Disappointing, actually

I had an appointment with my rheumatologist – or rather, his PA – this morning.  I got there a bit early because I couldn’t remember if the appointment was at 10:15 or 10:30, so I wasn’t really bothered sitting  more than half hour in the waiting room.  It’s quite nice, actually, very soothing music, nice view, beautiful furniture (it won a design award).  That part was good.

Then I got called back.  The usual nurse wasn’t there, but this one listened okay. She didn’t weigh me, but she did take my temperature (I felt warm, but no temp).  She wanted to know if I’d been charting my temperature and I said “Should I be?” and she nodded.  It was when she offered to get me a drink while I waited that I knew I was in for trouble.  A drink?  In the doctor’s office?  Okay, then.

About 45 minutes later the PA came in and apologized for the long wait.  He was very flustered and seemed at a loss as to what to do with me.  The nurse I spoke to last week on the phone said that I should always come in & see them if I have an infection, but at no time did the PA try to look in my nose (I have a sinus infection in my nasal sinus cavity) or anything useful.  He offered me a steroid injection and told me not to take any RA meds until the infection goes away.  He seemed confused as to why I was telling him about my infection at all, really. *sigh*

So I moved on and told him about my ongoing hip pain.  I’ve already reached my max # of shots for this time period, but he said I could get a shot lower down in my hip (think right under your butt).  I said no, as they really do hurt and I had to drive myself home.  He thinks I have inflamed bursa, but he’s not sure.  Next, I showed him my swollen, red hands & wrists and he asked if I had any swelling. “Umm…yes…this is swelling.  Here, try to bend my thumb.  Go on.”  So he prescribed me steroids to take in the meantime (to fix the whole system since it’s more than just hips) since I can’t take anything else…except Tylenol.  “Have you tried Tylenol?  Some people say it helps.”  Tylenol.  Really?  My paperwork says not to take Tylenol + Celebrex at the same time. “No, it should be okay, just be sure to eat something.”  He’ll schedule me for some physical therapy for my hips, but everything else needs to just go on hold until my sinus infection is gone.

So on we moved for bloodwork.  The usual phlebotemist was not there and the new one (I’m assuming she’s new and not just temporary, as the old one had pictures up and they weren’t there) was awful.  Yes, she had all her safety precautions in place and a name tag and all that, but she didn’t warn me when the needle was going in, regardless of me stating that I am needle-phobic & would like that, and it really hurt when it did go in.  The old phlebotomist had a knack for getting it in without me even noticing it.

After that I stood waiting in the hallway for my x-ray, as the x-ray waiting area chairs were being used by some people waiting for their doctor to come back & talk to them, which was fine I guess, but the nurse didn’t see me standing there (or at least I hope she didn’t) and instead took a 15 minute phone call which included not only discussion about fax machines and procedures, but lunch plans and gossip.  Eventually, after the other people left, I was able to sit down, and that’s when she called me in.  The x-ray went smoothly and I got to see it on the screen before the PA came in to see it; I love seeing x-rays.  So very cool.  The PA said it looked fine to him (“normal wear & tear & spacing for someone with RA”), but that he’d send it on to radiology “just in case” and that they’d call me if anything looked wrong, but wouldn’t call if it was normal.

I didn’t get to ask about this increasingly debilitating brain fog I’ve been going through or discuss Cymbalta vs. Lyrica vs. Effexor like he said we would last time.  I haven’t seen the real doctor in about 9 months, just the PA.  Next appointment is three months out.  It was just not a good morning.

One thought on “Disappointing, actually

  1. Wren says:

    That’s so demoralizing when it happens, especially knowing that it will be three long months before you’ll have another chance at making positive, doctor-assisted changes.

    Perhaps you should try to schedule another appointment and ask specifically to be seen by the rheumatologist himself? I know — another co-pay — but you’re not getting the care you should from this PA. What a PITB — in your case, literally!

    I hope you’ll be feeling better very soon, awamiba. Be patient, have courage, and please know that you have friends out here in the blogosphere who know exactly where you’re coming from and have real compassion for you as you learn to cope with RA.

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