Wobbly weepy

I discontinued my Effexor Friday and started my (hopefully final) 1500 mg. level of lithium dosing. No nausea side effects, but like clockwork I’ve started feeling weepy and volatile and shaky. Yesterday it was arguing with the transportation chief, the inpatient social worker, and finally, the head of social services at the hospital where my mother stayed last week. See, to compound the almighty clusterfuck that was her stay, the inpatient sw signed my mother up for transportation, even though her address isn’t on the list of pickup areas. And he couldn’t check, because he didn’t do it until after the department had left for the day, and only after I left him a blasting voice mail–despite the fact that he’d known for 2 days that transport was needed.

I started shaking yesterday with nausea and rage when my brother called me. My mother’d gotten up at 5:15 and was ready at 7. No van, however. She tried calling, but she’s not yet with it enough to really get what they’re telling her. (Funny, the collision of instinct and insight.) So then she called Brother, who called me. He was at the end of his rope. So I called and got the transportation manager. He said he’d talk to the inpatient sw and someone would call me back in 15 minutes. An hour later I called the transportation manager back, furiouser and furiouser. Well, of course he’d spoken with the f*ing moron I told him not to bother with, since I’ve apparently scared the useless shit so much he won’t return a call to me. (and no, I never swore once out loud to anyone…) So I told the transportation manager that I wanted the head of social services. More resistance. I said “look, I know you’re just telling me the facts and the mess up isn’t your fault, but you can get me the head of social services or I will just fax the Risk Manager.”

“I’ll put you right through.” I thought so.

I got her voice mail. My voice was trembling with rage and exhaustion. If I didn’t get this started toward a solution, I don’t know what I’dve done. I didn’t mention the Risk Manager. She called me back in 15 minutes. I explained the situation, my voice still sounding shaky and teary as I explained the fucking idiocy of this inpatient social worker. (Again, I didn’t swear, but I used the words “shocked,” “concerned,” “extremely worried” and “precipitate a relapse.”) “He never called you back?!?” “I hope he’s new,” I told her. I then held for 5 minutes while she grabbed my mother’s paper file. “I see a list of ‘social work goals’ signed by Brother here. Did any of this get done?” “No. No caseworker. No medication management. No SSDI application guidance. Nothing.”

She was appropriately apologetic. There isn’t much they can do for getting her to their day program, since she’s not yet fit to drive, and she really is out of their pick-up area. But she took all the information we’d collected about whom we’d spoken with, trying to get set up, and said she would follow up with the agencies, including a caseworker referral. She is also going to refer Mom to a more local day program, and will confirm transportation.

Finally, someone with a brain. Only took a week. A nasty letter to the Risk Manager may still be in order, however. But we’ll see what the rest of the week holds.

After I got off the phone, I threw up. And then shook for about a half an hour. And then went to the Trader Joe’s for groceries and some medicinal wine. On the way home, a disabled vet, panhandling at an intersection, caught my eye. He could be renamed Mr. PTSD, the dismay on his face was so apparent. We’ve recently not had any cash, but I got paid last week. Five dollars to him was worth leftovers for lunch all week– hell, I have leftovers. I sniffled and snorfled the rest of the drive, thankful for Home. Once inside, I was freezing, shaking cold– so I crawled into bed for an hour, until the BH came home and made me supper. I can’t say that the two glasses of medicinal merlot were a cure, but they did make me stop shaking so hard. After further agitation, an ativan sent me off to sleepy-time. Today, since the project I am working on is fraught with database corruption, I got to sleep until 10. It’s going to be a lazy taking care of myself day.

I can’t imagine how people who don’t understand the basic workings of the system do it. I could do all of this stuff myself, if I were there, and I’m still a wreck.


23 thoughts on “Wobbly weepy

  1. Angelina

    I haven’t had to take on the care of my mother yet or anyone besides myself, husband, and kid, so I can only say that it sounds like such a nightmare of bureaucracy and idiocy that when my time comes it is clear that I will need to be a lot more medicated than I currently am.

    Say, I’ve been thinking about all the wines that people used to make that were also medicinal such as elderberry wine…have you ever tried that? I think it would be so cool to have a liquor cabinet full of therapeutic home made wines. Not that there’s any need to replace the Merlot…especially when it’s doing such a good job!

