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No Insurance and Med-free...


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i'm new to the boards, though i've been lurking around for awhile.  i've been off of meds for about a year now because i lost my job which supplied my insurance and DH and i had nowhere near the money to pay for the pdoc and meds, etc.  i've been alright... actually maintained a job... until this past Friday.  i had to go in and tell them i need some time off bc i'm ill... i said all of this to a lower manager while sobbing.  He said, "Okay, i'll pass it along" and that was it.  i don't know if i'll be able to work again or not.

i'm cycling really bad... ultradian cycling BP I coupled with Panic Disorder.  One minute i'm weeping, the next i'm raging and cursing the f**king world, the next i'm scrubbing my walls free from the handprints and muttering about ecological cleaning products... and then i'm laughing, happy, charming.  Up, down, all around, gee! you're a clown!

Anyway, i don't know what to do.  i've had REALLY bad hospital experiences and have no insurance.  i called my MD, but i can't get in to see him until next Monday (it's Tuesday or Wednesday i think)... i need a pdoc but i don't know a good one in my area and i don't have medical insurance.  What do i do? We just got out of credit card debt and i don't want to screw us financially again!... Oh God...

Plus i'm just scared.  Haven't left the apt in days, can't think straight, keep crying... Please make suggestions, i'm open to almost anything right now...

Trying to hang on and not doing so well,

Dionne

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Dionne, I'm a twenty-something recently-diagnosed Canadian, and as such I don't have scads of relevant knowledge to share with you.  I'm largely posting so you'll have at least ONE reply backing up that statistic tracking how many people have read your post.  Someone should be along here sometimes with something more helpful to say.  Until then, I'll just share a few thoughts which you are free to take or leave. 

It sounds like you need meds as soon as possible, however they are obtained.  Ideally, this would be through a qualified psychiatrist rather than through a GP.  There are some tips for finding a pdoc here and here, though I realize mounting an orderly search might not be within your current realm of the possible.  Writing down the medications you were on before losing your insurance (especially if they were helping) may give your psychiatrist (or GP, if that's the only professional you can see) an idea of what is required. 

Some doctors and psychiatrists will be generous in dispensing samples to patients who can't afford to pay for medications.  There are also many programs available to help the uninsured.  Perhaps you meet the eligibility criteria.  Then there's the chance you could cut down on your meds costs by buying overseas.  There could be more ways I'm unaware of. 

There's also the dubious option of entering in a clinical drug trial.  They can be evil, or they can provide partial medical care for the illness studied for a set period of time, at no cost to you.  I don't know how many people would recommend this option.  It assumes you're in a testing area, to begin with.  The approval process can be lengthy, and there's the chance you could be in the placebo group.  It wouldn't solve your immediate problem of needing treatment now. 

I don't know if any of this is useful to you.  Again, my credentials are nil.  You're welcome to post as much as you need to, though.  There are some wise and sympathetic souls about. 

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Thanks, it's nice to know someone is out there listening who understands.  i've thought about the clinical trial thing, but i'm really not sure. ;)   i'm still trying to find a pdoc, but the depression hinders a lot of my progress, which i'm sure you may know something about.  Your suggestions helped focus my brain to keep searching... i'll update on how that goes once there is news to tell.

Thanks again, lmnop.

Still in hiding  :)

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Welcome to CB.  I don't even have anything to offer that lmnop hasn't already said.  She gave you some pretty good stuff to think about.  I just wanted you to know that I am listening and understand the hell you are going through.  What meds were you on that worked before?  Sometimes the more info you put here gives others more to consider when trying to be helpful.  Sorry I can't help but wanted to say welcome and to tell you not to give up.  Sulu

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I'm currently taking a dose of Depakote that would cost more than groceries if I didn't have insurance. I can only tell you what I would do.

Your problem is financial. You already know what your diagnosis is, so a general practitioner can prescribe lithium and klonopin. That's waaaay cheaper than a p-doc  giving you (expen$ive) scripts for whichever flavor-of-the-week he's pushing. Lithium isn't currently fashionable but it WORKS. Klonopin is cheap as dirt and there's nothing better for panic. 

A general practitioner can also refill your scripts.  I used to do it this way simply because he'd only ask to see me every six months. (Seeing a p-doc for two minutes every three months was annoying).

There may be other drugs as cheap as lithium & klonopin. 

This is just MY advice. 

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Sulu & Kenosha, thanks for your input. 

To answer your Q Sulu, i was on 30mg Seroquel, 400mg Wellbutrin (SR or XL, i don't remember), 20mg Ativan as needed, and a low dose (10mg?) of Zoloft.  My old pdoc found this combo and it actually worked pretty well since i either 1) don't respond to certain meds or 2) i respond extremely well but have every other side effect in the book.  A psych ward pdoc put me on a high dose of Depakote for awhile, but that messed me up really badly and my regular pdoc took me off of it due to my adverse reaction.  She wanted to steer me away from lithium due to my dx of polycystic ovarian syndrome and a history of thyroid and high blood pressure problems with the women in my family.  A really sucky pdoc had me on Zyprexa for two months, but i was so lethargic, cloudy and gained 25 lbs in 6 wks that i fired him and took myself off of it.  :ninja:

So far i've left messages with some pdocs in my area to no avail.  My GP MD appointment stands for Monday, but considering another MD in that office once tried to tell me i wasn't BP and i was just depressed  :P , here, take some antidepressants that will solve all your problems,  :)   i'm very leery. 

