Sunday, December 31, 2006

My New Year's Resolution Early--DJ Patient Anonymous Spins For You!

I'm actually not one for resolutions. I feel that if you want to accomplish something--then you just do it; it's as simple as that. And because I wasn't sure exactly what I wanted post about (a few ideas rolling around but not enough motivation to pick one and do it justice?) I decided to work on making this blog a bit more *fun.*

I had been wanting to add a Flash MP3 player for a while but I couldn't find a decent free one that I liked (that worked.) And yes, I want to host my own music. I've seen some other folks out there playing some other "canned" stuff that is hosted by the MP3 player that you get for free from the site but that's just no fun. I want to be the DJ!

Yes, you would invariably find me doing that at parties all through high school (with the host's permission of course!) It's not that I wasn't social (or downright anti-social haha!) I tended more toward the shy and thoughtful type but chances are that there probably was something wrong when everyone kept asking me about a dozen or more times throughout the evening. So, if I couldn't find anyone to talk to, I figured I might as well make myself useful as everyone loved music at parties and I sure did too. So I'd spin the tunes and that would keep me occupied while I would just sit and "observe."

So after spending most of the afternoon trying to download this and that with no positive result, I went the ultra "high-tech, low-tech" route with some very simple javascript code (like I even know what I'm talking about!!!) and QuickTime. It's actually a google player so at least it'll work with Blogger (yes, I am still laughing...) And the bonus is that I can still type in text so you, dear reader, can get my "brilliant" commentary along with the song. I know, you are thrilled.

And of course, you do realize that this is for my sheer indulgence and your horror, amusement, entertainment and perhaps education.

I also added a meebome widget in case anyone wants to leave a message or post catty remarks about the music (or anything else.) Also maybe a good idea since Blogger can be so flaky. A good tool too if you're too busy or maybe a little shy about sending me an email. They're always welcome as well, however!

Oh yes, one more thing. The DJ does take requests *grin*

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Am I Cycling, Is it The Season Or Both?

This is going to be a messy post. Partially because I haven't had any caffeine yet...wait, better go rectify that for you, readers...hang on:


Okay, caffeine, check. Nicotine, check. Patient Anonymous tries to be stimulated when she writes posts in order to be understandable when she writes. Patient Anonymous also tends to speak in the third person sometimes, especially when she can not access her emotions. You see, Patient Anonymous lives mostly in her head and deals with things logically. She has a hard time finding her feelings and knowing where they live. Most people say "the heart" but that is an organ that pumps and supplies blood to all the other organs in the body. Patient Anonymous does not know where feelings and emotions lie.

All right, let's just get on with it.

After years of living with Bipolar, I've learned to become acutely aware of my cycling patterns. I've become, almost hypervigilant of mood changes--well, most of the time. But since I've been fairly stable for a while, it's difficult to know if a minor change is indicative of "cycling" or just a natural change in mood.

Has Christmas been a "trigger?"

For the past few days I've been feeling down and irritable. And anxious too. It's more than just the regular "busy-ness" of the season for really, I haven't been that busy. Things have slowed down considerably.

It's my family.

Let's start with Mom. I received a Christmas card a few days prior to Christmas Day. Before that, no news of anything. My grandmother died in the fall so I didn't know if we would be getting together. I waited for some sort of invitation, no call. That was fine as Christmas has never been a pleasant time for me. No good memories as a child. It was always full of fighting between my parents (they divorced when I was 14) and we were always late (by hours sometimes) for any other family gathering due to my Mom never being able to get anywhere on time. She's habitually doing things that can always wait until another time and checking nervously if the stove is off etc...

So I called Mom on Christmas Day just to say hello and wish her a Merry Christmas. It was odd. It was like, if I didn't call her the day would not have even existed. She said she had a couple of presents for my partner and I and would we like to come by, maybe some time next week(?) I said we would find a date and get back to her. There are still things to sort out with my grandmother's estate so perhaps we could wait until then. That is what we agreed upon so we will get together...whenever?

My Dad. This is bothering me more. He was living in another province for several years. Our relationship has dwindled to pretty much nothing now and I don't understand why. I have some ideas like he's an immature asshole and perhaps more but I am still left confused and wondering. We used to be very close but more like "buddies"--not like a father and daughter. Still, he's the only "Dad" I've ever known.

Anyway, he moved back to my/our home province in October and has not contacted me--at least not directly. He has sent some mass emails where I have been included but he has not bothered to send anything to me personally or call. Why? Or why not should be the better question. And no Christmas invitations or wishes from anyone on his side of the family either (my Mom is an only child so no no extended family there.)

I debated checking my work email account from home while I am on vacation to see if anything is there but a) I am on vacation and b) I doubt that there is anything is there.

So is this merely the "Christmas Blues" or has my family (yet again) thrown me into a (mini) Bipolar tailspin. Maybe both? At any rate, my meds are holding and I'm not in any danger or feeling like doing anything "stupid."

I discussed some of the issues about my father with my therapist last week. I can't go and see her this week so I guess what I'm going through now will have to wait a bit. We talked about the idea of clients "divorcing parents." Hmmm.

Well, it's not something I need to decide right away but I'm not happy with him.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Did I Hear That Right?

I forgot about this. I meant to post about it the other night. I was watching Law and Order (too bad Dr. Deb is on vacation, even though it wasn't SVU--I could have ran over to her blog for a quickie on the topic.) Anyway, I wasn't really paying attention. There was too much going on in the house and it was late...anyway, my ears pricked up when I heard that a character died while overdosing on Depaquel(sp?). Huh? They said it was an antipsychotic. And just to be sure that I wasn't hallucinating, they repeated the drug name three times during the episode.

Okay. Now I know that certain drugs can be sold around the world under various generic names but Seroquel is fairly new and I don't know if the patent has run out yet for other companies to start producing it under another name other than the generic Quetiapine. So I was thinking, is this some new hybrid between either Depakote or Depakene and Seroquel? Why anyone would want to do that is beyond me. And you thought Zyprexa would pack on the pounds HA! And speaking of Zyprexa (aka Olanzapine,) it's the only antipsychotic that I know of that has been souped up with another med, an SSRI--Prozac (aka Fluoxetine.) That is Symbyax and I'm sure that was years in the making.

I have yet to hear of any plans to combine anticonvulsants with antipsychotics. To me, it doesn't make any sense. Granted, I'm no psychopharmocologist but anticonvulsants are too hit and miss. And although they may be considered mood stabilizers, technically they are not. They only true mood stabilizer as a class of drug is Lithium. The whole point of Symbyax was to assist with the depressive aspects of bipolar. So far in clinical trials (if memory serves,) the best drug in the anticonvulsant class (and what I've heard anecdotally--see, anticonvulsants are a crap shoot when it comes to treating the depression side of bipolar!) is Lamictal. So maybe the drug in the television show should have been called Lamiquel?

