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I Got FIRED By My Doctor and What I Learned

When one door closes, another one opens. 

We have all heard that old saying, but let me tell you up front that I believe it.  No matter what our feelings are in the moment, and no matter how trying the circumstances are – perhaps with a loss or another type of challenge, I have seen enough evidence of doors opening in my life that I can no longer doubt what some may feel to be a cliché. 

I have experienced this many times over, and I want to tell you all about my most recent example… 

THE INCIDENT 

I got fired by my doctor!  

Here’s the deal: The doctor that I had been seeing for four years decided to move to Florida. That was tough for me, because my doctor and my therapist were instrumental in me becoming the man I am today. My book BOOM! details my transformation following a very tough time with diabetes, spinal cord fusion, major depression and losing my voice. 

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Who I am and everything I have been through also prompted my latest book, Teen Suicide: The WHY Behind America’s Suicide Epidemic. My passion is mental health, teens, mental well-being – so you can kind of understand where I am coming from. 

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About three months ago, I went to see this new doctor. I started with the physician’s assistant and then had to meet with the prescribing physician because one of the medications I take is a Schedule II drug – Vyvanse. With that medication, I need to check in with the doctor every three months. I am also prescribed Lexapro. 

At this visit, I mentioned that I had very bad sciatic pain since last January. I got hurt during an epic four-day golfing trip, but it was worth it. I kicked my best friend’s ass all over the golf course. [Sorry, Dennis, but I did.] 

However, this past year I have not been able to golf – and I love golfing. This sciatic pain is absolutely incredible. All of this is in my medical records. I’ve got MRIs and a CAT scan. It’s all there. 

I’m talking to the prescribing doctor about my sciatic pain, and my wife Janet was with me.  

He asked me if I wanted a referral, and I declined, telling him that I was doing chiropractic care, yoga and stretching. I wanted to see if I could do this on my own, but he told me to call him if I changed my mind.  

About a week later I was in yoga, and I was in so much pain that I had tears in my eyes.  I left a message for my nurse practitioner about that referral after all. This was in mid-December.  

Last week, I was in so much pain during yoga again that I decided to go to the doctor’s office. I never did get that returned call. I can understand waiting because this was in the middle of the holidays – but three weeks later and no call? No.  

When I got to the office, I mentioned the message I left and was told by the receptionist that it was still in the nurse practitioner’s box and that there was nothing she could do. I told her that it was urgent because I was practically immobilized. Could I leave another message? 

“I’m sorry,” she said again. “It’s still in her box and there is nothing I can do.” 

I’m like, “I pay $1500 a month for medical insurance. Am I asking too much to get a phone call returned?” 

“I’m sorry,” she said.  

I walked out. I was livid! 

30 minutes later I got a phone call from the receptionist. Mind you, I couldn’t get a call returned for more than three weeks. She told me she spoke to the nurse practitioner and to the doctor, and the doctor said he had no recollection of ever talking to me about the sciatic pain. 

What? My wife was with me – and the two times I had seen the doctor, he never wrote anything down. He just holds the prescription pad while he talks to me. The receptionist told me that the nurse practitioner she had never spoken to me about my sciatic pain either. And here’s the kicker… 

“We think you need to find another provider because we can’t help you.” 

Did I mention that I have bipolar II disorder? If you have been following me, you probably know that. 

I was beside myself, trying to concentrate on my breathing. I called Janet immediately and told her I was about to lose my mind and needed her help. 

THE LESSON 

Now you have the story. But this is the important part: You can’t change people, places and things.  

You can get angry, but what does that really solve?  

But this was a big deal to me, and when you suffer from mental illness or you are a young person living in the here-and-now – you have to understand that that the little things we think they are going through are big things to them. You have to respect that.  

The point is that when one door closes, another one opens.  When you are in the middle of a situation like this and you are about to lose your mind, it’s important to stop and breathe. Don’t make decisions based on emotion.  

I reached out to Janet. My wife is my trusted, significant person. You have trusted people in your life that you can turn in times like this – and it’s OK to reach out to them. 

Action is also excellent medicine.  

As soon I got home, I  called my medical insurance company and asked me if I needed a referral for a pain specialist. They said no, so I got on my computer and contacted a pain specialist right away. 

BOOM! I got a phone call and had an appointment four days later.  

The point I want to make to you is simply this: One door closes. Breathe. Another door is going to open – but you have to be willing to do the work. 

Here’s what I did: 

Number one: I knew wasn’t thinking clearly. I was mad. I called Janet. Janet helped calm me down. 

Number two: I got home. I took action. I didn’t wallow in self-pity. I didn’t, “Woe is me, my life sucks.”

I took action. I got things done. 

I want to leave you with this: 

Today during yoga, we started out a simple yet complex question: “What are your intentions?” 

Today’s intention reading was about love, and it was pretty amazing.

And I want to share with you one of the things I remember: Every day I am going to choose love. And if I find myself in a moment where I am angry or bitter – or I have been done wrong and I see my emotions turning negative – I’m not going to wallow in the negativity and regret how I am feeling. I am going to learn from it. I am going to choose love, and I am going to act on love every day until love becomes a part of me. 

Wow.  

Welcome to 2019. This is my first podcast of the year – and you can find them all at Mental Health and Motivation – The Unlikely Life Coach.