In the meanwhile i feel helpless.  i'm craving all things sweet and sugary and bread-like, eating them til i feel like i'm going to puke.  Then i won't eat anything for another 24 hours.  i cry, i hide, i try to call my friends for comfort, but i freak out when i hear the phone ring on the other end and hang up.  My DH found me in the shower last night, pitch black and fully clothed.  i don't know why i was there, i just did it. 

i know i'm BP, but sometimes it's just too strange to think that *this* is real, that i suffer from a brain disorder, not just "i'm going mad".  Somehow, i almost think that would be simpler. Sometimes, anyway.  ;)

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Look in your yellow pages and see if there is an "MHMR" clinic in your area.  Some states separate mental health and mental retardation, so the name might be a bit different.  This is a clinic based solely on income.  If you have no insurance, you get free meds too.  It has been a lifesaver for me!  Good luck!

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Guest Llamanator

It can also be under MHDD (Mental Health and Developmental Disorders...at least in Iowa). I know my tdoc wants me to check it out, since my insurance coverage for outpatient mental health has run out for the year. They might be able to help. I believe the funding is run by the individual county. There might also be aid available through the state in which you live. Depending on your income, you might be able to get Medicaid, or there may be low-cost clinics in your area.

If you're still out of work, you also might be able to apply for disablility. It's not easy to apply for or to DECIDE to apply for, and not a short-term option, but if it looks like this is going to take a while, it might be worth it.

What you're describing in terms of mood sounds so familiar...it's all too real. Remind the docs that ADs alone could send you into mania without something to take you down in addition, because you are BIPOLAR. Sometimes, docs can be stupid about that. I've had regular docs put depression on my records, too. When I went to see them for something else. Because I *don't go to see doctors* when I'm hypo or manic!

Pulling for ya,

Mimi

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I'm sorry you're going thru this. I hope you get better soon... ;)

There are come fairly cheap alternatives/supplements that can be beneficial:

One you might want to try is the amino acid Taurine. You can take 1-3 grams per day in up to three divided doses. It only costs $11 per bottle of 100 capsules of 500mg each at the health food store. Country Life is a great brand, but others are good too. Dr. Stoll is doing studies on it, and he says it's great for rapid cycling bipolar (which is what you have).

It helps a lot with anxiety, too, and may help with obsessive think as well. It's very calming and fairly fast acting, too. Taurine is very similar to Topamax in how it works.

Fish Oil is another option at up to 15g/day.

GABA bonded to Niacinamide and Inositol is very good, too. It got me thru a rough time recently that my meds werent' enough to get me thru.

i'm new to the boards, though i've been lurking around for awhile.
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**UPDATE**

In case anyone was wondering...

Monday i went to my regular MD, where i was told that i didn't have an appointment.  Instead they squeezed me in with another doc.  Turns out that was the best mistake ever bc that doc was smart, quick and worked with me.  We reviewed my psychiatric and med history, discussed the sickening costs of psychiatry and that we are all a little crazy (esp pdoc's, he says  ;)   ).  And then he gave me a month's suppy of Wellbutrin XL 150 mg QD and wrote me a prescription for Seroquel 25 mg QN and told me that the Costco pharmacy (of all places!) is probably the cheapest. 

Two days of such low medication has been interesting.  i got manic, i got depressed, i got mixed, i got real mellow, i got insomnia.

But i know this will work eventually.  My DO (new doc isn't just an MD, he's a DO (What's the difference? is here --> http://www.stronghealth.com/services/primarycare/domd.cfm) and wants to will approach my med treatment slowly, esp not being a pdoc.  Hence only the 150mg Wellbutrin and 25mg Seroquel, which i can tell you right now will only be the beginning.  But hey, some meds is better than none.  And the new doc seems like he will actually listen to me on this.

Altogether, the visit to see him and the Seroquel prescription (30 day supply) he gave me cost a grand total of $101.59.  Not NEARLY as much as i was expecting.  And i've enrolled in some prescription discount programs (something like 40% off the regular price) and Seroquel is probably going to be given to me for free in 3 month supplies by the makers through some financial aid program.

THANK GOD.  And thank you MoparGuy1991, Mimi, invictus, Kenosha, lmnop and Sulu.  i was teetering and seeing your advice and knowing that someone else has experienced all this and lives to tell the often creepy/funny/scary tale is more encouraging than i can explain.  Thanks for posting and thanks for your input and encouragement.  It got me through another week. 

B)

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Dionne, I'm so happy to hear you're receiving treatment, and from a sympathetic physician no less!  Your DO sounds like he has a fair idea of what he's doing.  After all, he didn't call you a unipolar depressive and send you off with samples of Lexapro.  Seroquel and Wellbutrin is a good, promising track.  Congratulations on having the wherewithal to book an appointment in the first place, for investigating affordable treatment sources, and for following through on your pdoc search (even if the last part didn't pan out for now).  It took work.  You pulled through.  You totally kick ass. 

We'll be here all through next week, too, though, should your changing mood states want posting.  ;)

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lmnop, thanks!

So far the freaky appetite changes (i'm STARVING for carbs and then when i eat, i can't tell if i'm full until i walk around and then i realize i ate too much cuz i feel sick), extreme dry mouth (yay for lollipops, juicy slices of fruit and ice chips) and my slight tremor are the only problems i'm encountering on a grand scale.  Mood is already becoming at least a bit easier to manage. 

Whew. *wipes brow*

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