That got me thinking, maybe my spelling was off. Maybe it was Depoquel! That got me going down a whole different pathway. Maybe it was a combination of Depo-Provera (birth control) and Seroquel! Now this makes sense (and the victim of death was female...) This just might be marketable. Sometimes those manic episodes do lead to some pretty bad decisions... Hey, with the *new* "Depoquel" you certainly won't have to worry about racing to get the "Morning After Pill!"

Now I googled every spelling variable possible and I can't find anything. If someone in some country somewhere takes this version of an antipsychotic, please let me know. Nothing makes me angrier than misinformation in the media. I don't know if there was some sort of copyright thing going on but if so, then they could have resorted to good old Haldol/Halperidol and leave it at that.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

All Shul'd Out

Still pretty tired. I didn't get nearly enough sleep last night as Mr. King of the Castle (aka our cat)
woke me up this morning like a fuzzy alarm clock right at 0800hrs looking for breakfast. I'm not sure what time I fell asleep. It must have been after 0200hrs? My sleep isn't great, even with the Imovane. It basically keeps me down but I still need ear plugs as I've become a very light sleeper and if the room isn't dark enough, I will require a sleep shade. How glamourous, I know. And no, I don't have satin pyjamas to go with. But once I'm up, I'm up. I may buy an hour or so with my Clobazam, a weak benzo used as a seizure adjunct but because my dose is so low, it doesn't really do much in the way of having any sort of sedating effect.

Anyway, at least I don't have to go anywhere today! The last couple of days were just mad!

So yes, as the topic states, I had my first two, yes, two trips to shul (aka synagogue) on Friday night and Saturday morning respectively. My partner wanted me to go to her family one on Friday night so that my first experience would be a good one. A couple of reasons for this--that I soon found out.

First, her shul was nicer than the one we went to on Saturday morning (haha.) Second, the Friday night services were a lot shorter than the Saturday morning services. Oh my. A lot. We were there for almost three hours. Even my partner was wanting to die. Okay, maybe that's a little extreme but you get the picture. I'm speaking purely euphemistically here and no one really wanted their life to end--just the service.

And it wasn't for the celebration of Hanukkah that we were going. It's not really considered a High Holiday so I was told that the shul wasn't really busy (on Friday night anyway--the Saturday one, we didn't know much about as my partner had never been to that shul.) No, we went as a member of my partner's family was being honoured for their 50th wedding anniversary with something called an "Alia." It means "to rise up" and essentially your are called to read from the Torah. And there was a lunch afterwards.

It was simultaneously interesting and boring. I mean, the majority of it was in Hebrew so I couldn't follow or understand anything. There were books with English translation but the first part of the service was all singing and if you read my prior post, you will know that I don't sing in any religious service, English or not! There was a portion of Torah lesson in English but it was really long on Saturday. Wow. Granted, it's not my first service in another language. I went to a friend's father's funeral who is Coptic Orthodox. That was in Arabic and quite intriguing--in an odd sort of way.

Anyway, it's over now. I probably won't be going back to shul for a while haha.

But the best part is, I scored a couple of kipa's! These are also known as skullcaps, yarmulke's. We had joked with my partner's mother that I had wanted one after participating in so many holidays already (my partner doesn't even wear one, neither does her mother!)...I just like them--I'm silly. Well, in shul's everywhere, they always have "freebies" or "loaners." So if you don't have one, you just take one from this sort of communal box.

Well, after her mother finding out I wanted one, she was even going to go to the expense of having one made with my name embroidered in Hebrew--I mean, the whole nine yards. Yes, we think the woman really does want me to convert. I suppose it could be worse as she couldn't like me at all? Anyway, that plan fell through so now was my chance! (Aside: Ironically I used to have some that I stole from a hospital shul during my first hospitalization but the tales from that are definitely for another day!)

The ones at the first shul were just your "basic black" and simple--nothing special but on the Saturday, after the excruciatingly long service, I found another one, wool in the Sephardic style. They're bigger and sort of "boxier." They look like this:

So, maybe it was kind of bad to take it but hey, after sitting there for that long, I figured I earned it! Not to mention, since I'm half Pakistani, it actually kind of suits me better *grin* Not that my partner's Mom knows anything about that, or my psych/neuro, we're breaking her in gently. It was bad enough for her to learn that her daughter was actually gay...

Okay, time to put away some groceries and "stuff"...guess I won't be a complete "lady of leisure" today haha.

Friday, December 22, 2006

PA, Signing Off...

...for now. Like you give a rat's ass. I swear, I've fucking had it with Blogger, computers, whatever the hell is causing all the damn problems. I know, rant, rant and rant some more! Maybe it will make me feel better? Maybe PA is starting to lose it?

I think I need to have some food and lay down for a bit. Or something. We've got a big night ahead and I'm still trying to do stuff around the house. Not that people are coming over--we're going out--but everything still needs to get done around here (because we are going out so much and there's just not enough time.

I'm not feeling social.

Vacationing During the Holidaze

If you haven't figured it out yet, I'm a little cranky. This is the second day of my vacation and I've been going non-stop from first thing in the morning until into the evening. I mean, I've been busier on vacation than I normally am when I'm working.

That's nuts.

Why Do People Yell At Their Pets?

So I was walking home from a nearby radiology lab this morning after getting my tummy x-rayed. This woman was walking two Basset Hounds and she was positively screaming at one of them for admittedly, nothing that I could see the poor pup doing wrong. Lady, if you yelled at me like that, I wouldn't listen to you either.

Now, I'll admit that Bassets aren't the smartest set of the canine species. We had one growing up and even though she was an absolute doll, she was dumb. But for goodness sake, don't yell at your pets!

Granted, I've yelled at mine to try and teach them. To get them to stop doing something that they're not supposed to be doing but I don't absolutely shriek like a possessed demon! I do it to get their attention. But just yelling and screaming in an abusive manner? That drives me crazy. And I always follow it up with a little "chat" about behaviour and what's acceptable and what's not. Animals are smart and you do need to train them but yelling uncontrollably (and hitting--DO NOT get me started...) is terrorizing the furry one who should be your best friend.

Is It Blogger Or Me?

Ah yes, the eternal question. I'm at home now (so I don't have the super duper fancy computing abilities of my workplace) and I also installed (well reinstalled) the newer version of Firefox (and yes I am on a PC)

*hangs head*--I want a Mac...

but oh, holy hell(!) I am again not able or barely able to connect with anything (including my own blog), replete with broken images, links, error messages...if I am persistent, things seem to work eventually but it only appears to be with blogs. And not only with Blogger blogs; it seems WordPress blogs aren't accessible either. By any route. Manually typing urls, search engines...

