09 January 2008

The Meds Are Out There

Meg stands outside Community Health, smoking, shivering, waiting. She showed up twenty minutes early for her 12:30 psychiatrist appointment. But it's not an appointment just for her. There are seventeen other people scheduled to see Dr. Singh at 12:30. Each is required to take a number and wait. Meg has been coming to these 12:30 appointments for over a year. "If this was Hollywood," she says, "They'd call this a cattlecall audition." It's no audition. This is how Meg gets her prescriptions. If only a few people show up, and he had a low number, she's in and out by 1:00 or 1:30. Today, however, she predicts a long wait. It's not just that there are lots of people ahead of her. It's the specific individuals who have shown up to day, people who tend to act out and behave disruptively. It will take Dr. Singh a while to work his way through them. "All he does is ask you how you're feeling," Meg explains. "Asks if you're having side effects and stuff. They don't have therapy or nothing here. Just here's your scrip and who's next. Some times you're only in the office for about ten minutes. " We wonder how Dr. Singh is able to make a diagnosis. "Damn fine question," Meg says. "Sometimes he can't. I was coming here once a month for six months before he decided I was schizoaffective. Some doctor over at UC had me paranoid schizophrenic, but Dr. Singh called that a provisional diagnosis." Meg snorts in contempt. "Provisional. Makes it easier to avoid getting sued is all."

Meg is almost out of meds. She is hoping that today they will have meds at Community Health's pharmacy, a room not much larger than a closet, with a dutch door over which the pharmacist conducts business with clients. After Meg's last visit, she visited the pharmacy, where she was told that her case manager had apparently forgotten to order her meds.

"There's literally no place else to go until I qualify for medicaid. If I qualify. When I have my symptoms, then I might have to check in UC. What else can I do?"

At last Meg's number is called. While we wait for her, a couple of case managers pop outside for a quick cigarette. They are talking shop about client behavior. They are both in their 2o's, perhaps half Meg's age.

"Honey, I've been here six months and I'm already looking for another job. Believe me, there is no way you see all your clients in the course of a month. No way no how."

"You got 242 clients. That's, what --- 8 clients a day? You might not even locate 8 in a day. So something basic like, are they taking their meds? How do you know?"

"They stop taking medication, that's on them. There's only so much we can do for them!"


Charlotte Rose said...

Hey, Thanks for telling me about the Pipe Building in Paris, I thought it was probably a well known experiment. What an interesting blog you have. Its just really interesting. What does the blog heading mean? Thanks for your comment.

banquo k. dangerfield said...

We'll be getting more specific about 12th & Republic in coming posts. E.q., the crane collapse happened about a block west of there. Thanks for giving us a read! BKD

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