Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" I'm your host, Anne Johnson, and I'm healthy. Well, not really. If you consider mental health part of health, then I have a chronic condition. I take medication for the condition. If I miss the medication, I will become ill.
I take two medications. One is controlled. One isn't.
My local pharmacy fills my prescriptions automatically. When I went to pick them up on Sunday, the controlled medication wasn't there. The prescriptions had expired, and apparently my doctor, Doctor Mushroom, was out of town. So I got my one medicine (filled by some doctor I'd never heard of), but the other one was a no-show. That would be the controlled medication.
I had enough of the controlled medication to last two more days. So today I called Doctor Mushroom's office to get him to front me a 30-day supply until I could get an appointment. That's how it's worked before, once or twice, when this happened.
Recently, Doctor Mushroom merged his practice with another doctor. So there are secretaries working for him now who don't know me. I got one of these pleasant individuals on the telephone, and the conversation went like this:
Anne: Hello, my prescription for XXXXX expired, and I didn't notice. Can you get Doctor Mushroom to call in a prescription and make me an appointment?
Secretary: He won't call in a prescription for you until he sees you.
Anne: When can I come in? I'll need to see him some time today or tomorrow.
Secretary: His next available appointment is next Monday.
Anne: So what am I going to do for medication until then?
Secretary: I don't know. You'll just have to do without it. Why didn't you notice that it needed authorization?
Anne: The pharmacy has been filling it and calling Doctor Mushroom right along! Ma'am, I need this medicine. I've been a patient of Doctor Mushroom's since he began his practice. He knows me. Can I talk to him?
Secretary: He's got patients.
Anne: You can't work me in? He could always work me in.
Secretary: His next available appointment is next Monday. Do you want that appointment?
Anne: I can't go without my medication for that long. I can't believe this is happening. You mean to tell me if I had high blood pressure, I wouldn't be able to get my medicine for a week? I could be dead by then.
Secretary (patronizing): You aren't going to die.
Anne: WHAT DO YOU MEAN, I'M NOT GOING TO DIE? I WON'T BE ABLE TO WORK! I'LL BE SICK, MAKE NO MISTAKE!
Secretary: You should be more careful about your refills. Here. I've looked up your file. You haven't been to see Doctor Mushroom since 2012.
Anne: Wow. That can't be true.
Secretary: It's true. Your last appointment was July 2012. Do you want that Monday appointment?
Anne: I want you to go right now and tell Doctor Mushroom that it's Anne Johnson, and I need some XXXX, and he needs to call it in.
*beep*beep*beep* (on hold for about three minutes)
Secretary: He will not prescribe the medicine for you until he sees you Monday. Do you want the appointment?
Anne: Yes. Because I want to look him in the eye when I tell him that he has become a bad doctor who has forgotten his Hippocratic Oath.
Secretary: Well, whatever.
Anne: I'm leaving this practice.
Secretary: Suit yourself.
Anne: But I still want the appointment, as I said.
Secretary: Monday at @#:#$.
I hung up on her, with that snarky "you won't die" ringing in my ears. Oh, the stigma! It's only a mental health medication. How bad could I need it?
The cell phone hadn't cooled off before I rang up my psychiatrist, also a very longtime physician in my life. The difference between this psychiatrist and Doctor Mushroom is ... $120. Yes, it costs $130 to get the medication from the psychiatrist. Again with the stigma. Have you noticed that mental health professionals who are any good don't take insurance?
The medication was secured and an appointment made with the mental health professional.
Three hours later, someone from Doctor Mushroom's office called. He faxed in the prescription. But the damage is done.
I'll bet I'm preaching to the choir here amongst you broad-minded and thoughtful Pagans, but mental health is not really considered part of health at all. You see it all the time. Addicts are "weak," depressives should "just get over it," anxious people (like me) should just settle down. It fucking doesn't work like that, and medical secretaries should know it.
I haven't been to a doctor since 2012. Wow, the picture of health! On the surface.