All other websites seem fine.


It's the same with IE. Up, down, up down.

Piss off.

Something Different: Microposting!

Okay, because my posts have been really long (well, not really long) and sort of all over, I'm going to try something new today. Just writing short little posts about individual subjects. You can tell me if that's any more annoying than trying to keep track of my posts that seem to veer hither and yon.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

How Do You Solve A Problem Like Patient Anonymous...?

...How do you catch a cloud and pin it down? How do you find a word that means Patient Anonymous? A flibbertigibbet! A will-o'-the wisp! A clown!

So I've been noticing that I've been rambling a bit during my posts. Forgive me. I'm really wondering if getting some stims will help. Afraid I won't know the answer to that one for a while.

And more imminently, How do you solve a problem like blogger?! I swear, since they've supposedly axed beta and they're migrating people over to who knows what (I haven't managed to see a difference although they say they're making whatever changes to "certain" people slowly...guess I'm a peon) things are an absolute disaster today. Worse than whenever it was a few days ago. I can't even view peoples blogs properly! So who knows if you'll even be able to read this let alone comment haha!

Now where were we...yes, The Sound of Music. They always play it this time of year even though it has nothing to do with Christmas. I've never understood that. But I do love the word "flibbertigibbbet!" And I do love Julie Andrews too. Actually, I think I had a crush on her as a little girl. Yes, I am willing to publicly embarrass myself on my own blog. I also had crushes on Olivia Newton-John and Lindsay Wagner (The Bionic Woman!) And of course, this was way before I knew anything about my sexuality--I was just a little girl (not that little girls don't know their sexual preferences, I just didn't.) Dear me, I was practically asexual until the bipolar hit.

As I got a little older, I developed crushes on "fey" boys. Gee, if that wasn't a clue? When I was 17, a boy I was dating broke up with me on Christmas Eve because he "thought he was gay." Of course he was. Oh the irony. I caught up with him later on in my 20s after I had come out and suggested getting together for a drink. He didn't seem so enthusiastic.

So I got to thinking about attractiveness and who I've found "attractive" or appealing over the years and vice versa. I mean, I am by no means beautiful. Somewhere between "cute" and "pretty," perhaps but by "society's standards...?" (thank you society for giving us women such a fucked up lens by which to define ourselves...) I don't know. I just think of myself as painfully average *sigh* I look in the mirror though and think, Would I pick myself up in a bar? Nah, don't think so!

For a while, many people have thought that facial or bilateral symmetry was the key to attraction. The press really took off with it and all sorts of "documentaries" were made, stories written. I recall seeing them and sort of fell into the trap? But in thinking about all of it today, it made me wonder. It may not be so "simple" as the geometrical designations of the infamous mask that can be applied to one's face to actually measure the symmetry.

Oooh. Looks spooky, huh?

But that's not all that's spooky. Take a look at this site. It's kind of annyoying so I apologize for that but even in it's "annonying-ness" it just further demonstrates how scary it is and again, how everyone really took to this whole bilateral symmetry thing. This place made a business out of it. Yikes. Now I am not an advocate of plastic surgery but to take the "leap" of science and use it for your business to remodel people's faces and then to stuff your pockets after all is said and done with the profits?

Here we have some interesting quoted studies about some work done re: bilateral symmetry and how it may not matter much at all--at least in terms of attractiveness. But wait there's more! Check out the stuff on how women recognize faces during various phases of their menstrual cycle (both on and off the birth control pill) and some controversial stuff on racial facial (hey that rhymes ha!) recognition.

If there's one thing that I've learned over the years it's simply this: a good looking face (or whatever else suits your fancy) won't help you at all over the years if you can't communicate and don't have at least a few core things in common with the person you ultimately end up with. Looks fade over the years as do a lot of other things that go along with "the physical"'s the mental that sustains the relationship.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Let the Gastro Gauntlet Begin...Happy Hanukkah!

So happy Hanukkah to all my Jewish (and non-Jewish) readers. I'm not Jewish but my partner is so hey, you can celebrate too--I do! I've joined in on all the festivities since we've been together. I even read Hebrew at Pesach (aka Passover) but off the page (hey, I'm not that good.) I realize that I'm a couple of days late--the eight day "Festival of Lights" kicked off Saturday but I figure, since I've got eight days, I can post this now.

We inadvertently began Hanukkah by going to see Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. Kind of ironic, don't you think? We didn't do it on purpose; we just hadn't gotten around to seeing it. Oh boy, Sacha Baron Cohen is nuts. There was one scene where I was almost rolling in the aisles and suffering from oxygen deprivation as I was laughing so hard--and loudly. If you haven't seen the movie, I won't tell you which part it was but if you have, go ahead and take a guess. I'll give you a hint: it had nothing to do with any of the "anti-semitic" comments.

Anyway, we've been busy--and will be busier. My partner's birthday also falls around this time of year...well, today actually so there's that to contend with also.

So far no news about celebrating Christmas with anyone from my side of the family. I can hear the crickets chirping... Just as well...I'm growing increasingly unhappy with Dad's side and well, Mom...that's difficult. My sister doesn't celebrate at all...she's a Jehovah's Witness. She's got the right idea!

But all the food! With the current condition of my stomach it's just awful. I eat anyway because I can't figure out any triggers and it's not like Jews are the only ones who put on big spreads this time of year. Actually, just about any ethno-religio-cultural group will always celebrate with food. It just so happens that right now it's Hanukkah time!

So being Jewish by osmosis isn't bad, actually. I kind of enjoy it. I won't be taking any conversion classes any time soon (much to my partner's mother's chagrin...) but I wouldn't convert to any religion. I carried the flag of agnosticism for many years but I became frustrated as a "fence sitter" and my rational mind took over so I proclaimed myself an athiest. I still respect peoples' choice to practice religion but I see it as a cultural construct, treat it as such and appreciate it on that basis. I have no problem entering a place of worship and even practicing in certain rituals but I will draw the line at praying and I do not sing hymns. I do enjoy listening to sacred music very much though. That's more of an appreciation of the art form, however.

Fundamentalists get my blood boiling a little. I'm a "live and let live" kind of person as I hope you can sort of gather from above. Don't try and "convert" me! And don't get your panties in a bunch just because I'm (by your definition) an evil non-believer! Sheesh. I'm not some "fundamentalist athiest" who runs around trying to "non-convert" people! It's not like I preach that all religion is evil--although sometimes I may take issue with organized religion. A lot of people run around and misquote Marx saying "Religion is the opiate of the masses!" but I won't. I think faith is good, faith is fine. If it gets you through the day and makes you a better person, that's great! But yes, it's probably more the institutions and hypocrisy within them that I have a problem with.