  2. Michelle

    May today be a better day. I think you handled yourself with much restraint. I hate when people are dismissive. Best of luck getting your mom into a closer day program. I know we are from generally the same area but don’t know how close. I will email you with the name of a place I know that is supposedly pretty good. May not be close but can’t hurt to try.

  3. magpie


    When you’re done solving your mom’s problems, could you help me with my mother? She needs home care; we don’t know where to begin.

  4. Sara

    Ahhh god, hold it together. Guess I shouldn’t ask to start Effexor then…you sure maybe you don’t want to wait on the taper until the stuff with your mom settles down? I am thinking of going back to old bad meds now just because the timing is so bad and I’m at the end of my rope.

  5. Mrs. Chicken

    I can’t even imagine trying to deal with that from across the country. Hoping you get some time to pamper yourself and decompress. I think you handled it amazingly well.

  6. Emily

    Oy gevalt!

    I hope today’s better. Having to deal with any bureaucracy is aggravating, but when the results impact someone you love it’s incredibly difficult.

    I’m very impressed that you didn’t yell and curse. I don’t know that I could have held back so well.

    Good luck with getting this resolved so your mom can get stable – she’s exceedingly lucky to have you on her side.

  7. JenM

    My experience has been that the only people who really know “the system” are the very ones who don’t need services. So many people are at the mercy of social workers who vary in their skills, compassion, and know-how….I was so saddened to read this. Fuckheads, indeed.

    I hope today is like a bottle of merlot without the hangover, chased by sparkly fluffy clouds and a massage.

  8. cathy

    ohmygosh… you poor thing. i’m so glad you crawled under the covers. you are doing such great things for your mom. i’m sorry it’s hard.

  9. Tara

    I can identify with your medication nightmares. As a long-term depressive I can completely understand the alcohol “self-medication” as I have recently reeled myself in from self-imposed alcoholism…..Oh, I enjoy your blog site, it is very entertaining.

    This may be coming from left field but I am wondering if you have ever considered alternative treatment for your bipolar disorder? As a dyed-in-the-wool pillar of the medical establishment (I’m a nursing manager) and a long-term user of SSRI’s (luvox), I can well vouch for utilizing the plethora of pharmaceutical’s that the doc’s just love to dispense.

    However, I have recently started on a supplement program via True Hope (www.truehope.com) and have noticed a huge improvement in my mood. This treatment takes a few months to kick in and there is a long period of misery before you start to feel better, however the changes are more long-term without the reliance on being “doped”. I guess you can say I have been converted.

    Without blabbing on and sounding like a converted zealot check out their website and also google search Margot Kidder. After her last admission to the psych ward she began vitamin supplementation (mega doses) and has been well ever since. This alternative form of treatment is not supported by the medical establishment or by pharmaceutical companies, because there is no profit margin to be had and so no need to support it.

    Anyways, after happening upon your blog and reading through your posts I thought I would offer a suggestion. Don’t take my word for it, if you are curious have a look for yourself and make your own determination.

  10. jess

    OMG…my thoughts are with you and your mom. I wish there was something more I could do to help you out.

    a great big hug from me to you…and i’ll even allow you a pass on the drinking. (wink, wink) I will have a big glass or two with you…


  11. Just Me

    Just so you know, always be prepared to advocate just as strongly for yourself. If something happens which causes an emergency while you are on so much lithium you need to know that you may have to be pretty demanding to get a simple level drawn in an emergency room. I’ve had a major fight with them once when they wanted to give me ibuproferon, which would have caused dangerous levels, potentially (meaning likely for me). They then turned that around into “you didn’t want pain control” and grudgingly gave me tylenol for the raging headache that goes with a sky-high blood pressure. I then had to fight with them that careful consideration was needed before giving me lasix, also generally in conflict with lithium.

    Healthcare people do not get mental illness. They/we really, really don’t.

  12. nyjlm

    We are knee deep in advocating for a family member too. In this case, I’m supporting and encouraging my husband and his sister. Their dad just had a stroke, and their mom seems content just to let the system figure everything out. When my mouth isn’t hanging wide open at that I’m saying no no no! You must be a gadfly, or you’re not going to get good care for him in this frigged up system.

    And of course, let’s not forget my uncle who is still in mental health la-la-land. He was rejected by a practice he used to see because of his non-compliance with meds. I understand why they don’t want to try to work with him, but c’mon! And today’s headline via my mom is that he doesn’t think he needs therapy, he just needs not to have panic attacks. Well oookay then uncle.

    sigh. Hugs!


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