Oof, long time between posts. Things have been really busy (lots of medical bills plus slightly less working due to illness and tons of doctor’s appointments and PT means dreaming about bouncing checks at the grocery store and not having time to blog) Recovery proceeds apace.
So I felt ready to go home basically immediately. Most of the staff seemed to think I was ready to go after a couple days (My therapist, who I saw for the first time on Friday, was pretty confident I’d leave Monday because of how I was doing). But I stayed from Thursday until the following Wednesday. This had nothing to do with my behavior and everything to do with my meds. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and prescribed lithium (carbonate). You have to have a certain level of lithium in your bloodstream more than 12 hours after taking a dose before they release you. This is called the serum lithium or trough level. If it’s too low, it’s considered ineffective and if it’s too high, it’s toxic. Because I was in the hospital and could be observed at all times, they were able to up my dosage from the starting amount (300mg) to the intended amount (900 mg) much more quickly than would be possible on the outside. Like ‘over the course of 3-4 days versus over two or three months’ more quickly. But that still seemed like an eternity inside. They scheduled a blood draw for Monday morning and a nurse came and woke me at like 6:30am to do it. I felt bad about having the light on that early but my roommate slept through it. The psychiatrist had said they’d get the results in the afternoon, and the nurse reiterated that, but no one actually told me when they came in or anything. I was a bit anxious all day waiting for them and finally around 5 I went to the nurses station to ask because my being able to go home was dependent on this test! My level was low but within the appropriate range, so I had the okay to go home Wednesday morning.
Which actually turned into Wednesday afternoon because of some scheduling issues (I think?) My therapist wanted my psychiatrist to sit in on a meeting with her and me and the Boy but apparently he wasn’t in the building but some other people said he was and while The Boy had arrived in plenty of time for our 12pm meeting, they ended up sending him away to come back at 1 (at which time we still weren’t ready because of a patient needing to go into the quiet room and be sedated, but got started not too long after, sans psychiatrist).
The therapist and psychiatrist both felt that full hospitalization was more than I needed and recommended partial hospitalization. In the days before my release my therapist helped me find a program near where I live (as the hospital I was in is NO WHERE near where I live, daily drive-wise) and got the ball rolling for my treatment. In the meeting we learned that my insurance wouldn’t cover it, though, so I had to make do with regular outpatient visits (which was fine with me, really.) The Boy asked a lot of questions about how he could help me, and after the meeting I just needed my prescription and we could go. But since the psychiatrist was gone, they had to actually fill it (they said they were giving me a month but they gave me 2 weeks, probably because a month is 90 pills and that’s a lot to fit into the tiny bottle) and that meant waiting forEVER for the pharmacy to drop them off. I think we left at like 2 or 2:30?
I have a psychiatrist I see on Saturdays!! once a month, and I see my therapist whenever he has a 6:30pm opening (because I don’t have sick time, I have to schedule it after work). It’s usually every couple of weeks, which actually suits me fine because when I’m not dealing with a current issue, I have a harder time talking the whole session after a while. And when I’m dealing with one, I would really be fine having sessions daily but that’s not how things work.
I went back to work Thursday (which I think was a bit optimistic but my boss seemed really happy to have me come back, I think I should have waited til Monday, bills be damned) I noticed a big change in my mood. Things still pissed me off, but I didn’t nurse grudges about them, or hate everyone I saw on sight, or internally grouse about every inconvenience. I sang along with my ipod in the car. Since this effect faded somewhat I assume it was a combination of happiness at not being in the hospital and the meds. I still get pissed but am not grudgey, I still don’t hate everyone on sight. I get frustrated less, but still more than I want to. I took a leave of absence from roller derby and that has me both relieved (because going to practice when you can’t skate really sucks and can get me particularly down, and because of the aforementioned medical bills) and sad (because I miss my league! and also skating (soooooo much! I think part of why things got so bad is the not skating, because it always helped my mood to be able to skate) ) but PT is helping fill the “being physically active” void, and The Boy got a rowing machine that I can use at home, too (I could also just go down the road and row in the river, but that is weather reliant and this is in the basement!) He didn’t get it for me, he got it a week or two before I went in the hospital, but he expected I would use it to. Things are going okay. I’m clearly worried about money (see above re: dreaming about passing bad checks at the grocery store. extra weird since I don’t use checks at the grocery store and they totally gave me change back whaaaaaat brain you so silly) but otherwise okay.
I spent the first weekend back doing yardwork (because I *like* it. WHAAAAAAAT? okay I like doing it until I don’t and then I stop. But still. Got rid of TONS of vines and now it’s possible to see (theoretical) oncoming traffic when you back out of the driveway.) and went to the shore to swim and think about Meredith. Yeah, my first Saturday back was her birthday. But anyway, the yardwork and the PT and the swimming help, though I can’t swim as often as I’d like because on PT days I get home just when it gets dark and on other days there are sometimes thunderstorms. Next summer, assuming we’re still here in this house, I will go swimming SO MUCH.