Okay, welcome to tangent-land with Patient Anonymous! Consider yourself warned. Posts like these may occur frequently.

So anyway, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Tohji-taisai, Happy Yule, Happy Solstice, Happy Joseph Smith's Birthday, Happy Sharaf, Happy Kwanzaa...I think that should just about cover everything? Or maybe not.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Cathy's Story Challenge!

Well, I read some of the other entries from the last one and wow, there are some great writers out there. Maybe I shouldn't have done that *gulp* but I guess this isn't a competition, right haha. I'm my own worst critic... Ugh. Okay, here's probably the worst of the lot! As I mentioned out fiction needs work.

Oh, and I'll try to get to every else's as soon as possible. Don't feel slighted if I haven't gotten around to posting on your blog about your story yet. Reading can be a bit of a challenge for me (i.e. long posts: *crosses eyes*...mind drifts off...) but I'll do my best to get through every one! I've got vacation time coming up!

Okay, here you are:

He had forgotten how salty it tasted. When he was just a boy, it stung his eyes and made him cry and that too tasted salty but not like this. The water of the sea. It was why he hated the boat, the fish and much of the small East Coast town. It was always in the air, just hanging there it seemed. You couldn’t get it out of your hair, off your clothes, out of your nose. And the dampness! Oh, how it made his bones ache. But he needed to come back at least just this once to see Dad. So one more time, he readied to jump aboard the rusty trawler.

Despite his age, and his doctor’s recommendations, Seamus McGhee refused to stop boarding his ship and casting his nets. Not many people joined him on his vessel these days for trips around the inlet. He still offered tours and would give lessons on how to catch fish but commercial fishing no longer existed in these parts. Still, once a seaman, always a seaman.

“Ahoy, ‘me boy!” Seamus exclaimed. Michael ruefully, gingerly climbed up the starboard ladder.

“Hi, Da,” Michael spoke in his customarily soft voice

“So what do you say we take her out for a good run, ah? Don’t you remember now?”

“Sure, Da.

“There’s a good lad!” Seamus grinned ear to ear. It had probably been a long time since anyone had been on the boat with his father, Michael thought. Was that the reason he was so happy or was it because it was that he, his son, was here to see him. Michael started up the loud motor and began slowly moving the craft out of the dock.

* * *

As they sat, their conversation was simple. How could it be anything but? Seamus drifted aimlessly, often rockily, like a dinghy caught in a storm. He spoke mostly about life in the village and his “vexatious” experiences with the neighbour woman’s multitude of cats. “She’d always had so many cats! Why the need for so many cats!” Seamus ranted on...(Michael had always liked the cats. They were so warm and cuddly. They were always there to play with when, so often, no friends would come to call.)

Conversely, Michael was staid, solid like a great battleship dutily at war and spoke about his work as a lawyer in the city. Or he sat simply mute, like he had resolutely dropped anchor.

The two men could not be more different. Never mind that one was sick and the other well. But in character, demeanor and appearance, you would never know that these two men were father and son.

Michael’s stomach began to rumble and he looked at his watch. They had been sitting for nearly four hours with nets cast and had lifted them over 17 times. Not one single fish. Seamus was scratching his head. The sun was starting to set.

He thought about what they should do for a meal but suspected that his father’s home would be empty of food, except perhaps for some tea and biscuits. Where had he been eating? The neighbour woman’s (despite the cats?) The pub? Had he been eating?

The cold sea air whipped past Michael’s face and got into his eyes once again like so many years before. Those eyes welled up with tears but this time, not one drop was allowed to fall.

‘Damn this place! Damn everything!’ he screamed under a silent tongue.

“Well, what do you say, Da? Do you think we should head back?” Michael asked after quietly composing himself. He added with nervous laughter, “I just don’t think they’re biting today.”

Seamus looked to the west and another grin began to creep across his weathered, wrinkled face. He started to laugh. Slowly at first and then in huge waves, almost in rhythm with the crests and falls that rocked the trawler.

“Red sky at night: sailor’s delight! Ah, ha ha ha!” he erupted. “You know son, you’re probably right. If I’m to come out here tomorrow and get these fish, I need to get an early night in! I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them.

Here are the other contributors to the challenge:




Dr. Schwab

At Your Cervix

Kim (Emergiblog)

The Wandering Author (?)


Frequency of Silence (JCR)

Truth is Freedom (Brian)

Pearls and Dreams (PK)

Mimi Writes (Mimi)

Potpourri Of Writing (Mary Emma)



Musings of a Distractable Mind (Dr. Rob)



Thanks very much to Cathy who put this whole thing together. I (think I?) look forward to the next one haha.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Met My Gastroenterologist Today...

...and I really like him! I knew I would as soon as I saw him. He's young (close to my age?) and looks like a hippie! Yeah, to hell with what you know as a physician, as long as you look cool! Actually, I'm neither that ridiculous, nor shallow, nor stupid as a patient. But I can appreciate a doc with a decent sense of style or appearance or hey, who is just unique but not in an asshole-ish kind of way--been there, escaped that.

So we go over the whole story including all of my current meds and conditions...blah, blah, blah... It looks like this is going to be a bit of lengthy process, however? We're starting off with just a general x-ray and some bloodwork and then I'm going back in about six weeks. I tried to get him to 'fess up as to what he's already got percolating upstairs but he won't tell me. I guess he doesn't want to speak out of turn about any potential diagnoses...hmm.

He actually said to me (hey medblog addict , are you listening?): "This is where I need to be a bit of a lawyer here..." I understood that he was trying to make some sort of coy reference (I guess...?) but it made me wonder if lawyers ever say that, conversely, "This is where I need to be a doctor here..."

Anyway, we also talked about the endoscopy complications of the past that I've experienced. I apologized and told him that I didn't want to be difficult but... Yes, the anxiety was already beginning to creep. He assured me that he could do whatever he needed to do under a general anaesthetic so yes, things have changed in The Land of Endoscopies over the last 20 some odd years!

I just may have to wait a while to see exactly what is going to happen procedure wise.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Just In Time For Christmas...

Someone just sent this to me and I have to post it. It seems completely appropriate for this blog.

"You Do It!": I'm Such An Ass...

So my partner made some curry for last night's dinner. With all of my stomach problems she suggested that she pick up some rice on the way home as we have none in the house. She's on a restricted diet at the moment for health reasons--long story... She also mentioned potatoes. I thought it might be a good idea to cut the spice with some starch, just in case. So I said to her:

"Whatever's easier for you to make."


I hear back in disbelief, "What?!"

No, I do not treat my partner as my personal slave. Welcome to the fact that I sometimes lose my verbal filter.

I apologized and started laughing. Luckily, she was laughing too. It's a good thing we have such a healthy relationship and she understands me.

