Dealing with my Doctor

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Dianamo
New Member


Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 1/10/2008 10:31 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Everyone,
 
I'm new here and am hoping that you will have ideas for me on how to deal with my Rheumatologist.  I've been a patient of his for almost 8 years.  I wouldn't have stayed this long if I didn't think he was a good doctor, HOWEVER:
 
He lacks people skills.  He has trouble looking me in the eye.  I can never get him to stay in the room long enough to answer my questions.  He finishes up and is out the door.  He doesn't ask if I have any questions. 
 
I have tried to switch to another doctor.  As you all know, there aren't enough Rheumy's to go around.  That is certainly true where I live.  The story of my trying to switch Doctor's is a whole saga in itself.  The short version is this: My Doctor suddenly decided he wouldn't see Medicare patients anymore.  So all his Medicare patients are trying to find new Doctor's.  So those doctors are refusing to see patients who already have a doctor in favor of those who have just been bumped from my doctors office.
 
I find the whole situation incredibly frustrating.  Here I am, with a disease that affects every aspect of my life, pretty much all day every day.  And I can't get a few extra minutes with this guy.  But I can't just go "off" on him, because I do respect him and think that he is a good doc.  Just with no social skills.  Or he simply refuses to use his social skills.  One thing is for sure, no patient is ever kept waiting in his office because he never spends an extra moment with anyone.  confused

brandichi
Regular Member


Date Joined Oct 2006
Total Posts : 21
   Posted 1/10/2008 10:37 AM (GMT -7)   
That is really frustrating! I had a primary care doctor who treated me exactly the same way - wouldn't sit down and listen, was in too much of a hurry to get to the next patient, even when I had questions to ask. I ended up quitting him eventually, but what I did that helped for a while was tell the receptionist when I booked the appointment that I may need a double appointment as there are some questions I need to discuss with the doctor and need more than 5 minutes. Also, when he walked in, I had a pad of paper with questions written down on it. I told him I had 5 questions I needed for him to answer today (or however many it was), and for a while that helped. (I do the same thing with my other doctors now, although none of them make me feel rushed).
Diagnosed with SLE, Sjogren's, RA, Hashimoto's, Reynaud's, gluten intolerance - all 2006.  Elevated liver enzymes, no diagnosis yet.  Mild asthma and allergies.
 
Plaquenil, Armour thyroid, Foradil, Pulmicort, Lovaza (prescription fish oil), Evening Primrose Oil, Multivitamin, Vitamin D, Vitamin B12.
 
Eating healthy foods - no processed foods, no sugar, no flour, no caffeine.  Lots of good protein, vegs, healthy oils, fruit, and healthy carbs.  Down 70 pounds so far and counting!
 
"Nothing can disturb the calm peace of my soul." - Unity affirmation


Dianamo
New Member


Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 1/10/2008 10:59 AM (GMT -7)   

Thanks for your reply, Brandichi!

I do arrive with a list of questions, but it is on a post-it.  Maybe I need a bigger list with bigger type!  I have done something similar with the appointment time/length.  The problem for me is that he has his longer appointments first thing in the morning, when I am not at my best.  Still, this may be the thing to do next time. 

The main thing for me has been the frustration I feel with him.  Maybe I need to do something else for stress/frustration? 

Now this may seem like I am veering totally off course, but this morning while surfing the net I found something called the BILAG Index.  British Isles Lupus Assessment Group.  Anyway, it is a questionaire given to patients to assess disease activitiy.  Wouldn't it be great if we had something like that?


AlwaysRosie
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 8616
   Posted 1/10/2008 11:42 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Dianamo,

I totally understand your dillema.

YES! Make sure to type your questions on the computer or a typewriter and bring TWO copies. One for you and one for the doc. Each visit should start with you handing the doctor your list which will include:

current meds w/dosage
current med allergies
current symptoms - ALL of them
today's questions
most important issue to address today

It looks like a lot - but once you do the first one, you can just keep it updated. These doctors can read down thru a list like this very quickly. Remember it is a list - not a multi paragraph document. He can stop at any item and get additional information.

My doctors love this and they use it to update their files (saves them time writing everything down). My rheumy actually makes his notes on his copy of my info sheet and them makes it part of the file.

I have had one doctor who doesn't like "the list" and I am looking to replace him, as he is offended if HE isn't the one that detects new issues, he has disorganized files, he doesn't remember my issues and several other bad habits.

Don't be timid with this doctor . . . that makes them worse. If you have a husband, sister, mother who is very poised and knows your situation, it sometimes helps to bring them with you for support. And by all means take the earlier appointment with more time. Get all your stuff ready the day before and set yourself up so you can get up early enough before the appointment to get oriented. The extra time with the doc will be well worth it and if that's how he keeps his calendar than follow his plan.

You'll see a link at the end of my signature titled "Lupus Resources". If you click on it, you'll find a topic with lots of helpful posts, including suggestions for new members and near the bottom, an outline for the info sheet to take with you to the doctor.

Let us know how your next appointment goes.

OH . . . and welcome to the forum sis!!

Blessings!

In His Grip

AlwaysRosie           "We can't control the waves, but we can learn how to surf!!"

