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Rated: ASR · Short Story · Other · #1905043
Phoenix has a good experience with his latest antipsychotic...
Paliperidone.  Brand name?  Invega.  That was the name of the antipsychotic that Phoenix's psychiatrist put him on before going on vacation for the Thanksgiving holiday, hoping that it would straighten Phoenix out.  That was also a week and a half ago - a lifetime when your thoughts are on the psychotic side of things.  Phoenix's psychiatrist had arranged for him to see another psychiatrist while he was gone.  That particular doctor had taken the time over his lunch hour to see Phoenix the day after he had seen his regular psychiatrist because Phoenix was in such rough shape.  That day, the nurse kept an eye on Phoenix in her office all morning until the other doctor could see him because the other doctor was worried that Phoenix would do something irrational or harmful to himself.  That had meant a lot to Phoenix.  That doctor certainly did not have to spend any of his own time fitting Phoenix in just because Phoenix happened to be having a crisis at the time.  But he did.  On a Friday.  The next time Phoenix saw him was the day before Thanksgiving.  By that time, the Invega had begun working, and working quite well.  Phoenix had his head on straight again (as straight as it could be, at least) and was capable of having organized thoughts and analyzing them well in advance of taking actions based on them.  The doctor tested his sense of humor a bit and found it to be intact.  He also found his reasoning to be more intact than it had been the week before.  When Phoenix thanked the doctor for seeing him over his lunch hour, he replied, "Well, the nurse looked like she had it under control, but I figured if I could come back and help, I might be able to sleep better over the weekend."  The doctor had been worried about Phoenix.  This was a realization that somewhat surprised Phoenix.  He was not one to think that he was worthy of being cared for or worried about much.  Phoenix told the doctor how much the Invega was helping.  The doctor said, "Well, when you get really bad, you think the rest of the world is crazy, but you have to remember that the one constant participant in all of it is...you."  Phoenix replied that he might have to get a few things tattooed on his arm, that being one of them, right where he could see it with easy access.  They both laughed over that, but there was a note of seriousness to it.  The doctor had the nurse get Phoenix another week's worth of Invega to hold him until the VA got his prescription to him.  Who knew when that would be.  Phoenix left the office with his medication and thought about his appointment with his regular doctor the coming week.

Phoenix had a lot to think about, now that he could organize his thoughts somewhat again.  He wanted to make his doctor a Thanksgiving card.  He also wanted to write his doctor a note of apology for his behavior when he had been off his antipsychotic.  Phoenix had been a stubborn pain in the butt - a jerk.  He was uncooperative and irritable.  He was defiant, and was both refusing the hospital and the new medication.  His doctor had gotten him two weeks' worth of Invega and set it on his desk in front of Phoenix.  Phoenix picked up one of the bottles, looked it over, and set it back down on his desk, pushing it toward him slightly.  "Now, you do have to do what I say, Phoenix, or we are going to have chaos here."  Phoenix reluctantly took the bottles of medication off of his desk.  Phoenix was angry at his doctor and not entirely sure why.  Part of the reason, though, was because he had not been able to get in contact with him and his doctor had not contacted him that entire week despite Phoenix and several others warning him that Phoenix was in trouble.  Phoenix was not thinking clearly enough to interpret that properly.  Phoenix was now realizing that his doctor had had his own rough week and had been extremely busy.  Phoenix had forgiven his doctor, but he wanted to make sure everything was okay between them.  The last thing he wanted was to lose the best doctor he could ever have.  He did not believe that his doctor had taken it personally, but he still felt bad about the way he had acted.  He did not like the idea that he had behaved like a jerk to the man he respected most in the world, a man that had been a father, a mentor, and a friend to him for almost nine years.  Phoenix had come to a point, though, where he believed everything would be okay between them.  He had another ECT treatment the next week and an appointment with his doctor the day after.  He was looking forward to both.

The Invega was really helping Phoenix out a lot.  He woke up feeling like he wanted to live instead of wanting to go to the gun store and buy a gun to shoot himself with.  He laughed and saw that life was not a tragedy.  He was able to see that his life was important and that he could still be a psychiatrist.  His life was not over.  The Invega made possible things that had not been possible for Phoenix in quite some time, especially in the way of feeling and experiencing life.  He was thankful to God for the Invega and the VA and his doctor and his spouse...Phoenix was able to see that he was able to be forgiven by God.  That was something that he had given up on years ago.  Now he just had to work on forgiving himself.
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