Poem of the Day: #2

This poem saw its first incarnation on Twitter, the best place in which to write the short and sweet. But it’s now gone through several phases as it lingers in the twilight of my brain:
Poem of the Day #2:
Hemoglobin is red,
Western blot bands are grey,
my data is SWEET,
perhaps I’ll graduate someday.
Or Alternatively
My DNA polymerase is red,
My western blot bands are blue,
hire me as your post-doc,
my work will totally woo you.

3 Responses

  1. Hey, Sci, I hope you don’t mind if I hit you up with a question totally unrelated to your post here. It’s just that your writings on the neurology of depression and depression medications have been so incredibly helpful to me that I was hoping I could ask you for a little advice.
    I have dealt with severe clinical depression almost my entire life. I am finally in a position where I have enough stability to try to get on a regular regimen of medication and counseling so that I can finally successfully manage my depression. In my case, I doubt I can be “cured” – I’ve had the depression way too long – but I am hopeful I can learn to manage it, much like a diabetic manages their insulin levels.
    Here’s the problem I have: I just don’t feel like my doctors ever listen to me. It frustrates me to tears sometimes. I’m a pretty well-informed patient, because I have found that learning about my illness just makes it less scary to me. I’m not a biologist, but I’m also not a dummy. I know how to use PubMed, I have a number of friends who are research scientists in various biological fields that I bounce questions off of about the studies I read, and I’ve even been studying organic chemistry in my spare time to try to get a better handle on the biology behind the stuff I read. I never, ever, ever make the mistake of thinking that I am a doctor, but I’m pretty well-informed about the biology of depression and the various anti-depressant medications available.
    My question is – is there anything I can do when communicating with my doctors that might increase the chances that they’ll listen to me? Here’s a perfect, real-life example of what I mean… I was referred to a psychiatrist a few months ago, and after my initial examination, he increased my dosage of sertraline from 50 mgs to 100 mgs. When I went back a month later, I was feeling better, but I was still dealing with a devastating level of fatigue – I can sleep twelve or fourteen hours a day and STILL be tired. I asked him about the possibility of switching from sertraline to bupropion. I was hopeful that I might have better results with bupropion, because I have read that it upregulates norepinephrine and dopamine, and I thought I might get a bit of an energy boost with that. The psychiatrist basically blew me off – said that he didn’t think my insurance would cover bupropion.
    That was two months ago. I went back in to see him last week, and I looked like absolute hell. I was so exhausted that when I sat down on his couch, I had to fight to stay awake. He took a look at me, listened to me speak (I am tired enough that I am starting to get the flat affect back in my voice again) – and I walked out of there with a prescription for bupropion in addition to a refill on my sertraline.
    If he had only LISTENED to me two months ago, when I told him how damn tired I am all the time, I might not have ever had my depression-related fatigue get this bad. I want to be angry about it, but I’m just too tired to get angry.
    I know you’re not a medical doctor, and I’m not asking for medical advice…I’m just wondering if you have any insight on how to talk to these people so that they’ll listen to you. I never go into the doctor’s office talking about serotonin upregulation, or bdnf, or tryptophan and the blood-brain barrier, because I’m not going to the doctor to show off or act like I know more about medicine than they do. I know that they are the doctor and I am the patient. It’s my job to describe my symptoms and their job to treat. It’s just so, so, so frustrating to feel like no one takes my illness seriously. I shouldn’t have to get to the point where I get dermatitis because I’m too damn tired to take a shower in order to get my medication altered.
    Do you – or any of your readers – have any advice for me? Should I try letting them know that I’ve actually read a lot of the primary literature on depression and brain function? Will that make them take me more seriously – or less seriously? What should I do?

  2. Hi Jilian: Thanks so much for coming here and telling your story. I’m so sorry for all that’s happened, and I’m glad that you’re doing so much work to find out about your depression.
    Unfortunately, I’m not a doctor, and I’m not a counselor, I’m not even a psychologist. So I don’t feel comfortable telling you what to do. But if you DO have a counselor (that is not your psychiatrist, obviously), or see a psychologist of any kind, you might consider asking them how best to handle the situation. They may not have been in a similar situation themselves, but because they specialize in dealing with people and personal interactions, they might be able to recommend some ways to talk to your doctor that might make them listen a little better. I don’t know what other readers might say, but this might be a good step toward trying to get yourself listened to. I hope that things get better for you soon, and I and my co-bloggers wish you the best of luck!

  3. That’s a pretty gel you got there, there’s no way I can get clean bands like that!

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