Posted by: stephilepsy | January 21, 2011

A Cold-Hearted Man

It had been my intention to begin this blog properly. I would open with a post simultaneously hilarious and heart-wrenching about my various early entanglements with the so-called medical “profession”. But as it is, I’m in too much pain and, frankly, too pissed off to do that, so instead I will begin with a recap of this week’s medical madcaps.

And, as so far this blog consists of a readership of one (i.e. me), I shall now demonstrate completely uncharacteristic generosity and ask them if this is accepable.

Readership, do you find this plan to be acceptable?

Readership: Why, yes, stephilepsy! We do!

Excellent!

We begin then in medias res, with the continuing drama surrounding my worsening somatosensory seizures, extreme pain, lack of sleep, and the beginnings of what were obviously unavoidable personality clashes between me and my new doctor, Dr. San-Froid. For some reason, the part of the country I have recently moved to is patently terrified of prescribing narcotics for pain (even in cases such as mine: I am a chronic pain patient who takes warfarin due to a stroke, also has epilepsy due to said stroke, and is therefore greatly limited in the medications I am permitted to take). Dr. San-Froid, in his infinite, unerring wisdom, decided I should take Neurontin for pain and to help with my insomina (for insomnia? really?). Now, having taken this drug on numerous occasions before, prior to the stroke, I was less than optimistic regarding this plan. Indeed, I have had the (mis)fortune of meeting many other patients who have tried it for various reasons, and not even the most cheerful amongst them referred to Neurontin with any degree of enthusiasm. In fact, I once read a blog that called it “Twenty First Century snake oil.” In my opinion, this is a wholly accurate description.

Needless to say the doctor’s brilliant plan did not work. Not only did this not
work, but it had this unfortunate side effect of worsening my seizures. With some grumbling about how this did not make sense as Neurontin is an anticonvulsant (I, ever-naively, said is was probably due to lack of sleep — but given the intensity if the seizures, and how quickly they developed Dr. Google and grumpy Dr. San-Froid are actually in complete accord on the matter), San-Froid put me on Klonopin for sleep (narcotics are bad but benzos are fine and dandy?) and had me make an appointment with a local neurologist, The Count.

Several weeks later, after, amongst other things, my grandmother’s funeral and a EEG that required me to stay awake all night (an excellent plan for patients with profoundly disturbed sleeping patterns), San-Froid and I met again on the field of battle. I informed him that while the Klonopin had only helped me sleep for a night or two, it did make my seizures go away, which although I considered that to be a profoundly magical, wonderful thing, The Count did not. Given this, I wanted to discontinue the drug immediately, and return to taking Rozerem, which I found was more effective and unquestionably less dangerous. He muttered something about how the Klonopin was only tempory, but I was not really interested in the insipid fairy tales he whispers to himself to improve his self esteem. Then I dropped the bomb: as I a not a drug addict as far as my health insurance company is concerned (one more month ’til Medicare!), they won’t pay for it. He responded that this was an economical consideration on their part.

Oh! What a lucky girl am I to have a man such as Dr. San-Froid explain such things to me!

I told him they would cover Lunesta and/or Ambien, but, as I was inclined to take neither Lunesta nor Ambien, I helpfully gave him several reasons he could give then insurance company as to why I cannot possibly take either drug. He coolly responded that these sounded like something I had found on an untrustworthy blog or website, an assertation which had the misfortune of being entirely accurate. I shot back that he need not hold himself to my suggestions and was free to invent somthing more to his liking on his own. A look of horror briefly flashed across his face before he regained his composure. He turned to his under-powered, and almost certainly over-priced, touch screen netbook and let me know that he personally did not hold with such shenanigans as he considered them to be unethical.

Unethical?

Clearly the meaning of the word is a mystery to Dr. San-Froid, as are a great deal of other things, one would imagine. He would be surprised, I’d reckon, to find to words “morality”, “right”, and “wrong” within your average dictionary’s definition, and yet nary a mention of “staying on the good side of completely evil multi-billion dollar corporations by ensuring a patient is given a less costly, to be sure, but, indeed, less effective and far more dangerous drug than the one she requires,” “following an obscure set of rules for no particular purpose,” or “coloring within the lines”.

Oh, Dr. San-Froid! How you live up to your name! You are a most cold hearted man.

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