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Work — Good.

December 5, 2015

Photo on 2013-05-21 at 15.50 #2

My boss, a lady of uncertain years, said I could come in to work today.

“Can I just come in, like, whenever I want?  Whenever I get up?” I asked.  She assured me that would be just fine.  (I’m retired, you know.  I want to help out.)  All of the pharmacists and technicians at the pharmacy, except one, are pretty much new, still in training.  Some have diplomas or licenses, but most are technicians in training.  One of my best friends, another pharmacist, just started working there.

The old lady is retiring at the end of this month.  I figure we are doomed.

I’m a pharmacist.  I dispense medicine.  We provide prescriptions to the residents of about a dozen nursing homes and assisted living places.

Our technicians reduce the doctors’ orders into standard prescriptions on a computer, then a pharmacist (like me) approves their work.  Or rejects it and asks them to redo.  There are a bunch of ways a technician can do it wrong.  We don’t make an issue of it, we just fix it.

After that, when a label peels off a printer, another of our technicians puts the medicine into some sort of blister-pack card to send to a nurse at the nursing facility in order to pop the pill out and give it to the poor soul who lives there.  My sympathy goes to him.  Or her.

Some of those people are younger than I am.  Others are older than my Uncle Bud would be, had he survived WW II.  Makes me think.

But I was glad to go to work today.  You alert and faithful readers know that I have been struggling with depression and anxiety.  I take medicine under a physician’s care and I have been visiting the YMCA to work out regularly.  I try to go every day.  So far I have missed just twice.

What am I anxious about?  Oh, let me count the ways.

I worry about my antidepressant medication.  I went without a couple of weeks ago when my internist changed them and I was miserable.  I felt like death.  I thought about death.  I found the thoughts of death frightening, even though I love all of my family and friends way, WAY too much to ever want to die and leave them behind.  I am not afraid to die, but I love my peeps.  I walked with the suicide prevention group each year for many years.  I have excellent insight into my illness.  Nonetheless, depression is terrifying.  It’s the pain of depression that scares me.  And the anxiety.

Anxiety.  What am I anxious about?  My family members.  My friends.  People I love who are far away, hundreds of miles.  People I love whose spouses are getting to be elderly.  I am anxious that something bad could happen to them.  Illness could happen.  I feel physically ill, almost, worrying.

I care about the people at work, at church.  At my writing workshop.  At the places I volunteer.  The theater.  The child care.  An anxious person, like me, can worry about just about anything.  I am afraid for those who would be left behind if a loved one died.  Somebody like my old friends, I mean my really old friends, the ones who have married even older people.  I love them, I worry.  But, like a medical director I once had, said:  That’s what I have.  Depression.  Anxiety.

Yesterday evening at 5:30 I walked into my kitchen as the answering device finished recording.  I heard a message from Big Sky Psychiatric inviting me to call them for an appointment.  I called them immediately.  I got an answering service.  The psychiatrist’s office would open Friday morning at 8.  I called Friday morning at 8:10.  I got the answering service.  A woman told me that the psychiatrist’s office doesn’t take calls on Friday, but she would give them a message and ask them to call me.  I left a message.  But they didn’t call me. How soon will I get in to see a psychiatrist?  My hunch is, not for a long, long time.

Welcome to the reality of psychiatric accessibility in Billings, Montana, in 2015.

I was expected this, so I left a message for my internist’s nurse because I have an appointment with him Monday.  I was going to ask if I still needed to see him, in light of possibly seeing the psychiatrist.  But I got no return call from Jennifer.  This was unprecedented.  However, until now, I have not been a psychiatric patient, as such.  I feel I have been stigmatized.

Now I feel like a proverbial turd in a punchbowl becauseI have a diagnosed psychiatric illness.

Again, please do not worry about me.  Sympathy or empathy is welcome.  I am safe.  The problem is simply that depression is painful. Also, even in this modern age, psychiatric illnesses carry a stigma.

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5 Comments
  1. This is powerful stuff, Dan. Keep writing about it. It’s important.

  2. Thanks for your confessional approach to living with an illness that we share. My anxiety sometimes creeps up to the level of a panic attack, and those are frightening. Your words are healing, and thanks again.

  3. Thanks, Don. Sorry that you also wrestle with anxiety.

  4. Duke La permalink

    I am at a point where nothing means anything and anything means nothing. It’s as if I am living in own personal Bizarro World. Sometimes I can’t even imagine that anything good is on the horizon.

  5. Duke LaRance permalink

    I am at at point where it’s like nothing means anything and anything means nothing. It’s like living in my own personal Bizarro World.

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