Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Just When I Think There's an Answer....

A few weeks ago, my newest general practitioner, at the advice of a wise person from Cedars Sinai, (more on my new hero soon), gave me a test that would measure cortisol after taking dexamethasone. Anyone reading my symptoms of the last eight years, someone would seek answers in the line of Cushing's disorders. Well the Dex test is supposed to see if my cortisol goes up or down after taking the drug. The next morning the test showed that my cortisol was suppressed so something was working properly. My GP however, didn't quite get that this was the point of the test, thought something was askew, and sent me to yet one more new endocrinologist.

Now I'm not a fan of many doctors as you can well imagine. It's been less than fun visiting endo after endo who have done more harm than not. I said specifically, do NOT send me to Nahkle, after the humiliation he sprayed me down with, and fortunately he isn't in our system at the new doc's practice. Instead I went to a younger doctor who seemed to have a far better education, and currently serves as dean of the endo department at a local medical school. I looked up his ratings from patients and I looked up his history as far as paying attention to new patients.

The first thing he did was remove any of my asthma and sinus medications that had steroids in them. That was good. The second thing he did was look at my history, although I believe he missed some major points I made. It did seem I was going to be given the 'Well, you're going through menopause so there's nothing I can do for you."  He started saying that when I reminded, as gently as I could, that I've heard that exact sentence said to me from the time I was 22. He then realized I had PCOS examinations, and checked on my goiter. (Yeah, Love that word.)

He started asking questions that pointed back to the Cushing's diagnosis I'd been showing symptoms of for the last eight years, but then 'it became apparent since my Dex test was the one answer he had, he didn't feel that was the issue. He also asked about my adrenal history. Finally. This was the ONLY time I had ever been asked these questions in my entire medical history. I've had adrenal crisis issues for years, since childhood in fact, and no one since childhood has ever mentioned adrenal issues. Another interesting fact is my body seems to produce a lot of cholesterol related stones, (gallstones, kidney stones, even appearances of rocks near major joints).

I asked him point blank about Cushing's and was told point blank, "Your case is complex, yes, but I don't see Cushing's. I think we should take blood tests to see what else there is, but I think you're just getting older." This is when I deflated. Here was so much hope, and then, he quit on me. He spent a half an hour asking questions, sort of read my history, and decided, "Oh middle aged white woman must be on too much internet and Oprah" as I've faced so many times. There hasn't been a doctor who listened to me except for my newest GP in years, and I didn't think that there ever would be. But, there is a small glimmer of "well, maybe...."

Flash back to my hero mentioned above. I first saw Sharm McGraw on Mystery Diagnosis when she told my story through her history. The show ran years back and years back I tried to find her as she mentioned running a patient advocacy service. It became a very difficult task until recently. I saw her story repeated and thought I'd try one more time. This time I had luck. In fact, she and I have emailed, with her wisdom of offering what tests MAY help my doctor figure out something. She made the point of stating that this one test was never the whole answer. She didn't expect it would offer me any hope at all. BUT she did offer me the name of a doctor and a clinic just few hours away in California. 

It turns out Cedars Sinai has a Women's Health Research Center. They also have an endo center that deals specifically with hormones only women battle. Surprising also, the center deals with metabolic issues faced by women. The waiting list to see the doctors there is almost two years. However if you are willing to call every few days and see if there are cancellations, there are chances of seeing someone sooner. And, it's been Sharm's job to help get information to people via conferences and seminars. At these events, doctors see women who have battles similar to mine. 

Four months ago I went from 176 lbs to 205, and now I'm going down again. (Two weeks ago I went from 205 to 192). I just want to have ONE answer for Myasthenia Gravis, Ehlers-Danlos, Hashimoto's and Trigeminal Neuropathy, along with major depression. Autoimmune disease don't compound in most people, and yet for me there is a trend in that direction. I gain and lose weight for no apparent reason. My hair turns to straw, my skin bruises and no one seems to believe that any of this is related. I can't fathom so many illnesses of such an odd variety not related somehow. But, doctors aren't believing me. They don't seem to get that this isn't make believe. They'd rather try to kill me by not caring or worse, trying to placate me with "you're just getting older." Women need to be heard, and I mean really heard. We aren't all sitting around making up illnesses or spending our lives online hoping we have something Dr. House will discover.

On a final note this week, I did run into someone who has three of my four illnesses. In 1964, three doctors wrote a research paper on a young black man from Georgia who had Ehlers-Danlos, Myasthenia Gravis, and Thyroid disorders. The doctors have either passed on or retired, and I'm unable to reach any of them. They noted how odd it was to find all three in one person, and how much of this has affected the then 22 year old. I would very much like to find this person and see how his life has turned out 47 years later. He was written about in the year I was born. If anyone has heard of this person, please contact me via the blog. His life could change mine. And I hope some of yours as well. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I Think She's Gonna Blow!

