To say that October has not gone according to plan is … something of an understatement.
I reached out to Dr. M at the centre to find out when I was on the radar to be seen as the fall is when we usually check in. The news I received ground me to halt.
P, the lady who handles the scheduling for Dr. M informed me that he had passed away suddenly at the end of September. To say I was stunned does not even begin to describe the feelings that began to surface.
My relationship with Dr. M was rocky to start with. When I first met him in 2016, I hated his guts. Then again, with where I was mentally at the time, he considered me nearly untreatable.
However, in the years that have passed and the subsequent admissions I underwent at the centre, he never gave up on me and I came to respect him and his knowledge. He had the ability to offer the right balance between kicking my ass and offering support.
Then, in 2017 when my community psychiatrist removed me from her practise for being too hard to handle, he stepped up and had me follow him as an outpatient. We started with appointments three months apart, then six, and finally at our last appointment a year ago we moved to one year.
Little did I know it would be the last time I would see him.
My heart heart hurts for the loss, that connection. My heart hurts for his family, and for the medical community as a whole. Dr. M was a tough but compassionate individual, and his loss leaves a huge void in the mental health landscape of the province.
Because of the situation, the centre has offered to transfer me to another doctor in the service. While I initially was apprehensive about accepting the offer just due to my history at the centre, I did ultimately accept it as it is the shortest path to an appointment. If I would have gone the route of a referral through my family physician, I likely would have been waiting for anywhere from three-to-six months.
P did inform the name of the doctor I will be seeing, and it is a familiar one, however it isn’t one that stands out so I’m sure I’ve probably crossed paths with them before when they have been a covering physician. Still, I’m nervous about having to go through the process of getting to know a new doctor.
Fortunately, I am in a place with my mental health that I haven’t been in years. I honestly don’t remember a time in my life where I have felt this positive, this able to handle curve balls that get thrown at me.
The loss of Dr. M is just that, a loss. However, thanks to the groundwork he and I have done to get to this point, the groundwork is done and whoever steps into his shoes, be it the new doctor, or someone else if we don’t hit it off, they will have a solid road map to follow.
Dr. M helped me a lot, and the best thing I can do to honour his memory is stay on the path he helped start me on. After all, it’s the path that has kept me out of hospital for just over two years straight for the first time since I left the ambulance service in 2013. That is an accomplishment I know he would be proud of. It sure is one I am proud of.
At the end of the day, as sad as I am, I know I need to keep putting one foot in front of the other. The life is full of the unexpected, and when it happens you can not let it destroy you. All you can do is adjust, adapt, and carry on.