He said there’s no point in doing a kidney biopsy (not that I would agree to one!) because I’m “too far along.” He said it should have been done 30 years ago.
Hmm…..let’s see. What was I up to 30 years ago? 2019….2009…..1999…..1989. In 1989 I in my third year on lithium. My doctor was Dr. John Merrifield. Around then, my parents insisted that Merrifield test my thyroid. Sure enough, my thyroid gland had shut down!
I had pimples and the shakes all the time from lithium. Pimples are a sign of early kidney deterioration.
To get your kidneys tested you have to have a basic metabolic panel done. Depending, the doc also might have to add “creatinine” and “BUN” to the order. I am not sure what was standard back then. I had so many blood tests that I’m sure these tests were done and also, I’m sure my rising creatinine was quite evident.
They never told me. They never bothered. They were lazy or stupid, or figured I wasn’t worth it.
That’s when it should have happened. That’s when they should have detected DI, diabetes insipidus (nothing to do with real diabetes, by the way) which is a kidney condition caused by lithium. That’s when they should have taken me off lithium. Instead, I continued to take it until 1996.
The doc also said a biopsy would injure my kidneys further. Of course I would refuse one if it came down to that. Good thing that isn’t planned. There is a huge advantage to not having insurance, at least right now. He’s not ordering any unnecessary tests!
I don’t even see much point in seeing a doctor. Not unless I need to use him as a witness in a lawsuit. Who knows?
Once we are harmed, our sense of compassion drives us to warn others of the dangers they may face if they are caught in a similar situation. We have not only been victims of harm, we also, in our role as patients, witnessed harm done to us and done to other patients. If we, the prime witnesses, do not speak up, who will? How else can these wrongdoings be stopped? How will the public ever know the truth?
Medical and psychiatric institutions rarely apologize to victims. They are reluctant to do this, even though apology is the right thing to do. More typically, they remain mum, saying nothing at all. The silence is awkward indeed, and in many ways, revealing.
I can’t say it was particularly monumental. There was a medical student there. I was surprised at the student’s unkempt appearance. The doctor looked like a doctor. Lab coat, towered over me, kinda abrupt the way they all are, only slightly arrogant.
He wants me back in two months. I told the secretary I might be tied up with moving at that time but I will let them know.
Even if I wanted dialysis, it would be years before that would happen. Why? While my kidneys are in bad shape, they are not deteriorating very fast and over the past two years, barely at all. He wants to do some anemia test and says if my blood goes too low I would need pills. I asked if there’s an alternative and he said no. (Bet there is!)
He hasn’t a clue about the lithium. I want to leave it that way. My book will come out, but still, I think I am safe from any kind of force.
Do not believe the stories you hear on sites that push dialysis. They will profile someone who claims to have a wonderful life on dialysis. This is not typical. Please check this out:
Here are a couple of paragraphs from my book, Life After Lithium:
You may have read propaganda written by sponsored people who claim to travel the world or do extreme sports while on dialysis. While no doubt these stories are inspiring, and their plight certainly admirable, we must remember that glowing, idealistic stories like these are cherry-picked to sway us into thinking dialysis is some kind of Heaven. Every person I know on dialysis is so consumed with the procedure that they have no time or energy to do anything else. All are sickly with multiple health issues, can barely breathe, many on oxygen or using electric wheelchairs, many overweight and certainly not about to run a marathon. None are in a position to travel and all are dependent on visiting aides to help them. Not one in my acquaintance was able to continue working a job. Their main source of socializing, the center of life has now become the dialysis center.
This institutionalization of elders and sick people is sad indeed. I’m sure most didn’t want this sort of life. A 2015 New York Times article questioning dialysis gives us a far more grim picture of life on dialysis than the rosy tales the dialysis centers want us to believe. This article states that about 40% of older patients on dialysis die within a year. Much of this is due to secondary conditions, such as heart disease or diabetes. Still, these statistics are telling indeed. Typically, a patient will undergo hemodialysis at a dialysis center, spending three or four hours a day there, three times a week. Some patients also endure a lengthy commute to the dialysis center. The New York Times article likens this to holding down a part-time job. I cannot help but see the resemblance to day treatment or various types of outpatient mental health treatment.
I did not put the footnote in there, or at least right now I can’t find it.
These two articles are worth a read. If you can’t access them, try a different browser.
