Reach Far and Wide

My last blog post about geriatric consulting is one to reference in a less more formal call to action. Within the next month I will be doing research as to the plausibility of completing the circle of mental health care for elderly in long-term care facilities. I seek to obtain the perspective of every person effected by this gap in care. I wish to obtain the insight of nursing professionals, family members of residents, Certified Nurse’s Aide’s, and I will be speaking to long-term care facility administrators to present them the opportunity to provide services such as these to their residents.

A quick recap for those that have not been made aware; the mental health treatment of the elderly in long-term care facilities is provided at the suggestion of the overstaffed nurses to the psychiatrist/physician rather than a psychiatrist with a specific plan of action for progress including regular counseling which is a part of every treatment plan for adults under the care of a psychiatrist. In my three years as a CNA, working in four different facilities, not once did I ever see a psychiatrist personally evaluate a patient. Not once did I see a therapist/counselor come to the facility for an appointment for a patient, neither did I see a resident/patient transported away from the facility for this service. We have to ask why is there such a gap in the circle of mental health care for the elderly, and what can we do to remedy this?

I plan to work with psychiatrists and nursing home professionals to provide complete mental health care to residents/patients of long-term care facilities with one-on-one appointments. My goal being to provide educated evaluations to provide to the individual’s psychiatrist, as well as an opportunity for personal therapy which is sorely lacking for residents/patients no longer in their homes, under conditions they have very little control over, and potentially very little family near or available to be there when needed. I want to be that person to make the difference. For scheduled appointments, regular appointments, emergency appointments, or anything else that comes up to potentially be beneficial.

Please take the few seconds to share this information on any source you possibly can. It could literally change and potentially lengthen the lives of elderly loved ones. Link to my original business proposal below. Thank you!!

https://lifewithoutpain186595278.wordpress.com/2019/03/10/psychiatric-consulting-in-long-term-care-facilities/

Advertisements

Psychiatric Consulting in Long-Term Care Facilities

I have started a business. It is still in the early stages, though I expect to be working within three months time. What I wish to do is fill a void that currently exists in our healthcare system. Psychiatric care for the elderly is sorely lacking. My background comes from over three years of experience as a Certified Nurse’s Aide and my Associate’s degree in psychology. In my three years as a CNA, not once did I see a psychiatrist step into the building. The mental health care was being provided by the suggestion of the nurses; whom are not trained in mental health care, and statistically have less than five minutes of one-on-one time with each patient every day. How can this possibly be permissible?

I want to be the middle-man. I want to meet one on one with long-term care patients and elderly to be able to properly produce an evaluation on their mental status for a psychiatrist to make informed decisions about medication management moving forward. All too often I have seen a patient have one rough day and the next day have an ongoing prescription for a sedative that made them an entirely different person. It is truly negligence that deserves to be rectified. With this position I will also be able to include pet and music therapy which have plenty of research to back the immense benefits from an incorporation of different therapies such as these. Group therapies would be a prime opportunity for the homes to improve the quality of life of these seniors. One on one appointments will be a time to listen; for those that don’t have the family able to be available regularly.

With this venture I hope to move into a position in which I have a working relationship with several facilities where I can provide emergency psychological care. My primary goal is to help people and make a positive difference in their lives. I expect travel to be a part of this adventure, but I will do whatever it takes to maintain positive relationships and ensure everyone obtains the care they deserve.

Obviously the need is there, but where the problem lies is in the funding for a service such as this. Who is going to pay for it? Insurance companies who are already as stingy as they are? This would end up being an entire new policy for them. Some family members would recognize the need and be able to pay personally, but that leaves out the vast majority that deserves the care just as much as the others. In writing this it feels more like a social justice issue than a business.

I need to get in touch with people that are educated in this area. To help accurately evaluate the need, and potentially come up with ideas for funding. Perhaps there is another option I have not yet considered? Every single person I’ve talked to about this, even over the phone, has heard and interpreted my passion for this. All humans deserve proper mental health care, and it’s simply not happening.