I'd like to catch you up on some things that have been going on. First of all, there's been another doctor incident, and yes, it nearly killed me.

I found a great new doctor, well, I thought she was great. She even offered me a way to help me lose weight. Sadly, this was in the form of a pill and as we've known from past blogs – pills are bad. I ended up having very high blood pressure and possibly headed for stroke. There is only one solution and that is to stop taking that medication. The bad part is that I was starting to lose weight and I was starting to feel less depressed; the good part is that I no longer have to check my blood pressure twice today. My husband grew afraid that a stroke was imminent, as my blood pressure reached an enormous height. Even the doctors were concerned, finally.

I now understand why blood pressure is called a "silent killer" because I did not feel any symptoms. Instead I could only rely on the numbers that my meters read, and I had what a woman undergoing active labor of twins, during preeclampsia had. This just goes to show more reasons I will never have children – blood pressure issues!

It was farcical finding a resolution. One of the doctors decided that it was my pain medication causing the problems. However, at the same time I had been on that same medication for nearly 10 years. Another decided it was my allergy medication. They all finally concluded that a combination of my allergy medication plus my new weight medication was the culprit. This was decided after month of having blood pressure well above the levels recommended if expecting a stroke.

As far as weight loss goes, during that time I felt terrific. My energy levels were up and I wanted to do everything, so I did. I used my Wii, and danced and danced the danced. The result of this was ruined knee caps, swollen hips and now I fall down all of the time. It turned out all that dancing was making me less stable once I was off of all of that medication. It also turned out that my pain levels had been increased greatly, but the weight medication hid the pain levels.

After three weeks off of the weight and allergy medication, I ended up gaining 4 pounds and now I'm in the place that I was before started to lose weight this past December. Here's the problem: weight causes joint pain joint pain causes all sorts of issues. The primary issue is of course is that I have more joint pain which means I need to move around and exercise, which means I need to lose weight which I can't do because it causes more joint pain – getting the picture here? The last few days, I'm starting to get used to being off of all of those medications except for my standard pain meds. However because of the hot weather, I am now sleeping a lot more than I want to be.

Sleep is great. I can't complain about sleep. Here's the thing. I hadn't slept for more than four hours for nearly 7 years straight now. I'm now sleeping six hours a night which I'm completely not used to. It's great for me it's bad for my pets. So my pets now are trying to wake me up after four hours of sleep! I do laugh about it. I have to laugh about it. Wouldn't you laugh about it? You finally get to get to sleep, only to find that your cat is now walking in your face at 4 AM. They beg me, “feed me mommy feed me”.

That’s what happens. Realizing that I can't move around until I lose weight, I have to start yet another weight loss program. I'll try some sort of Nutrisystem, or maybe instead, then granola or vegetarianism or all the other weird things. I got one more new thing. Consumer Reports posted a statement that there are three or four programs that work better than others, through their testing. The second of these which was coincidentally least expensive is Slim fast. There's only so much weight loss you can afford when you're on disability. You could go for $75 a month program that involves chocolate. I went for chocolate, wouldn't you go for chocolate?

The great thing about being on the chocolate program is, well, it’s chocolate. The bad thing about being in a chocolate program is, well, it’s chocolate. I am getting tired of chocolate and those words sound weird. Also, I'm not dancing, yet, so what happens next?

Menopause. I am now turning into the old lady. I always knew I was. You know, I talk to my computer and I tell it....(using speech recognition)... PE are IOD. It doesn't read this quite right, so it gives me dots at the start of the word menopause. But you don't lose dots-- you lose periods, which all alone would be a fun day. I was looking forward to it for 35 or so years. Instead, I'm finding myself sitting on the couch wondering how deep my voice will get. That, and hoping that any chin hair I receive will be someplace where I could find it and pluck it to get it out of the way of anything else I might use.

So I believe we're caught up at last-- meds cause blood pressure issues weight causes pain, weight loss causes blood pressure shoots no weight loss causes pain. Pretty much sums it up. Really. This will get sillier. I promise a silly blog is due. I started to write one tonight. I'm so punch-drunk tired from not sleeping. Oh yes I did sleep, though no I didn't. Oh yes I did. Oh, no I didn't. I don't get the sleep I want when I'm waiting for a cat to put her face in my nose. Any minute now. In the meantime the dog is heading for his potty pad so that must mean it's time for me to stop posting a blog-- until the next time.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Flex Spending Or F'd Spending?

A childhood friend, and all around GREAT human being, Sue Quartarone wrote about her issues with the government's answer to Medicare Gaps and other issues with high pharmaceutical costs- the "Flex Spending" Accounts. They are supposed to be some sort of savings program designed to keep medical costs down for those of us who just can't afford them. Instead it's become the bureaucratic slapdashery that seems to permeate all of the "helpful" ways the government steps into our lives.

