The lithium gods

I had a morning that was either ridiculous or a sign – quite blog-worthy. I went to try to get a lithium level taken.

But…as soon as I got to the address of the lab, I realized that it was inside a building where I know all the employees, and where I hope to work someday, and where I want a letter of recommendation. My original plan was just to find some lab, pay cash, and have them fax me the results under a fake name – I don’t want to do it under the regular medical system because then it shows up everywhere. But there aren’t that many private labs, because pretty much everything is usually done by the regular system.

So tomorrow’s task is to find another lab.

Then, to make things worse, I needed to buy more lithium. Well, the first big pharmacy I went to, I stood in line and it was sooo hard for me to stand there knowing that I’d have to go up with that prescription, and one of the pharmacists was like my age, someone I could easily know via someone in this small city. So I wait, and finally I’m first in line, and then I realize they are calling people by number. Where are the fucking numbers? At the FRONT of the store, where some lady takes your prescription as you walk in, scans it in so that it comes out in the fax in back, and also is on display for anyone around there.

So I just walked out. She yelled after me, “What’s the problem?” I sort of said back over my shoulder, “My fucking privacy” but I don’t know if she heard.

Then, I decided to go to this tiny pharmacy run by a nice immigrant woman and her family, but they, naturally, take a fucking siesta so it was closed.

Then, when I left work early, I thought, shit, they should be open until 8 if they only opened at 4, let me drop back in and see if I can catch them.

Nope. Closed at 7. She was actually in there counting stuff, but the place was closed.

On top of that, usual crushing depression, and a hard workshop thing all next week about serious business stuff and not getting sued. This is in the city, an hour away from here, both keeping me from working ($$$) and from being able to make another doctor appointment to just fucking fix me.
So – feeling crappy, problems with monitoring, purchasing, and reviewing with doctor.

I am wondering what message I am supposed to get from this.



  1. Ay, uf–I should have gotten back to you faster, but I’ve been prepping for pretty nasty test. But I’m sure you remember those. Thanks for all the lovely comments on my blog! I’m more than tickled pink [um, I think I hate that phrase, though] that you came and visited–here’s hoping you come some more, as I will be visiting here too.

    In any case, addressing comments in some kind of order:

    1) Many of my friends in medical school know. My best friends, of course, but also my gross lab group, some other people in my program. Really, everyone has the potential to know–I keep a mention of it in my facebook, if for no other reason than to raise dialogue about it. My best friend and I pretty much talk about it constantly–we laugh about it, we talk seriously about it, etc. It was very important to me to disclose, and I want to keep disclosing. I would love to disclose to my class, to give a talk or a lunch about my bipolar disorder. I know that a lot of people think I shouldn’t: but I want to be on the front-line of changing minds. No matter the cost. If I ever am–to my knowledge–discriminated on the basis of my mental illness, I will raise bloody hell. Again, no matter the cost.

    2) I didn’t get to see Rushdie–it’s certainly better that I didn’t go [timewise] but I am sad about it. Luckily, he will be appearing at Emory for at least three more Januaries. Hopefully I’ll make one of them. Also, cummings is my absolute favorite poet–I want to name my first daughter Estlin, after him. I have the complete anthology–it’s awesome!–but I also have his first published work, which is certainly my most cherished possession.

    3) As for writing, and if my medications took my muse—I would say no. I would say that I write less often, but that I am much more in control of what I write. No 3 AM inspirations that turn out to be shitty half-birthed plays or novels. I am deliberate in what I write, and I am proud of that. I love writing blog entries, and I have ideas for a novel. I also want to write a personal essay–maybe turn it into a piece of non-fiction–about best friend I made after my bipolar diagnosis.

    I want it to be called “Love in the Time of Lamictal”. 🙂

    [wow–I know that’s a long comment–but please come visit again, and email me if you ever want to dialogue or vent or just talk about what we have in common!]

  2. I completely understand about not wanting people to know. Whenever I had to go fill a prescription, I would pray that no one saw me. IN fact I often asked for the information to be called in so I wouldn’t have to physically hand my prescription over, and I could always claim I was getting the medicine for a friend. My pharmacy, however, was great about privacy and no one would see the prescription, so for that I was lucky.

    I wish you well and I will be reading your blog. Thanks for the comment on mine.

  3. Ay, and it doesn’t help that feeling brain-scrambled makes figuring out alternatives harder. Sounds like you need to discuss anonymity with the doc among other things. I hope you’ve found a lab and a pharmacy by the time you’ve read this.

    In good news, this last week has been very productive for me, writing wise, than since starting the big L, and my doc said I’ve reached my effective dose, at a lower dose than she anticipated. (1200) I’m feeling decidedly un-dull.

    Fingers crossed for you, and holding you in the light.

  4. Thanks. I’m so fuzzy…but it’s very hard to put my finger on it to explain what the problem is exactly. I can’t write, even today I wanted to. I’m only at 600 but scared to go up again because it was so intolerable. My level was 0.5 at this dose, so it wouldn’ t be going up much.

    You keep giving me hope, saying that you’re ok on writing and stuff and feeling good on Vitamin L only. I don’t know what will be with me. I am not sure if the writing problem is lack of hypomania, or low level feeling bad and fuzzy. I’m easily teary, which is always a sign of a little depression

    And…I can’t probably get back to the shrink this week to sort this out because I have this ridiculous seminar all week on how not to get sued, in another city, and am never here during the right hours. I’m hoping the problems will resolve.

    But I’m starting to feel like a real psych patient – the blank stare, the slurring words. This is frightening me.

  5. I cannot imagine having to hide it. I just can’t. I practically scream what I want in the drugstore.. 🙂

    My brain hasn’t dulled to the point of idiocy-it’s pulled down nicely if anything-helped me formulate my thoughts, keep them straight. I have some attention issues, but illness isn’t helping that much.

    Lithium was the one drug that scared me shitless, and the one drug that works. Go figure.

  6. Ironically, thordora, lithium was pretty much the ONE drug I was willing to take…

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