You see, my parterner is a chef by trade. She does most (well...all...) of the cooking. It's not that I can't cook. It's just that:

  1. She's better at it.
  2. When we first moved in together I was grossly intimidated and still feel a little inadequate.
  3. I'm funny with food.
You know how some people live to eat? Well, I eat to live. I've always been that way. I just don't really care about eating. I can go for long periods of time without food (which is unhealthy, I know--I probably have the most screwed up metabolism in the world.) And thanks to going on the "Topamax diet," well, I care even less. And with the gastro problems I barely want to eat at all. But my partner keeps me fed. Left to my own devices, I'd be a lot thinner than I am now. When I met her, she managed to put some necessary weight on me.

My partner also "manages" me in other ways. I need a lot of help with reminders about doing things around the house. This inevitably leads to her getting frustrated and me feeling like shit and vowing to "try harder." I hate it.

And dates, scheduling...she's in charge of all social arrangements, anything like that. I can barely handle my own medical appointments and bill payments.

It takes a lot of communication and we're pretty good at that. Even though I still tend to forget a fair bit what she tells me (sometimes within the span of a few minutes! Oh help me my new psychiatrist when I see you...)

Sometimes it makes me wonder just how functional I am. But that's another post.

For now, I'll just keep on making the odd comment here and there and keep paying for it with merciless teasing. Hey, it could be worse?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Cutting: When The Pain Just Can't Get Out

I was thinking about whether or not to put a trigger alert at the beginning of this post as it might be touchy but I could put a trigger alert on this entire blog. So, for what it's worth since some of this might be a bit alarming:


I am a cutter. Or a was a cutter. Have been a cutter. I am a reformed cutter? Once a cutter, always a cutter? Someone early on commented that I am a "label whore" because of all of my diagnoses and that made me laugh. So I guess, I'll simply add to that and say that yes, I am a cutter. I also say this because since I've done it in the past, I know that I am capable of doing it in the future. I think that will always make me a cutter.

Every cutter has a story, as I have learned. I can not speak for everyone so I will simply talk about my own experiences. Some people cut habitually, I on the other hand have only cut impulsively while in the throes of uncontrolled mixed state cycling.

Why? I guess during those moments, the utter pain, despair, frustration and hopelessness was so intense that words could not express what I felt. In a mixed state, you are simultaneously depressed but experiencing manic symptoms so you have the capability to act out violently. While the depression makes you feel so absolutely dead inside, the mania demands that you do something to make yourself feel alive. You cry out to the world to show your pain, to feel it so you reach for a knife and you damn well make it known.

The first time I cut myself I became an amatuer surgeon (albeit, a very bad one.) I severed three-quarters of the left median nerve in my wrist. All the doctors were amazed that I didn't hit any major arteries or veins. I was sent for surgery the next morning and they repaired it but not completely. I still have some numbness in my hand and fingers that will never return.

The second time, I more wrecklessly slashed my forearm deep into several layers of subcutaneous fatty tissue. No serious damage was done and I was stitched up in the ER.

Cutting is serious business. I absolutely loathe the taboo that surrounds it. Most frequently, it is attributed to people with Borderline Personality Disorder but believe me, people with BPD haven't cornered the market on self-injurious behaviour. I am living proof of that. And it works both ways--not all people with BPD harm themselves either.

Not long after the first cutting I spoke to my cousin who is an ER doc. She didn't know about it, just that I was hospitalized for psych reasons (even though I was kept on a surgical floor.) She immediately launched into a tirade about "cutters" and how she couldn't stand them as they were all a bunch of attention seekers, how they just wouldn't stay on their meds and how they never listened and on and on. I was deeply disturbed. I then told her casually the reason for my admission. Oh, she backpedalled hard but she couldn't redeem herself. I had always idolized her but now she really dropped from my esteem. We have since spoken and she seems a bit more sensitive to mentally ill patients. Perhaps she's had some training or grown up a little bit?

I won't argue that it can be difficult to help or treat someone who is a cutter (or who participates in other self-injurious behaviours.) It can be downright disturbing and painful in it's own right to witness it, perhaps even more so if it's habitual. But it doesn't mean that the person deserves less than adequate and/or sensitive care. For someone to get to that point, they are really, really hurting. I know. I never thought I'd find myself there but I did.

Saturday, December 9, 2006

A New Tool For My ADD?

I just saw a commercial for this on television. Caution: it actually shows you the annoying commercial. It actually reminded me of some discussion about Direct Marketing Ads over at Dr. Anonymous' blog, granted they were about selling pharmaceuticals. This is for some "must have" gadget that will make your life so much more manageable.

I always wonder about these ads. I mean, if the product is so great(!) why isn't it sold in stores, in catalogues, all over the free world? Well, I did find it on the internet but well...look what else you can find on the internet.

Hey, you found me right?

But back on point. They said in the commerical that "other" voice recorders (aka microcassette etc...) were *flash flash* more expensive! But this product was so much cheaper, smaller, handier and you get 2-for-the-price-of 1! Ah, there's the hook.

I have a microcassette recorder and I used to try and carry it around whenever I got a great "writing idea" when I used to write (and coincidentally be hypomanic.) But I more often than not forgot to to bring it with me wherever I went. That was the ADD rearing it's head.

This new doodad has a keychain attachment, however. But when you have ADD there's the issue of remembering where exactly you put your keys... Didn't someone come out with something where you could whistle if you lost your keys and that gadget would emit a sound so you could find them...?

Yes! Apparently no longer available through (people in the US aren't losing their keys anymore?) but here's a company in the UK that apparently still has a model to offer: Maplin Electronics.

But by this time, even if you don't have any cutesy personal key tags/trinkets to identify your set, your keychain is going to be getting pretty heavy. Will it still fit into your pocket? And I still have some questions that remain unanswered about that little "reminder thingie." I mean, what's it's capacity? I forget a lot of things in the span of one day. I mean A LOT. How many messages can I record for myself? What's sort of memory is on that thing? Can I get it upgraded? And who will remind me that I need to check my reminders? Does it have a flashing light or a beep? Ooh, a beep would be kind of annoying--probably to all parties involved with the amount of messages I'd need to record.

I guess if I want to scrap adding the extra 5lbs. to my frame, I can always go for the Hipster PDA. But really, I've never been that crafty and it just seems to be too much work. I've already had way too many bad experiences with Post-It notes tacked all over the place. They inevitably end up not being sticky enough and fall off their intended surfaces and then, my reminder is lost into an abyss forever. Paper doesn't seem to work all that well for me. And eternally, there's always the chance that I'd forget to bring my Hipster PDA (like my keys or my microcassette recorder--and just about everything else I use every day) with me wherever I went.

I don't think there's a product out there that can really help me. Certainly not one I'd pay for.

Friday, December 8, 2006

Lipstick For Your Roots?

