Mental Hospitals

OK, I have to keep posting or I’ll never get through this.  I went to see my Dad at the mental hospital.  It was kind of scary but not as bad as I expected.  The front desk was all plexiglass with a speaker to talk through and a small slit for passing paper.  I was able to pass his medication bottles through to them and they were supposed to get them to the nurse’s station.  I got a phone call this morning that he has been moved to another facility.  They want to put him on psychotropic drugs, which they needed my permission for.  (Why?)  And why does it take so long for him to see a doctor in a mental health facility?

Argh.  If only I could have gotten him to sign off on power of attorney and a health care proxy before this happened.  I tried but he was too stubborn.  There’s time, there’s time, he would say.  Doctor says I have to live to be a 100.  While he might just do that, what kind of shape will he be in at 100?

I think they told him he had a mental breakdown so that’s what he believes.  I think he had another mini-stroke (maybe not so mini) or a seizure.  He’s lost about the last 10 years of his life.  He doesn’t know where he is (what state) and he doesn’t know how old he is, but he remembers me and his other children.  He remembers the past well, he is just confused about the present.

If he is competent enough to sign a HIPPA release, is he competent enough to sign a power of attorney?  Sometimes I wish I was a lawyer, even though I know I would hate the job.

I guess I need to go now because all I am doing is stopping to pace while I write this.  Stupid me forgot to pack extra Klonopin and it’s catching up to me.  So many things to do and I don’t know where to begin.  Wish me luck.

Dad needs help

My father has suffered some kind of stroke or a break with reality.  They took him into a mental hospital on Saturday.  I flew 1500 miles (OK, I don’t really know how many it was, it’s just a guess but you get the point) and thanks to HIPPA I can’t get any information on him.  I don’t know where he is or what I can do to help. (Sometimes HIPPA sucks.)  I am waiting now for a call back from the hospital.

Worst of all, I tried for years to get Dad to fill out health care proxy forms and durable power of attorney.  Now that I need them, I don’t have them.  I am on his HIPPA release for the VA but that doesn’t give me any rights at any other hospital.  After his 72 hours are up, I don’t know what they will do with him.  For that matter, I don’t know what I will do with him.

I’m a bit nervous about going to a psych hospital.  I’ve never been to one.  DH says it’s just like a regular hospital (his mom used to work at one) but I’ve always been afraid they will lock me up in one.  Fortunately, I’ve only ever been that bad once in my life and I was able to talk my way out of it.

Anyway, just a short note to update you all on my suddenly chaotic life.  Please send good thoughts and/or prayers my way (and Dad’s way).  I would greatly appreciate it.

Thanks.

Bored & Eaten

I’ll address the eaten part first. WordPress ate this post. Probably because I didn’t finish writing it yesterday when I started it. I think WP gets the munchies if it has to stare at a half-written post for too long. (Maybe that’s why it eats them upon the Save Draft command.) In any case, I have defeated the WP blog monster this time by copying and pasting the draft into a text program. While this has preserved said post, it has not added anything to it in terms of quality. Regardless, let me rewind to yesterday…

I’ve been bored and down lately. We were supposed to go visit a friend of mine for Christmas, but they got ice and snow down there so it wasn’t safe to drive. This left us at home with no Christmas dinner only what we could scrounge around the house. And cookies. I was giving them cookies for Christmas so we got to eat those. (I know, bad for the diabetes.) DH was also sick the day after Christmas so it’s been quiet here. I haven’t felt like leaving the house although I have mustered up the energy to do a couple of quick errands. But grocery shopping? That takes way too much energy – more than I have. We’ve just been playing video games for the past three days.

Bah Humbug! I’ve felt no holiday spirit this year. 😦 Last year was great because my niece visited, even though my arm was still healing and DH and I were separated for the holiday. (He went home to visit his family.) It would have been a wonderful Christmas if he had stayed, but it was good even without him. I’ll never be able to afford to have my niece visit again, but she has a family now so wouldn’t happen anyway.

