Your visit sounds like it was very frustrating. I'm not a rheumatologist, but looking at the hands is an important part of the appointment. But only a part. You cannot tell if an individual has lupus or RA, or any other CTD without bloodwork. I had a similar experience with a GI doctor. I told her I had RA, and she grabbed my hands, looked at them for 5 seconds, and said you do not have RA. I informed her I had a positive RF, and she shut up real quick. Diagnosing these diseases is very tricky and it takes a good, solid physical exam, a detailed history from an expert interviewer, and lab tests to actually come to a diagnosis. My first rheumy visit was about 45 minutes long. The longest I've ever sat in a doctor's office. Good to know that you have a good PCP. I like your plan.
Current dx: Rheumatoid Arthritis
Suspected dx: Early Lupus/MCTD; Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Current Meds: Enbrel, Plaquenil, Aciphex, Ultracet, Zyrtec, Allavert-D, Zantac, Tylenol PM
Past Meds: Relafen, Vioxx, Mobic, Voltaren, Sulfasalazine, Entocort, Prednisone, Humira, Reglan