So on my way in to work this morning, I saw one of the oddest things. A woman looked like she was applying lipstick to her faded roots with a compact mirror. I just sat and stared. And barely contained myself--I wanted to laugh out loud! I know it's rude to stare but when I see things that I can't comprehend, sometimes my eyes betray me.

Now I don't dye my hair (I've earned every one of my incoming greys and they're staying!) so I don't know if some bizarre product is on the market that looks like lipstick that could be used to "patch up" the offending spots on your scalp before you can get to your stylist.

But still. What on earth could it be made of? And wouldn't it be greasy? And this thing looked like lipstick. It was this dark, almost maroon colour and slid up and down and was shaped like the traditional thing.

I'm sure I could spend some time researching this as there just may very well be something someone has invented out there that matches this description. But I don't know if I will. It's just too much fun to think that this woman was actually applying lipstick to her head (I'm still grinning like a fool as I type this.)

I did ask a colleague when I arrived at work (who does colour her hair) and she'd never heard of such a thing. She also thought the whole incident equally bizarre. Maybe I should ask my own hairdresser when I see him next.

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Bipolar Acceptance

A reader took the time to send me an email about their personal experiences with Bipolar Disorder. How nice. Thank you!

Some of the things in our exchange got me thinking about a post I had been mulling around for a bit so now seems an appropriate time to write it. I think this a great topic that everyone with Bipolar can relate to and I could probably go on about it forever but I'll try to keep it brief. And I'm a little fuzzed out today so...well, let me just give it a go.

Stage 1: The Diagnosis

Oh my god, I'm Bipolar! What the hell does that mean?! If you didn't suffer panic attacks before you just might start now! Welcome to Identity Crisis (Part I.) Congratulations! You've now been affixed with a label that you may proudly (if you dare?) wear for the rest of your life. You get to ponder what the stigma of it all means and how to disclose this new information about yourself. Who do I tell? Do I tell?

Relax. Slow down (if you're still not a whirling dirvish of manic cycling) and breathe. You can and will get help. Find a good psychiatrist and therapist (if you feel necessary--although, I've always been a believer in utilizing both therapies: meds and psychotherapy) and do talk about it with people you are close to that you feel you can trust. Develop a good support system. Get to know what to do in a crisis. Don't be afraid to use hotlines or telephone support numbers or even 911 if you need it! There is nothing wrong with you. You have an illness, not a character flaw.

Stage 2: Meds

Welcome to the med-go-round! Unfortunately it is very rare to find the "magic bullet" right off the hop with Bipolar. In fact, there may not even be such a thing. You'll always need to be wary of triggers as Bipolar is something you are going to have live with for the rest of your life. That's right! There is no cure. You will no doubt need to try several or many medications in order to find the right one or combination (yes combination) of drugs in order to ease your symptoms. Oh, and you will need to stay on these medications for the rest of your life. And they will probably cause you a multitude of side effects ranging from mildly annoying to downright sickening to sometimes even freakishly bizarre. Oh, the fun never stops!

Med compliance is extremely important with Bipolar Disorder. I've heard of so many people who went off their meds and really regretted it. I don't advise it. I never would go off my meds.

Stage 3: Stability (aka The Holy Grail)

...or not? Welcome to Identity Crisis (Part II.) For me, and perhaps a lot of other people with Bipolar, this is the hardest part of having the disorder. It's the last part. It's Limbo. It's this weird no-man's-land, sort of oblivion that you're left in while you manage this life long disorder.

Bipolar comes in many flavours. I'm not a big fan of the DSM-IV diagnostic criteria as it seems too stringent and the ICD-10 seems to take things a little bit further, nonetheless, (as an example) when you've been swinging from the rafters for a long time and now you're medicated, calmed--even flattened--down, no longer behaving as you once were... The questions inevitably arise:

Where did I go?
Who am I?
Who am I now?
Was that the real me?
Is this the real me?
What happened to all of that energy/spark/creativeness (fill in the appropriate noun)?

Feel free to keep asking yourself more questions. I know I still do.

What I keep reminding myself of, though, is all the havoc I wreaked while unmedicated. I mean, sure, it's easy to remember the *fun* times but in reality, they weren't so much fun. If I look through more clear eyes, I can see that my euphoria always came with a hefty price tag--either financial, emotional or both. And that was just the euphoria. There were also periods of self-destruction and harm during the crazy mixed state times.

So, if trading off some of that "spark" (or whatever it was that I thought I had) means finding something else within myself now that I am properly treated and managing this disorder...perhaps that means acceptance?

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

For Any Canadian Readers...Or If You Have A Big Satellite Dish?

I forgot to post this earlier. I watched this on television last night and it wasn't bad. If you can, check it out as it's airing a few more times on Radio-Canada and CBC.

I won't criticize it too much (or at all!) because...

Spoiler Alert!

Do not read any further if you do not want to know how this documentary ends...simply close your browser and exit my blog now.



I won't say much because well...the guy worked as a film/video director and after surviving his injury, he directed this project himself.

Before Vijay Busts a Gut...

So while over at Vijay's place the other day on scan man's notes pitifully mourning my low IQ score from his online test (108--I normally rank around 130, I swear!!!) I inadvertently made the mistake/discovered the art of link baiting. Oops! I posted that his part of the world (or nearby) was very near and dear to my heart.

I've been trying to map out in my head how to talk about my family. There's just so much of it. I guess you just go with the flow and start typing? So, I may as well drop this bomb. I alluded to it in one of my lists on the right...someone I'd like to meet.

My biological father is from Pakistan. I know very little about him. I might not ever know much more. You see, my Mom is quite ill--mentally--and really in denial about it all. I mean, she's crackers. I've been trying to think of ways ever since I found out this choice piece of information, how to talk to her about it but I may never get anything out of her.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

In the very late 1960s my family (well my non-biological father) was in Karachi on business. Back in those days, companies paid for the entire brood to travel abroad, especially if it was for extended periods. My older sister even had part of her first year of school (a version of Kindergarden) there.

Mom never adapted very well to the cultural change. And she was tremendously agoraphobic. While the other Western woman of the colony would socialize and shop (while the men were away working) Mom would just hide. She was terribly lonely, I think. She ended up having an affair with the hamal, basically a porter or servant in the home. They had several servants, a cook etc... being Westerners. My mother spent a lot of time with this man, as did my father (they were the same age and became good friends) and I believe that she really loved him--that they loved each other. She even nursed him through a terrible case of Dysentery so I've been told.

I was also a twin--or so they thought. Mom miscarried in her first trimester but upon further examination, she was still pregnant. The explanation was that she miscarried Sister? Who would know? But the story is that another foetus was there. She was advised to travel to London as the pregnancy and delivery might prove to be difficult but she refused to leave. Was that because she refused to leave the man who fathered me? Or did she just not want to be alone and travel to yet another foreign country? Perhaps both? I have no answers at all surrounding these issues of my birth and so many more.

