Monday, January 13, 2014
My Rheumatoid Arthritis Story - Part 4
I think my breaking point came during my last visit at the end of October when I went to Dr. DoNothing and had the usual blood drawn only to find out that he neglected to put two of the standard tests requests in. When I received my results and noticed they were missing, I called his nurse who said, "Yeah, I wondered why he didn't put those ones in." Oh, really, you noticed? Then why didn't you ask him? I asked if they could just use the blood I had already given. Of course they couldn't, I would have to go back and pay an additional fee to have my blood drawn. I was pissed and let the nurse know. She said he was putting the order in as we spoke and I could come anytime. Fine. I went later on that afternoon. Guess what? There was no order put in. WTF? I asked to speak to the doctor or nurse and was told both had left for the day. Fuck this shit. The lab woman overheard me, stuck her head out of the door, and said she would draw the blood and put it in, since she remembered me there the week before. I thanked her, but I knew the other two were screwing with me. I also knew I was never going back.
I had an appointment with my family physician the first week of December who listened to my tale of woe and said someone from his office would get back to me that day with a referral for the Carilion specialist. I hoped my doctor had pull and would get me in to see the doctor I was told wasn't taking any more patients. As promised, later that afternoon I did get a call from Carilion to set up an appointment, but it wasn't with the doctor I had hoped. He still wasn't taking any new patients and was going to be out for a couple of months anyway. I was recommended to a new addition to their staff, an Indian doctor who was a female.
None of my doctors are female so this would be a new experience. The first thing I did was Google her name and saw she came from New York City (yay!) and had her residency at Stony Brook University in Long Island, and worked at Columbia University Medical Center. The best doctors I had when I was living in New York were either Indian or Egyptian, so I was already getting a good vibe. She specialized not only in rheumatoid arthritis, but also fibromyalgia and internal medicine. She also presented a study she had performed at last year's 2013 ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting in San Diego entitled, "Oral Calcium Not Linked to Higher Coronary Atherosclerosis Risk in RA." I'm already impressed with her.
I got an appointment pretty quickly for the following week and I liked her right on the spot. She was very easy to talk to. She asked lots of questions, and not a one about getting her car fixed. Although I brought her copies of my blood work from the last visit with Dr. DoNothing, as well as my baseline readings from over 3 years ago, she thought the best course of action was to order the tests she wanted which not only included the usual blood work, but tests for Rheumatoid Factor and since my liver was doing so poorly, hepatitis, which I have never received, as well as xrays of my hands and feet.
She didn't want to prescribe any new medicine or alter what I was presently taking until she saw the test results. She did however, assure me there were definitely other options besides Enbrel and Methotrexate. That's exactly what I was hoping to hear. Was there light at the end of the tunnel, or is that a train coming at me? I didn't know, but I made a follow up appointment for two weeks later.