Sunday, August 21, 2011
When psychosis complicates your medical problems: gall bladders, tomb babies, livers, and meds
About a week ago, I started getting this terrible abdominal pain. It lasted about 12 hours, and was really severe pain. I didn't want to go to the emergency room after the way I have been treated in ERs in the past when I was there for something they didn't consider serious - like when my doctor sent me there because I had an allergic reaction to Lamictal two months ago and the ER doctor said, "What did he expect us to do about it?". So I put up with the pain. I stayed at work, because my boss now is really picky about people taking any time off for any reason, which really makes things more difficult, because when I had a different boss there, I was able to easily rearrange my schedule for doctor's appointments, and can't do that now. So I called from work, several Gastroenterologists, until I found one that had an opening the next week. I went there, and was sent for an ultrasound of my abdomen, where they didn't find gall stones (which is what I think they were looking for), but did find that I have a fatty liver.
A fatty liver may be common, and may not be a severe problem, but any kind of liver problem is something to take seriously. A liver problem cannot be fixed, in general. They cannot be repaired. There is no treatment for any liver disease other than a liver transplant, if you are very sick with a liver problem. So I was not too happy about this news.
Next week I have to go for another test to see if my gall bladder is functioning properly. See, about seven years ago, I was in a hospital for abdominal pain, and I was given this test called a Hydascan, where it was found that my gall bladder didn't seem to be functioning properly. I was psychotic at the time. Being psychotic really complicated matters. I believed I was pregnant with a dead Illuminati baby that was created in me by rape in a psychiatric hospital, and that was going to kill me if it was not removed. I believed that I was a "breeder" for the new world order, and was being forced by medical professionals to carry this baby in myself, which would be used as human food when it was eventually taken out of me. But I believed, also, that all medical professionals were in on keeping this a secret, and it was not to be talked about openly, which is why they would always tell me I wasn't pregnant when I declared that I was.
I went to pregnancy clinics, including one Christian one, and one abortion clinic during this time, and I went repeatedly to a gynecologist who, in my mind, actually told me I was pregnant, and then also told me I had endometriosis for which he performed a laparoscopy surgery on me that, in my mind, was going to remove the "tomb baby", but of course, the baby was not removed. I didn't think of it as a fetus. I thought of it as a full-term baby, because I thought I had been pregnant for years. I weighed about 105 pounds.
Eventually I ended up in the emergency room complaining of severe abdominal pain. This is where the gastroenterologist came in. First, a stupid doctor who knew I had government health insurance, admitted me to the hospital where I was kept for like five days getting all sorts of tests done. I had a cat scan done, blood work of all kinds, and I met with specialists who performed tests too. I met a gastroenterologist who had me get a colonoscopy, and I believe an endoscopy though I cannot remember for sure about that. Somehow, in my mind, I thought that I needed surgery to remove the baby, and that if I could complain of something that warranted surgery, then the problem of the dead baby that was killing me from the inside would be solved. So I said it was my gall bladder.
The gastroenterologist didn't like me, and didn't take me seriously. But he ordered these tests, and one that he ordered was a Hydascan of my gall bladder. I recall clearly when he told me that it showed my gall bladder wasn't functioning properly. I also recall him telling me he would remove my gall bladder, which probably made me visibly happy. I then recall him coming back into my room to tell me surgery was not needed, and he wasn't going to do it. This made me very unhappy. I needed that dead baby removed to save my life.
After I got released from the hospital, I went to see this same doctor in his office. I clearly remember that he had the nurse come into the room when he examined me, and he said to the nurse, "This is what I have to deal with all the time in the hospital", talking about me. To this I said, "Yeah, I know, that's terrible." And the doctor clearly said, "I was talking to the nurse, not you." The doctor also said that he was not going to remove my gall bladder, at which time I started to beg for his help. I said, "I really need help", and he said, "I know you do, but it's not the kind of help I can give you." I knew he was making a comment about my mind, and I was not too psychotic to understand this fact. I actually recall stating to the receptionist at check-out, "I don't appreciate that doctor saying I need help like that, and I know what he meant by that."
The doctor did one other thing though, which I think was a major mistake. He said, "I'll tell you what, you can see my partner here, who removes gall bladders all the time, and if he thinks it needs to be removed, then he can do the surgery."
