Not In Kansas Anymore...

Click your heels, and see if home is where you hang your hat, or somewhere else inside yourself as this simple, postmodern girl takes on L.A.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Things go from bad to worse in one fell swoop.

I think I have to fire Master P. It's come to that.

Two ( or is it three now? I don't even know anymore, because I've been not feeling well, which is the thrust of this post) weeks ago, I had an appointment. I was running late for said appointment, as I was leaving the house later than I had hoped. I called the office and said I would be there about 10 minutes late. Note: it was still NOT my appointment time when I left the house. And had nothing else happened, I probably would have strolled in a few (read: two to five) minutes behind.

Except the fine city of Burbank decided to tar one of the main roads that day, and I got stuck in that before getting on the highway ( the traffic, not the tar). Then when I finally got back off the highway and to the exit I needde to get to his office, there's some dillhole who decided to drive UP the side of the highway meridian with his Landrover and the police were slowing things down trying to untangle it all. I get to Master P's office and I'm now 15 minutes late. I'm not happy about it, but it could not be avoided.

Let me stop here and give you a little background on Master P, for those of you who do not know. His practice is like a zoo. He's got a million patients, and he's super busy, all the time. I don't know what exactly the deal is, but it seems like every time I go in there for an appointment I am waiting for the man for AT LEAST an hour. As a matter of fact, he does not even STAY in the office between appointments; his secretary has to page him from the hospital to come down. When *I* was in the hospital, he was known for making his rounds at 10pm, if not later, which if you don't know much about psych wards, is like the most ridiculous thing ever, since that's when everyone gets their sleep meds and are half in the bag, nodding off.( Plus the nurses are changing shifts and night nurses in psych hospitals? Heh. They BELONG in the hospital. Not nice people. ) So the man is on the go, and doesn't have much time for anyone, ever. He never answers his pages, and if you're a patient wanting to speak with him after hours because there's a problem, you might as well tough it out because he isn't going to call you back.
He doesn't call anyone back. Hardly ever.

And if he weren't such a brilliant psychopharmacologist, no one would put up with THAT crap for very long. 'Cept he is, and everyone, and I mean everyone, from the heads of the hospital to his patients, know it. If you've got a problem and you can't solve it, he's the man to see. He's a generally good guy, and he's the ONLY doctor on staff that requires a therapist to see his patients. Everyone else just gets stuck in groups, and that is so useless it's laughable. (.His therapist, Dr.C, rocks, too.). So when you're crazy, or looking down the road at crazy, he's your dude.

All of this together makes BEING his patient a crapshoot, because it's six of one, half dozen of the other. Brilliant physician, absolutely unreliable to get a hold of in a pinch.( Unless of course, you want to take yourself to the emergency room, which is never a good option to begin with).

Back to my story.

I really REALLLLLLY needed to get into to see Master P that day, because in case y'all haven't noticed, I've been going through the ringer. Cat dies, man leaves, I lose job, and my hormones are nine kinds of Still Fucked Up. I'm sleeping all the time, and at that time, barely leaving the house. So I show up, and what the blankety-blank: the man was not only IN his office, he had taken in someone ahead of me. I look at the secretary, and I hang my mouth open, like, "HEY!! I just called you!" (which I managed to sputter out).
Does she:
a.) say: "No worries Jessica, you can go take that person's slot, since they took yours ahead of you" ?
b.) say: "No worries, Jessica. We'll reschedule you as soon as possible"?
c.) say: "I'm sorry, Jessica, can I take a message for him and maybe he can call you"?


She just looks at me like I've got two heads and a wart the size of Montana, and says, "Sorry. You were late. We can schedule you into an appointment in December."

