Or, as I prefer to call it, being the advocate for my family's healthcare. Either way, it amounts to the same thing. Sit back and be polite, and you'll get shoved to the back of the line again and again and again. Start engaging in actions that are loud, slightly obnoxious, and repetitive, and you'll most likely get what you need.
I've mentioned before the problems Alex has had to deal with since having his lithium discontinued (in order to, you know, keep his thyroid gland from drying up like an old raisin and dying), and how upset I was, at the time, that not only was that mood-stabilizer not replaced with another one, but that he was left with only one mood-stabilizing medication even though he now has to take synthetic thyroid medication, which is known to be a mood-disrupter! I believe that my exact words to his doctor those many months ago were, "You don't think, since he's been doing so well on Depakote and lithium together, that the lithium should be replaced with something else? Like, maybe, Lamictal, which is supposed to work so well in conjunction with Depakote?"
But hey, what do I know? Just that my husband, despite trying his very hardest to make the best of the hand he's been dealt, has not been well--really WELL, since December. And that during these last few months, the ones with the stress of the buying of the house, and the temporary financing of the house, and the selling of the other house, and the loan payments on the TWO houses, and our child trying to kill us ever-so-slowly with The Torture Of A Thousand Tantrums, and my own impending surgery and its accompanying Very Real Fear of Accidental-Or-Not Colostomization and the you-will-never-have-any-more-babies grief and the OHMYGOSHHOWAREWEGOINGTOPAYFORTHEUPKEEPOFTHISGIANT-
HOUSEFORTHENEXT TWENTYYEARS worry, that he's been sinking. And that despite our repeated cries to our trusted healthcare professionals for lifelines, those lifelines have not been forthcoming, and the "earliest possible" appointment we could get was several weeks away. WEEKS. Stick with the drowning metaphor to make that last statement hit home. That's a long darn time to tread water.
Well, the good news is that, as of today, Mr. and Mrs. Nice Guy have left the building, and The Fed-Up Belligerents have taken their places and attended to Alex's medical needs. We made an end-run around the front-desk staff at the psychiatrist's office, by booking an appointment with one of the clinic therapists...who we had no intention of seeing. Then, while that therapist was on the phone, and I was in the midst of a fairly significant apoplectic FIT just from listening to the one side of the conversation I could hear, my husband, BLESS HIS EVER-LOVING HEART, said to Mr. Therapist, "Hold on, please. My wife would like to speak with you, and I think I'd really be remiss if I didn't let her," and HANDED ME THE PHONE. I love him for that.
Well, folks, that's where it just got...not ugly, but forceful . I didn't yell. I didn't call names. I didn't question anyone's heritage, and I repeatedly expressed sympathy for the spot that Mr. Therapist had now found himself in with me, but I was very clear about the reasons for my frustration, and my incredulity that you could offer a drowning man a therapy appointment...in a WEEK. Not that a therapy appointment would even do him any good if it happened right that minute, but that's a moot point since he'd be long drowned by the time the scheduled appointment rolled around. I think it was quite clear that my intention was to stay on that phone until hell froze over OR we got some help, because Mr. Therapist put me on hold for a loooooong time, then finally came back and said, "Well, we got lucky. Dr. Prescription has had a cancellation today at 2:30."
Yeah, whatever. We'd only been on the "cancellation list" at this point for about 6 weeks already. Pull the other one. But no matter; at 2:30, we were there with bells on (and apropos of nothing, but for some reason there was a LOT of crazy representin' in that waiting room today), and while we had to wait nearly an hour for that "cancellation" slot to materialize, we got some desperately needed medical attention that has been a long time coming, AND we have a follow-up appointment 4 weeks from now to check on the progress of the new medication that's been added to Alex's "Bipolar Cocktail."
Oh, and the new medication? That happens to work very well in conjunction with Depakote? Are you seeing where this is going? Yeah--it's Lamictal. What a surprise! So now, we just have to watch out for the Lamictal Rash of Death, but barring that, I'm praying that my darling husband will be feeling MUCH better in just a few weeks. You have to titrate up to a therapeutic dose verrrrrry slowly, so it's not an instant fix, but the good news is that is doesn't have the side effects that Alex loathes about his other meds, such as slower metabolism and weight-gain. So everyone pray for my dear Alex, because even though I might briefly consider punching him in the neck occasionally when he is manic and obnoxious, I really do love him, and I want him to be well and happy more than anything in the world. And also? I can't get my own medical crap taken care of until we get his medical crap under control, so we gotta get this show on the road!
And then, hey, I'll have my funfun OPERATION, and we'll all just be right as rain over here at Chez Ninja! Who wants to party? NEXT MONTH, that is? Or maybe even in October, since that's when mine and Bella's birthdays are, anyway?