I hate New Year’s Eve. It will be 25 years ago this year that I survived a near fatal car crash but when I hear sirens it feels like yesterday. I wrote about it last year in New Year’s Eve and some of the medical I went through in my gallbladder post.

Back to today… I know that last thought was sort of left hanging there, but I didn’t want to go back to that frame of mind again. Yes, I’m still bored and slightly down, but my car accident is not something I want to revisit again. I just don’t. I’ve gone down that road so many times… and it’s still not paved. Probably each time it’s traveled I level it a little bit more, but I really need a break from it. Let’s just not turn down the path this time. (I may change my mind by Monday, but that’s how I feel right now.)

Going out with friends last night really helped me, even if it was a long battle to get ready. I spent all day yesterday procrastinating on taking a shower until the last minute. Then I just threw some clothes on and we went. Saw Les Miserables, the movie. It’s quite good. Very sad, but then the story is very sad. I recommend the book (find the abbreviated version if you aren’t a European history fan) and the musical. I keep wondering if I will find myself out on the street in a few months time as well… more depressing thoughts I don’t wish to indulge. Sigh.

We had dinner, saw friends and went to a movie. If we leave it at that, then this post ends on a happy note. Remember friends, the difference between comedy and tragedy is where the scene ends.

 

© Manic Monday (manicmonday123) 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Manic Monday (manicmonday123) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Applications

I hate filling out applications. It becomes so disheartening. They always ask: What was your reason for leaving?  I got fired, OK?  It’s more than that, my therapist even said so, but that’s the short answer.  I was let go.  That sounds so much better than I was fired.  At least when you are let go you get unemployment.  And believe me, unemployment helps.

Let me recap my experiences for you:

I lost one because of my bipolar.  I was dumb enough to tell them about my Multiple Sclerosis and bipolar diagnoses.  The company was in the process of downsizing anyway and they couldn’t count on me to be in the office with my medical issues. I sued them unsuccessfully.  This is why I will never tell another employer about my bipolar.

I lost my academic position because of sexual discrimination.  I had always suspected it was an administrative decision, but one of my former students came across a memo from the dean to the chair stating that they were impressed with my progress as a teacher.  This was less than six months (including summer) before I was berated by my department chair for poor student evaluations.  I also learned from another student that my evaluations were not as bad as stated because he had seen them.  He also found out that the chair had the good ones removed and shredded.  Can you believe this?  I considered suing the university for sexual discrimination but decided against it.  After all I was going on to a $100+k job – it wasn’t worth my time and effort.  Everyone knew that I deserved to have my contract renewed – except the people who had the power to make such decisions.  Part of me berates myself for losing that job even though I didn’t do anything wrong.  I stood up for myself, my students, and what I thought was right.  I rubbed the wrong feathers the wrong way.  I don’t regret what I did there.  But as a friend of mine put it, if you rise above the rest, someone is likely to chop your head off.

I really blame myself for this last job.  I couldn’t handle the people, the pressure, the work.  I was out of my element and I hated what I was doing.  All my mental illnesses began to implode as I worked with the narcissist and his henchman.  I lost grip on reality and I lost my grip on myself.  The harder I tried to hold on, the more my illnesses bled through, mixing into the pot of bad blood between my coworkers and myself.  My PTSD skyrocketed.  I started having nightmares several times a week.  I was afraid to go to work.  When I was there, I couldn’t concentrate.  Something would happen and I would be out working off my temper or crying in a friend’s office.  I wasn’t effective.  I couldn’t be effective.  Add to all that my injuries and several work-related relapses, they determined I was no longer fit for duty.  I hadn’t been fit for duty for a while.  I should have been out on mental health leave a year earlier.  Maybe none of this would have happened then.  My wrist wouldn’t have been injured and maybe my right arm would have been fixed sooner.  I don’t know if either will ever be 100%.  I gave too much of my soul to this job for the sake of a lucrative paycheck and a little prestige.

