I can’t say that I have always been proactive in pursuit of the best care for myself, but I have found it is necessary. As a patient, we are hunting blindly for answers to health problems. I see several doctors manage my medications and have had a dangerous consequence.
I went to see my primary care doctor and asked her to review my medications to be sure that the drugs I was taking were necessary and if so should some doses need changing. I did this because I have a cool app on my phone that helps me keep track of daily meds any my sleep, blood sugar, sleep, mood, and weight. The tracking was very erratic, and my most recent blood work was good despite the fact I had dropped some of my medications. Don’t misunderstand me. It is not a good idea to change meds without consulting your doctor. This happened to me because of moving and hunting, blindly, for new doctors. We talked about medications, and she made some changes then sent me to several specialists.
Press fast forward here. Firstly, all of the discussion about medication changes were completely different when I picked up my prescriptions. Secondly, off I go to a Neurologist, a Gastroenterologist, a new Rheumatologist, and an Opthomoligist. Each one wanted my latest blood work and information from my previous doctors 350 miles away and insisted on doing their specialized tests without talking to me. Once their tests were over, they either prescribed new medications (most obviously without checking the nicely printed medication list I provided) or basically asked why I was there. RED ALERT! Doctors don’t talk to each other! One doctor will send you to a specialist who does tests and adds meds that were unnecessary (once I found out the results) and this doctor either doesn’t address the findings and medication add-ons, or they don’t care! Thirdly, if you, as the unsuspecting patient take those medications from the specialists and not a single person looks to see that you are taking psychotropics and other meds that are very picky about mixing in the chemistry experiment weird stuff start to happen. Too many new drugs are added to my regimen at roughly the same time, and drug interactions and reactions introduce me to a very strange Psychiatrist at the ER!
On this fateful day, my birthday, I could not hold a thought long enough to write it down. I forgot how to use my phone to make a call. I was throwing up stuff I had eaten a month ago. I was hanging on to the walls, furniture, and appliances to manage the spinning of the world around me, and I was panicking. I sat in the bathroom, and I felt like I was going to die. I did not see reality. The strange Psychiatrist, whose long last name was a series of O’s and K’s, ordered blood work, urinalysis, an EKG, and some kind of brain scan. The doctor didn’t walk, he quietly floated. He came in and announced that I was on benzo’s and opioids and I should see my doctor. I asked him which doctor, and he said to see the one I trusted. I didn’t believe any of them at that point! I knew one of my meds was a benzo, but I had never taken any opioids. He said the tests were fine and sent me home with the Earth spinning.
I was instructed to see my doctor within 24 hours. I called the Medical Practitioner at my Psychiatrist’s office, but my one disjointed word after another didn’t go through to her. I had called my therapist because it was the day of my appointment and she found the interacting drugs. I thank God she was there for me as the one sane voice I could hear even though I could only respond in single disjointed words. I took all of the suspicious meds out of my box so that I wouldn’t poison myself again and tried to sleep.
I quickly learned to investigate any new drug before taking it for reactions or interactions. I have to do it myself.