Juggling life through a bi-polar lens. Sometimes up, sometimes down. Mostly trying to tread water in the middle. Creating a likeness to a normal life. Whatever "normal" is...

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

I knew they weren't listening!

My Art Therapy came to an end this time last week, as my therapist is no longer going to travel in from Ipswich to work at the Colchester hospital. Blast. This is the one continual contact within the mental health system that I have had over the last 6 years.

The psychiatric service has been a joke. You get one half hour appointment every three months. You NEVER see your consultant, only one of his/her team of trainees and very rarely the same one twice. Most of the time they haven't had time to read your file, so much of the appointment id taken up with basic questions about your background and family situation. Then they'll say, so what can we do for you today? DUH.

But, useless as it mostly is, I need contact with this service as they are the ones who monitor my meds, change them, introduce new prescriptions, and, the thing I thought most important, note whether I am having the weird hallucinations that accompany the bipolar when I'm under any extra stress.

When my Art Therapy stopped last week, I asked my therapist if could enquire when my next p-doc appointment was, as I hadn't had one since the autumn. He did. He called me after I'd left and said, 'I'm very sorry, I had no idea, but they discharged you.' They hadn't even had the professional courtesy to tell him, let alone say anything to me.

Soon as I got home I rattled off an angry letter to the consultant about this, why was this done, why was it done so unprofessionally, and who was I to go to about meds and hallucinations if they had left me out here on my own?

Appointment with my GP this morning.
She didn't knew anything about it. Had a look back through my files. Oh yeah, she says, we got a letter in June saying they were going to discharge you because you hadn't attended a few appointments [for non attendance, read rebooked them, as they constantly gave me times I couldn't attend].

I then had one more appointment with them after this, during which they said to increase one med and come off another. Nothing was said to me about closing the file.

So here I am, with bi-polar II,
permanently on anti-depressants,
for the last 18 months on anti-anxiety pills,
and regulary taking anti-psychotics for the creepy, Hellish things I hear and experience when under stress,
the main carer of an elderly parent with vascular dementia,
no local support network, 
and my only regular help, art therapy has stopped,
and that's it, I'm discharged.

The GP showed me their letter about it. It even says I was suicidal in my last appointment. But hey, it notes that I dressed ok, was polite, made sense and seemed to have no personal hygiene problems, so I guess that means I'm ok. Maybe you need to be a smelly, drugged up alcoholic to get help.

REALLY glad I wrote that angry letter now.

No reply so far, which is no surprise. PALS is my next step, the Patient Advice & Liaison service. Big, big complaint coming their way.

Just as well I'm not suicidal any more, isn't it? Do you think, if my health problem was heart disease, I would have been discharged still with problems?


Sandi McBride said...

Ever heard the expression the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is up to? Sounds like a case of shrugged shoulders your problem kind of thing. Don't let this drop Helena, make some noise...in the mean time, you are always in my prayers!

Jacqui said...

So sorry Helena.
What an awful way to be treated. I would still carry on with the letters. Plague them. My husband is great letter writer and would not give up until something is done.
I have to go to the hospital for regular checks and they are forever asking me if I want to stop coming. I think it is to save money and get the lists down. I think we are just a number to them.I always see someone different as well and they always mess up my medication. I now think the best part is feeding the ducks on the lake! It cheers me up.
I also have the same problem with my son. He was discharged from his occupational therapist last year as he was "too old" so does this mean he no longer has any of his problems! So frustrating and he has no support now at all.

Thinking of you.Carry on with your beautiful drawings at home.


Angel and Kirby said...

I am so sorry this happened to you! Every time our government talks about socialized medicine, I think about you and all the problems you and your Mom have had.

Helena said...

Hi Sandi, thanks for the thoughts. I won't let it lie!

Hi Jacqui, that rings a bell, as I recall them sometimes asking me if I wanted to still keep coming! Yes, the ducks up at the hospital are usually the best therapy for me too, and a cuppa from the Friends' shop!

Angel and Kirby, I think if this sort of system were to be started again from scratch, with some set down guidelines for modern times, then it could work. There is just too much money put into one area at the expense of another. Care of the elderly and mental health are the poor cousins in the NHS. There are lots of things that are covered that in my opinion shouldn't be. For example IVF. That costs thousands a time, yet every couple can have at least one go. Even if they already have kids. I think this could be cut. There are so many kids to foster or adopt. And since when is it a 'right' to have a child? This is not an urgent health problem, so should n't be on the NHS........ there are lots of examples. Like viagra, too! WHy is that free? Answer= it's for men, of course. But a health issue? Please!

Found art blog said...

Oh cripes...... don't know what I can say but I hope something gets done for you!!!

Big hugs from The Mouse...!!