Trust in Mental Health Treatment #5: Axe to Grind

Actual texts sent to my Partner from my psychiatrist appointment:

Lavender: “Mental health treatment is bullshit. I got the first appointment with my psychiatrist at 8:30am – knowing how ridiculously early that is – and I honored that commitment to wake up on a weekend to be available for rehearsal. It’s 9:45am and he hasn’t felt like showing up. I thought yesterday that maybe I should skip rehearsal, so that I could conserve spoons for axe-throwing. But, I don’t want this new troupe to drop me, so I planned to be responsible. It would have been courteous of Psychiatrist to let his patients know that they would need to – I don’t know – skip living their lives to queue for hours to get the meds that let them live their lives.”

Twenty minutes later:

Lavender: “Still not here. Not queute, Psychiatrist. No rehearsal, it seems. I’m going to tell myself I needed those spoons for axe throwing anyway and hope they don’t hate. But, it’s not like queuing itself doesn’t cost spoons. If a client – even an ADHD one – forgets an appointment – they get dropped. Let’s never forget that he’s one of only two doctors in our area who will prescribe stimulants to Medicaid patients. So, it’s not like most of the other clients queuing have any other option when he penalizes them for doing exactly as they are diagnosed. Yet, he can stroll in whenever he feels like it, secure in the knowledge that he has a captive audience.”

Partner’s reply: “And it’s going on your blog?”

Another twenty minutes after that:

Lavender: “Absolutely. He’s still not here. To add insult to injury, I just tried to buy a snack from the vending machine, and it didn’t come out. The front desk was like, ‘Eh, no one has serviced it in a long time. You shouldn’t expect it to work. There’s a number to call. They know to just refund the money.’ They have since proceeded to let two more people waste $ trying to get snacks. My new mission in life is to prevent more poor saps from losing $ by camping out beside it.”

Another twenty minutes after that (aka almost three hours after the original appointment time):

Lavender: “Most of my targets tonight will be labeled as [Bully-of-a-Boss] or the 9th Circle of Hell. But, I’m dedicating one to Psychiatrist, too. I just finished my appointment, and I have a further axe to grind. You can ‘axe’ my why tonight. ”

Partner: “Before I voluntarily stand next to a girl I’m trusting to throw sharp objects long distances near my head – knowing full well that she has poor proprioception and might slip her wrist mid-throw – I want her focused. Get food. I’d prefer we not try find the laughter in involuntary manslaughter today.”

I got fast food and chilled until our axe-throwing date night. I did not attend improv rehearsal, and I hope that doesn’t make them wonder if I should be cut from the troupe as unreliable. I’m already unreliable enough on my own, without my psychiatrist making it worse for me when I had pre-planned.

Nothing untoward happened at axe-throwing. It turns out one of the things they instruct you to do is to soften and relax your shoulders, “Almost like you were going to partially dislocate them behind your back while you throw.” Almost? I laugh at almost. I took third among sixteen walk-ins throwing that night. The top two were in a league. I kind of want to join an axe-throwing league now, but knowing that I have to go back to fitting psychiatrist appointments, haircuts and various and sundry other adulting-type things all in on weekends – because I can’t currently make weekday appointments with my longer commute – probably means I don’t realistically have the spoons for that.

And if you are were wondering what that additional axe to grind with my psychiatrist that made me mentally affix his name to some of my targets was?

When I finally saw him for the all of ten minutes it took to renew the same prescription I’ve been on for years – that can’t be electronically filled because it has to be dated and hand-carried through more security checks at the pharmacy than America would dare require to buy deadly weapons like a throwing axe or even a gun – I politely noted that I had missed improv because of him.

I noted that his patients had lives. If he knew he was going to be running late, could he let front desk know the realistic time he’d be in so clients could determine how best adjust their plans? He did apologize, but he also simply gave me the heads up to just assume that, “Any appointment before the 11am one is a gamble to whether I’ll be on time. Just plan to make yours for then, and I’ll be sure to see you first since I know you have other commitments, unlike most of my patients.”

After this apology, he asked me about improv. After learning it was something comedic that I missed, he chuckled and said that spending almost three hours in a waiting room with the types of characters he usually sees in practice, “Hopefully at least gave me enough material for an entire comedy routine.”

Very not queute. There are some things* you do not joke about. Your own patients should be first on that list. Improv is not stand-up, so I will not get the chance to do a routine about my three-hour waiting room experience. However, even if it were, the routine would mock him, not any of his clients. And shame on him for not seeing that.

*Violence isn’t exactly on that list. I’ve played D&D too long not to automatically envision throwing axes at my enemies, label my targets with their names, and otherwise make sharp-edged puns about it. But, as a disclaimer, I don’t advocate real-world violence, only revenge fantasies. Emphasis on the fantasy.

AxetoGrind - Copy
<Image>: Throwing axe inside the black innermost circle of a target. Bullseye!

