The Things We Do For Refills

I’m going to preface this post by saying that the American psychiatric profession has saved my life, probably more than once. Hell, I’ve even found TWO shrinks who actually make an effort at their jobs. I just don’t see them regularly because I don’t feel like I need to and they agree with me. In fact, the shortcoming with one of them is that she agreed with me too much. Hearing “you’re great” is wonderful, but not very productive. Still, she’s good people, and I would totally recommend her to the right person.

With that said, I am having some serious beef with the medical profession of late. My drug dealer told me to call him when I was low on drugs, as if I can just pick up the phone and talk to his voice mail. Oh, no, readers. To contact one’s shrink, one has to call the front desk and then leave a message, which may or may not ever get returned, depending on my particular shrink’s crappy, useless and rude assistant. Somehow, his phone always rings off the hook when he’s in a session with me and, call me crazy, but for 300 bucks an hour, I don’t think I should be spending a third of that hour listening to him talk to other people. Just sayin.

My shrink must have gotten my message because he called me back. I was out somewhere and didn’t hear the phone. “Call me back” says his voice mail. OK, fine. I’ll play. Fuck.

I call back the number that was in my phone. “This line is for outgoing calls only,” says Machine 1, “please call 322-73_1.” What? There was so much static on the line that I couldn’t hear the number and had to call back. In Music City, they can’t find someone to record an understandable voice mail message. Hey guys, shoot a gun in a random direction, and you’ll probably hit a sound engineer. Of course, if you use a gun, said engineer may end up dead. I never said it was a perfect system.

I call the number that Machine 1 gave me. I get a human! Said human is apparently working third shift somewhere and has no idea who my doctor is or why I would be calling. “I know it’s late, but he just called me 20 minutes ago…” The human says he can’t patch me through, but will send me to the message service that can tell the doc to call me back.

Machine 2 (message service) is the exact same machine that you get when you call to make an appointment. When I select the option for the message service that will allegedly get in touch with my doctor, I am sent to…

Machine 3, which tells me that I’m calling after business hours, and to try again during business hours.

I know that this whole system is designed to keep the Real Crazies from hassling the docs in some kind of weird “What About Bob” fashion, but crap like this is why I started just emailing the doctor instead. In turn, he stopped responding to my emails, perhaps in some sort of passive-aggressive way of telling me that my behavior is not an acceptable form of contact.

So, what am I supposed to do? Calling you is an idiotic wank. Emailing you is pointless. I put up with a lot of crap for something that my insurance company still considers a “luxury.”

For brevity, I have omitted the part about the idiotic “O’Malley doesn’t know what O’Reilly is doing” nature of your billing departments. I have omitted former shrinks’ advice that I just do stand-up comedy (“if I’m so damn funny, why am I paying you to listen to me?”). I have also omitted the part about that time my last shrink disappeared spontaneously, leaving me to threaten various desk workers so I can get my drugs:

“In two days, I’m going to be in withdrawal. I will start throwing up. When this happens, I will come to your office and vomit in your trash can.”

I’d been calling them for days with no response. After that threat, I had my drugs that afternoon. I hate that they forced my hand on that. I hate that I had to act like a flaming psycho to get them to do what I’d been asking them to do for days.

Oh! And where was that former shrink who spontaneously disappeared?

He had a nervous breakdown.

The irony is delicious.


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