Appointment #1 With Dr. Max

As I posted yesterday, I had my appointment with the rheumatologist. It seemed to create more questions than answers.

First, it was strange to see that he had one of those offices like you see in the movies, where it’s more like an office for a lawyer than a doctor. His degree was on the wall, and he had medical books in a huge dark wood bookcase. In the far corner he had an examination table, which is where he took my blood pressure and felt my knuckles for a few minutes, but mostly we just sat at his big oak desk and talked.

I kind of bored myself as I gave my medical history, and my eyes wandered over to his bookcase, where I saw he had quite a few of these blue lunchbag-looking things. So mid-sentence, I stopped and asked him if I could see one. And that’s more or less how I ended up with my very own Enbrel new patient kit, despite the fact that I am not currently taking Enbrel. I don’t care. I have a strange fascination with pharma giveaways (see earlier post “I Broke My Colon.”) and this was a good one.

As you can see, it comprises an insulated bag, educational materials, and a big red container for sharps. It’s really fun to play with.

But I digress. The doctor – who I’ll call Dr. Max – doubted that I have RA. He said it seems that all my symptoms still point to Crohn’s. He gave me a prescription for emergency prednisone, for when the pain gets too much to handle between Remicade visits, and also ordered a round of blood tests. Fun.

For some reason, Dr. Max was really bagging on Dr. D. Seemed to say a lot of “oh yeah, GI’s always do this,” in an eye-rolling sort of way. He didn’t seem convinced that Dr. D is making the right choices in my care. And when I suggested we all get in a room to discuss my next round of blood tests, he just said, “We don’t really do that.” Whatever. You’re a jerk.

So, though he doubted I have RA based on my history, symptoms and his exam, he still wanted me to get these blood tests and come back in a few weeks. It’s not definite, and he also didn’t seem to be certain about what path I should take with my medication. I didn’t expect him to give me all the answers yesterday, after one short visit, but I have to admit I was kind of hoping that he would anyway.

I think a good double-major for medical students would be in the psychic arts. So you’d go to a doctor, and they’d examine you as usual, but if they weren’t totally sure they’d whip out a crystal ball and give you a definitive answer. That would certainly be worth the $30 copay.


5 responses »

  1. I have arthritis realting to my Chrons too! My GI calls it colonic arthris, I might have already told you this (sorry if I have). I use a low dose of predisone and methotrexate to control it, for over a year I have been pain free.

    I too have found that MD from these two specialities don’t always talk to each other, but you just have to keep looking or make them. (wink) I think they worry about stepping on the others toes.

    I have learned that you have to be your own advocate. I am sure he will have a path for you once he gets your bloodwork back with your inflamatory markers. Good luck!

  2. You have hit my nail on it’s head!! I went through much of the thought processes/experiences that you are going through about 7 or 8 years ago. Doctors who don’t especially like to talk to each other, confusion about meds and Just Wanting To Put A Name On It so I could relax and enjoy the pain! I have been lucky in that I met up with a doctor who doesn’t posture or read crystal balls or lie to me about what he doesn’t know. (I think I once told you it takes a long time to make an educated guess as to what you have-and then it is only that, a guess. All the tests are hocus pocus, and the treatments are hit-miss trial and error-similarly based on the doctor’s experience and your reactions.) There is some sense of psychological relief when the doc finally puts a name on it. The physical relief will come through experimentation and will take time. It will never be complete. Either you will be partially free or completely free from pain most or some of the time until a flair up and then you will have to de-stress, change meds, wait it out, or???

    I hope you find the right doctors. I hope you get the right balance of meds. I hope they find a cure for whatever it is/whatever you call it. Until then, If my love and understanding is of any help-you got it.

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