Your first appointment with a Psychiatrist, are you prepared?

Reflecting on my first appointment, I was clearly unprepared and this article would have come in handy.  Bringing someone would have helped immensely, and when the pdoc asked if there were any questions, it would have prevented me from sitting there looking stunned. 

This article was written by: Natasha Tracy on Healthyplace.com

Recently, someone wrote me and asked how to best handle a first psychiatric appointment. This is a good question because, essentially, people are walking into the vast unknown. If you’ve never seen a psychiatrist before, how could you possibly know what to expect? And, the kicker of that is, the doctor will be asking you why you’re there. So you’re supposed to know what to say when he says that. So how do you handle your first psychiatric appointment?

Write Down What Concerns You Before Your Psychiatric Appointment

Many people get in front of a psychiatrist a freeze, completely forgetting all the issues that brought them there in the first place. This is extremely common. So, before you head off for your first psychiatric appointment write down all your concerns. Everything that has been odd and everything that you think might be odd should go down on the list, with examples.

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Did you know that Friendship can ruin Therapy?

The therapist I worked with for seven years was amazing, we dealt with some extremely emotional issues including PTSD sexual abuse and maternal narcissism.  She validated my feelings and showed the kind of empathy that I’d never received as a child, therefore, I often craved her as a friend while in therapy.  I soon understood boundaries, and realized it just wouldn’t work; therapy isn’t friendship

A friend told me of an occurrence where friendship ruined the relationship with her and her therapist.  She had been meeting “X” every 3 weeks for roughly 2 years, drudging through many agonizing, uncomfortable, personal issues and trusted “X” entirely with what she disclosed, more than with any other therapist.

When she was pregnant with her second child, also experiencing difficulties with her spouse, “X” was there to convey her thoughts to.  By the time the baby was to arrive, they worked through marital issues, which alleviated the situation at home and for her.

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Am I being punished for having Depression?

Rummaging through my unorganized closet, I came across an article I wrote during my years in the hospital fighting depression. A roommate during my stay, whom I became close friends with, recalled her descent into hellish depression, as well as her suicide attempt. She gave me permission to write this article (excluding her name).

Dreaming. In tranquil waters. I’m sitting in my dinghy cross-legged, floating. The sea and sky are black.

I awaken. Black. Black is black. The room is black, but it must be morning. I’m all mixed up. I thought I heard the food trays arrive. I sneak a quick look out my room, and yes it is morning, but the halls also look black. All I sense is dread. Am I in a dream world? I shuffle back to bed.

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I was incarcerated because I panicked

This was my first time “behind bars” taken via a police car and booked tonight just because I panicked. One feels this is jail, tossed into a cold cell awaiting the guard to slam shut the heavy metal door. Lying there frozen, shivering, alone peering down to shackled ankles. Why do I deserve this? Jailed because I have a mental illness?

Bolted down. Incarcerated.

Eyes open slowly and encircle a dingy room. Everything is bolted; windows, a desk, chairs, and including this bed. The windows have bars attached, walls are an ugly light pink and the curtain dividing my neighbor’s bed looks hideous also, but what was I expecting; a hotel room?

Is it daybreak? A rap on the door startles me, followed by a female voice stating, “breakfast and meds”.

I prefer not recalling what happened last evening, dialing the Distress Center, talking for what felt like hours with a counselor who had a monotone voice about my obsessive suicidal feelings. Thoughts danced in my head for days, dreaming of ways to carry out my demise. Then, at some stage in this conversation, I became irritated and slammed down the phone, prompting an unexpected visit from the police. Next a knock at my door where I was unconvincing as to my state of mind, and there a decision was made, I was to be transported somewhere?

Neighbors, who don’t as a rule, walk their dogs, now saunter by the police car, peering in, along with others peeking through window blinds and curtains. The back seat of this cruiser is larger than expected, however, I am seated with my mind in a muddle, confused, uncertain of the future yet despising the present.