Oh, you read it right: DECEMBER. I take a deep breath and explain what my life has been like, and how it is important for me to see him sooner than TWO MONTHS FROM THAT MOMENT and she says, "Mmmhmm. Do you want to go to the hospital?"
NO, you bitch, I don't want to go to the hospital. I don't like going to the hospital even when I HAVE to go, which, BTW, is NOT now; right NOW I need some serious, serious medication management. Like, maybe more of this, less of that, and so forth, get it? I would like an APPOINTMENT, like, specifically MY appointment, the one that I had to race here to get to, and I would like it ASAP. I take another deep breath and ask if I can at least have the man call me.
"Mmmm. No. He doesn't like that."
Oh, right. How silly of me. I had forgotten: whatever The Great Man doesn't want to do, he doesn't do, because he is so busy and important. Never mind standards of care and all that, or the fact that I've been his patient for two years and never missed an appointment. Never mind that every other psychiatrist on the face of the living earth has to answer his pages, morning noon and night, because that's what DOCTORS DO.
So I look at her and say, "I don't think you understand. He told me a while back that if I ever had a problem, that you could work me in. That's what he said, since he's so bad about returning calls. NOW I have a problem. NOW I need to see him, and you're telling me December. That's too far away."

She just looks at me like, "yeah, you and every other fucker in here." And tells me she can put me on her cancellation list.

Which was 3 weeks ago. I've even called a few times and asked when they might have some openings. They acted like I was asking for a new car, sounding like gum-chomping sorority girls being torn away from their pedicures.

Tonight I was feeling escpecially poorly, and at a loss as to what to do. While I could, theorhetically, practice psychopharmacology on myself, ( and hey! Have!) I decided to give the dude a shot. I called his service, my most recent idea being that if I call enough, he's GOT to call me back. ( A risky move, BTW: in psychiatry, this can get you labelled as a "problem" patient and ignored even further.) I so rarely call my doctors ever, just for the record-- I'm pretty much an "I'll figure it out" kinda gal, unless there's something really wrong. And today, it just seemed like something was really, really wrong with my meds, so I sucked it up and picked up the phone. Some dimwatt on the service decides to ask me a million questions about what's wrong- and he's not even a doctor! Just some schmuck at a call center! So I explain my story about getting bumped. About feeling racy, panicking, crying jags. He tells me he'll relay the message.

Of course, I've yet to receive a phone call back. That was about 4 hours ago.

I'm at an utter loss. I think my friend Nicole said it best: "You know, you could get better service from the fucking COUNTY. I can't believe a private physician has the balls to let you wait that long. You could be in the bin by now, you know? That's not a standard of care. And I know, we've all had to fire docs before, and we have to fight for our care, and whatnot, but it's pretty scary to think about firing HIM, isn't it? After all, he's The Great Master P, The Rocket Scientist of Psychopharmacology. *Gasp and oh no!* But, Jessica, this is TERRIBLE."

It is, and I'm so mad I just want to CRY. I want to go in there and sit down his idiot secretary and chew her a new one. I want to call him up and chew him a new one, and I want him to turn around and chew his office staff again. The frustrating part is, I don't. Think. They get. It. If I could get his ear, I'm sure he would do what he could to prevent such utter bullshit from happening again, ( although the idea of his actually yelling at staff would be laughable). But I can't get his ear if I paid for it, --WHICH THANK YOU! I AM!!!--because of everything I've already explained.

And even if I end up firing him, I just want him to KNOW what happened, and I want his staff to know how shitty they treated me, and how unfair that is. It may not do any good, but I want it SAID. I've had plenty o' bein' treated shitty by somebody even though I'm being nothing but good to them lately to go around for a lifetime ( thank you, Anthony, I hope a Humvee runs over a leg or something out there in Global Hotspot! Yeah, yeah, I know. I'm terrible. Hey, did I SAY I wanted him to get blown up? No. I just said run over, and just the leg. Excruciating pain, a few pins, physical therapy combined with anger management courses when he starts throwing things at his PT. That's all!) including friends ( thanks, Dee, for that lovely phone call yesterday when I was not able to be at your beck and call for once in the 6 months I have known you, where you called me "fuckin' lazy" and hung up.). Why should I pay for the fucking privilige?? It's insane.

The whole mental health system is insane. Nobody believes it til they've been through it themselves, but it really hasn't changed too much since the times of lobotomies. Now we just give people chemical lobotomies, and if they complain too much, it's "their illness". And if you by rare chance get a doctor who actually is pro-you-having-a-life-outside-of-your-disease, THIS is what you get to deal with. This. And by firing him, you risk running into another yahoo who might slap you with a 72 hour hold because you don't agree with him. I sound like I'm exaggerating, because I'm pissed, but I have never seen such lunacy in my life than I have in CA when it comes to these issues.

I don't know what to do. I honestly don't know what to do.