Tuesday, January 10, 2012

New Project: Unintended Benefits

I started a new project a little over a week ago. Basically all I am doing is recording my time spent and on what. Really simple. The ultimate goal (which is evolving) is to have a genuine appreciation of  the positive efforts in my life. I want to be able to ignore my poor self esteem based on observable facts. I can't trust my ill mind to judge my behavior objectively enough to function like a "normal" human being without discrediting any effort I make to be me and happy.

Getting Started

I already had a note book, pen, and clock so the project in and of itself took nothing at all to start. Well, nothing but effort, but that is actually an unintended benefit. I was worried I wouldn't have the ambition to complete my log regularly. And I was right! It is not something I have succeeded with everyday since I started. I have, however, managed to log several days worth of activity.

What Did I Learn?

I don't grant myself the patience and attention to log my time unless I am alone. I don't even engage myself in any measurable activity unless I am alone. This includes the time my significant other spends at home. I freeze up. All ambition leaves me and I simply exist. Nothing spectacular but I survive so there is that :-/

I also learned that I spend most of my time that seems "lost", on twitter. I don't think I needed to record my time spent on twitter to be aware of the time I spend there but the amount is a little absurd. I try to rationalize this by saying this is my source for most news, socialization, networking on healing... yea. I think honing in some allowable twitter time in my day is appropriate once I start making changes.

For now I am not making any changes. Honestly, I am lacking energy so most days having any sort of plan is out the window before it even starts but I want to get back to feeling productive. Making lists, crossing things off. You know what I mean. I want to decide to do something and be able to say I've done it!

Unintended Benefit

When I'm alone it's very easy to sink into an immobile lump in the duvet and spend my day reading blogs or tweets. Many days I forget to eat all together. Seriously sounds infantile but I forget to feed and water myself regulariuly. Then I binge on sugary food in the evening then I sleep poorly. What a shocker.

What I hadn't thought would be a benefit to logging my time spent on this or that is I am actually noticing myself held accountable for self care. If I see a list of activities like "An hour cuddling kitty" and "an hour on twitter" alternating back and forth I see my lack of self care. Not seeing any time spent on self care reminds me, I need to be taken care of! I'm holding myself more accountable for the bare minimums and its become less of an effort on those days when I notice. It's less a feeling of effort and more a feeling pro-active automatic reaction.

So, What Next?

I'm not sure if what I've noticed or what this may become is all too remarkable. It does have me thinking though. I feel incapable of taking care of myself many days. With logging my time and wanting the feeling of being engaged with my day this gives me an opportunity to map how my time effects my mood. If I manage to set up intentions for 2012 and log my time it seems within reason I can logistically plan success. I'll eventually target and limit behavior that leaves me feeling poorly and focus on behavior that leaves me feeling good about myself. Like feeding and watering myself. I know it's only nourishment but c'mon folks. Bitches gotta eat.

Pharmacy Phuck-ups

I called my pharmacy to have a prescription refilled. It was brought to my attention that I was calling 13 days early, however by my count I was calling 5 days early.I had 2 pill scripts needing re-filling.
  • I was accused of over medicating. 
  • My family/ housemates were implied as possibly having taken them by the pharmacy tech.
This was frustrating and my first encounter with a pharmacy problem. These accusations knocked the wind right out of me. I called them back to explain there was no error on my end after having awkwardly confronting my family. The tech told me that pill 1 count on their records show correct and pill 2 count shows as over by 5. They acknowledged an error on their end but refused to attribute it to my prescription shortage.

I was willing to cut my loses. I don't handle confrontation well and figured a weeks worth of pills wasn't worth the argument I was clearly in for as no accountability was offered from the pharmacies end.

The next week I went in for the refill. I asked for the the pharmacies manager card so I could send them an email about what had happened the previous week. I didn't want the pills. I wanted someone to know what was going on in their pharmacy.

I got my script home and counted the pills because of the previous weeks realization that my script had been shorted. When I counted the pills one of them was off by half. I was irate. That's a huge mistake! After how I had been treated the previous week I was not willing to let this one go. Someone had to be accountable for this pharmacies errors.

I called and spoke to the pharmacy manager and shared my experience (negating the need to email him at all). He sounded sincerely sorry and offered to count their stock and get their inventory count and compare. This was frustrating as when it happened on Thursday the counts were off and offered no resolution. Every job has policies and procedures to follow so I accepted his due diligence and waited for him to call back.

When no one called me back after 2 hours I called and was told I was wrong. Their counts were on except the 5 I knew about from last week. He was willing to offer those to me as a courtesy. This wasn't good enough for me. There was no admission of error, implied drug abuse and implicating my family as abusing my script was more than enough to push me to my limits.

He continually said "There is no proof of error on our end". Finally I said "look, I am not accusing your staff of stealing but if they were of course the are going to try their best to keep counts correct as not to get caught." He offered to call head office and get their advice. Feeling helpless I agreed to speak with him the next day.

When he called he said that he had spoken to my psychiatrists supervisor and his head office, as a good will gesture they were willing to give me the 30 pills I was shorted when I received half the prescription amount. I wanted my meds so I gratefully thanked him for finding a way to to get me what I wanted.

I then asked what agency I could report his pharmacy to for mistakes. Her again, said there is no proof of error on their end. He did provide me the information to the agency responsible for complaints in my area- The College of Pharmacists for Nova Scotia, Canada. I'm still waiting on a call back to log my complaint. I've left 2 messages, one this week and one last.

This blog post seems more important to me than any other I've written for a few reasons.
  •  Just because I am mentally ill I will not be bullied into being the victim. 
  • Back to back mistakes of being shorted the same medication from the same pharmacy seems phishy. If nothing else I need to protect my peers from similar issues.
  • I stood up for myself and got the result I needed. We can all do that. This is one example of not backing down in the face of difficulty.
I've got to say that the #TwitterPsychWard was out in full swing providing me support, advice and laughter. I am forever indebted to the crew on twitter who have become my support base. Thank you so much to everyone who helped.

How have you challenged that status quo to get what you need in health care?