Both police officers chat quietly in police jargon; I assume they are awaiting word of which hospital to take me, then suddenly I’m on my way. The drive is a speedy drive, yet for me, a lengthy one. A time to reflect… a time to sob…. a time to sit in wonderment. In the back of a cruiser – how can this be? Punishment? I’ve never committed a crime in my life. Will I go before a judge; am I to be sentenced and charged for suicidal ‘thinking’ and (to some) selfishly wishing to end my life?

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Is your psychiatrist helping you, or is it time for a trade-in?

Wow, I have had my share of psychiatrists throughout my mental illness journey, both as an inpatient and outpatient, beginning in 1994. I won’t list them all, simply the ones who stood out.  

#1-Dr. C. I’m convinced this man was 80, coughed his brains out with every visit, and actually asking “are you sure this is depression you have”? Hmmm…..He left me feeling desperate, confused and asking myself if I did have depression. I know I did, others doctors confirmed the diagnosis.  He was the only doctor available at the time so I was ‘stuck’ with him for a couple of years.

#2-Dr. D. He was the lead psychiatrist who was responsible for my care during the severest years of major depression and hospitalizations. Opting for quick visits while an inpatient, his attention appeared to be given to more youthful patients. Dr. D. was forever ready with a script pad for a refill or new medications and believed in the power of useless ECT’s. Continue reading

Bipolar Disorder ~ Were you perhaps Misdiagnosed?

 

Bipolar Disorder Often Misdiagnosed as Major Depression

Researchers Pinpoint 5 Factors That Can Help Improve Diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder

I’ve been hunting for an article just like this, perhaps info for my dilemma ‘Major Depression diagnosed as Bipolar Disorder’.

 I was diagnosed as BP II in 1997, at which time psychiatrists prescribed mood stabilizers, followed by antidepressants and a myriad of medications throughout the years. 

A number of these medications are still prescribed, so I’m puzzled by this diagnosis, considering primarily fighting off major depression for years.  Episodes of “mood swings”, “rapid cycling” or “mania”, just aren’t there.  I’m demanding a reevaluation; perhaps confirming meds that may not even be necessary.

About one in three people diagnosed with major depression may actually have bipolar disorder, researchers report.

Five characteristics, including extreme mood swings and psychiatric symptoms at a young age, may help pinpoint which patients actually have bipolar disorder, they say.

Bipolar disorder covers a spectrum of disorders in which patients may be sad and down one day and feeling on top of the world, hyperactive, creative, and grandiose the next.

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Explain Hoarding Disorder & Symptoms

The main feature of hoarding disorder is a person’s irrational, persistent difficulty in discarding or parting with possessions — regardless of their actual value. This is a long-standing difficulty, not just something related to a one-time circumstance (such as having difficulty discarding property from something you inherited from a loved one).Discarding means that the person can’t seem to give away, throw away, recycle, or sell things they no longer need (or sometimes, even want).

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Depression: Am I here in this black hole forever? Huh?

I used to ask myself, almost every day throughout my depressive illness; is this it?  Does it get ever any better?  Am I stuck here in this black hole forever?

Sounds pessimistic, but my history of recurring hospital admissions and medications that were ineffective, coupled with suicide attempts and unrelenting depression, didn’t illustrate a positive picture.  At separate hospital admissions, I was frequently greeted by the same bed, same patients and same nurses who precisely dispensed my medications.  Many years ago, hospitalization was a sort of an incarcerated life; that of daily rituals, set meal times, social activities, lights out at 11:30 pm, and scheduled visits from visitors.   Finally, discharge, after serving my “time”, which meant adjusting to home life all over again.

With zilch changing; I’m asking “is this as good as life gets?”

It’s both upsetting and scary, no one should ever have to endure this type of life, and depression, for me, proved a dreadful existence.  After spending months in the hospital, I would continually sense that I was one footstep away from hospital waters every waking day.  Continuously, just a step away from hell; surviving only on the surface.

