Warminster Hospital? Where dat? It's now owned by Abington Memorial Hospital and is no longer used as a hospital. They do, however, have rooms there for hospice.
I took a trial run yesterday at 11 am, going down the hallway to the Main Conference Room. Lo and behold there was a sign up: Diabetes Support Group. And Lynn Sinclair, who was one of my diabetes educators was leading a group of about 15 people.
She invited me to join and I stayed until the end. Very helpful! It's once a month and I shall return. I also learned that some insurance companies, which we know are among the richest corporations in America, always looking toward the bottom line, will not cover all forms of insulin.
For example, the popular, easy-to-use Novolog pen, which I use, is not covered by many insurances. Another outrageous example of the ineffective, mixed-up American healthcare system.
I told the Diabetes Group that riding my stationary bike quickly lowers my blood sugar.
Thother day, I was in the mood for a treat so when I passed Stutz Candy, across the street from the apartments where we used to live, I stopped in.
Imagine my surprise to find Sugar-free chocolate candies.
I tasted one, closed my eyes and concentrated, and it was - in a word - scrumptious.
I ordered five more. My fave is almond bark.
Ya know what? My camera won't download the photos I took last nite so after 4 pm, I'm running over to my camera man so he can help me. Thank you so much, Matt!
After I had eaten two pieces of sugar-free Stutz candy, I came home and took my blood sugar. It was 209 - quite high! Normal is 80 to 120. I went on my bike and lowered it, but only by 20 points.
I was puzzled until I just read what the Internet had to say about the two sweeteners used by Stutz.
Sorbitol is okay.
But maltitol syrup is definitely not. About.com pronounces it as more trouble than it's worth.
Next time I pass Stutz, I'll just pretend I'm eating almond bark, mint bark, chocolate truffles, peppermint patties and peanut butter patties.
Helen Kirschner who runs our Daytime Meetings at the Giant and I drove to Warminster Hospital. We got there 5 minutes before showtime.
There were no seats left.
Finally we found two contiguous ones in the back row.
I ran into a couple of people I knew whom you'll meet in the photos.
Kathy Schramm, co-owner of Southampton Psychiatric Associates, had spoken at New Directions many yrs ago. Two people from our group see her.
Schramm devoted most of her talk to children and adolescents w/depression and bipolar disorder.
She is very mindful of using drugs on young brains and admits that long-term side effects are unknown. But these kids are suffering terribly in the present, so you've really got to do something to help them.
Always pair meds w/psychotherapy, she said, and involve the parents and family in the treatment. She is a firm believer is educating her patients and their families about the child's illness.
A child w/mild to moderate depression doesn't need drugs. Use frequent psychotherapy several times a week.
Moderate to severe, she uses FDA-approved drugs - of which there are only 2 - Prozac for 8yo to adolescents - and Lexapro for ages 13 to 18.
Zoloft is a fave of Schramm's.
She also uses Celexa.
These are all SSRI's. If two SSRI's fail, then she moves to Cymbalta, which is an SNRI.
If there's no response in 8-12 wks she tries something else.
She watches her kids very carefully for suicidal ideation, a rare but terrible phenomenon in kids taking these meds.
She also works with TEACHERS at the child's school, explaining the need to watch the child.
How many psychiatrists do this?
She spoke about "genetic loading" meaning that it runs in your family, as it did in Schramm's. Her dad had major depression.
This is often why people want to be psychiatrists or psychotherapists. They are familiar with the condition, find it fascinating, and want to help others.
Certainly true for me. I became a therapist at 45 and am still practicing 20 yrs later. Am trying to get up my nerve to contact one of my teachers.
If a child has one parent w/BP, chances of their getting it are 27 to 30 percent. Fortunately my two lil darlings only have the BP that means 'beautiful people.'
BIPOLAR. As we know, psychiatrists are revamping the DSM - Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Psychiatric Disorders. The new one shall be called DSM-V.
There are two camps for the diagnosis of BP in kids:
1 - Same criteria as adults
2 - A 'broader, cleaner' diagnosis - kids are always irritable, moods change on a dime w/no discernible reason for it, profound temper tantrums.
I remembered this when I visited my g'dtr Grace at lunchtime. Grace is a true wonder. Great disposition. Loves to laff and play with her toys.