Later on in the business I hope to incorporate therapies such as pet and music therapies. I feel group therapy sessions in long-term care facilities could also be immensely beneficial. This could even be a marketing technique by the facility to be able to offer these services for residents. In the following weeks I plan to be making as many contacts as possible with people within long-term care facilities to get as many perspectives as possible from the directors, nurses, and potentially even residents and family members if they are willing. Please be in touch with any information that could potentially be helpful. Thank you so very much for your time in reading this, and if you wouldn’t mind sharing this on other platforms the further this gets the better!

Unnecessary Medications

I have come to the realization that I have been taking the wrong medication for far too long, and I wonder how many people are in the same boat. How long have we been taking medications with more side effects than there are benefits? How do we realize this? How do we bring it to our doctor’s attention? Isn’t that truly their job to conclude? How long do we put up with this nonsense and continue to pump unnecessary chemicals into our bodies? Do we finally just adjust the meds down/out ourselves? How safe is this decision? How many of you are having to pay out of pocket for these medications causing unruly side effects with no real improvement in the quality of life? I can only share my story, but I know there are literally millions of people dealing with the same qualms.

I have been on a medication called quetiapine (along with many others) for probably around eight months now. And for those eight months getting out of bed in the morning has been physically impossible. Some doctors have referred to this as the “hangover” effect, and I have been told to just wait it out and “hopefully” it will just go away. It has been eight months and I still cry nearly every morning with overwhelming emotions and a body that feels like lead when it’s time for me to rise for the day. Though, there have been three specific times where this did not occur. When prescribed the medication I was told not to take it if I was not going to be able to get a full eight hours of sleep. Three times I have gone to bed super late, knowing I wasn’t going to get a full eight hours, and I did not take my nighttime medications. Even on only two hours of sleep, I felt better waking up those mornings than I had in many months. Why could this be?

Perhaps these medications are simply not right for me specifically, and I simply need to find another course. I recently started seeing a different psychiatrist, though instead of changing any of my current medications he simply added another one – a tranquilizer. He told me this would help with those overwhelming emotions, racing thoughts, and anxiety. Neither my partner nor myself have noticed any difference in those facets of my life. This doctor truly believes this medication will help me. I disagree. At what point do I take the situation into my own hands and just stop taking the medication(s)? If I feel a million times better (and less depressed and hopeless) in the morning without the medication, how can there truly be a benefit?

I have to acknowledge the danger of just stopping a medication – particularly some of the antipsychotics – without a doctor’s review. There can be more major side effects from this; another downside to these medications. Psychosis and depression can worsen to an extreme degree for the first several weeks off of a medication that was providing a steady level of chemical to the brain particularly for an extended period of time. When taking those medications it is, generally, supplying the brain with chemicals that the brain is supposedly not producing sufficient amounts of naturally – so the brain will stop self-producing these chemicals entirely because the pills are keeping the steady levels. So, when one removes those chemicals the brain goes into a varying level of shock – which can produce a multitude of different side effects on the brain and body.

Thankfully, I have insurance that pays for the doctors to keep throwing these different pills at me. Though, I’m aware of plenty of people that are actually throwing their hard earned money into these “treatments” – just to end up with horrible side effects and little-to-no benefit. People that are reaching out for assistance because this world and society have simply become too much to bear on our own. This is NOT a weakness. It takes a massive level of strength to ask for help. I would know – because I never do. I am one of those people that is entirely too stubborn and would rather fail on my own than ask for help to succeed. It’s a problem. Though, a long time ago I started down this path of medicinal mental health treatment because if I didn’t I was going to end my life. And that’s a kind of failure that was not fair to the individuals around me to embrace.