Right here in Wikipedia:
I never knew Eagleton had had shock. I only heard that he had some kind of mental problems. I think my parents didn’t want me to hear about the shock. Maybe they thought it was too much to explain or too upsetting. I think I was 16 at the time, when he was booted off as vice president.
Kick ’em when they’re up!
Kick ’em when they’re down!
This is from a chapter called The Politics of Hypomania
The fact that ups and downs are normal in life is lost on some people. Instead of accepting that life can be rocky sometimes, people who are labeled bipolar tend to assume this is part of some “illness.” In my opinion, calling it an illness can cause exaggeration of “symptoms,” both in perception and reality.
If a mental patient accomplishes something, achieves a high honor or is successful at bettering his circumstances, all this can easily and quickly be diminished to nothing with an accusation of mania or hypomania.
“You finished writing a book? In how long? You must be manic.”
“So you say you feel great about making the swim team. That won’t last long. You’ll crash.”
“You got straight A’s this semester? Isn’t that overkill? Let’s talk about your perfectionism for a minute.”
And lastly, “So you say you feel terrific. I think we need to hospitalize you for mania.”
Feeling happy about one’s accomplishments is not a disease. It’s not mania. It’s something we all go through. Accomplishments are something to be proud of. I am saddened that my former providers pathologized some of my greatest achievements as “mania.”
Sometimes, I think mental health professionals are merely jealous. They can’t do art as well as you can. You may be a better athlete or in better physical shape. You may be far more advanced in math or science. From what I recall, most of them couldn’t possibly write a book (they couldn’t spell!). On one unit, the staff claimed I was delusional when I said I had masters degree. Maybe the staff think we’re only good at having symptoms and generating an income for them, courtesy of the state. They do a good job of keeping it that way, too.
This comes as a surprise. I was approached by these folks a while back but it seemed I didn’t fit the criteria well enough for their article. Now this is going to be a TV interview, they say. They are pitching it now.
When I was a kid I wanted to be on TV. I remember telling that to my dad and he said maybe I would.
No, he did not say, “If you work at it.” I think it’s more about getting lucky. Likely Dad thought so, too.
He told me he had an inkling that I would be famous someday. For dad, it was an out-of-character thing to say but I think he meant it. Just a hunch. I believed him when he said it but my hopes of getting on TV were dashed when I got brainwashed and drugged in the mental health system.
This interview comes from an unlikely source. I am a member of ___. This is part of some sort of advertising kick they’re doing. So I have to put in a plug for _____ in addition to putting in a plug for my book.
I talked to my publicist about it. He’s all for it and gave me some tips and pointers. We will talk about it more prior to the interview. If it happens.
I’ve been increasing my running distance. Two days ago I ran a full mile, then, slowed to a run briefly, then, ran another mile and ran the last .1 mile to finish 5k.
Yesterday was even better. I started off walking very fast, then broke into a run until .9 of a mile, then, at the 1 mile mark, I ran straight through for 1.4 miles. I walked .1, then ran to finish the 5k. I ran this at a considerably faster speed than the day before. I’m still taking it slow, though.
I sweat like crazy. While I don’t like sweating, I know it saves my life.
Your skin is your second kidney. It provides a passage so the toxins in your body that your kidneys can’t remove can leave your body safely. All you have to do to finish your skin’s work is to take a well-deserved shower.
The itching people talk about from kidney disease comes from high phosphorus. The mineral deposits end up in clumps in your skin. You don’t want this! Take care to keep your phosphorus level down. Prevention is worth it!
I just learned something. Certain foods are high in phosphorus but the phosphorus isn’t even absorbed. This includes pumpkin and sunflower seeds. Don’t sprout them because then, the phosphorus can (and will) be absorbed. I think also brown rice and other grains are included, unless they’re sprouted. I need to keep my phosphorus down. The worst offenders are meat and dairy. Good thing I have not eaten any meat for a couple of weeks. Meat also causes acidosis, so it’s a good thing I’m eating almost vegan.
This morning I’m running outdoors. This will be unfamiliar turf. I will proceed with caution on the more trafficky roads. I really have to turn the music down low for safety, or pause it entirely.
They are paying so little that it’s not worth it to work this job. If I was doing something humanitarian I would happily do it for free, but this is NOT.
Last year around this time they were paying me $18 an hour. Now, I could earn more at the local call center. You don’t even need to do the math.
Now: $7.27 an hour, retail
Call Center (local) $10 an hour, more repetitive but more consistent pay.
Aren’t I better off spending the time doing something meaningful and maybe something that pays? i have already dipped way too much into savings.
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