I knew that I had to accompany Dave to his appointment yesterday. I felt that he needed me to share my perspective as sometimes he downplays what is really going on. Before we went, I made a brief list of what needed to be discussed.
* Depression – signs I am noticing, how to treat, things to watch out for
* Chronic side pain/ unresolved stomach issues – reluctance to use pain meds, dietary changes, other solutions?
Usually when we go to appointments, I sit and listen only asking an occasional question. I had to gear myself up to take the lead and contradict Dave if necessary – not my favorite role but it had to be done. Dave’s appointment was with a research nurse. While we were waiting for his labs to be drawn, she started asking him how he was feeling. My ears perked up when she said “Any issues with depression?” Dave said only a little mostly caused by fatigue. I jumped out of my chair so I could get closer to the conversation. I explained to her that I had gone away for five days and when I returned I noticed such a dramatic shift in Dave’s mood that I asked him if depression could be a side effect of the trial medication. Turns out it is. I explained about the list I had printed out from the NIMH website and how Dave related to almost all of the signs and symptoms. She asked Dave if he thought he needed anything to help with it. He said no. At about that point, Dave was called back to do blood work so she said she would talk to us afterwards.
We met up again a little while later. She went through the standard checklist reviewing medications and side effects. When she asked about pain I prodded Dave to talk about his side pain and brought up his reluctance to use the prescribed pain meds. She encouraged him to take something when needed to stay ahead of the pain and reassured him that they are more than okay to use. We discussed his ongoing stomach issues. She wrapped up by saying that after consulting with Dr. S she had called in a prescription for Dave at our pharmacy for an increased dosage of Zoloft. She also told us she had made an appointment with Dr. S for Monday afternoon so we could talk about the chronic pain and the depression with him. I was relieved to hear that they were taking the depression seriously and I felt that she was very much listening to what I was saying. When you are sitting there it is so easy to start doubting yourself. Am I making this a bigger deal than it is? Is he depressed or is he really just tired like he is saying?
We grabbed a quick bite to eat and then headed home. At that point Dave was miserable. You see he had been in pain Wednesday night. So much discomfort that he wasn’t able to sleep. But he didn’t take anything for it. So by the time he took something with his food, it was really severe. He ended up throwing up breakfast, the pain pills and whatever else he had recently ingested. I headed into work once I could see that he was resting comfortably. Last night we talked about the appointment and I reiterated the point made about taking the pain meds when needed. He agreed with me and knew that the vomiting was directly related to the pain. Lesson learned.
I am glad that I went with him. I am glad that I voiced my concerns. And I will definitely be going with him on Monday.