Need a recap of anything I’m talking about in any post? Check out my Glossary of Terms

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15 thoughts on “Trust in Mental Health Treatment #5: Axe to Grind

    1. The thing is, though, that there really are so few doctors who will prescribe stimulants that if I anger him, I might just shoot myself in the foot. Also, I instinctually become the kind of chameleon who tries to the earn the trust of assholes to keep myself safe. I have tangled with the systemic abuses of Hell for my entire adult life. I’ve become surprisingly good at appearing to be whatever you need me to be to listen to me around “providers.” It’s an instinctive trauma fawn response, almost. And, last year, when I was fighting the 9th Circle of Hell, having him see me as someone he could speak freely to actually gave me a *lot* of insight into what other ways medical abuse could be perpetrated. He brainstormed with me at one point how to prove something I suspected was going on, and it actually turned out to be an incredibly valuable insight that gave me a thread to pull on. He is good at thinking like worse assholes than even himself. I view having his confidence to say those truly terrible things as almost a safety net, because my sibling is one of “those” patients. His comments help me know how to protect him. Also, because he seems to listen to me and respect me, I’m probably getting further playing 5th Column. I’ve gotten him to at least see that the 9th Circle of Hell is beyond the pale – and I’m sort of slowing trying to do behavior modification with him while also just keeping my ready access to needed meds. Also, I absolutely 100% told the others in the waiting room about “don’t bother making an appointment before 11am.” Which, frankly, from what I’ve seen of how little insurance cares about even outright *fraud* – much less just bad behavior – in the 9th Circle of Hell, is probably the most effective thing I can do for change. I’ve fought full-scale medical abuses that insurance only ever cared about as a $, not as a person, so I have zero faith in systems or affecting change through anything other than just attempting to change his mind about his clients via using the view he has of me and my 9th Circle of Hell stories to attempt to talk him around to,”Maybe she and her sibling are the norm, not the exception.” And, shockingly, over the years I’ve seen him, I think it has slowly been working. He would never have apologized to his clients when I first started seeing him. But, he agreed he needed to by the end of my appointment. What the 9th Circle of Hell has taught me is that, if I complained to insurance, they’d do nothing and then I’d hurt myself and help no one. If I just work around him and try old-school persuasion checks, I – well, probably still won’t affect change – but, at least I might have a shot where going to insurance makes me easy to write off. And, if he wrote me off, then how would I even have these stories to post to warn others about what the reality of medical care is? He wouldn’t change his views, but he’d stop giving me the material to raise awareness. And, damn, he is *not* the exception in medical care. But, because we’re clients, we get written off unless we can *also* be what people want to see, and offer concrete examples dressed up in humor. I’m jaded, I know, but I’d rather have the stories to warn others than fight yet another losing battle with an American insurance system that won’t see anything wrong with what he did because nobody actually left and it cost them nothing.

      Liked by 5 people

  1. Your partner is clever not wanting to voluntarily standing next to you with sharp objects being thrown without a rest & some food that day 😂
    Yikes, I’ve had lengthy waits before but that is ridiculous! And all that for a script renewal. You’re right though, patients will be slammed for being a few minutes late but the medics often breeze in after an hour or more with just a muttered apology.
    Caz xx

    Liked by 3 people

  2. The expletives I want to say about that guy on your behalf… 🤬

    Anyway just popping by to say that it recently became legal to electronically send schedule 2 prescriptions, I believe in all 50 states. (They still can’t be faxed only sent through the secure computer system). Sounds like this doofus would probably refuse to do it just to make sure he gets the insurance payout for the visit though. Good luck with him in the future. Is there any way to get on a waiting list for the other doctor??

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Actually, he’d probably be cool with it since it meant he could see half the clients “in person” and still get some money. He doesn’t seem to be hurting for it, and he seems to value his own time more than additional money. I will bring that up, probably with their insurance coordinator. I could go to someone else. I have private insurance, so I have a whopping 3-4 people who would probably prescribe to me, not two. But, see my comment above. He’s useful in other ways, and he offers weekend appointments. I chose him originally because of that. I have a new job, and I do not want to have to take off every month and waste my precious vacation time and sick time (that I will need for actually being sick and fleeing America just long enough annually and resetting from all the b.s. to ensure my revenge fantasies remain “fantasies” only given the 9th Circle of Hell) on routine stuff. I really appreciate knowing electronic scripts are an option now – that I think is what I’m going to pursue on behalf of all the clients at that facility. Really good to know!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Doctors (and the like) seem to be the one profession that gets away with such behaviour. Probably because people will always need them. His response was BS too. Why should you have to sit there hours because he couldn’t be bothered? Why allow appointments to be scheduled before 11am if it’s a gamble that he’ll show up before then? Ugh.

    LOL, I thought the axe throwing was metaphorical for half of your post. I kind of want to throw some axes now (but sadly I’ll never be able to), lol.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Ugh. Love the ax throwing tidbits–good for you! Your psychiatrist’s smugness regarding his own patients doesn’t surprise me one bit. Sigh.
    Pretty sure I’ve mentioned before (my blog? some comment somewhere? Can’t remember now) about having so many of my (now estranged) abusive family members in ‘the medical field.’ anyway: there were half dozen or so of them and they would ‘talk shop’ when two or more of them got together (and as a kid I was always more interested in listening to adult convos than playing with family members my own age — most of whom were jack wagons to be around anyway)….
    and they were CONSTANTLY sharing private and often provocative info from their jobs and/or making fun of the people they had ‘cared for’. It instilled a deep, deep mistrust of the entire medical profession. Crass joking amongst the ‘doctor and nurse gang’ about the ‘patients’ is routine. Routine!!! If someone went into that environment with morals and genuine concern about patient’s I suspect it would be hard to maintain it in an environment ruled by the sharks that swim to the top dog status at hospitals and clinics. There have been studies about narcissists choosing three professions over any other: medical field, teaching, and ministry. My life experience tells me it is true. Keep grinding those ax’s Lav; I appreciate what you are doing here!!!

    Liked by 2 people

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