My family travelled home to Canada and I was born without incident. Oh but I sure looked different! My sister was fair with almost flaxen hair in her childhood. I was so dark! A convenient foil? Oh, there were black genes waaaay back on my non-biological father's side. That was it!

I lived under this assumption until I was 29 and had my first psych hospitalization. I did not call my mother as I did not need absolute hysteria as I could barely deal with my own. Actually, I was more like a puddle on the floor but you get the idea of a world crumbling all around you. I did call my non-biological father (my parents divorced when I was 14.) He told the hospital psychiatrist treating me that his history was irrelevant as he was not my biological father but I did not know this. The psychiatrist told him that everything was relevant.

Sometime later after further hospitalizations and record transfers, I was speaking with a social worker who told me that something "didn't make sense" regarding that hospital stay. She told me of the conversation and I lost it. I got so angry of the accusation that my father could not be "my father!" She told me that was a pretty strong reaction. Could there be any truth in it? I sat silent for a moment and thought about it. I denied it and quickly left the appointment.

Truth time. I called my father and basically caught him in the lie. He came over to my apartment and we talked for about three hours. I tried to get as much information out of him as possible in between trying to just get over the shock. Part of me wasn't shocked, however. I was never "my father's daughter." I was always more his pal, his buddy. And I already knew way too much more about my parents marriage courtesy of him than a child should--like they were swingers and had affairs and things like that. Boundary issues with my Dad? Gee, none at all!

So maybe it wasn't much of a surprise really? But it rocked my world. It did. And I wasn't mentally stable: in and out of the hospital, not on the right meds, drinking every day...this wasn't exactly the news I needed.

So, I guess that's what I was trying to say, Vijay...I'm half Pakistani! I had DNA testing done and everything. I wanted proof that after all the years of lying and deceit that the man who raised me truly wasn't my biological father. Tests conclusively proved that fact. That cost me a lot of money though!

Where to go from here? Who knows? Maybe nowhere but at least I have a better sense of who I am. It's painful. My therapist says she sees it a lot in people she works with who are adopted. It's like you're missing a part of who you are.

It's funny. My mom made me sit down and write this virtual--no complete-- stranger a letter when I was about six or seven years old. I challenged her as I said, he didn't even know who I was! She got very angry and told me to just do it! So I did. I still have the letter he sent back, written by a scribe as he could only speak English, not write, nor read it. Unfortunately the return address got torn off. I'm not even sure how to spell his last name correctly. I wouldn't know how to begin to try and find him.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

It's Not Just "All In My Head..." I Have Other Problems Too!

I feel like shit today. I was going to post about something else (hang on Vijay, it's coming!) but I'd rather rant about this. My gut is killing me. I had a brief respite during my upper respiratory tract infection--or maybe I was just preoccupied with it? Or perhaps my body was being kind enough to let me deal with just one issue at a time.

I'm going to see a Gastroenterologist/Specialist in Internal Medicine (I'm not sure...haven't met him yet!) soon (counting down the days...) and believe me, it won't be soon enough! I've been feeling quite ill since the summer (well, since I was about 13 but that's the longer history.)

I mentioned in my med list that I'm currently taking Nexium for GERD. Well, that has been going along swimmingly for over a couple of years now but I'm not sure what's happening at the moment. I'm in a lot of pain and I've had some night time reflux incidents over the last few months (and other stuff but I won't bother to list everything--post a comment if you want to know.) I've searched high and low for any findings of proton pump inhibitor "poop out" (pardon the bad pun) or (in)tolerance but I can find anything. And then there are the lower GI symptoms. They're pointing in the direction of IBS but who knows? I need to a full work up. I want a full work up.

So I figure a scope is probably in order. Boy, I sure hope things have changed in The Land of Endoscopies in the last 20 some odd years. The last two attempts I had were absolutely horrific.

When I was about 13, they couldn't get the damn tube down. I have a superhuman gag reflex and despite the throat spray (useless) and what I suspect were two benzos and one shot of whatever concoction the anaesthesiologist gave me via IV, I still remained wide awake and chatty. The anaesthesiologist confirmed that I had been given the pills "to relax me" and then told the doctor performing the endoscopy that he'd be on the floor by now after the IV sedation. So he shot me up again and still, the tube would not go down. Gag, gag, gag...the next thing I remember was: nothing. I passed out.

Fast forward to the end of the day (half day procedure.) They had to call my father at work to come and get me. He had to dress me and carry me out of the hospital and into the car. I could not speak I was still so out of it. So, needless to say, that procedure didn't go so well.

A few years later, I went to see a Gastroenterologist at another hospital further away from my small(er) home town where I grew up. He wanted to try the nasal route (I guess because of the swallowing issues?) I was still pretty young (and willing to try anything.) Now I'm just older and willing to try anything--but in the name of science haha!

Anyway, the nurse started lubing up the surgical tubing with the little camera and I'm getting a bit nervous, kind of second guessing this decision. But I really wanted some relief from the pain! Slowly she begins inserting the tube through my nose but she reaches a roadblock. She pushes again. No go. She leaves to get the Gastro who's all prepped for surgery. He places his hand on the back of my head and really gives it the old college try.

Wham! Ow.

Still no movement. "Hmmm," he says. "You seem to have unusually small nasal cavities. This isn't going to work." He removes the tube and I have a gusher of a nosebleed. I'd never had a nosebleed in my life, let alone been punched in the face--by a doctor, no less! He turns and leaves and makes no mention of a follow up appointment.

At this point, I am just bawling. Not only from the pain but from the entire ordeal. To further things along, the nurse then stated sharply: "Oh, what's your problem! You see it every month, don't you?" I kid you not. I should have been stunned into silence but I actually sputtered out: "Not out of my face, I don't!"

And with that, I'd had it with Gastroenterologists.

This upcoming appointment shoud be interesting. With age comes courage?

Monday, December 4, 2006

Private Health (S)Care?

So I read today that our country's first private health clinic has opened in British Columbia. Huzzah! (sarcasm) Yes, I am a strong supporter of our publicly funded health care system--even if it is in a bit of a shambles right now and sorely in need of some "rehabilitation" and healing in it's own right.

Still, privatization is not the answer. At least not in my opinion. And I think my opinion matters as a patient and health care consumer because in the end, it's us who always end up suffering the brunt of decisions made.

Some people who are onside with, not outright privatization (believe me, I don't think that will ever happen--over certain politician's dead bodies), but maintaining some sort of "two-tiered" approach, think that it will solve some of our current problems with backlogs. They think it will allow for people to seek non-vital services faster. Uh huh. Ah, yes. You have the money, you get to move to the head of the line. But will such "queue jumping" really improve our backlogs? The system is not clogged simply with non-vital services. Oh, take a stroll through the emergency rooms. The "vital" services are looking pretty grim, also.

