I was blessed right from the get-go.
After my admission to the psychiatric unit, I was assigned a psychiatrist. He was very thorough with his assessment of my bipolar disorder, even going to great lengths to interview my husband, daughters, and parents to determine if there were any previous indicators. He not only sent me to 2 other agencies for confirmation but scheduled extensive blood work up, at CT scan, and a neurologist, to rule out any other medical conditions. In my opinion, that was Point #1 for him, as it showed he didn't have an ego and based his diagnosis on ALL findings.
His office is a sterile environment and has little photos and objets d'art from around the world. He detests fluorescent lighting so his office is illuminated by a soft white desk lamp and a light box. Oh, and 1 half-dead poinsettia!
He is an old-school type of psychiatrist that still uses pen and paper to maintain his notes and does not have a computer in his office, He knows my husband and both my girls by name. Surprisingly, he remembers where both of them live and go to school.
When it comes to his treatment of me, he is always caring and empathetic. Not once has he undermined my symptoms or frustrations.
I know I am very lucky as I am aware of the new style of psychiatric care in which a patient would see their psychiatrist for either a prescription change or if their episodes have worsened, their General Practitioner for maintenance, and a therapist/counselor/psychologist for their talk therapy.
I really don't like that 3 tiered approach as I truly don't believe that ANY of them have the opportunity to get to know YOU! 3 different people, 3 different views, 3 different approaches, 3 different spread out appointments?
When I'm in the waiting room, where all the psychiatric offices are, some of the psychiatrists come out EVERY month and ask if I am so-in-so. THEY don't even know who their patients ARE!
My psychiatrist is typically great on his 1 hour scheduled slots but I don't mind waiting as I know he is providing QUALITY care to someone that needs it. Sometimes we are done in less than an hour, other times, when I am having difficulties coping, and we go over an hour, he doesn't kick me out, he LISTENS.
I've been with him for over 6 years, actually since my onset, and I've never seen another (nor do I want to). He has been relentless in supporting me through my trials and tribulations with the multitude of med changes. He doesn't play Dr-knows-best when I suggest something I've researched and will either try it or tell me it isn't really beneficial for my set of circumstances. You know why?? Because he knows ME. We've always worked as a TEAM towards my Mental Wellness.
I don't know how many times he has told me that I'm one of his strongest patients yet most confusing, not only with my med resistances and sensitivities, but with my ever-so-present bipolar symptoms. Over the last 6+ years, we still haven't found a combo that provides me with relief. I am very lucky though as he is like me, very patient and persistent, we keep trying. He hasn't thrown in the towel and neither have I.
I have become very anxious however, over the last year, ruminating over the day he announces his retirement. I will be assigned one of those pill pushers, who are clueless to who you are and can't remember, from appointment to appointment, where you stand mentally, emotionally, and physically, without referring to their notes. I will no longer be Laura who has Bipolar Disorder II, but will become a case file in the system.
Laura Marchildon will blog honest and true posts about her real life experiences.