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Ten Tips For People Who Second-Guess Themselves

Oldest psychology joke in the book:

Two psychiatrists pass in the hall. The first says, “Hello.”
The other thinks, “I wonder what he meant by that.”

A variation:

Two people pass in the hall. One says hello and then thinks, “I wonder what I meant by that.”

 If you self-psychologize, you’re not alone. Still, you may have noticed that not everyone does. Here are some tips for us self-psychologizing second-guessers:

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Why I Created “Living in Stigma” and 9 Ways We Need To Stop Mental Illness Stigma

stigma_2

When I activated my first blog in 2005, it focused on humorous articles only.  During that time I was struggling with major depression, yet amazingly I was competent enough to write posts, and surprisingly these articles were a remarkable success.

I continued on and gathered many followers, all the time questioning whether to write about my mental illness, yet frankly, I was very embarrassed and uncomfortable to share my thoughts and life of hell with any of my blogging buddies, the blogging world, or should if anyone in my circle of “personal people” were ever to uncover my ‘secret’, I’d be devastated.

I eventually mentioned it to two trusted blogging friends my apprehension, and them replying, “why are you so embarrassed, it not your fault you were ill, write about it, who cares if people don’t like it, go by ‘anonymous’, not using your real name this time”.  And so I did, in 2007, I began this blog.  It’s been an enormous success from day one, with so much support from the blogging community and it was the stigma that held me back from starting this blog sooner.

I was living in stigma (shame) thus the name “Living in Stigma” –Deb

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Friendship Ruined Therapy

The therapist I have been working with for over five years has been amazing, we’ve dealt with some extremely emotional issues including PTSD sexual abuse and maternal narcissism.  She validated my feelings and showed the kind of empathy that I’d never received as a child, therefore, I’ve often craved her as a friend.  I soon understood boundaries, and realized it just wouldn’t work; therapy isn’t friendship

A friend told me of an occurrence where friendship ruined the relationship with her and her therapist.  She had been meeting X every 3 weeks for roughly 2 years, drudging through many agonizing, uncomfortable, personal issues and trusted X entirely with what she disclosed, more than with any other therapist.

When she was pregnant with her second child, also experiencing difficulties with her spouse, X was there to convey her thoughts to.  By the time the baby was to arrive, they worked through marital issues, which alleviated the situation at home and for her.

After the baby was born, she didn’t see X for several months, however, she did phone her to shout with joy that it was a baby girl, and X exclaimed “hooray!”  She was ‘on the fence’ about sending baby pictures, yet she did send a few via e-mail in the end and X asked to see more.

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Doc, should I be on this many psych meds?

image: The 104 Homestead

I have the luxury of a blister pack now which is filled by the pharmacist for all of my medications.  It also provides me with a record of all medication prescribed, when to take them, dosages, repeats etc., and as I gaze at the list I shudder questioning “ should I be on this myriad of medications, and for how many years now?”  According to my psychiatrist, I should.

Maybe it’s time to reexamine just what I’m taking, but need to ensure there would be no huge regrets.  Previously, at my appointments, it was considered, yet over the years I’ve struggled with some very dark times and meds required adjusting. I’m coping better now, so perhaps time to reassess the meds and also my psychiatric diagnosis from 1994.

An article on PsychologyToday.com talks about this subject, written by Eugene Rubin, M.D., Ph.D.

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I was a guest on a Radio Talk Show!

 

Yesterday, on “Hot off the Press” @Wordpress.com, they posted an article: “WordPressers Making a Splash

We read hundreds of blogs and websites every day, from up-and-coming voices and established pros alike. We love visiting those sites on WordPress.com, but it’s just as rewarding to see other platforms embrace the work of writers, journalists, and artists who regularly publish here, introducing it to new audiences.

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Your first appointment with a Psychiatrist, are you prepared?

