Today I met my 3,742nd psychiatrist. Let's just say there were no surprises, not on my end anyway.
I had to get out of the last "group practice" I was in because it was just plain sketchy. First of all the reception area speaks to the doctors through Nextel walkie talkies. Drug deals and walkie talkies do not make a good combination, even in an office setting, and it makes for a very bad first impression! (I thought, surely their phone system must be down for the day but next visit there they were copy thatn' same as before.)
"COLLEEN MULLANEY THE DOCTOR WILL SEE YOU NOW" "Okay doctor patient is on her way in." Like the place was palatial; it was the first floor of a three tenement in Worcester. If that wasn't irritating enough they forgot about me the first day. I am all for people watching, but enough already..."breaker one-nine, when is it my fucking turn?" When I finally get into the Docs office I am, well, overwhelmed by his collection. Cases and cases, Entertainment Centers, Armoires, Curio Cabinets FULL of PHARMA Chachkies. Everything from Cymbalta coffee mugs, to Prozac pens and Viagra plaques. Each one set at just the right angle, catching the sunlight streaming in through his bent metal blind overlooking Price Choppers parking lot. I couldn't make this shit up if I tried.
As I tried to hide my complete and utter shock at the vastness of his collection, I noticed he barely looked up from his computer as he asked me how I was, and if it was my first time here and what he could do for me, all the while typing. Apparently his walkie-talkie packin' office staff did not take dictation. I rather admired his kindness to take on some of the office work himself, noble.
He spoke in a thick middle eastern accent. I, loving people of all cultures, decided to ask him where he was from. "Where do you think I am from," as he looked up from his computer with only his eyes. Um, shit, talk about being put on the spot. What if I said the wrong country? I've seen CNN, Oh man, I should have just kept my stupid mouth shut and got the friggin prescription. "Um, Lebanon?" I said with a shaky voice and a very awkward, forced smile. He looked up with a smile and said, rather loudly "SYRIA, so close, so close! Do you know of my country?" Oh fuck, seriously, I was listening to NPR on the way in here, of course know of your country, shit. "Um, yes, yes, um very difficult time for your people." Shit was that racist "your people?" "Seriously Colleen?????" "Yes, very difficult." I could have let it go at that but he seemed okay, so I continued my nervous banter "Do you still have family there?" "NO, no, no, they are all here. All safe." "Oh, good, I am glad to hear that." Seriously, I came to get antidepressants and now all I wanted was a fucking shot of vodka and cigarette...and I don't smoke!
He asked me very few questions about my history, gave me a prescription and sent me on my way. His knockwurst size fingers still typing as his wife came in to bring him lunch. I saw him once after that and I just couldn't do it again. I felt like one of these times I was going to be part of a sting operation and there I will be on the front page of the newspaper busted in front of a cabinet full of Viagra dinnerware for twelve, no thanks!
So my lovely new therapist referred me to a doc near her office that she said she thought highly of, and I trust her so I went for it.
The process of seeing a psychiatrist for the first time is pretty much the same, except for my Syrian Viagra friend.
They basically ask you to sum up your life story in 45 minutes. It's hell and there is absolutely no way to make anyone's family sound "good" with such a short amount of time and cut to the quick Q&A.
What brought you here? What happened at 18? Would you consider your childhood happy? Parents? Siblings in order. Medical, Mental and Medication history as well as hospitalizations and any traumatic events we may have missed. After 45 minutes they should just admit everyone for observation as a matter of standard procedure because if you didn't walk in there feeling like shit, you certainly left there remembering why you were seeing a psychiatrist in the first place!
This doc wasn't too bad. There were no walkie-talkies, no chachkies and he looked at me occasionally, usually because I wasn't answering fast enough and he was taking notes in a notebook which I thought was a sign he was really paying attention.
I told him I had a terrible memory and then he proceeded to, as every other frickin' doc before him has, ask me to name every medication I have ever been on, if they worked, if they didn't, and why? This is 25 years of psychiatric history. I recognize the names, hell I might even recognize the pill and maybe a few might trigger a memory of the nasty side effect, but honestly you may as well as a stranger on the street, or better yet, LOOK IN THE FUCKING COMPUTER SYSTEM where they are supposed to have all that info stored?!?!?! Do not depend on a hippocampus that probably resembles a Sun Maid prune. THIS IS A TEST...! Oye.
I told him I thought my memory was mush because of all the meds I have been on through out the years, he insisted it wasn't possible, it was more likely the depression itself...debatable, but maybe half and half. I don't believe most of the shit fed to me, but I'll give him half.
Then he asked what hobbies and activities I have partaken in and if I had ever had head injuries. When I told him I played rugby and yes I had a few concussions he said "What would you go and do that for, that games nuts!" Ah, hello, look where we are doc. Nice bedside manner. He asked me how my ears were and I assured him I was cauliflower free, he said his brother played in college and has cauliflower ear, "crazy guy!" I said "Let me guess, you rowed?" He almost fell of his chair "how would you ever have come to that?" "I deduced :)" "Good skills!" There is no better feeling than fucking with a man whose job it is to study people's mental health condition :) I actually started to enjoy my visit and relax a bit. He was a bit smug and was okay when I gave it back. At the end of our appt. he told me I MUST exercise and eat better, and he added a med and said he would see me in four weeks, goal being to eventually cut down dosages.
As we were walking out I said " So, am I hopeless?" He looked at me with a big smile and said "Oh definitely, no hope for you, no hope at all!"
I would so much rather hear, "no hope" from a doc with a smile on his face than "see you next time" from a doc surrounded my promotional freebees advertising medication for erectile dysfunction! I've got enough issues, I'll deal with that when the time comes ;)