I’ve been off my Lexapro for a month and it turns out that’s bad.
Sometimes my patients have crippling anxiety.
When they do, I’ll take a few minutes to rule out other causes, report it to my preceptor, and they’ll breezily tell me “Fine – write a prescription for Zoloft, Lexapro, or Prozac – whatever you feel comfortable with. Do you know the dosing?”
Lady, you have no idea. By the way, I would also like a refill for myself.
… but for the life of me, I can’t find someone to take 10 seconds to write one for me.
I don’t feel it’s alarmist to say this is a problem.
But I’m not in med school anymore, and there are only a certain number of times you can refill a prescription from out-of-state without a visit – and I’ve gone way beyond that.
So now what?
I could set up an appointment at my current hospital, but I have to do a psychiatry rotation with these same attendings, so that seems… short-sighted.
I could call around at one of the competitor hospitals, but they’re all far enough away that I’d have to ask off work for “medical reasons”, which is a bit of a death knell. And why would they even accept our health insurance?
They probably don’t.
(Or maybe that’s just me making lame excuses? I honestly don’t know. My anxiety has ramped up to the point where the thought of just finding a phone number and calling someone is so mentally and emotionally exhausting that it’s impossible to tell.)
The thing that kills me (and the reason I’m writing this blog post at all) is that I know I’m not the only resident with this problem. I can’t be. Depression and anxiety are way too common – and the 80-hour work week and infeasibility of accessing your own hospital’s psychiatrists have to make this a global problem.
In the mean-time, there I am: taking a total of 10 seconds to jot down a prescription, then sitting in the corner anxiously twirling my pen and grinding my teeth.
Medicine sure can be stupid.