That is the primary reason I still support the current mental health system even with all of its flaws and broken aspects. Because there are people out there that do benefit from medicinal treatment. Less than we would desire or expect, but they are still out there. People that would be ending their lives otherwise and diminishing any potential they may have had. Yet, there are some people that have been in treatment for most of their lives and still can’t manage to survive. Robin Williams is the primary example. He struggled with anxiety and depression his entire life. He was also in treatment for it for most of his life. Though at a certain point, he simply couldn’t handle it anymore. He wasn’t seeing enough benefit from the treatment his surplus of money could easily afford to WANT to survive. There are all too many of us living a similar reality. At what point do we take a stand? HOW  do we even take a stand?

I am lucky enough to love and live with someone that accepts all of my flaws and helps me monitor myself. He reigns me in when my emotions become uncontrollable or unbearable, and he steadies me when I feel like I’m in a tailspin. I would do anything to wish upon all of you still reading this a person like I have. I would not still be breathing or typing this today if I had not met him. And it truly sucks to be dependent on another human in this way, but just the other day he was telling me how much better I am at handling myself and my emotions from a year ago. Not since the medications, because they came later, but because he has helped me to improve myself and make myself better.

Part of our treatment has to be what exists within our surroundings and the people we allow to be present in our lives. There are too many people suffering from depression and anxiety that is made entirely worse due to the toxic people they keep around them. A toxic job will also play a huge part in this. Leave that job, and leave that relationship. Even if the toxicity is caused by a parent or relative. Just because you may share some of the same genetic markers as another human does not mean they have to remain within your life and environment. It’s clearly easier said than done, but it is so very essential for our treatment. Perhaps it is only for a short while that you have to remove them from your environment in order for you to do some self-healing, but it is so very essential to be able to acknowledge these toxic markers that are preventing one from improving themselves.

I’ve clearly varied slightly from the topic of medications, but every word I’ve relayed is essential. It has taken over two decades of suffering to put the pieces together. And in reality, I’m still working on my self-healing. My brain suffered such severe PTSD that it actually developed narcolepsy. As if my brain just said, “I can’t handle this anymore, I’m just going to shut down and sleep at random times”. This is something that is going to take an extensive amount of time to heal. And I hope using the word “heal” is understood not in the way of repair, but rather the capability to move beyond the damage to still have a relatively happy and fulfilling life despite the things we are lacking. This is something we all deserve, and should never stop fighting for until we find it.

Medications & Side Effects

I can’t possibly fathom why so many medications have side effects of suicidal thoughts, weight gain, anal leakage….why can’t they be more along the lines of perfectly white teeth as a side effect or spontaneous orgasms? I just feel like I shouldn’t have to feel like death when prescribed a new medication, and I don’t understand why that is so much to ask.

In the last week I have been prescribed two new medications. To start with the first, the doctor warned me that I would feel hung over the next morning as I was supposed to take it before going to bed. Well after the most recent narcolepsy drug change that had me sprinting for the bathroom with my pants already down and not being able to exist in any fashion besides horizontal (as soon as I stood up I would be instantly nauseous but there was nothing in my stomach to vomit), I thought I was prepared for this new medication because it couldn’t possibly be worse than that right? Well…while i’m not in as much physical distress, getting out of bed in the morning is physically impossible. Yesterday, after sleeping 12 hours (way more than I had since I was a kid), I finally rolled myself off the bed to land (not so pleasantly) on the floor at one o’clock and said “alright, we’re doing this”.

The newest narcolepsy medication they put me on was just started this morning. My entire treatment has revolved around the prescriptions of various kinds of meth from the very beginning, but they have had names that disguise it a little bit such as dextroamphetamine or methylphenidate. But today I pick up a medication called Evekeo which had no generic name which was odd. Until I started searching on the paperwork with the pharmacist to discover the generic name is just amphetamine. They’re not even trying to hide it anymore. They are giving me prescription grade meth to treat this narcolepsy and I’m really just not okay with that, but what else do I do?

I found a recipe/mixture of essential oils the other day that are to help with wakefulness and such, but I don’t have all of the oils that are most helpful. And being unemployed means I can’t just run and get the things that I need. Such as conditioner; I have been living without conditioner for more than two weeks now. My hair is completely dead and straw-like.

