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Showing posts from September, 2010

Hypomania -- A Day In The Life Of Bipolar II

Everybody knows about bipolar I.  Or they think they do -- the crazy shopping sprees, the missions to save the world.  So when I tell them I have bipolar II, I always hurry to explain, not that kind of bipolar.

So what is bipolar II, they ask.

Okay, it's like this.

Bipolar II Goes To A Party

President Sally Mason of the University of Iowa invited my wife, a University employee, to her house for a reception.  Spouses were invited, too.  Helen likes to show me off, because I am good at parties, can talk with anybody, good social skills.  And I am cute.

So I checked my mood chart.  It was time, past time for the suicidal stage to check out and the better part of the cycle to makes its return.  The better part usually means mild depression, with a few flights into actually feeling good.  The signs were favorable.

I got cuted up and skipped the afternoon dose of valium, anticipating there would be wine.  All my meds make me dizzy, and I wanted to remain on my feet.  Like I said, good s…

Weighing the Costs and Benefits Part III -- How to Measure Costs

The doctor said, You have to weigh your costs and benefits.  Today we continue to figure out how to do that, based on more than gut feeling and desperation.  We are building an algorithm, logical rules applied to objective data to solve a specific problem -- in this case, do you want to put these chemicals inside your body?

On August 19 I listed the factors to consideration, benefits, costs, and other issues that affect how these are calculated.  On September 2 I listed the immediate benefits of medication, and gave you a Down and Dirty way to calculate them.  I call it Down and Dirty, because it leaves out long term benefits.  Your psychiatrist will consider this a serious omission.  But we have to start somewhere.  And desperate people have to start with a time frame they can imagine surviving.  Think about the long term benefits once you feel better, and are thinking about quitting.

Today we turn to down and dirty costs.  This is more difficult to calculate, because the research o…

The Chemistry Experiment: Muppets Version

When your doctor, pen poised over prescription pad, tells you to weigh your costs and benefits, you will have next to no information with which to do so.  Over the last several and coming weeks, we are constructing an algorithm to help you comply with your doctor's instruction to make this calculation.  But remember, the best this algorithm can do is give you the odds.

After you calculate your odds, you may decide to proceed with this chemistry experiment and put the chemicals at issue inside your body, your own personal test tube.   At that point, you no longer have odds.  You have results.  Your doctor may not expect this, but once you have results, you will weigh your costs and benefits again.  You will make a new decision, this time with new information.

This is a good thing.  This is what people who conduct experiments do.  They use the information they have gained from one experiment to move on to the next.

This week's post is brought to you from the laboratory of Dr. Bu…

OMGThat'sWhatTheySaid -- Noncompliance

Before I move to the costs side of Weighing the Costs and Benefits, I pause to consider the concept of noncompliance.

Noncompliance is not one of the best candidates for the OMG! Award, because I cannot point to specific usage -- it is ubiquitous.  On the other hand, it is precisely what this award is about, going to the heart of how language frames thought.  In this case, the word simultaneously names and creates a relationship between consumer and provider.

I don't particularly care for the terms consumer and provider when it comes to health care.  But I use them here, where they distinguish those who consume, literally put pills inside our mouths, from those who fill out those little slips of paper that provide the pills.  Providers replaces pushers, a term I used in a fit of pique last week.  This week, I have resolved to be more polite.

Consumers are told to weigh our costs and benefits.  When we comply with these instructions and, having done so, decide that the costs exceed t…

Weighing Costs and Benefits Part II: Benefits

Today the Free Range Lab Rat, yours truly, continues my extended series on the Chemistry Experiment, that effort to find the chemicals that will make a dent in the suffering of those with mood disorders.

I asked, Will it work for me?

And the doctor answered, We won't know until you try it.

THAT is the Chemistry Experiment.

So three weeks ago I published my

Manifesto

If I am a lab rat, I will be a free-range lab rat.

Because I am a free-range rat, I decide which experiments I am willing to try.

Of course I do.  The doctor expects me to decide.  Why else did she say,

You have to weigh the costs and benefits.

Only -- there is no scale.  Which led me, two weeks ago to continue my manifesto.



I now insist that I contribute more to this enterprise than my body.

So I have decided to create the scale.  I call it an AlgorithmAlgorithm is science-speak for a set of logical rules applied to objective data to solve a problem.  The problem to be solved is

Do I Want To Put These Chemicals Inside My Body…