journey you are on. Stay safe.