Now I’m filling out applications again.  And faced with the question: What was your reason for leaving?  You can’t write: sexual discrimination. You can’t write: forced out for medical reasons. So sugar-coat it and call it contract not renewed, received other offer, company downsizing. What else can I write? I wasn’t needed, I wasn’t wanted anymore. End of story. But that’s difficult to handle, even when your therapist says, “it wasn’t your fault.” Because yes, some of it is my fault. It’s my fault for not trying harder. It’s my fault for letting people get under my skin. It’s my fault for being dumb enough to share personal information. Information is a weapon. This is why I write anonymously.

 

© Manic Monday (manicmonday123) 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Manic Monday (manicmonday123) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Finally caught a break…

COBRA is finally in place! After a third phone call, I spoke to someone who gave me more new information, but helped me straighten it all out. Turns out, you can’t make a payment if you are set up for direct deposit. So the nice fellow who helped me yesterday removed the direct deposit, allowed me to pay for one month with a credit card, then processed a rush with the insurance companies so that I am now covered and back covered. Additionally, my check was processed as well, which catches me up through the end of June. The same nice fellow who helped me yesterday also called me back today to tell me that everything was set up. I picked up my Paxil today and only had to spend $1.25 instead of $33 for it. *whew!* Finally!!

This week has been a little crazy, but hopefully things are settling down now. I wrote about the incident with my niece in Runaway and Runaway Part II.  She seems to be herself now, but I will track her facebook statuses more carefully from now on.  They seem to be a good indication of how things are going with her.  She doesn’t seem inclined to talk to me, and I think it’s because she is afraid that I will tell her what she doesn’t want to hear: partying is bad for her. I know how she feels.  But you have to make choices in life and some of those are related to your health.  Others are related to your career and if she keeps this drinking and partying up she won’t have the career she wants.  It’s hard to get through school with a science degree.  It’s harder to get through school with a science degree and good grades, even if you are smart.  It takes a lot of work.  She’ll tell me that she knows and is prepared, but her behavior speaks to the opposite.  There’s a big difference between a beer or two on a Friday night and being too drunk to walk without falling down.  Maybe I sound like a stick in the mud, but I’ve been where she is and I know it doesn’t work.

On to other news… I got called a BFF this week! 🙂  I’ve never been called a BFF before.  I was out shopping with a friend of mine on Wednesday, and we were looking at pillows for her new couch.  I picked up a cute one that had BFF embroidered on it and that’s when she said I was her BFF.  It took a few moments before it sunk in, and I said it back.  (It’s sorta like the L-bomb, isn’t it?)  I think a million things went through my head in those few moments.  First, I’ve always thought of myself as a loner inside.  My friendships aren’t fake, but they are limited.  For example, this friend doesn’t know I am bipolar.  She probably never will.  Which is another part of the reason why I hesitated.  Can I call someone a best friend if I can’t tell them I am bipolar?  I probably could, but I don’t want to.  You see, she is a police officer.  And I don’t want her thinking that someday she might have to be the one sitting next to me while I’m handcuffed to a chair awaiting a psych eval.  If the situation ever warrants it, I would tell her, but there’s no need to blurt it out just because we’ve determined we are BFFs.  Oh, and lastly?  I never thought I was cool enough to be called a BFF.  😉

That rounds out most of this week.  I am so happy to have insurance coverage!  And I am so excited to be called a BFF!  (I feel cool now.)  Next up – I need a job!  In the meantime, I hope everyone has a great weekend!

 

Neurology Now

(Note: This blog post is also posted on A Canvas of the Minds.)

I want to share with you information on a free magazine called Neurology Now.  While its main focus is on neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ALS, epilepsy, stroke, brain trauma and Multiple Sclerosis, it also has featured articles on migraines, pain disorders and depression. Other topics include ADHD, Autism/Asperger’s, and Restless Legs Syndrome. This is a magazine that is free to patients and caregivers/friends/family members of patients.

I always find the articles interesting, even if they don’t directly apply to me.  My mother had Alzheimer’s disease, and I found the articles both supportive and helpful. It’s interesting to read the struggles and successes of others who are in different situations.  Their coping mechanisms for dealing with chronic diseases can become our coping mechanism for dealing with a chronic disease, even though theirs may be physical and ours may be mental. The magazine is designed for patients, so it is written with down-to-earth terms and explanations, and many of the articles involve real-life stories as inspiration.  There are even little cognitive puzzles in each magazine.