Reflecting on my first appointment, I was clearly unprepared and this article would have come in handy.  Bringing someone would have helped immensely, and when the pdoc asked if there were any questions, it would have prevented me from sitting there looking stunned. 

This article was written by: Natasha Tracy on Healthyplace.com

Recently, someone wrote me and asked how to best handle a first psychiatric appointment. This is a good question because, essentially, people are walking into the vast unknown. If you’ve never seen a psychiatrist before, how could you possibly know what to expect? And, the kicker of that is, the doctor will be asking you why you’re there. So you’re supposed to know what to say when he says that. So how do you handle your first psychiatric appointment?

Write Down What Concerns You Before Your Psychiatric Appointment

Many people get in front of a psychiatrist a freeze, completely forgetting all the issues that brought them there in the first place. This is extremely common. So, before you head off for your first psychiatric appointment write down all your concerns. Everything that has been odd and everything that you think might be odd should go down on the list, with examples.

Continue reading

Has a Therapist ever broken your Trust?I

This article was written by: Nicole Lyons on a PsychCentral.com blog:

A few years ago I was referred to a highly reputable and respected psychologist who, in the midst of writing academic books and journals, also crossed the border on occasion to speak at very prestigious universities. From our first session we got on very well and both acknowledged that our therapist/client relationship would be an effective and suitable one. During our second session he asked me if there was any direction that he shouldn’t take our sessions and I touched on one particular area that I was not comfortable talking about at that time.

Over the course of six months things were great and moving along very well, until they weren’t anymore. My ethical and competent therapist, this highly regarded professional crossed a boundary in such an improper and alarming way that not only was our client/therapist relationship breached, all trust that I had in him was lost instead replaced by fear and suspicion of ever continuing therapy again.

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The Dark Path to Antisocial Personality Disorder

An article in (ScienceDaily.com) reporting on personality disorders, stated, with no lab tests to guide the clinician, psychiatric diagnostics is challenging and controversial.  Antisocial personality disorder is defined as “a pervasive pattern of disregard for, and violation of, the rights of others that begins in childhood or early adolescence and continues into adulthood,” according to the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) of the American Psychiatric Association.

DSM-IV provides formal diagnostic criteria for every psychiatric disorder.  This process may be guided by rating scales that measure the traits and features associated with a personality disorder.  But, until now, no one has studied the dimensional structure associated with the DSM antisocial personality disorder criteria.

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WHY…..and mental illness

 WHYAnd Mental Illness

        *       Why will we always have to accept that mental illness stigma will exist in our society, and we must continue to remain tight-lipped about this illness.  The outside world cannot fathom to the degree of the stamina, strength and what we have sacrificed in our lives.  Yet, we must live under a veil of secrecy for fear of reprisal in society and especially in the real working world.  Somewhat of a prejudice, for if another major illness was presented, there would be no problem.

 *       Why are we perceived as having a character flaw; what does that have to do with the illness?

 *       Why do people with mental illness, namely bipolar disorder, stop taking their medications when they begin to feel better?  It’s comparable to someone with heart disease, and whose blood pressure is finally under control.  Would he/she then stop taking the heart meds?  This doesn’t make sense.

 *       Why do some psychiatrists think they know everything, yet prove otherwise when we continue to remain unwell for years and years?

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Lithium: Still best med for preventing bipolar relapse

I was on Lithium for about 10 years, and I do have to admit that it stabilized my moods for the most part.  Strangely though, when I changed psychiatrists, he did some tests and explained my lithium level was at a “toxic level”, and suggested I lower this medication, then slowly started to wean me off.  I am completely off Lithium now, didn’t seem to affect me at all, but I still remain on another mood stabilizer.  (I don’t miss the dry mouth and heat/sun problems that are side effects of Lithium).