Psalms 139

Co-Moderator - Lupus Forum

UCTD, Hashimotos, Inflammatory Bowel, Inflammatory Arthritis

Clickable Links:  Lupus Resources    Lupous.Org   Lupus Criteria (4 of 11)   Lupus Chapter Locator


Dianamo
New Member


Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 1/10/2008 3:02 PM (GMT -7)   

One thing I am not is timid.  I've never had any trouble with any of my other Doc's in this regard. This guy is a tough nut to crack and if I succeed I will feel very accomplished!

 I'm sure that bringing someone with me might make the Doc think twice and be more accountable.  It will go on my mental list of things to try.  I like the list you suggest and keeping the file so that it only need be updated for each visit.  I haven't in the past included all my meds, as I thought he knew this stuff.  But it could not hurt to remind him in big type of what I am taking and why I'd like to discuss it with him! 

Sorry if I sound defensive.  I really am no pushover.  I will let you know how it goes and will try the list pretty much exactly as you suggest.

Oh, and I'll check out the resources section, too.

It is good to "speak" with a "sis".  I don't know any other people with Lupus in my community.  No support groups. And I think I understand why.  I certainly don't have the energy to start one myself.  But if anyone starts one, I will be the first in line.

 


AlwaysRosie
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 8616
   Posted 1/10/2008 3:13 PM (GMT -7)   
Diane,

GREAT! I'm glad you aren't timid . . . I am. So I have to prepare very well before I go. My brain just glazes over and w/o my notes, I might not accomplish my mission!!

I'm surprised your doc or his assistant isn't asking for a med list at each visit. They would never know what some other doctor is prescribing and they really should be aware. Include all your OTC and supplements as well. The list may be long, but he can zing down the list pretty fast. It needn't be large print, wouldn't want to offend him either.

I think we are all a bit defensive given the obstacle course to recovery!!

YES! Its great having all the helpful members here to bounce things off of. We learn a LOT from each other and we always have a great place to come where people understand.

If you click the last link in my sig . . . "Lupus Chapter Locator" . . . you'll find your local chapter and you can email, call or visit a website (if they have one) and find your nearest support group. You'll meet others from your area. My nearest meeting wasn't too nearby but it was a valuable resource as I found a good doctor by talking to the others there.

Glad you found us!!

Blessings!

In His Grip

AlwaysRosie           "We can't control the waves, but we can learn how to surf!!"

Psalms 139

Co-Moderator - Lupus Forum

UCTD, Hashimotos, Inflammatory Bowel, Inflammatory Arthritis

Clickable Links:  Lupus Resources    Lupous.Org   Lupus Criteria (4 of 11)   Lupus Chapter Locator


Dianamo
New Member


Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 1/10/2008 3:31 PM (GMT -7)   

His assistant has asked for the list, tho not at each visit.  I just don't see him looking at it.

Ok, I'll use a reasonable size font. 

I live in Idaho, and as I have checked, the nearest chapters are in Utah and Washington State.  That is why I've thought that if I wanted a support group that I would have to start one myself (with the LFA training provided, I think they do that...)

I don't know if I mentioned it, but I ran a small non-profit Fibromyalgia group here in Idaho for a few years.  Then, due to the fact that we could not elect any new officers for lack of candidates, we folded our tent.  It was too bad, but we were all tired and couldn't do the work anymore, at least at that time.  Maybe it wasn't the right decision, but it is done.  During the time that the group was active, we held several "Health Fairs" to which we invited Doctor's and allied health professionals to speak and/or have information booths.  We also had support groups in the community and around the state.  Some of those groups may be continuing, I don't know.  But we certainly didn't require them to shut down simply because the non-profit dissolved.  So where was I headed with this?  Oh, I met my current doctor here as one of the speakers.  So our relationship has been more of a collaborative one.  He is getting older, has had a few heart attacks and I think he is finding it tougher to get through the days and do a good job for all his patients.  So now I'm sypathetic to him?  Yea, I guess so.  So I'll look upon the list as an aid to us both.


AlwaysRosie
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 8616
   Posted 1/10/2008 6:41 PM (GMT -7)   
Wow Diane!! You rock!! I imagined an online support group. That is way fantastic!! I'm SO sorry you don't have a local support group for Lupus. Its great getting to know you . . . you are going to love it here!!! Again . . . Glad you found us!!!

Blessings!

In His Grip

AlwaysRosie           "We can't control the waves, but we can learn how to surf!!"

Psalms 139

Co-Moderator - Lupus Forum

UCTD, Hashimotos, Inflammatory Bowel, Inflammatory Arthritis

Clickable Links:  Lupus Resources    Lupous.Org   Lupus Criteria (4 of 11)   Lupus Chapter Locator


texasrose
New Member


Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 14
   Posted 1/10/2008 9:55 PM (GMT -7)   
Dinamo, I think you should try to bring someone along with you. I found on a visit of mine that my husband attended my doctor was more talkative and interactive. Why I don't know. We have a good relationship but who knows. Another thought is appropriately be honest with your feelings regarding your appts.

Good luck.

Dianamo
New Member


Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 1/11/2008 10:59 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks ladies for your feedback! I talked with my hubby last night and he said he'll come with me to my next app't. I think having him there will change the dynamic enough so that we will be less likely to do business as usual. But I'm still gonna do the list!

I have thought of being honest about my feelings regarding app'ts. But I don't think my doc has the interpersonal skills to deal with this well. That is my intuition. He's one of those really smart people who are shy.

thanks again and I'll be back with a report. I'm not sure right now when my app't will be. I have one scheduled in Feb. but think I need to go in sooner. Flare, don't ya know.
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