24 November 2008

I Hear the Train A-Comin'


Friday (21 November 2008) I kept my appointment with my GI clinic at U of L Hospital. They were typically overbooked, so I was delegated to one Dr. Lauren Briley. She spent the first two minutes apologizing for shuttling me around doctors and explaining the whole thing, to which I kept responding, "I'm fine with it." The truth is, when you visit a clinic and not a doctor's private practice, you really shouldn't get too excited about seeing different doctors at different times. It's part of the nature of the thing, and to be honest, I had only met the guy that passed me on to her once, anyway.

Until this October, when I was admitted to Norton Suburban for a couple of days with an obstruction, none of my GI's had been women. While I'm certainly above stereotyping, I also have to say that if these two are any indication, I actually prefer them to men. At Norton, I was seen by Dr. Shiela Rhodes, and she and Dr. Briley both exhibited the characteristics I look for in a physician--interest in whtiiI had to say about my condition, decisive action when a clear picture emerged and a dash of compassion. They would never make it as surgeons, who generally must be required to be condescending and self-absorbed, but they're wonderful GI doctors.

Anyway, Dr. Briley agreed with me that Imuran isn't cutting it and it's time to move on to biologics. I'm supposed to get a TB test and the usual blood work in the next week or so, and then I return to see her on 12 December. What sucks is that the social worker through whom I will be applying for financial assistance to pay for the Humira took off this entire week and was already out of her office when I finished seeing the doctor on Friday. That means it won't be until Monday (1 December) that I'll even have a chance to get that paperwork going. Still, we're hopeful that I'll have my first Humira injection by Christmas.

I also reached the point where I knew it was time to do something about being depressed. I've dealt with depression for years, and for a while several years ago I was on Zoloft (after a deflating experience with Celexa). I'm not governed by popular opinion, but there is something disconcerting about telling a perfect stranger you think you need to be on an anti-depressant. Maybe it's a stygma that will die with my generation, but I'm still not fully comfortable discussing such things generally. (Yeah, I realize that's all in a public journal; just move along.)

To her credit, Dr. Briley's response when I asked about a Crohn's-friendly anti-depressant, she simply began consulting her electronic pharmaceutical guide. That was about the most sensitive thing she could have done for me, and I intend to let her know that I appreciate her doing that when I go back in December. So, by New Year's I should be feeling the effects of Humira and Prozac. Hopefully, this means I'll start actually feeling better, too.

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