Tag Archives: doctors

Yet Another Psychiatrist

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

I found a new psychiatrist, and I was able to see him this past Friday. Initially I wasn’t going to write about the experience, but some of my readers have been asking how it went. (It’s great to know that people read this thing.)

If you’ve been following my blog, perhaps you remember my experiences with the first two doctors that I had after leaving the psych ward late last year. Both doctors were from the same part of the globe, and I felt like they didn’t relate to me very well. The first one threw a hissy fit when I came to see her after my second suicide attempt. She ended up kicking me out. Like, literally.

The second doctor would freak out and start massaging his temples whenever I responded to his greeting with anything other than “I’m great.” He essentially let me be my own doctor by letting me choose my medication and dosages. I stayed with him because I was tired of shrink searching. God knocked me out of my comfort zone, however, when that doctor suddenly informed me that he would no longer accept my insurance.

There are a lot of foreign-born doctors practicing in the U.S. Apparently not enough Americans are choosing/able to pursue the medical field, and I have no problem seeing a foreign-born doctor for an annual physical exam or to treat my flu symptoms. When it comes to my mental health, however, I need someone who is patient, understanding, and who can empathize with my illness and not be scared away when my condition fluctuates.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying foreign-born shrinks are all bad and that you should avoid them. It’s just that I’m seeing a negative pattern starting to form.

I went to my insurance website to get a list of psychiatrists within a ten-mile radius of where I live. The list was short because there were only two.

The first one was the psycho lady who kicked me out. The other one was Dr. Ariston Korhonen. Great.

I called the office to find out more information about the doctor. The conversation went something like this:

Receptionist: Good afternoon, Dr. Korhonen’s office.  (Good. She pronounced the name for me.)

Me: Um… Hi. I’d like to see the doctor.  (My verbal skills are not so eloquent.)

Receptionist: OK. How about tomorrow morning?  (Dang. No wait? Is he that bad?)

Me: Uh, how about Friday?

Receptionist: Sure. Is 9:00 okay?

Me: Yeah. Um, can I ask you a question? (I’m sure she was used to weird questions. After all, she works for a shrink.) Is the doctor, uh, is the doctor… from here?

Receptionist: Yes. He’s a white guy with a funny name.

Me: I, uh, didn’t mean anything bad by that. It’s just that… well… I mean…

Receptionist: I understand. See you Friday.

She also told me to show up 30 minutes before my appointment to fill out paperwork. I was used to crowded waiting rooms, so, out of habit, I arrived 45 minutes early.

The waiting room was desolate. I half-expected to see tumbleweeds blowing past me.

The “paperwork” consisted of a one-page personal information sheet. It took me all of five minutes to complete and turn in. I was about to go back to my car and get my phone before the receptionist happily informed me that the doctor was ready.

As I passed by the lady’s desk, I saw a tall, lanky guy surfing the ‘net with his back to me. It looked like he was browsing through the celebrity news on Yahoo.

Without turning around, the guy said, “First door on the right. I’ll be right there.”

Okay. It looks like I’m second to Miley Cyrus. Wonderful.

The rest of the visit was pretty mundane. He asked me a whole bunch of questions, and, by the end, I had spilled my guts about everything related to my illness.

It was traumatic enough to relive everything. The doctor’s exclamations weren’t necessary, though. I mean, did the psychiatrist really have to blurt out “Oh my gosh!” after I mentioned each suicide attempt?!

At the end of our session, I commented on one of the three framed diplomas on the wall. “Oh, you did your residency at the same psych ward where I was. When was that?” It was an innocent enough question I thought.

“Umm, last year. SO, I will see you in about a month, okay?”

Last year?

Stay positive. Stay positive…

~t


In Which Today’s Post Disintegrates into a Whiny Rant

Credit: pillthing.com

One stressful thing about starting a blog is that readers expect it to be updated regularly (quite a relative term). When I can’t think of anything after coming off a three-day string of posts, I’m too hard on myself when, in fact, it’s not really surprising to people: Oh, a guy dealing with mental illness? Of course he’s gonna be consistent. Just like all those young blondes that marry Hugh Hefner do so out of love.

Today, no attempt at a deep, profound flash-fiction parable that would rival those of Jesus. No stab at a Tony Robbins-style pep talk/kick in the pants. I’ll just write about how I’m doing or what’s going on.

Okay. Here goes.

I’ve been really frustrated with my bad luck regarding psychiatrists. I know they are overworked in this country due to a shortage and a big need, but when I see my psychiatrist, it would be nice if he would try to act like a doctor. I’m reaching my limit with conversations like this:

Me: Doctor, I’ve been on these meds for three months and I still don’t feel any better.

Shrink: Well, what do you want to do?

Me: Um, I’m not sure. I was hoping you would help me out with that.

Shrink: Well, if you want to change medications, then change them.

Me: (long pause) Do you think that would help?

Shrink: You tell me. What do you want to do?

I mean, I know doctors are busy, but I don’t think it would be asking too much for them to at least pretend that they care. At least the preceding conversation didn’t dissolve into the one that I’m about to show you. In the next one, I had just come out of the hospital after my second suicide attempt, and this was the first time for me to meet with my doctor after that:

Shrink: So, you tried to kill yourself again?

Me: Um, yeah…

Shrink: (throws pen against wall) I thought we were making progress. I can’t trust you any more!

Me: I’m sorry. I was trying… Can you help me?

Shrink: No. You don’t listen to me. Go and be your own doctor. Go on.

This still makes me angry when I think about it. The shrinks in these two situations are both from the same country. (At least no one can say that I don’t give second chances.) It’s not like the American ones are any better, though. This next exchange happened during one of my hospital stays:

Shrink: …….and then take this one to counter the side effects of that one. And then this one will stop the weight gain from that one…….

Me: Wow, doctor. I’ve never taken eight kinds of pills at the same time. I’ll have to get one of those weekly pill containers that old people have.

Shrink: (takes off glasses and glares at me) You want to get better, don’t you?

Ugh. I told the second story about the psycho-shrink to our family practitioner during my annual check-up. He told me that psychiatrists are basically one step away from being patients themselves. By the end of med school, he said he had accurately predicted the ones who would pursue psychiatry.

Actually, I didn’t intend to whine about shrinks for this entire post, but, since I am, I might as well talk (whine) about therapists while I’m at it.

I had to change my therapist during my first hospital stay. She was very nice and intelligent, but, seriously, none of us could distinguish her from our fellow patients. For starters, her attire: It was like no one had told her that Woodstock was over.* Some were actually convinced that she was sampling the product in the hospital cabinets.

Then there is the therapist from whom I’ve recently parted. I’m not kidding when I say the following took place during every session:

Therapist: So, have you and your wife had sex yet?

Me: Um, no—

Therapist: NO??!! ShoutshoutshoutshoutMaslow’sHierarchyOfNeedsshoutshoutshout………

My current therapist is pretty good. I haven’t run into any problems (yet). What’s funny is that she is pro bono.

In the hospital, the lecturers and nurses kept telling us that medicine alone would not help us get better: We needed a combination of medicine, therapy, exercise, coping skills, hobbies, etc. Isn’t that the truth.

Since this post disintegrated into a rant, I’ll share this link that I posted yesterday on Facebook and Twitter as a source of encouragement. It also includes a healthy dose of Christian faith which I, ahem, somehow left out of this post.

Actually, ranting like this is therapeutic. Maybe I should become my own doctor.

~t

*You know you’re getting old when you feel the need to explain Woodstock.