Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Down At The Doctors

Oh God. I don't know how to start this. As you know I'm a man of my word, a man of great discipline, decisiveness, strong character, great moral fibre and well... damn it a man of principles! I would never go back on my word, not now not ever, NEVER! (Fuck, that reminds me of the cookie bear on the Andy Williams Show in the 1970's... those of you under the age of 85 may need to use the Rosetta Stone to decipher ancient biblical texts to understand that reference). No, once my mind is made up that's that! Well... err... usually. If you've managed to trawl through this drivel before, you may recall my hissy fits and tantrums about medical staff and how I vowed I would never see another doctor again. Well, maybe you could do me a favour and err... just try and forget all that crap I spouted.

Although I made an antihypocratic oath never to see unethical quacks again I have had to come back crawling with my tail between my legs and hold out my bowl like Oliver Twist and beg "Please doctor, can I have some more (meds)". I do have some sort of an excuse... though not quite a note from my parents. Couldn't really manage that as they are both dead. No, we have decided to go on holiday again. I hate holidays and although we got a cheap deal, it's hardly affordable on benefits... but... Mrs Mo loves going on holiday and she desperately needs some cheering up. I have been hell to live with. I've been hypomanic for weeks now. Full of fun and energy at first but then I had a month of that typical "irritability", irritable?... I was fucking furious! Constantly losing my temper at Mrs Mo, everything had to be immediate. If I had to wait for anything I exploded. What a horrible bastard.

Anyway, back to the holiday. We were getting everything booked and all was going well until we tried to get insurance. Usually I have to pay a high premium for my "pre-existing medical condition" (doesn't that sound like a rather unmentionable Victorian ailment affecting ladies private parts). This time however computer said no, no insurance for mad people at all. Apparently "minor psychological problems" can get cover but not dementia, schizophrenia or bipolar disorder... as you can guess I got furious again. I thought the Post Office might offer something as they are pretty lax in their screening, just 6 questions... but nope, no high rate, nothing at all. A nice man at their call centre informed me "We do not offer travel insurance to bipolar people under any conditions". I knew then that I would have to see a doctor beforehand to get something to tide me over the holidays. Much as I like the Four Tops I really didn't fancy "going loco down in Acapulco" with no insurance.

So Mrs Mo made an appointment for me to see Dr Portillo. I was dreading it but it went OK. He was expecting me (must have used his crystal ball... or kept in touch with my wife) and had already discussed it with the shrink. I think they were hoping I would hit some sort of crisis and agree to be medicated. He went through all the medications I had in the past. I remembered some; Olanzapine turned me from a 7 stone weakling into a beached whale, Quetiapine gave me gross oedema (I retained so much fluid that sea levels dropped by 6 feet), Risperidone made me acutely psychotic and the old antipsychotics like Chlorpromazine give me cardiac problems. He said the shrink would need to decide what was best and arranged for her to see me the next day.

Moonstone arrived the next morning, reeking of dope and the Glastonbury mud still fresh on her multicoloured DM's. She asked all the usual drab questions. I fucking hate those interrogations. Questions like "What are you hoping the medication will do for you?". I'm always tempted to say something stupid like "Oh, I'm hoping it will give me X-Ray vision and the power to fly while cloaked in invisibility". Thank fuck she isn't a physician swithering whether to prescribe a diuretic and asking some poor old lady "but what do you hope the pills will do?". To be fair the main thing I wanted was a day of rest and a decent night's sleep. I have been so driven, recording music, well trying to do things and getting nothing done. Lots of ideas and nothing to show for it.

The questions continued and... oh... to cut a long story short ("I lost my mind" as Spandau Ballet would say) she decided to start me on Aripipazole (Abilify) but only after a huge discussion about the pros and cons... just prescribe the bloody pills woman! I am now envisaging her as a surgeon waking me in the middle of the operation to discuss what size of sutures I'd prefer. Anyway, as it's not an emergency, I don't have acute mania she decided to start me off very cautiously with 5mg and build up from there "as it can make some people very anxious". To counteract this she also prescribed me Diazepam 5mg three times daily. My Depakote levels are spot on so no change there.


I had two days of feeling nice and mellow but wondered if it was the Aripiprazole or just the Diazepam so had a day without the Valium and sure enough I was back to exactly where I was before, no effect from the Aripiprazole. Moonstone phoned today and explained it will take 2-3 weeks to work. As I have not become anxious she has started to increase it and I am now on 10mg.


karenintheory said...

Hello. Just found your blog courtesy of mentalnurse.

Aripiprazole does fuck all for me, but still at least the side effects are minimal once you've got over the initial phase. Lucky you having diazepam though, I had to do it all by myself...

Hope it goes ok though xx

Bipolar Disorder said...

Yep, doing it by yourself is a whole new level of misery.

Joe said...

hey, i have been reading religously since my own diagnosis, and Bipolar mo is my favroite blog, just wanted to say, and as mo wil understand im a little tipsy now so im sure i will regret this when the sun rises.

Mo said...

Hi Karen. Yeah, the shrink says 30% of folks get better on it, 30% have no effect and 30% end up climbing the walls on it. She doesn't mention the other 10%....???? ... surely not death ;o)

Yes the diazepam is fabulous and like you say Bipolar Disorder, it makes it much easier. I have stopped taking it now and stashed it away as I very quickly became tolerant to Lorazepam.

Hey Joe (I'll spare you the obvious cliche on that). Thanks for saying hello and I'm sure you won't regret saying that this is your favourite blog, it's certainly mine and with 3 readers this week I'm obviously going stratospheric!

Thanks guys.
Peace and chips