This article on (MedScape.com) VIENNA — Naturalistic studies may reveal outcomes that randomized clinical trials miss. After hospital discharge, a 4-year, naturalistic follow-up of patients with bipolar disorder (BP) shows that even with prophylactic medication, relapse rates are high and are correlated with alcohol use, psychiatric comorbidities, life events, and the type of maintenance medication used.

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Difference between: “psychopath” and “sociopath”

You may have heard people call someone else a “psychopath” or a “sociopath.” But what do those words really mean?

You won’t find the definitions in mental health’s official handbook, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.  Doctors don’t officially diagnose people as psychopaths or sociopaths.  They use a different term instead: antisocial personality disorder.

Most experts believe psychopaths and sociopaths share a similar set of traits. People like this have a poor inner sense of right and wrong. They also can’t seem to understand or share another person’s feelings. But there are some differences, too.

DO THEY HAVE A CONSCIENCE?

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The Whopping Financial Burden of Mental Illness

This article appeared on (PsychCentral.com) written by  , where she writes about the escalating financial costs of treatment for her mental illness.

——————

It has been just a year since I returned to see my psychiatrist for treatment. I was depressed and needed help. As an out-of-network provider, each month I submit her bill and complete the claim form for my insurance company and then I receive a percentage back. The reimbursement averages about 60 percent per month. The rest is my responsibility, or should I say, my family’s responsibility.

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Just hearing those words “You’re Fired”

When you first hear those two words, you automatically think of losing your job.  I thought I would take it one step further and reflect on some of the times I’ve actually been ‘fired’ in other situations.

I will begin with my career position.  The ‘firing’ took place in 1994 during my first year in what would be a slippery slide into the world of deep major depression.  I was employed with this company for five years as an accounting supervisor, however, frequent hospitalizations, months off at home recuperating and the return to work following, just did not pan out.  In the end, I was essentially ‘fired’.

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Depression: Hopelessness, Helplessness

I wrote and produced this video in 2009 for part of my psychiatrist’s presentation to students and colleagues.  Today, I actually sat down and figured out how to upload (light bulb went on) this video onto YouTube!

The title “Depression:  Hopelessness and helplessness” describes depression.

Veterans & Suicide: This Bill Could Help

The legacy of Clay Hunt: Marine recalled in new suicide legislation           Image: Pinterest.com via Washington Post

22 veterans commit suicide each day  

I found this article on (Time.com/Mental Health & Psychology) dated Feb 6/2015 ~ announcing that earlier this month, four years after Clay Hunt’s suicide, the United States Senate unanimously passed the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act.

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Hoarding Disorder & Symptoms

The main feature of hoarding disorder is a person’s irrational, persistent difficulty in discarding or parting with possessions — regardless of their actual value. This is a long-standing difficulty, not just something related to a one-time circumstance (such as having difficulty discarding property from something you inherited from a loved one).Discarding means that the person can’t seem to give away, throw away, recycle, or sell things they no longer need (or sometimes, even want).

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MY BLACK DEPRESSION

 

BLACK DEPRESSION

Hollowness, loneliness

Black hole

No light at the top

Drowning

No one saving me

Why?

No future

Just black dreams

Despair

Feels like a prison cell

Handcuffed

Black fog

Feeling the fog between my fingertips

Nothingness

Empty

No treatments working?

No doctors helping?

Why?

What kind of life is this

Black death sentence

 

Have you ever felt handcuffed to your house?

Yes, it felt as if I was handcuffed to my house.

Sounds dramatic, doesn’t it?  But for countless years, and at times even today, depression = dark fog and black clouds.  Recalling my most difficult years of major depression, that’s the way things were.

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Anorexia: not a body type

Recollecting this time last year when I was diagnosed as anorexic; I definitlely didn’t look anorexic.  However, at the Eating Disorder Program,  the pdoc said “you don’t have to look anorexic, to be diagnosed as anorexic”.  She went on to explain, “Some people are very depressed, but you wouldn’t know it, because they don’t “look” depressed”.

