I have been seeing Dr. R. for eight years. He helped me through my major meltdown and skillfully, gradually mixed the cocktail of medications that would get me and keep me functioning at an acceptable, livable level. He got me through my near-brush with ECT (although he also suggested it).
Dr. R. is moving to another state. He sent all his clients a letter listing half a dozen or so local psychiatrists he could recommend, though he didn’t know if they were accepting new patients or what insurance plans they took. This week was my last appointment with him.
I looked at the inch-thick file he was holding. “I was really messed up back then,” I said.
“Yep,” he replied.
I left with a hearty handshake, good luck wishes, a paper stating my diagnosis (bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder – I guess there was no insurance code for bipolar 2) and six months of refills on my prescriptions. That’s how long I have to find a new psychiatrist.
So where will my inch-thick file end up next? That’s a good question.
I’ve written before about finding a psychotherapist (http://wp.me/p4e9Hv-1m), but oh, I hate the process of finding and breaking in a new shrink.
At least this time I probably won’t have to go through the whole Reader’s Digest Condensed Version of my screwed-up life, since what I really need at this point is someone who will prescribe and monitor my meds, though it will also be nice to have someone standing by in case of another major meltdown, should I have one.
My first avenue of exploration is whether my primary care physician will prescribe my psychotropics, so I can continue with just a psychotherapist. Dr. R. says that most GPs would shy away from the somewhat lengthy list of meds, but every time I see Dr. S. I update him on what meds I am taking, and I always mention the psychotropics, which have mostly been the same for years.
I have an appointment to see Dr. S. next month and sent a query about the prescription issue (his office has a robust online presence), so with luck, I may have a solution before Halloween.
My next step would be to start with the list that Dr. R. provided. Only one of the offices is at all close to me and I’ll likely start there. Does the doctor accept new patients? Does the practice take my insurance? What’s the charge if they don’t?
I’ll also need to contact my insurance provider for a list of local psychiatrists who do take that insurance, but with that I’ll be flying blind. Dr. R.’s recommendations are people he knows, and knows are good.
I hope they’re as good as Dr. R.