But I simply can’t understand why these side effects have to be so awful. It’s almost comical at times because if you prescribe an antidepressant to a young girl (for example) that has side effects of weight gain and suicidal thoughts, how in the world is that drug supposed to actually help her? If she’s already depressed you think weight gain is going to help or improve the self-confidence that is probably lacking? Depression medications are a joke and need to be completely re-evaluated.

Narcolepsy on the other hand, I barely understand. I keep reading reviews of each of these drugs, and people saying each of them has helped immensely. Yet, I’m still nodding off while driving and falling out of my chair doing homework; because I forced myself to sit at the kitchen table to do my homework thinking that would keep me awake. Literally nothing I do stops me from sleeping when I least desire to. So, I finally succumbed to the conventional chemical methods, but those don’t work either. If anything I’ve gotten worse.

I just know that the big pharmaceutical companies don’t give a damn about any human as an individual. Their only concern is how to make the most money, and in this country without free healthcare it makes sense because primarily it is the insurance companies or government being charged for these medications. But that still leaves out the other part of the population, nearly half, without healthcare or access to the drugs that could potentially save their lives (such as insulin for diabetics). I’ve seen so many articles where a pill that costs over $200 here costs only $4 in another country, and the pharmeceutical companies are only doing this BECAUSE THEY CAN. Because there are no regulations or stipulations to stop them.

Pay attention to your politicians folks because many of them are backed by big pharma too. Research the medications your doctors prescribe you and see if the manufacturer is a benefactor of that clinic or hospital. A lot of this stuff is public record, people just don’t know to look. We can’t always fight the use of prescription and chemical medications to treat our ailments, but we can fight the big pharma to try and get the care we deserve.

Narcolepsy

Nearly four months ago I was diagnosed with narcolepsy. I had issues with my sleep my entire life. As a kid it would take hours to get to sleep; to the point where there were several times, I watched the sun rise out of my window because I simply couldn’t sleep. Before going to the sleep doctors I tried every single natural remedy I could think of; different herbal teas and supplements as well as melatonin and other such aids to no avail. I still could not sleep through the night, but my biggest qualm was that I would wake up every single day feeling more tired than when I laid down to go to sleep.

The problem is, I feel like the medications are making it worse. They have had me on methylphenidate, Adderall, temazepam, and one other stimulant so far in which I have not noticed any significant difference. Oh, except for the fact that now I am literally falling asleep anywhere and everywhere with no notice, when before it was only a problem that if I laid down my head anywhere I could fall asleep in minutes. And I’ll admit there were a few times I fell asleep at my desk in the very early mornings, but no matter how tired I had been in the past I never fell asleep during a movie. I feel much shame in admitting this; I fell asleep during Infinity Wars like six different times. I missed the ending and will have to go back this weekend to make up for this epic failure.

I just don’t understand how I wasn’t randomly falling asleep before the drugs, but all of a sudden now I am. They also have some pretty severe interactions with common medications; like I can’t even take Acetaminophen for a headache. And they are a hassle having to be taken at specific times a specific amount of times per day. I go in tomorrow to see if there are even any other medications they can put me on because I’ve already gone through all of the normal treatments.

When the doctor first told me about this diagnosis he told me that my brain showed signs of severe brain damage, and he asked if I had ever had any accidents in which I hit my head or had any type of damage. I told him I had never had so much as a concussion in my entire life. He then tells me the only other time he’s seen this is in PTSD victims that have returned from war and proceeds to ask me if I had experienced any trauma in my life to this point to where I literally laughed in his face. Where would you like me to start? But NEVER did I think any of it would result in actual brain damage.

Almost all of the research from general sources state the exact same useless things. I plan to dig deeper into this when I potentially have time, but the sources I plan to inspect are difficult to find and take time that I do not have. If anyone else has information or related experiences feel free to share; I would appreciate the input 🙂