Soooooo…today I called the doctor I’d pinned some hopes on. A fibro friend recommended him and I put off seeing him because he’s an hour away by bus. When I called and asked:
Does Dr. Daarud take Medicare?
the receptionist responded with:
Yes, he does, but he’s not accepting new patients at this time.
I held back tears and asked:
Does he have a waiting list?
The receptionist said “no” and I bravely said:
Well, I’ll just wait and call back in a couple of months. Thanks. Have a nice day.
Then I broke down into tears because this is the guy who listens, the guy who’s been treating fibro for over 15 years and was inspired to start treating it when his brother was diagnosed with the disease. I have proof he helps people with fibro. But I have no access to him right now.
The sobbing led to a call to the local Mental Health Center, the only place I can see a psychiatrist with Medicare unless I check myself into a hospital. I briefly considered going to the nearest emergency room when they played that part of the message on their answering message. The one that goes:
If this is a psychiatric emergency, please hang up and go to your nearest emergency room or call 911.
The one I always wish they’d hurry through because I know the drill (I AM a psychotherapist) and because it’s not usually a psychiatric emergency. I didn’t feel like the Handless Maiden in that moment. I didn’t want to patiently wait around for some spirit in white to come help be forge the moat and direct trees to offer me branches with ripe fruit. I wanted someone to help me RIGHT FUCKING NOW!
I opted to stay on the line and go through the admissions process. Maybe they have ripe fruit. The line was busy so I left a message and was assured I would receive a call back within 24 hours. 24 hours?! Is it just me who waits till they’re in crisis? Do most people actually call the Mental Health Center before they reach a crisis state? When I hung up I called back to speak to the operator and ask about the crisis walk-in center. What goes on there? I was told:
It’s a center (hard to get to by bus) which is open 24 hours a day where therapists are available to talk with people in crisis. No medication is prescribed at this facility.
OK. Moving on. That’s not the Inn I’m looking for and the admissions people are going to be at least a day getting back to me and when I finally get approved for services, the wait time to see a psychiatrist is 6-8 weeks. So I text my old therapist (who agreed to see me on a sliding scale and whom I haven’t spoken to in a year).
Having a crisis and MHP is backed up. Any chance you could see me sometime soon?
I received a prompt response:
Sure. How about I call you around 3?
OK. Finally an Inn in sight. In the meantime, I’ll just call around and see if I can choose a primary physician who might also be willing to prescribe me antidepressants until I can get in to see the folks at MHP. I go to my medical group’s website to choose a doctor, pick a friendly looking older guy and call to make an appointment. This is sure to go well. Usually, I can get an appointment within a few days. Explaining the whole medication sensitivity thing might be a little complicated but I’ve done it before. I’m breathing, I’m feeling hopeful and then I realize the call center is on a loop. I press one to schedule an appointment and I’m routed back to the call center’s opening message. Over and over again. I must have walked around that Inn 5 times before I realized there’s no working door today.
Oh well, at least my therapist’s calling around 3.
I walked and walked and when 3 came there was no Inn. No call from my therapist. At 4, same thing.
I’m tired of walking. I’m sleeping under the stars tonight.