Bipolar Disorder: New MRI imaging, new perspective

Using a different type of MRI imaging, researchers have discovered previously unrecognized differences in the brains of patients with bipolar disorder. In particular, the study revealed differences in the white matter of patients’ brains and in the cerebellum, an area of the brain not previously linked with the disorder.

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Benzodiazepine: Despite risks, use highest in older people

 

I’ve been on this medication before but not for long-term use (thank goodness).  My current psychiatrist, will at any cost avoid benzos, for me at least, and look for an alternative.  Phew!

Prescription use of benzodiazepines–a widely used class of sedative and anti-anxiety medications–increases steadily with age, despite the known risks for older people, according to a comprehensive analysis of benzodiazepine prescribing in the United States. Given existing guidelines cautioning health providers about benzodiazepine use among older adults, findings from the National Institutes of Health-funded study raise questions about why so many prescriptions–many for long-term use–are being written for this age group.

This December 17, 2014 article explains more on ScienceDaily.com

 

Is growth in ADHD ’caused by marketing’?

I thought this was an interesting article on ADHD, however, I’m curious to see how parents and others who are caring for ADHD children feel about what these “experts” say.

“The global surge in ADHD [attention deficit hyperactivity disorder] diagnosis has more to do with marketing than medicine, according to experts,” the Mail Online reports.

But these experts are sociologists, not clinicians, and they present no new peer-reviewed clinical evidence.

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Depression: my words

 

 

“Depression, best known of all the mental illnesses, is difficult to endure and treat.   It renders one feeling hopeless and helpless.  Experiencing a sort of wintry solitude, one is completely immobilized with any light of optimism dimming.   It creates emotional and financial fallout, coupled with a horrible emptiness and black death-like existence.  Life tastes sour”. –  Depression: The Lonely Dance ~ written by Deb

 

3 WOMEN……And Mental Illness

3-tall-women

I had conversations with these three courageous women, while an in-patient on the psychiatric floor of a medical hospital a couple of years ago.  Mentioning my blog and my articles, they agreed for an informal interview as long as I didn’t use their real names.  I was able to converse with each woman separately where they shared their stories.

Note:  I was discharged earlier than any of these women, however, I revisited three weeks later to chat. 

~~~

Clara – Age (46)

Clara’s eyes well up as she recounts her story of anguish and to her, humiliation.  Both wrists are bandaged from a botched suicide attempt, and she stares downward at the floor as she speaks to me.  She has been in the hospital for over three weeks.

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THE GALLBLADDER FROM HELL

In November 2012, I had slimmed myself down to 185 pounds. I hadn’t been that low since my 20’s. Mental illness, namely depression that I have dealt with for decades, now reared its ugly head and caused difficulties with my personal and work life.  I had years where I was hospitalized on and off, and now found myself repeating this with an admission to hospital on the psychiatric wing in March of 2012.

I lost some weight prior to the hospitalization, and then quite a bit throughout the 3 ½ week stay, and managed to keep it off; remaining at 185, but then disaster struck…

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YES, the extra-large SAUSAGE/HAM/GREEN PEPPER/ONION/BLACK OLIVE/EXTRA CHEESE pizza started the ball rolling into gallbladder hell…

My whole gallbladder story is a nightmare.  I had my first attack on Nov 19, 2012 (didn’t know it was my gallbladder, in fact didn’t know where the gallbladder was in my body, but soon found out).  That pain was the worst pain I have ever experienced, a rush to the emergency, and they were going to perform emergency surgery, however, after extensive tests (CT scans, ultrasound, x-rays), decided to wait until things settled down and sent me home.  Two days later, another attack.  Identical story, further tests, blah, blah, blah…but this time they admitted me where I was on  a heavy course of IV antibiotics for a week, and then sent home.  All was settled in the pain department.  I was warned:  No fried food and no rich desserts.

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