Thursday, February 24, 2011

Back to the point, part 2

In my last post I started detailing the issues I've had during pregnancy with getting mental health care, which is the whole reason I started this blog in the first place.  I will continue the story with this post.

In late October/early November, I went to my general practitioner because my mood had started getting really bad since going off my meds (Seroquel and Lamictal) in August.  After talking to me, -- which involved a lot of crying on my part-- looking at my medical history, and looking at the cuts I had made on my arms, he put me back on a low dose of Seroquel.  For about a week, I felt not great, but functional, but then things continued back on their downhill spiral.  I was crying all the time, just wanting to sleep, having anxiety attacks, and doing a lot of cutting.  I called my GP back and talked to a nurse, who in turn talked to the doctor, who increased my Seroquel dosage. 

The increase in Seroquel didn't seem to make much difference, other than to make me more tired (something not particularly desirable when you're trying to chase a four-year-old and a two-year-old).  I called my ob/gyn's office to see if she could help out at all.  She put me on Vistaril as needed, which is pretty much just an antihistamine but can kind of mellow you out at the same time. Both my ob/gyn and my GP suggested strongly that I see a psychiatrist, but not wanting to go back to my prior psychiatrist, and with nobody recommending a new one, I was sort of at a loss for who to see.  If you've ever tried to get psychiatric help in Dayton, Ohio, you understand what I'm talking about.  There aren't too many psychiatrists, and those that there are often have a 3-6 month waiting list just to schedule an initial appointment.

In early December, after a few more weeks of generally decreasing mood and functionality, I called my family doctor again and the nurse recommended I go to Kettering Behavioral Health Center, a facility located in Centerville (I think) that has both inpatient and outpatient care.  They also offer walk-in assessments.  I drove myself over there and talked to the admitting nurse for about a half hour.  I explained I was about 21 weeks pregnant (in case she couldn't tell), was cutting myself daily, crying all the time, and generally feeling like utter crap.  I was worried that my mood was hurting the baby, and I needed psychiatric help to look over and manage my medications. She asked the $64,000 question:  "Are you suicidal?  Do you have specific plans?"  I told her that I frequently thought about suicide, but didn't have a specific plan to follow.  I thought about taking pills or slitting my wrists, but hadn't written a suicide note or anything.

At this point she assured me that the facility had an ethical responsibility to help me out, since I was a danger to myself and my baby, based on my suicidal thoughts and cutting behavior.  They wouldn't just send me home and tell me good luck.  She asked me to step out while she called the psychiatrist on duty and talked to him about what to do next.  My sense of relief was tangible -- finally, someone was going to help me.

She came out to the waiting room a few minutes later and told me that the psychiatrist wanted to admit me to try to regulate my medications.  I didn't particularly want to be admitted -- it was close to Christmas, and I wanted to be home.  But, I knew I needed help, so I agreed.  She went back to her office to talk to the admissions people to get the process started.

About 15 minutes later, she called me back in to her office.  As it turns out, they couldn't admit me to their facility, because I was more than 20 weeks pregnant, and they didn't have the medical facilities to help me in out in case of a problem (they are not on the same grounds as the actual hospital).  What they could do is prescribe Klonopin for me, a powerful anti-anxiety drug, increase my Seroquel again, and suggest if I was still having problems to either call my old psychiatrist or go to Miami Valley Hospital's ER.

And with that, despite their "ethical obligations," they sent me on my way.

Next post:  a new psychiatrist and the ER.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Oh happy day -- school's in and the drywall is almost done

This has been a long week...we had workmen start Monday on removing paneling and putting up drywall in our fourth bedroom; we're going to move our little one over there and put the new baby in her room, since she already has the crib and changing table there.  We went ahead and had the "drywall guys," as they've affectionately become known, paint the room while they were at it.  Strangely, I got their name out of one of those coupon magazine things that everybody gets, and their "special" was a free bathroom painted with any estimate.  So they also painted our master bathroom  -- why not??

Long story short, even without the lovely snow and ice we haven't really been able to go anywhere because they've been here solidly since Monday.  I have to say, these guys are amazingly hard workers, and they do <i>beautiful</i> work -- but beautiful work, as usual, takes time.  I thought they'd be done Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday morning, but it's Thursday afternoon, and they're still here.  I think they'll be done this afternoon (fingers crossed).

The girls and I have been going a little bit stir crazy, being stuck in the house.  School was cancelled Tuesday because of the weather, and I can't tell you how hard I was praying for school to be back in today.  God bless the Jewish Center, it was (that's where they go to preschool).  I think they were as excited to get out of the house as I was for them to go -- they barely glanced back at me when Daddy took them out the door, and he told me that neither one of them even put up their token resistance when he dropped them off. 

The good news is, it's a lot easier to appreciate them and think they're wonderful and adorable and brilliant when I get away from them for a few hours.  When we got home from school, we all three snuggled on the couch for a little while and watched TV to settle down before nap time, and I didn't even mind them crawling all over me and wanting to sit on my lap (small as it's getting).  Is this horrible parenting?  Maybe, but that's the way it is.