Tuesday, October 26, 2010

One of those phone calls you don't want to get.

I received a phone call from a friend today.  She was disabled by a brain bleed related to medication she was taking and an infection she had.  She's been having a real hard time adjusting to life since she can no longer work.  Physically she is able to do some things but needs constant redirection to complete tasks and not be constantly worrying. 
I've received calls from her in the past, but today she told me that she almost decided to just commit suicide yesterday. 
My heart dropped.  What do you tell someone who thinks the medical profession has let them down, when you yourself are thinking the same exact thing.  Except, in my case I'm not thinking of killing myself.  I just don't want to deal with them (doctor's) anymore.
She wanted her Doctor to give her some prescription sleeping pills so she could get some rest because her brain never turns off and she can't stop worrying about everything.  Her primary Doctor told her "No."  So she went to see her psychologist and he also told her "No."  So she was calling me asking me if I knew a Doctor that would give her one of two prescription sleeping pills.  She told me the names of the pills, I'm just not going to type them here.
I don't know of any Doctor's and I tried once again explaining that maybe they wouldn't give the medications because they'll interact with her present medications in a negative effect.
I wish she'd discuss this all with her husband, he's in the pharmacology business.  Yet, it feels like they don't talk or discuss any problems with each other anymore.
Finally after talking with me, she's thinking she's going to find a new Doctor.  Yet, I wonder if that is going to do her any good or not.  Why can't Doctor's listen and explain to her the reasons they can't give her medications to help her sleep.  They need to be up front with her and not just be telling her "No."  They need to give her sound reasons.  If they believe she'd misuse them, then they should tell her that.  Yet, why can't they just prescribe her two pills at a time.
I can't be her shrink, I'm not trained.  I listened.  I tried to reason with her, I just tried to be her friend.  I suggested this time as in times past that she should go to the ER if she's feeling like harming herself, but she won't and starts crying when you suggest such a thing.
After she calmed down a bit, she
 told me she was going to go and learn to crochet with her daughter at a yarn shop we have in our community.  I hope this helps her take her mind off of some of her troubles.
I should have told her since she's not working and her daughter is grown she should just sleep on her own schedule.  Sleep when she can no matter if it's during the day or not. 
My husband gets upset with me when I try to help in matters like this, but I feel if I don't listen to her that it may be the last straw.  I don't want to be the last straw for her.
Then after our call, she seemed a little better.
Yet, then my husband started in about me getting another Doctor.  I so didn't want to deal with that from him.  He thinks I'm being negative, and that not all Doctor's are the same.  So from the time I married him and had to deal with military doctor's I counted out how many of them I have seen.  It's been 10!  Yes 10.  None of the ten doctor's are the ones that sent me for the correct test that finally had me diagnosed with the severe achalasia that required surgery.  It was  nurse practitioner that did that.  I'm also thankful she had the test done at a non-military facility, so that a non-military doctor could read the results.
One! One military doctor believed me about the pain related to the achalasia and he was the surgeon who did my surgery but he's no longer stationed in this state.  
How many more Doctor's will I have to go through before I find one that will believe me about my back pain and my abdominal pain?
Do I really have the energy physically or mentally to deal with any more Doctor's that don't truly listen.  I don't want pills thrown at me, I want to know the reason for the pain first.  
So you have here one woman wanting pills because she thinks that will be her answer and one (me) wanting no more pills because I know pills aren't the answer for me.
Pain, whether mental or physical is pain Doctors.  Your patients need to be listened to.  Ask your patients what they are expecting as an outcome from the visit.  One may simply want good sleep, another to find the reason behind a physical pain.
Listen, the first step in communication. 


  1. That's a heartbreaking story because I can relate unfortunately-I can't tell you how many times I've contemplated taking my own life over the past few years since I've gotten sick.

    And it doesn't help that the doctors that are supposed to be trained to HELP you just stick up their nose at you and refuse to even try working with you because they don't feel they need to be 'bothered.'

    Don't even get me started on there lack of bed side manner O.o

    I hope your friend finds the help that she needs! You're a good friend for actually listening to her and trying to help :)

  2. Wow, What a hard place to be put in. I hope she gets the help she needs (and you as well).

    Unfortunately it does seem many doctors are too quick to prescribe pills without looking into the problem. I myself think I am in early stages of RA as it runs in my family. The Dr wont test me, but wants to prescribe pain pills and muscle relaxants to me to "take the edge off" my pain at times in my bones. I refuse! Im not going from one addiction to another!! Heck no. So I to some things my Dad recommends to help since he has severe RA and I deal (for now). Hopefully someday I will find a dr who thinks its more worth spending $150 on a blood test then $2500 on pain pills I dont want.

    Oy Vey... I shouldnt have gotten started :)

    I will pray your friend find the help she needs and some peace.

  3. I hate pills, even if I need them.

    I really don't know what I'd do if a friend called me saying she was suicidal.