Joe Biederman of Harvard is trying to correct the diagnosis. Seems like the previous DSM accounted for major errors in diagnosing thousands of kids as having BP when they did not. Read this report, which also condemns Biederman for not disclosing his close ties w/the makers of Risperdal.
Any kid with severe temper tantrums was diagnosed as having bipolar disorder.
The new diagnosis for children will not use the stigmatizing term "bipolar" but, if the kid suffers from depression, the name will be changed to "an emotional regulation disorder w/dysphoria." It will also state it's a chronic condition that may last a lifetime.
Naming disorders is constantly changing. We don't know as yet the final name.
Lithium works well on kids as numerous studies have shown.
Depakote, however, does not.
Approved for mania for adolescents are Abilify, Seroquel, Zyprexa and Risperdal. I was on Risperdal for my manias and liked it very much. No side effects for me.
Zyprexa, in particular, causes metabolic syndrome and weight gain.
Often, children and teens so identify with their illness that it's all they think about, don't see themselves as a whole person with other attributes than the mood disorder. "You never want that to happen," she said. "We work with their strengths."
Again, dyou know of any other shrinks who do dis?
She advocates that when bipolar kids go to college they stay close to home, until their illness is under control, and they take fewer classes than are recommended, so they won't have too much stress.
Kids drink in college. Yum! My first discovery was apricot brandy at Goddard College. She asks them to keep drinking to a minimum and knows how difficult it is.
One patient admitted she was depressed for a week after "just one beer."
Also suggests regular bedtimes, exercise and eating right.
These are all tenets of New Directions Support Group.
TRILEPTAL, she said, is a useless drug. It's a derivative of the mood-stabilizer, anti-epileptic Tegretol. I don't know anyone who's on it. Studies show it doesn't work. Shramm is constantly citing studies.
She had an interesting young man as a patient who, at 8 yrs old, presented w/Tourette's syndrome, OCD, and possibly bipolar. From my seat in the back row, I could barely hear her.
By age 19, he was off all meds!
She also had a man in his fifties or sixties who wanted to go off his lithium. Reluctantly, Kathy took him off and he, sadly, killed himself.
At this point, I raised my hand.
"Hi, Dr Schramm," I said. "I'm Ruth Deming of New Directions Support Group. I was diagnosed w/bipolar disorder one, went off lithium b/c it was ruining my kidneys," pointing to my lower right abdomen, "and my daughter gave me her kidney."
"When I went off the lithium at age 58," I continued, as I sat next to Helen, "I never had another mood swing again.
"However, my psychiatrist, Larry Schwartz, did not titrate me off the lithium - very important - and I was suicidal for eight months."
Okay, I'm off to the camera shop.
Matt Fuehrer, owner of Authorized Camera Repair in Willow Grove.
He gave me a new cord, which did the trick. Now I can show you:
Helen Kirschner, the woman who runs our daytime meetings at the Giant and also w/husband Larry hosts our bonfires in the spring and fall, came over for dinner prior to Kathy Schramm's talk.
She came over super-early. I was at Scott's taking a nap, but she let herself in and made herself at home. When I found her, she had made a cup of tea. Thankfully, it wasn't Bill the burglar who lives on the next street.
I made a delicious stirfry and served my fabulous nut concoction for dessert: peanuts, raw punkin seeds, sunflower seeds, golden raisins and chopped almonds all sprinkled with nutritional yeast.
After Schramm's talk, Helen and I talked with some friends.
LEFT TO RIGHT.
Betsey is a very active mental health advocate. Every time I see her she's doing something new.
Debbie Moritz in the long white coat is the wonderful head of National Alliance on Mental Illness - NAMI - Bucks County Chapter. She organized the program and plans another big program focusing on Resiliency: Families and Children.
Will is Betsey's husband. They live in Doylestown.
Rainey is their son, an English teacher and Special Ed teacher at Tamanend Middle School. Note to Rainey: I'm reading a wonderful book by Pat Conroy called "My Reading Life." He devotes much time to his former English teacher, Gene Norris, who changed his life, as well as thousands of other kids' lives.
Helen Kirschner. I gave Helen a tour of my house and showed her my brand-new carpets. I'm on a spending spree. Hmmm, maybe the bipolar has come back!