So here we have this new private clinic that has opened up that treats "vital" or as they say "urgent" services. But wait. According to the article, some vital services are paid for under the public system. This would make the clinic in violation under the Canada Health Act. The doctors there are also working in both systems--private and public so hmmm...dual practice? Conflict of interest? Don't like how slowly things are going at the hospital, well...why don't you come over to the clinic...for a few dollars, we can get you out a lot faster!

So this is that latest in healthcare from our Federal Government. They'll sit and watch this sort of behaviour go on, keep an eye on it and yet they won't actually invest in fixing the problems.

I don't want to be all "Chicken Little" but you know what they say: "Give them an inch..." If one or a few of these start popping up it will turn viral. Maybe the rich don't mind (you'd think they would!) but there are a lot of people that need publicly funded healthcare. We've got a great system. It works. It's just been neglected for way too long by a government that doesn't seem to care.

Sunday, December 3, 2006

A Lazy Weekend

Well, most of my weekends are pretty lazy. They're my time to decompress from work, all things schedule-oriented (although I need schedule to function) and just relax. Except it's also time to do household tasks. And in this weekend's case, I'm still trying to beat this infection.

I watched the Liberal Leadership Convention on television all day yesterday. Yeah, I know. I can hear the multiple comments you must be making. They vary from to "Uber Geek!" to "Are you kidding me...BORING!" to maybe a couple of people saying, "Oh, I didn't know she was into politics."

Well, I'm not really but someone has to do something about our current Prime Minister "Bush Lite." And don't worry, this isn't going to turn into some crazy political rant or (heaven forbid!) blog because I'm really not that passionate about politics. If I was, I would be more crazy than I already am and probably need to be permanently institutionalized.

It (the Convention) was mildly interesting--when I wasn't nodding off or channel switching in between updates. But man, was it long! The problem was, we had so many candidates (a few dropped out and backed others before the final voting) so they had to do four votes. And there's all of this switching to others' camps in between and for the most part, the commentary was gruelling. I mean, think of your favourite sport and how annoying that is. Now magnify it by about 20.

So now we finally have a new Leader of the Opposition in Parliament so we'll see if anything exciting happens. Doubtful.

Friday, December 1, 2006

Finding A New Doctor

In some previous posts I have referred to my "ex-doctor" or my "ex-GP." In life I have also referred to him as "Ding Dong," "Dr. Asshole" and other unflattering terms. Why did I stay with this man for app. six years?

Well, I have "white coat syndrome" for one. I have a strange fear of the Doctor as Authority Figure. I just gave it that name as I don't believe it's really a classified "Capital-S Syndrome." Also, I always likened us to an old married couple. We would argue over my treatment and it was kind of funny. Or not. I mean, it actually bordered on a co-dependent relationship, looking back. But I got away with a lot because I was smart (he bestowed three Ph.D.s on me in our time together) so I could usually get what I wanted out of him.

But he would do a lot of other, what I feel, unprofessional things. He would huff and puff and complain about how busy he was and tell me of his troubles. Um, excuse me, but is this not my appointment for my troubles? Good thing I'm not in the U.S. and I wasn't paying for this! And he would pull this, kind of, passive-aggressive bullshit where he'd get all uppity about something and then say things like, "Oh, you didn't think I'd do that (for you) did you?" or "Oh, you don't think I care, do you?"

I would have to fight a lot to get things done. Like referrals. Sometimes I'd "win," sometimes, I'd lose. This was not about me being a demanding patient. Remember, this was the same man who did not believe I was having seizures. Upon finally seeing a neurologist, the neuro said to me my brain was "screaming" for an EEG and MRI. He wanted to know why on earth I'd never had them done before. I didn't answer.

No, this was because this GP wanted to treat everything himself and things he couldn't treat simply did not exist. Or they were "stress." And because I was too afraid to leave, I just sat there and took it.

Well, over the last few months, it became unbearable that by appointment times, I was either so anxious I could barely stand it and would burst into tears or feel like I was going to ex/implode or I was so angry I wanted to punch him. And I'm pretty passive and non-violent!

Time to find a new doctor?

So off I went. And I wanted a woman haha! I'd only ever seen men and they'd all proven to be trouble. Sorry all you male GPs out there, I don't like to make blanket statements but I've just had no luck with you! I'm sure women physicians can be jerks too but I thought that maybe, just maybe, I'd have better luck with another gal.

Everyone out there, I recommend you interview your prospective GPs! I'd never done it before and boy, did I feel like an ass (I was SO nervous!) but it really makes a difference. These people are responsible for your health! Here is a list of questions that I came up with. Maybe you can think of others that would apply to your situation. I kept these pretty broad:

1. How long have you been in practice?

2. How do you see the role of the patient in your practice?

3. Do you value a collaborative relationship with your patients (eg. valuing my opinions, open to hearing about research/treatments I am interested in?)

4. How would you feel if I brought medical research/information obtained from the internet to an appointment for discussion?

5. What made you want to become a GP?

6. What do you think the role of a GP is?

7. Do you have any personal philosophies concerning treatment?

8. How do you keep abreast of the latest in medical research/trends?

9. What are your feelings about antibiotics? Do you have any other feelings regarding the prescription of any other medications?

10. How would you feel if I did not wish to take a certain medication prescribed?

11. Do you have a specialty?

12. What is your affiliated hospital?

13. Can you refer patients to other practitioners outside of your affiliated hospital?

14. What is your policy/are your feelings about giving referrals?

15. What is your availability, appointment wait times and what is your current patient load?

16. How long do you usually spend with a patient?

17. What is your policy with telephone calls, urgent issues/questions if they arise (i.e. will you speak to me over the telephone, call me back if I leave a message or by appt. only?)

18. Who handles your practice during vacations, leaves of absences etc…?

19. What are your office hours? Is this your only location?

20. How do you handle after hours needs?

21. If lab work needs to be done, where are the tests conducted? How quickly are results usually obtained and how will I be notified?

How did I make out? Well, after almost giving myself an aneurysm (hehe, I know you can't really "do" that to yourself but it sounds fun to say) I finally found someone who I think is good. She seems certainly proficient although a bit distant but we're just getting to know each other. (I talk way too much and I've even prepared long "notes" in Excel/Word for our appointments so maybe she hates me already!) I already have a therapist--it's not like I need her to be my shoulder to cry on. But some level of "humanity" would be good. I don't want to feel like I'm talking to a robot.

Anyway, she's setting up the referrals that I need and we're taking things from there.

Bye bye Dr. Ding Dong Asshole!