If anything summed up the dark side of the standard of mental health care in my current cummunity it would have been this appointment.
Psychiatric appointments, with a consultant Psych, are like liquid gold these days. So imagine the shock I got when the postman dropped off a letter with an actual date that she was available to hear what I had to say. And to strip this down of all it’s glory; I didn’t even ask to see her in the first place.
9 months prior.
After meeitng my eccentric new Quack at my local healthcare centre, and sneakily flipping through my medical notes and snapping pictures of the annotations on my iphone when she’d left the room, I had failed my case against coming off the Zombie med. For those who have read my journey, I had been on Quetiapine by that point for the past year and a half, and unfortunately gained 3 and a half stone – I was protesting that now I had crossed over the unhealthy line on the BMI chart and that for that sake (as well as not being able to drive/look after my daughter/not go a day without taking a nap/function altogether etc) – and she managed to try to convince me that because my mood was controlled I was not causing any trouble; she had me walking away with a prescription of the extended release version of the same devil drug.
Then the biggest mistake she made was that she would promise to see me in 4-6 weeks time, and that I would easily be able to get hold of her receptionist if something went wrong.
That apointment never happened, until I unexpectedly ended up sitting in that chair in her office two weeks ago, whilst she insisted in calling me by the wrong name. (In case you were wondering, she had decided to label me as Bruce. It is not even a complete anagram of my surname).
1 month prior.
As it turns out, the appointment they had randomly allocatede me to, I couldn’t make it. I had just started a new job and didn’t want to be taking time off so soon. So i tried to get hold of her receptionsist. This is how that wen’t down.
Friday – Tried to ring the local trust from the generic number they gave me. Went round in circles for half an hour as the automated system didn’t have an option for psychiatric appointments.
Monday – Finally got through to a human being. Went round in circles for half an hour as human being didn’t have an option for psychiatric appointments.
Tuesday – Two days before appointment. Got through to Psych’s receptionist. She was very pleasant.
“So can you tell me why you can’t make this appointment, Miss Bruce?”
“It’s B****. I am unavailable and I’m going to have to reschedule.”
“Well you are going to have to give me a good enough reason for not wanting to turn up to the appointment you made…”
“I’m sorry, but this was an unexpected appointment. And I am unavailable at the time of the appointment.”
“Can you tell me why you can’t wake this appointment?”
“I have just started a new job you see, and I do not want to be taking any leave this early in to me starting. Especially two days before.”
“Well you should have rang up sooner Miss Bruce.”
*Considers explaining how easy it was to get hold of her, but i’d blatantly had enough of trying to get this appointment I didn’t make*
“Look can I please just reschedu-
“NO, no, no, no, no – I will tell you when you can reshedule for.”
“It’s going to have to be June i’m afraid…”
“Perfect, I’ll have it for then.”
“But if work is the issue here, then you are going to have the same problem when it comes to this next appointment…”
I was done by this point. But, gritting my teeth, I proceeded to politely explain in hope she did not think I was a dumbass who couldn’t grasp the concept of what she was saying to me.
“Okay, have a great day Miss Bruce, thank you so much for calling…”
The Event itself.
The ‘assessment’ went quick itself. Can I call it an assessment? Not only did the psychiatrist not review my notes (she admitted this when I walked in to the room), but she hardly gave me the opportunity to tell her what had been going on in my life since I last saw her. There is a huge issue here, as she couldn’t even recall when the last time she saw me actually was. I told her, again, that a major part of the medication was the worrying amount of weight that has made itself a comfortable lodger on my physique, and how difficult it was for me to try to evict. I am not the slim size 8 anymore that I was after having my first child. I was now a size 14.
She proceeded to tell me that yes, with Quetiapine, you usually have problems with your appetite.
Don’t get me wrong, I may have had some serious sugar cravings. But that was not the issue here. My whole metabolism has grinded to a halt. System down.
We reviewed medication, again, then after going through every option apart form the one we discussed, I politely reminded her about the Abilify that we had discussed.
She was happy then. No more questions asked, and I walked away with a prescription of Abilify, A few mil’s of Quetiapine to wean off and help me sleep for the next week and some Diazepam.
Diazepam. That’s right. She had let a drug addict walk away with a prescription of Valium, all because she couldn’t be bothered to read her notes properly.
I took it of course. My GP, who on the contrary knows me very well, won’t even prescribe that to me.
And so, after some messing about to get a ten minute appointment, I am now off the Zombie drug.
I am free (for now!)
*Hypomanic post to follow.