I had most of the morning off from work to go see my new psychiatrist. I only worked two short hours coming in very early to get the carts caught up from overnight and I was on my way to Auburn. She has a busy practice and I had to wait in the brightly colored and sunny waiting room for quite awhile to be seen. I spent my time reading old Southern Living magazines. I noticed all the plants in the waiting room needed watering, but I resisted the urge to tell the receptionist not wanting to be a busybody.
“Andrew? You can come on back now,” the receptionist finally said.
I sighed with relief. The most unpleasant part of psychiatry is the incessant waiting around to see the doctor as is just about the case with any doctor these days.
My new doctor was reviewing my medical records as I took a seat in her office. The huge and deep, richly hued wood desk stood out in my mind. A clock was ticking softly on the wall and the room smelled of peppermint which was comforting. It was a much more quiet and pleasantly peaceful environment than my old doctor’s office which was always loud with thin walls.
“It says here you are schizoaffective?” she asked with a smile looking over her very fashionable and svelte glasses.
“That’s what my old doctor thought, but I don’t think so,” I told her. “I don’t have any of the classic symptoms of those disorders. I am not bipolar and I am not schizophrenic.”
“Describe for me your symptoms,” she said.
“I have extreme anxiety especially late in the afternoons. Afternoons are always the hardest on me I think because I get tired. I also have extreme anxiety in social situations. Social anxiety has been a problem for me ever since I was a child. The anxiety attacks I have can border on excruciating – incapacitating me for hours. I think I have Asperger’s syndrome, social anxiety, and generalized anxiety disorder.”
“You are on a lot of medications – medications that can conflict with each other,” she told me looking dismayed.
“My father would tell my doctor a symptom I was having, what he thought I needed medication wise, and my doctor would prescribe it. My father is a pharmacist and very pro medication – almost maniacal about it,” I told her wincing as I said it.
My new doctor frowned deeply as I told her this.
We continued on about my symptoms for a good thirty minutes in this initial visit. She greatly simplified my medications putting me on 3mg Risperdal on top of my injection in the mornings halving my regular dosage (we are going to titrate this down to zero due to withdrawal problems over time as we both believe I don’t need an anti-psychotic), Paxil for the social anxiety, and kept me on my Klonopin reducing the Klonopin from four .5mg pills to two 1mg pills a day. This reduced the pills I was taking from eleven down to four.
“The sexual dysfunction was due to the anti-depressant you were taking. It’s a common problem with Celexa,” she told me before I got up to leave. “It will take about a week for you to feel sexually normal again.”
I thanked her profusely for her help and left the room to get my next appointment in two weeks. I am really going to like this new doctor. She is not a pill pusher – thinking more pills = better. My father is going to shit a brick though. This is the end of the forced morning medication ritual and the end of my every two week injection of Risperdal which was a method of social control for my father – his psychiatric mental illness insurance. My new doctor firmly believes in therapy, though, and I got an appointment to start seeing a therapist which the receptionist set up for me.
I drove up from Auburn and got my prescriptions filled at my uncle’s pharmacy. He wasn’t at work today, but my aunt, who works with him, was glad to see me. She was kind of surprised that I was getting my prescriptions filled with them instead of my father, though. I told her it was complicated and hard to explain. Luckily, the cost of my medications was completely covered by Medicare much to my relief. I didn’t even have to pay a co-pay because I am on so much assistance as my father calls it.
I am very pleased at how this visit turned out. This needed to be done for years, but I was too afraid to take the initiative and buck the status quo. I think it is an inalienable right to have control of your own healthcare – a basic human right that shouldn’t be infringed upon. My only concerns are withdrawal symptoms from the cessation of my bipolar and antidepressant medications. My doctor said I might feel out of sorts for a few days until these medications are out of my system. I am hoping for the best!