Psychotic and desperate, I came back another day to meet with his partner. I convinced this partner that my abdominal pain was from my gall bladder. He said he would remove it, and that this would relieve my pain. He also said something to the effect that he didn't understand why the first doctor was giving me a hard time, when I clearly just had a gall bladder problem. I scheduled the surgery.
The day I went to the hospital for the surgery, my mom was supposed to meet me there, but something went wrong and she couldn't get to the hospital. I was put into a little room, given a hospital gown to put on, and told to lie down and wait. I started getting scared. I remember thinking, maybe they were going to kill me during this surgery. I remember thinking I needed my mom there, and I needed help after the surgery was over, and nobody was going to help me. I got terrified, and I decided I was leaving. I left the hospital. I never saw a gastroenterolgoist again. That was seven years ago. Then, last week, I saw a new gastroenterologist.
It is possible that I had a real gall bladder problem at that time, and that some of my abdominal pain was real, and not in my head. It is highly possible that I was both psychotic and experiencing real pain, at the same time. I will never be able to know for sure. Try explaining this to a doctor, who is not a psychiatrist, the first time you meet him. "Yeah, I have had a Hydascan before, and I almost had my gall bladder removed, but I have Schizoaffective Disorder, and I was undiagnosed with it, and psychotic, at that time, so I really do not know if I had an actual gall bladder problem or not."
This doctor said, "Well, you seem fine to me, now," regarding my mental health, and "okay we'll do some tests." He seemed to be not too taken aback by my statements, but maybe he just covers it up well. I don't know. I don't really care either. I just want to know what is going on with my abdominal pain, and see if anything can be done about it. I want to know if I have a liver disease, and what is causing that. I want to know if gaining 100+ pounds in the past few years from taking antipsychotic meds has permanently damaged my liver, in addition to putting me on the verge of diabetes. And I want to know what I can do about all this.
I'm hoping that I can get off the injection of Risperdal Consta, which has clearly led to me gaining a ton of weight, and the only way that is going to happen is if this new antipsychotic, Latuda I am taking really works well. So far, I can't tell if it's really working well or not. I am stuck waiting for it to really help, although I think it might be helping somewhat, just not in any really noticeable manner. I do notice that I haven't had as many thoughts of people saying things about the Holocaust, or coming to get me, at work, on the phone. But I still have things like that happen, so it hasn't totally gone away. I have old, old symptoms that return especially when I'm stressed out, and right now I'm really stressed out about school. I sometimes hear people say "hello", and think they said, "Holo", as in "Holocaust", as a reminder that a second Holocaust is coming. I sometimes here people say, "Yes sir" and think they said, "gas her", about me, going to a gas chamber. This happened as recently as yesterday, at, of course, a gas station. So while I'd like to say Latuda has worked wonders, obviously, it hasn't or this stuff wouldn't still be happening. I want to continue taking it though. It's full effects might not have happened yet. And I want to give it some more time to work. (My only chance of getting of the weight-gaining injection is to find another drug that works for me, and I've already tried most of them.)
I am hoping that I can manage all these things, but I'm scared, to be honest with you. Though it's never happened, I've been picturing myself curled up in a ball in a classroom screaming that the Nazis are coming to get me, or something like that, and the police and the paramedics being called, and me having to leave the university in shame and never return. Like I said, I have never had that happen before, and I've been going to college for the past four years regularly. But it's a fear. To live with a serious mental illness is often to live in fear. Fear of your own brain.
I have a legitimate fear of the medication that I take which ostensibly keeps my brain functioning, too. I am not in good physical health, and these meds are a large part of the reason why. My liver has to process these drugs, daily, for the rest of my life. What choice do I have? These drugs, so far, have been the only thing that could keep me from going totally out of reality and over the brink. I can't just stop taking them. Without these meds, I would likely have been dead by one more suicide attempt by now, and I would likely not be alive to say, "I'm worried about my health". So it's quite the Catch 22. I am stuck in it, like so many other people, just wishing there was a better alternative.
At least I am sane enough now, to be able to say, "I used to be psychotic. I am not psychotic now. Please check out my gall bladder." That much is an improvement.
Posted by Jen Daisybee at Sunday, August 21, 2011