Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The glass half empty

Humoring Dr. 'L' was becoming increasingly difficult. We left the meeting with the understanding that the medication would be increased no more than 100 mg. Chris came home the following week with a prescription for an additional 200 mg. I e-mailed Dr. 'L' questioning this increase. He replied:

"I am surprised at your question, which indicates that I haven’t been clear enough, so excuse me. Chris suffers very handicapping auditory hallucinations as we have confirmed from our last meeting. In order to reduce this very painful psychotic symptomatology we propose to increase the medication by 200 mg. I thought that we were all in agreement with this strategy. That said, if as you say, the treatment is becoming the problem and not the solution, we should take this up at our next meeting. Chris can ask to reopen the issue of the medication with Dr. 'B'."

So, according to Dr. 'L', Chris still suffered from “very handicapping auditory hallucinations.” This was Dr. 'L'’s pessimistic view of schizophrenia. This very painful psychotic symptomatology “glass half-empty” vocabulary was a continuous downer. We only heard the bad news from Dr. 'L'. Bad news didn't help his patient's parents cope. What good did this kind of attitude do? And he still hadn’t fixed the problem. Ian and I believed that there was no way that raising the medication was going to fix anything.

Somehow we prevailed and the medication was raised only 100 mg. Dr. 'L' acknowledged that, at the end of the day, Chris’s loyalties would be to us and it was useless for him, Dr. 'L', to argue the point. Ian and I held the key to the drug cabinet after all. It had taken us two years to fully appreciate this point. I wished that Chris was able to be in charge of his treatment rather than be pushed around, but it was unrealistic. Chris was ill. In the acute stages, someone else had to make the decisions for him. In the later stages, the authority of his parents and his doctors overwhelmed him. He was torn and he was also medicated. In addition, he was understandably afraid that lowering the medication would bring his psychosis back. He didn’t have enough energy, intellectual or otherwise, to do his own research, to learn to rely on his own intuition, and to fight his way out.

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