31
May

Changes to pharmacy staff

I've been lucky, I think. I have gotten my prescriptions from the same pharmacy for over a decade. In that time, I have been on multiple medications. Had a few ohmygod I broke a bottle can I have a new one moments. Spent a LOT of time, especially as an adult, having in-depth conversations with my pharmacist about the effects of any specific medication. These conversations have increased in frequency since I entered the grand world of antidepressants.

A few years ago my pharmacy hired a new guy. I LIKED this guy. He looked up my file, knew what I was on, and would coach me, explain to me, reassure me everything I thought to ask about.

Today I had a very different experience.

We are switching from med A to med B. I entered this conversation expecting to be told what to expect as I stop taking med A (I imagine there will be withdrawal effects), as I start taking med B (hello, side effects), and as I increase the dosage of med B (impacts on my blood sugars, if the past is anything to go by).

What I got was drastically different.

I got a kind, soft-spoken old man who explained to me that I am to take one a day for 7 days, then 2 a day.

That's it folks.

Does it matter when in the day I take med B?
*shrug*  "No, it shouldn't. "

Will I notice any symptoms as I change from one medication to the other?
*kind smile*   *vague gesture towards the product leaflet I hold in my hand* "Ohhh,  maybe... it's mild. Anything is so mild. Maybe nausea...but mild. Not for very long. Mild."

Will this affect my blood sugars?
*eyes widen* "Oh, you have diabetes? It shouldn't affect..."
*he flips through the product leaflet, sees the little blurb where it mentions the drug may affect blood sugars*
"Oh it might, yes. But *shrug* a little bit. Not too much. If it's too much, you go back to the doctor."

Should I worry about changes in my insulin or carb sensitivity?
"Oh. You take insulin?"
"Yes, since I was 4."
"Oh ok. You ask the doctor for the tester [this is a statement,  not a question]. You check every 2, 3 days, maybe check every day and see what happens. Can you check every day?"
"I check my blood sugars 7-10 times per day."
I feel like screaming. I should not have to explain this to you. You have my file, you've just neglected to even skim the surface before handing over these drugs and trying to send me on my way.

He nods his head. "OK then. You check...good."  He looks at me, gives me a half-smile,  and gently pushes the bag of pills across the counter.

I sigh and turn to the other pharmacy staffer. I tell him I also want to pick up a bottle of glucose tablets and a box of alcohol swabs.

Once the useless tit of a pharmacist leaves the counter, I ask, "When could I come back and talk to [the other guy]?"
I'm told with a sad look that he's no longer working there. My face must have given me away-- I'm pretty sure the dismay was pretty evident.
He thinks for a sec "We have another girl...at our other location. She's good. She's a lot like the other guy. She's over there during the week, and here on Saturdays. You could come back Saturday, or... "
He grabs me a business card for their other location. "Call her. No-- call me first; I'll make sure she has a copy of your file available.  Then call her. She'll be able to help."

Today I'm thankful for that utter gem of a human being who saw my panic and stepped in to offer a solution.
Today. There's time later for being furious at the new guys complete failure to do his frigging job. For today, I'm just relieved that the new guy, that quiet, irresponsible man, isn't my only source of information about my medications.

19
Dec

Diabetes and depression: 1

This is not hard to talk about.

I actually haven't had problems talking about it to family and coworkers. Friends, too, although I haven't told all of them. It gets tiring, having the same conversation over and over again.

It's difficult to write about it. I was a star in English class in high school. I studied sciences in university, so I didn't spend much time in languages or the arts or courses where I could improve upon my communication and literary skills. I had one mandatory English 101 class; but that's about it. Writing, to me, requires clearly presented and well-articulated thoughts and arguments. Since I was a child I've always loved to read, so writing, to me, is reserved for masters of the art. Writing is reserved for people who do it well and exhibit skills and expertise in communication.

 

I do not have these skills. I started blogging because writing, even if I did it terribly and without any measurable success, felt like it helped me to clear my head. I feel better about whatever mess is in my head when I sit down and map out thoughts and arguments.

 

I've been ignoring or avoiding writing and blogging lately. My head has felt like more of a mess than usual, and that mess is very difficult to sort out into manageable piles that can be dissected into coherent and meaningful posts.

 

I am trying to sort through that mess.

 

It started last summer. I recognized that many of the feelings that sent me to therapy in the first place were edging their way in to my psyche. I slept a lot, spent more "me" time just resting and relaxing and avoiding big group outings and when I did attend these big group events, I found them exhausting. I slowly lost feelings. I used to feel happy, excited, enthusiastic, and passionate. I felt angry, furious, frothy rage-filled wrath. I felt love. I felt a deep affection, a longing, and a devotion to people in my life who inspired these feelings. I felt tired, but a tired that was so deep in my bones that the exhaustion went right through me because I deserved the feeling. I felt life, and felt it so strongly and deeply because I truly felt like I had earned it. That...changed. It's impossible to say how or why, but slowly that slipped away from me.

 

I started revisiting my therapist in September. I had seen this particular therapist last year, and found her to be excellent. I could feel that something bad was going on, so early September I gave her a call. Her schedule was pretty full, but I was able to see her at the end of the month.

 

I think she could tell right away that I was struggling. Back when I first saw her she had helped me to work on balancing the demands of diabetes and everyday life. She helped me to work through those things, and helped me to figure out my life so I could feel like I could handle it.

In my sessions in October I received assignments like:  exercise. Walk the dog. Take those walks with the Boyfriend. TALK to my family about when I felt crummy.
I tried these things. I really did try.

By November, she encouraged me to visit my family doctor. She talked about me taking some time off to recover. My family doctor agreed.

I had some conversations with Boyfriend, and some of these worried me. I could tell he was worried. He knew that something was going on, something a little worse than just a temporary thing.  I hate worrying him. It breaks my heart to see him hurting and wondering whether his continued presence contributed to all of this.

 

My people wrote each other letters. My therapist wrote to my family doctor and recommended to him that I take some time off work. She also suggested that we consider medication. He agreed with her assessment, and started me on a course of antidepressants.

 

The first few days were rough. I've been having some significant issues with nausea, and the first three days of meds were the worse. There was a lot of vomiting.... like a lot. Soooo much puke. That's gotten better, but not significantly. I'm able to keep down food by dinner every day -- sometimes earlier! -- so it's still improving, but slowly.

 

It feels like I am still working through the diabetes burnout. The funeral this week didn't help. Time to myself has been good, I think, but still it has been a slow process.

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