Monday, August 5, 2013
Today was a day quite like the day I received my diagnosis in late June. In both instances the day ended in a way quite different from how I was expecting it to unfold. Today I was cast back into job searching in the short term. Today I also received my much anticipated steroid injection to improve the function and comfort of my low back. The second experience was relatively painless and gave me some sense of continued improvement in the long term. The first experience had the opposite effect. I felt suddenly overwhelmed, cried and eventually went to the Emergency Room at Abbott Northwestern Hospital. Now I am sitting her a bit later and enjoying the wonderfully calming effect of an Atavan.
Yes indeed, the August rocky road continues as I reopen past wounds left and right. Here is one aspect of that reopening that promises to be something of an interesting journey. Some might call me a masochist for what I am about to disclose. Others might feel I am needlessly obsessed with the past. But such labeling does not bother me. Labels will not deter me from asking the following question:
How did two psychologists and two psychiatrists miss my dormant PTSD over the course of some sixteen years. It just doesn't seem possible that it could have been missed several times.
Using my capacity for detective artistry I began the initial process of answering that question. I tracked down a man whom I believe was the psychologist who screened me for entry into the Jesuit order of the Roman Catholic Church in 1996. It baffles me that a man of his training would not have conducted a screening that can tease out something like PTSD as a standard part of an assessment for someone contemplating the very serious choice of entering the religious life. Because that assessment was done so many years ago I cannot for the life of me recall any of the questions I was asked. What does stand out in my recollection, however, is that I do not remember being asked anything that would seem to indicate a special screening for PTSD was done. Another related question to ask in the instance of each of the medical care professionals I saw over the years would be the following: What was the broader standard of care practiced in that state at the time. Was PTSD screening simply not considered a high priority?
The next two mental health care professionals I visited with were both trained psychiatrists. Even they both seem to have missed it. This especially perplexes me as the first of the two psychiatrists I saw seemed very skilled and capable. In the coming weeks I hope to piece together this aspect of my medical history by speaking to these individuals by phone. For my own peace of mind and determination to leave all these issues behind I very much wish to have a better understanding of how this condition repeatedly escaped notice.
I am doing my best to maintain a positive attitude in the face of continued challenges. I spent a lot of energy today also re-exploring the very deep wound of nearly losing my father to attempted murder. I'm researching this old case and considering what my options might be now in regards to the element of corruption that infuses this unfortunate incident. It is vital that I pace myself.
And meanwhile I also continue to go to my therapist, to physical therapy, to my acupuncturist and so on. I have an amazingly varied team of professionals I have sought out to help me. It seems I need the continued grace to let go and move forward in a new direction.
The tears came quickly when I was first being triaged at Abbott Northwestern ER. I thus know that my emergency broadcast system is indeed in good working order.
Tomorrow I hope to awaken to the positive impact of the steroid injection beginning to take hold. Relief from minor but persistent back pain would be wonderful. It would make it easier to manage that which continues to weigh on me now.