I'm not a Libertarian. I refuse to align myself to ANY party at all. At ALL- and NEVER will I be called Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Mormon, Lithuanian, or Tap Dancer. I just don't see the point in this stage of humanity in the separation of humans based on something that may have had a purpose when Tories, Whigs, and Separatists made for great history book babble. If the basic premise of political action is to find a joint answer for questions needing a resolve for the greater good, (all together, Hot Fuzz fans, "The Greater Good"), then unification is the first step in finding those answers. Deflate politics, and deal with issues. Period. But that's my 47 year-old's optimism again. Sorry for that babble.

Sue wrote this wonderful statement of the frustration we ALL feel when we rely on the programs that are supposed to be in place for supporting us, but instead creates more aggravation, questions, and despair.

Is this country f*cked?
by Sue Quartarone on Tuesday, 14 June 2011 at 12:41

In order to get MY money back from the flexible spending account for items such as cold medicines or other OTC items, I need a prescription--for each item specifically and with the number of refills allowed--and it(prescription) must be dated before the purchase was made.

So, every time I go to the store to buy Dimetapp or Benadryl, I have to call the doctor for a prescription and hold onto that prescription to submit to the reimbursement company? CALCIUM, which every woman MUST take, and OTC vitamins need a letter of medical necessity. I called my doctor and was informed that the letters/prescriptions will cost me MORE THAN I will be reimbursed! Is this Obama-care at its best? WTF? Is this what we pay our legislators for? Who the fuck came up with this one?-- I know that this is regulated by the IRS, but it's still a garbage rule regarding our health care.

This is just as bad as my other grievance that even though we supposedly don't have to pay a co-pay for our annual check-up IF you then discuss anything that's going on with you medically during said physical, the doctor can legally bill the insurance company for a second visit. NOT ONLY THAT, but then you, the patient having that annual now have to pay a co-pay for the "medical" portion of the check-up!

First of all, one of the first questions the doctor asks at the appointment is whether you have any questions or concerns about anything regarding your health. THAT IS WHAT A PHYSICAL IS FOR!

Second, I was not informed by the doctor that by actually asking a question I would have to pay $25 for an answer.

Third, with this wonderful new loophole in Obama's healthcare bill, a doctor's office can legally bill the insurance company for two visits even though we were in the office for only that one visit,

AND they (doctors), are getting paid by the insurance company twice the amount of what they formerly were paid for the same type of appointment. Why can't these doctors just write off the co-pay since they are already getting extra cash from the Insurance? The only thing all of this greed based medicine is going to do is to keep people from calling the doctor!

Sue's point is what I hear screaming from the mouths of every one who wonders what the point of Flexnet spending is! And more so, how can insurance companies now double bill for appointments previously included in the insurance policies as covered preventive annual care? The news plays the tune of how horrible our health is as a society in the United States, yet when we try to do something for it, our penalty is financial, and often due to that reason, we end up missing out of preventing issues that may have been discovered at these annual appointments.

The civil war is at hand. We have been pushing for a change in our politicians for the removal of lobbyists, for the true concept of listening to constituents, for the idea that our bodies do not belong to those who make rules in a cushy office in Washington D.C. . The true health of the United States has more to do with the stress and pain people we elect create rather than the stress of our lives, families, work, or lack thereof, and certainly we don't like the idea of walking into a drug store, expecting our self-paid benefits to be ignored due to yet another loophole in some other rule created by yet one more person in office who was wooed and manipulated by Pharmaceutical companies and Insurance agents.

Since Ronald Reagan made a stand and removed people from Mental Health Facilities; since the inceptions of HMO and managed health "solutions"; since some nut job in a voting capacity elected to change our children's Physical Education, cafeteria, and oh yeah, the free breakfast/lunch programs---all of this is the start of what will likely be the end of political interference in our health. The American public screams for comfort foods, low cost options- which tend to lie in Fast Food-, and even the idea that we have to go to auction websites to find medical equipment that wasn't"approved" by some manual of Insurance Company ABC.

Our civil war includes those of us who are on Medicare or another health program because we are disabled, of advanced age, and have PAID into a system. Our civil war is against those in the media who focus on our weight as a society rather than the removal of physical education in our schools. Our civil war is against those who stop mental health appointments after "six visits per year as stated in our guidelines". Six visits? Seriously? Our civil war is against programs that blatantly LIE to the consumer regarding their purpose and our ability to use them- such as Flex Spending.

