When Medical Care Isn’t Enough

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Almost a year ago now, I was recommended to join a study for an experimental drug therapy for treatment resistant depression. While I kept my expectations low, I joined so that I could say I did something to help other people in a similar condition. The treatment was effective (though the road up to that effectiveness was rough). By the end of it, I had hope that maybe I could get access and continue getting help.

That didn’t happen.

By the time I went back to getting treatment at that first clinic – the one that sent me to the study in the first place – my prior doctor had left. I was seeing a new one. To that person’s credit, they did try to get me access to continue treatment. To the clinic’s discredit, my request for a prescription was denied.

I don’t know why it was denied. One of the reasons mentioned was that it wasn’t getting administered at the clinic. It could be a bunch of different things. None of them really matter, because what I’m left with as a patient is a clinic that recommends things on one hand, sees the results, and then doesn’t follow through.

If I hadn’t been recommended by the clinic, I wouldn’t be disappointed, angry, and having to deal with my brain chemistry returning to its normal subdued state. Worse, I have to live with this knowledge every time I interact with them. Part of me wants to just cancel all of my appointments. If I had insurance or a good way of finding a new clinic, I probably would have done so already.

But here’s where my story might get familiar to others. I don’t have access to sufficient insurance. I don’t have a real choice in seeing medical staff that I have confidence in – sadly, this even includes the clinic running the drug study (but for different reasons). Every time I try to look for options, it makes my headspace a little worse for wear.

Why even complain here?

I don’t write posts like this for recognition, or sympathy, or acknowledgment. I think I write them just to document one story out of many that is part of the many that go on around the world. People have varying degrees of problems in their lives. They don’t always spend time recording those problems.

And yeah, some people have it worse. Although people have developed many advances in medicine, access to the right medicine can be a major issue. Maybe some people don’t have the money. Some places don’t have the staffing. Other places don’t have access to adequate staff.

It’s sad that although we live in a world where some people get genetic therapies and multiple effective surgeries as a matter of course in their treatment, so many others can’t see a health professional. Or, even when they do, that professional turns out to be ineffective. Right now, one life is given better quality of support for no other reason than the ability to pay whatever legal tender is on offer.

For my part, I feel like the longer I attempt medical care, the more I’m contributing to a sunk cost fallacy. Maybe this time I’ll get a more standard medication that will work. Maybe I’ll get effective medical professionals to talk to. Maybe. Maybe. Maybe.

I’m tired of being reminded that my existence is a low priority to the people I need assistance from.