“You have insomnia and obstructed sleep apnea.”
“You have sleep deprived pseudo-dementia.”
“How are you feeling? On a scale of one to five; one being not at all depressed and five being extremely depressed, where are you?”
“Let’s keep you on X anti-depressant as well as the Y anti-depressant you’ve been taking. You seem to be doing much better!”
The last four weeks have been a blur of doctor’s visits—a visit to my new general physician got the ball rolling on some ongoing issues that I have been dealing with for years. I’m sleep deprived, sometimes so brain fogged that I can’t remember where I am or what day it is. I’m in chronic pain, and I’ve been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. But please understand, I’m not whining. This is just the foundation for why I have to be healthy, the basis for my Being Healthy Manifesto.
I could sit back and say, “Damn my genetics!” and enjoy a life long (however shortened due to my various health problems) pity party. Or I can get off my ass and get healthy. The beginning was finding two new doctors.
First, I had to get a new psychiatrist to help me with my depression and anxiety medication management. I suggest to anyone who has ever been prescribed anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medication by his or her general physician to seek both psychological (behavioral therapy) and psychiatric help. General physicians aren’t trained to truly understand the depth of depression or anxiety, and you need someone who can listen and help you cope with your illness(es).
My former psychiatrist was also a problem for me. But the proverbial poop hit the fan when he told me that diabetes wasn’t genetic (my family has a long history of diabetics), but more viral. He knew plenty of fat people that worked out two hours a week and didn’t have diabetes. 1) Thanks for calling me fat. 2) It’s true, there are some overweight people who do not have diabetes and there are some healthy weight people who do have diabetes, hence the genetics part, dumbass! He also wanted to treat my sleep problem with medication that would wake me up. Uppers. A medication that would conflict with my asthma medication and cause anxiety and jitters. Instead of treating the sleep disorder by sending me to sleep specialists, he just threw medication at me. Luckily, my pharmacist pulled me aside and suggested that I not take the uppers the psychiatrist prescribed.
Time to get a new psychiatrist. I found him and we’ve been working together very well for the last couple of months. He talks, asks questions and listens. He is extremely positive and always suggests that I consider another perspective on the issues that come up in my life. He and my psychologist are very similar in that way. Mentally, I feel that my health is being taken care of very well.
Getting a new general physician was easier said than done. I’ve had the same general physician since 2001, but in the last year or so I’d noticed something that I had missed while she was treating me for anxiety issues. She would throw out a diagnosis to me, not really explain it, and then never bring it up again. IBS, pre-diabetes, sleep apnea, anxiety, depression, fibromyalgia and finally Type 2 Diabetes. That’s a lot! We did a lot of tests and the only one we ever really followed through on was the final diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes in December of 2008.
But then in the summer of 2009, she decided to leave the clinic she was working at and I was in need of a new doctor. I had been playing around with the idea of getting a new doctor to help with some issues that just weren’t getting solved, the sleep and the possibility of fibromyalgia. But luckily, my doc did the hard part for me—she broke up with me.
I met my new general physician in September of ’09. After talking about how my life was going, she wrote up lab work for cholesterol levels, my glucose levels and a bevy of other blood tests she felt were necessary to help me find my way to good health. Then she referred me to an ophthalmologist to get a yearly eye exam to make sure my diabetes wasn’t affecting my eyesight, something that my former general physician didn’t find necessary. She also referred me to a pulmonary specialist to help me get to the bottom of my sleep issues.
It’s important to have the right doctors and speak up for yourself when you feel that you are not being treated fully. Right now I’m waiting for a return call from my general physician’s office. While the sleep specialists couldn’t treat me for the chronic pain that wakes me up, another doctor suggested I get some x-rays done on an area in my back where I had had two injuries. At first I was worried about being a pest, but at the same time, I’m in pain and it’s keeping me from getting my much needed sleep!
You have to stand up for your right for getting the best treatment. If you’re not comfortable with your doctor, get a new one. Clinics will request your medical records for you, so you don’t have to do any of the breaking up. Don’t worry about hurting someone’s feelings if you’re still in pain, confused about how to move forward into wellness. You have to take care of yourself. Let your doctor’s think you’re a pain but push them for help. You deserve to be healthy!