Thursday, January 12, 2012

Our New Psychiatrist

This week we met our new psychiatrist for the first time. We had to switch doctors due to our recent insurance change. With careful consideration, we chose a doctor that a personal friend recommended and our old psychiatrist approved of, so I was feeling optimistic about how things would go, but never imagined it would go so well.

The appointment lasted an hour and we never felt rushed, which hasn’t always been the case with previous doctors. I really appreciated that he started the appointment by connecting with my son. He asked a lot of great questions and seemed interested in what he had to say. Next we ran through family history and symptoms. As always, I provide the doctors with condensed details from my charts and journaling with a few typed pages. In the past, the doctors seem to care less and at one appointment a doctor actually handed it back to me and said that it wasn’t necessary. But our new doctor impressed the heck out of me when he sincerely seemed to appreciate all the information and promised to review it all. Per my request, he even said he was willing to look at my son’s entire case from beginning to end to evaluate if any of his medications have brought on symptoms. His initial response was that it wasn’t likely. From there he asked us a lot of questions covering everything I could imagine. By the time we were done I was pleased and felt like he was more than capable of helping our son.

As with every first appointment, I ask the doctors the same question, “What do you think my son has?” Without flinching, in a tone that said “obviously”, he said, “Well bipolar disorder”, as he gestured toward the list of symptoms. He then asked, “why, have you been told differently?” We explained that previous doctors hesitate to label because of his age and one doctor told us that it was statistically impossible for my son to have bipolar disorder since only 1% of the population have it. We also explained how our first psychiatrist declared that our old HMO will no longer be labeling kids with bipolar disorder, but will use the new label once released with the DSM guide. In response, our psychiatrist shook his head and said, “it sounds like politics, I’m glad I don’t work there.”

The only downside was the long commute to get there, on the way home my son started to panic in the car because we were in an unfamiliar location far from home, it was a rough reminder of how fragile he is. Thankfully every other aspect of our new doctor was great. Both my husband and I were enthusiastic about how positive the experience was and my son gave us the “thumbs up”. After all we’ve been through, I wanted to give the psychiatrist a big hug after the appointment, don’t worry I didn’t get weird on him, instead I settled for a hand shake, but I was smiling ear to ear.


7 comments:

  1. Glad it went so well. Changing doctors can be so stressful--communicating all that history.

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    1. Yeah, I think it’s all the history that makes it overwhelming, it’s like, “where do we start?”, plus I feel the pressure that I am missing stuff, trying to fill in all the blanks is quite a responsibility.

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  2. I'm so happy for you and your family! You have been on such a long tough journey. But it sounds like you just might have found the right doctor to continue along the road with you. And that will make all the difference in the world.
    Betsy

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  3. Good news! I'm glad it went well.

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  4. Very good news! Sounds like an extremely wonderful and knowledgeable doctor. How are you feeling about his diagnosis, though? Is that hard for you? Do you feel like "only one percent of the population can be bi-polar" is still accurate? I'm really curious to know more about what your new doctor thinks. However, the most important thing is that you feel like you were listened to and understood, and that your son is going to get great medical care. Such a praise!
    Cathy

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    1. Hmm... how do I feel about a bipolar diagnosis, well until it is official on a piece of paper it still seems like theory instead of fact. Once it becomes official, there will be emotions that I have pushed down that will surely surface. In the meantime, I still have a "lets wait and see" attitude, especially until he gets into puberty, I believe things will get more clear when he hits his teen years. On the other hand, I still haven't found anything else that can concretely explain what he is experiencing except bipolar disorder. So I am always searching, learning and asking the questions to those who have experience in this area.

      As for the comment made by our very first psychiatrist about only 1% of the population having bipolar disorder so it isn't possible that my son has it. My original thought is, maybe he is included in the 1%.

      As for if I believe this is an accurate number, I don't know. I know that there have been people misdiagnosed with bipolar disorder, but this is no different than all the bipolar patients misdiagnosed with depression, or anxiety or conduct disorder, etc. for at least 10 years before their final diagnosis of bipolar disorder. (It takes an average of 10 years to get a bipolar diagnosis). I also know that there are plenty of adults that have bipolar disorder that claim to have had symptoms as a child. This child population was never recorded since it was not excepted years ago for kids to have it. Then you have the population of people that turned to drugs and alcohol, crimes (and are in jail) maybe even committed suicide that never received a proper diagnosis and thus never calculated. But today, with mental health being more part of society, people who once would have never sought treatment, are now likely to do that, I would imagine that the number diagnosed would go up. Then you have doctors with better training who can diagnosis the illness now adding to the number, also increasing it. So what the true numbers I’m sure are questionable.

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