21 October 2010

Better living through modern chemistry

I had an appointment yesterday at 1300, and because of a clerical error, my appointment was entered in the wrong clinic.  My provider didn't realize I was there waiting, because I wasn't on her daily schedule.  The staff at the mental health clinic noticed I was still waiting a few minutes after my appointment time, and literally went into crisis mode to figure out why I hadn't been seen yet.  Once they found the error, they physically went searching through the hospital to find my provider after she didn't answer a page immediately.  Yes, a mistake was made, and yes, I had to wait a little longer than normal-- but the staff at the mental health clinic really stepped up and got things fixed in a hurry.

Later in the afternoon, my provider called to tell me that I should just come in to the VA hospital today, check in at one of the clinics, and ask to see a psychiatrist about starting medication for depression and PTSD.  I had three classes today, so I went to all three and then took the bus across campus to the university hospital (which is next door to the VA hospital).  The VA here isn't pedestrian friendly, which is a rant for another day... suffice to say that it's about a 10 minute walk from the bus stop at the university hospital to the VA, and it should be a 2 minute walk.  There's also no bike rack at the VA hospital.  Again a topic for later discussion.

I talked to a social worker at the clinic, who told me that I'd need to go to the satellite clinic (several miles away by car) to see a psychiatrist, because that's where my primary care provider is.  It was about 1330, and I was set up with an appointment at 1400.  That's when I explained that I'd come by bus from campus, and that to get to the satellite clinic, I'd need to walk back to the bus stop, take a bus back to campus, and then walk home to get my car.  But it was either that or wait a week or more for an appointment... so back to the bus I went.  

I ended up getting to the satellite clinic at 1415 or so, but not before someone made the mistake of trying to turn in front of me when I was turning into the office park where the satellite clinic is located.  Note to lady in BMW that almost hit me:  Sorry, whoever you are, but cutting in front of someone headed to see a psychiatrist for depression and PTSD medication will get you yelled at and flipped off.  Not making excuses for myself, but you caught me at a really bad time.  Anyway.

After some discussion of how I've been feeling and what's going on in my life, and various medications, we settled on sertraline (aka Zoloft); I'd found that as an option in my own research, along with paroxetine (aka Paxil), but Paxil's list of side effects was slightly less appealing.  First dose tonight, dosage increases after a few days, and then we go from there.  It's only been a few hours-- I don't have anything to report (yet), and honestly you shouldn't take anything I say about medication(s) as advice.  I'm a patient, not a doctor, and I'm not trained to tell you what might (or might not) work for you.  I do want you to know (and want to convince myself) that being on medication(s) for PTSD and depression and the like isn't the worst thing in the world.  Although it took me a while to realize it (I resisted medication for a long time), you have to do what you have to do.

There's no real moral to the story today.  I'll just have to keep on going, and wait for the meds to start kicking in.

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