Big deal

17th November 2022

Today can’t decide what mood to be in.

So it’s gone for gloomy with bright intervals.

First snow yesterday did not amount to much.

The bird baths were slushy but not frozen.

Though the sparrows made a big deal of it.

Till the pigeons arrived.

The cardinals are much more refined,

and don’t stoop to scrum tactics.

It looks as if the farmers harvested the last of their crops in the nick of time. I think it is a type of corn that is used as animal feed.

This was three days ago.

When we were out and about.

Our only mission this day was supermarket shopping.

A boring task unless you add sightseeing.

The only appointment this week, my re-scheduled Zoom session.

Describe how that went?…

My initial appointment was cancelled at the very last minute because my Medicare insurance had not cleared.

Yesterday, another last minute call!

Did I have supplemental insurance? Yes and the information was given. They seemed not to have it, would it be alright to re-schedule?

Well, I supposed so, but this was the second time…

“Oh. Just a minute…..”

“Alright, login and wait for your connection…”

Then I met the nice doctor with whom I had been matched.

Initial visits are such a drag. It’s like going for an interview and I have always been horrible at those.

“In one sentence can you tell me what you hope for?”

All the time Brain was saying to me:

“Be careful what you say! Don’t paint a bad picture!”

And Mouth stuttered out an answer that I hoped didn’t make me seem like a blithering idiot.

The lady was still smiling, which was a vast improvement over the previous “mental health” provider whose sour face and disposition I had the displeasure of encountering!

We proceeded through an extensive list of questions and I had the uncomfortable feeling that my answers were being fed into a program that was going to throw out a conclusion I might not like.

Eventually we finished.

And I didn’t much like it, but I was not expecting to be told that the doctor was not licensed to prescribe medications to people over 72.

Then why…..?

At the opening of the session I had been asked for my birth date, but the doctor was nice and very sympathetic, so there was no way I was going to ask the obvious question.

Damn. I must have given a wrong answer to one of those tricky questions .

“So what do I do?” I asked humbly.

They would have me transferred to a different provider who is licensed for geriatric care. If there was one in their practice.

If not, they would seek one elsewhere for me.

So that left me a little gob-smacked.

For the first time in my 74 years I felt the sting of discrimination.

Harassment is one thing. I dealt with that.

But there is nothing I can do about my age.

When bad things happen in my life, my mind takes me somewhere else and I don’t react until later on.

Why was this such a BAD thing?

Years ago and for a very long time, life was extremely stressful. Maybe someone stronger could have handled it better. I sought help from the medical world.

In my innocence, I trusted doctors. Was there an option?

My diagnosis was two-fold. Depression and anxiety.

Anti-depressants don’t appear to be my current problem.

But very many years ago, I was prescribed with anti-anxiety medication, benzodiazepines.

Very effective. Life was still tedious but I could function.

Back then, if I could have gone online, I would have found out what a really bad, bad thing these drugs are because you quickly become habituated to them.

Should I have known? Shouldn’t the doctors have advised me?

Whatever the case, here I now am, aged 74 and dependent on the stuff. And NOW the medical world has decided that it is a really terrible thing and geriatric people ought not to take it.

So they won’t prescribe it.

My current primary care physician reduced my prescription by two thirds and stipulates that it cannot be refilled a single day too soon.

So that if there is a snowstorm or other problem and I can’t get to the pharmacy, I shall start experiencing withdrawal.

The reduced prescription is just enough to prevent withdrawal. Stress is not something you get used to. The more you have, the more susceptible you become, so while life is easier now, there are times when an extra pill would really help.

“It’s a concern in the elderly because of the risk of falls. And dementia”.

There is a serious risk that if I get too stressed I may hurt myself in some other way (like banging my head against a wall) or that I may lose my mind!

So when I finished my Zoom session yesterday I had the feeling that I am hanging on by my fingernails.

However, the lady I had talked to did make a point of ensuring I was connected with a geriatric-qualified doctor and next week I will have a shot at persuading that lady that I am in fact quite level headed and responsible and that continuing on my current medication is in my best interest.

Oh God. Give me the right words.

The reason this is a big deal for me is because in the past neglectful hospitals failed to provide this medication and twice I ended up in withdrawal. On both occasions I had to make a scene to get help.

Withdrawal from benzodiazepines is serious and can be life-threatening.

Whichever way I pass from this world, I do not want it to be like that.

Last year I was taken off oxycodone. Surely that was punishment enough for misplaced trust in the medical system?

The reason I choose to write about this is because people need to be aware of the repercussions of long-term drug use. Any drug, but these in particular.

7 thoughts on “Big deal

  1. Welcome to the world of being a geriatric. They changed the name here, to make it seem more respectful. ‘Elderly Medicine’. (I am included, apparently)
    You have snow! I am moaning about constant rain, and you have snow. I have stopped moaning.
    Best wishes, Pete.

  2. Oh dear. How frustrating for you. Grr. I find your tale alarming to say the least. Give me the good old fashioned GP without all these fancy drugs which seem to end up doing more harm than good. From a “senior” geriatric

  3. I see that recommendations now are that benzodiazepines should be prescribed for no longer than 2 weeks and the dire warnings cover many pages of information! Not very encouraging. If I were you I would write a script for a variation of possible questions for the next appointment. Anything to help. I always write notes before any appointment and keep a diary of any symptoms experienced.

    1. I will try to organise my thoughts. The new dctor is young but as she specializes in “geriatrics”, I am hoping….for the best, whatever that is!

  4. Very frustrating and borderline abusive and demeaning. but as with so many things in life – thank the good lord for cats! All the best for finding those words.

  5. Oh, first snow! Feels like just the other day that you mentioned how hot it was outside! My question echo yours: Why weren’t you informed about the negative effects when the medication was prescribed in the first place? But I presume to ponder about this now won’t make a difference. And here I was hoping the zoom appointment would be a good one … maybe the next one?

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