I urge you to check out their website and decide for yourself if this is something you would like to subscribe to.  I have been subscribing for years and always find something of interest in every publication.  It is released every other month, so it doesn’t fill up your mailbox.

I thought I would share this interesting resource with all of you.

COBRA

Grrr….Argh!

COBRA – Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act – very useful option for those of us finding ourselves suddenly out of benefits, but…. the details!  OK, so my (former) employer sends me at least 5 different packets on my COBRA options, only one of which contains the amount and due dates for signing up and sending in payment.  Several sheets in each packet appear to be duplicates.  Not the entire packet, mind you, as if accidentally sent twice, but each packet a separate piece of the COBRA puzzle, with some redundant pieces thrown in for confusion.  I confess I skimmed through all the pages, looking for relevant, non-repeated information.  However, they give you a great big 1-800-call for information about your benefits hotline, so really, do the details on those pieces of paper matter?  Apparently so, although I still haven’t found the detail that has caused me the most immediate grief.

I called several weeks ago about my benefits and find out that I need to have a pin number sent to me that I can use to access my account.  Great.  Wait for that.  After I have all the information, DH & I debate over dental insurance.  Well, it’s $75/mo by COBRA and if we haven’t done anything about our teeth in the past two years at $12/mo why should we spend $75/mo on insurance we probably won’t use?  So we get that settled and I sign up online for health only.  Done.  I wait 10 days… no money has been taken out of my account.  Well, I need prescriptions.  So I call and verify that I have coverage.  Yes, but it takes 14 business days to notify the insurance company. OK, fine, I can wait another week for my scripts.

Fast forward to this week.  I need my scripts now.  The pharmacy says I don’t have insurance.  I say, fill them anyway.  I’m out of choices.  I call the glorious 1-800 # back and ask them what is going on.  They say, oh, well, we don’t notify the insurance company until you send in a payment.  WTF?  That isn’t what you told me last time.  What you told me last time was that I only had to sign up for it.  So now what do I do?

I had signed up for direct deposit to make my life easier, and that won’t start until June 1, which is still in my 45 day time frame for payment.  That’s all good and well, except that until then, I have to pay for all of my own medical and then try to get reimbursed from the insurance company after the back-dated insurance kicks in.  No, I’m sending a check in on Monday.  Well, you don’t have to, the benefits support specialist says, your account will be direct debited on June 1.  While true, that’s an extra two-three weeks worth of doctor appointments and medication juggling I have to do before payment all becomes automatic and life goes back to simple co-pays.  What land do they live in that I can spare all this up-front cash and trust the insurance company to reimburse me?

Meanwhile, I only picked up two of my three medications.  The third, generic Lipitor, was going to cost me $111 out of pocket.  With my high deductible health plan, this normally costs me $0.  I said no.  My PC is going to kill me if my cholesterol numbers are too high when I get tested on Monday, but she will understand once I explain at my next visit.  A lot of doctors today are sympathetic when it comes to insurance companies.  It’s not that I don’t have insurance, it’s that it’s currently inactive. It will be back-dated once it’s activated.  However, I can’t afford to be filling my psych meds without active insurance.  I need this ASAP.  I’m half tempted to send the check overnight.  It seems to take them two weeks to do anything.  Two weeks to send out the paperwork, two weeks to process, two weeks to notify the insurance carrier.  I don’t even know if I will get new insurance cards.  I should have asked, but it might have taken me two weeks and three tries to get the correct answer.

Well, that’s enough crabbing for today.  I am going to try to get back on the creativity wagon now.  It helps to keep me sane during this unemployment period.  Finding a job is a lot of work, and very depressing, so I have to find ways of balancing that out.  Photography seems to help.  I need to go out on a shoot somewhere soon.  The simple act of taking a photo is an art in and of itself.  And I need a little art in my life.