Sue is now a warrior in our civil war. I'm sure many reading this are as well. The only way to stop it is to cut back on the multitudes of those who seem to have cropped up in Washington who plan our health decisions based on GREED. Many of us voted for a President whom we expected to listen to our causes, who seemed to be less likely to be swayed by those already in power. Instead, it's apparent we have a man whose hair is now whitened by the rigors of office- who was schooled in the reality of his role as Commander in Chief. No one in the White House ever has, nor ever will be able to change the way the House and Senate makes decisions until we, the people, make the drastic, warrior step, to change the way our public offices are created, run, and how long each person in those roles should stay there. This civil war is on its way to be one of the longest in history. The Rich may get richer, but those of us in the trenches are now wiser, and that is how true change begins.

We have Freedom of Speech. We have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We have the thousands of years of human history to teach us why those in power inevitably fail the lands which are led. It always, invariably, starts with greed and ends in bloodshed. Hospitals, doctors, nurses- and Insurance companies- are creating the bloodshed now. Right now- we all know at least one person who has died of medical mishaps, or due to a "rule" implemented. You and I as warriors need to let those in charge that we DO NOT want any more government rules and missteps. We want to be given what is right, fair, and most of all UNDERSTOOD by those who are expecting a level of care. Flex Net spending is one HUGE issue that must be addressed. Write to your congressmen. Call your Senators. TALK to your friends, families, your health care providers, and even your Insurance Comapany. Be the warrior, not the victim.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Learning How to Play Thinner

Since I've started the morphine and the other medications in the first years of the new millennium (sounds rather posh, huh?)I watched my size 5 body grow and ebb like a fury of tidal waves of fat. I would be on a pain med, and my metabolism would look me in the eye as it waved "BUH-Bye!" When I grew too accustomed to one, the weight would suddenly wander away without a slight effort. Medications and I were on a confrontational path to annoyance. I need them to stay out of wheelchairs, they need me to flaunt superiority in weight control.

I started getting a bit of an issue with food. A "bit" is an understatement. It was a nightmare. If I ate too much I'd gain, obviously, and if I ate too little I'd gain, annoyingly. But when I eat like a normal person should, I still gained. The standard rule is to be a specific weight you need to eat 10 times whatever the weight is in order to maintain the proper calorie count. For instance, if you want to keep at 120 pounds you need to maintain a 1200 calorie average in your diet. Some days you can get away with 1700, some days 700, so it averages out, right? Well I did that for 20 or so years. I ate one meal a day. Once. That's it. I would have a small something for breakfast at 3pm, then a dinner or a lunch somewhere around 7. That was it. Never drank coffee, sometimes had a beer or two, or a glass of wine with friends.

When I got told my a less than human medical professional that I was "eating too much" my fear of gaining weight kicked in. I didn't have it before, I figured I was gaining weight from medicine, whether anyone else believed me or not. It was a fact. But the one doctor who was supposed to solve that issue said, I was "eating too much". That fear made it so I would get irked at myself when I did eat more than 800 or so calories. When I was pissed I would figure, I better eat more to prove him right. Or when I was frustrated, I stayed away from eating for days. That's an eating disorder. It took me two years to stop listening to his voice in the back of my head.

The new voice came from the doctor mentioned in the last blog. It wasn't his telling me that 900-1300 calories a day was too much. It wasn't even the idea that he planned on cutting me open without asking anything about my disorders, (but that was part of it). It was getting a nice gift from my husband of a Wii and a Wii fit that led me to losing 6 pounds since Giftmas.

It doesn't matter that I'm unable to do many of the exercises hidden as games. It doesn't matter that there are days when I can only use a left arm or a right arm. It doesn't matter that I'm not dressed up to the current standards in gym attire. I can sit in my pajamas, wave around, wiggle a bit, sometimes it only takes a waddle, and shazam, an hour speeds by. When that hour is up, I get a status report that states I'm 500 or so calories spent. That's half my days caloric intake gone. I am officially burning half of my day in an hour. Did you know that it takes four calories to swing a hula-hoop, and ten to walk a tight rope? Me either. Now we do.

It also tells me how many days I've worked with the toy. It is a toy, face it. It's a video game that interacts with my body, but it's like any other physical game of catch, baseball, golf, and Frisbee(TM) in some senses. I do things and things happen that make me feel healthier. That's kind of great for a game. I'm not trying to sell you one, though. I'm trying to say that if you can find something that is fun to do that makes you feel great, and helps you sweat off some of that lunch box, then do it.

Before I was using this toy, I had used some dance DVDs. These were by Jenifer Galardi, and I discovered her on FitTV. Years back, I used to love dancing, gymnastics, and just bouncing about having fun. I had a great dance teacher in college, Dawn Kramer, and just loved her class. She laughed at me because one day I admitted, I hated sweating. For years, I hated it. It was the idea of not being able to shower right afterward that bugged me. Sweat, get cold, sometimes ice in my hair, then go home. New England dance classes are a great memory. I was also 110 pounds, muscular, lean, and could lift a small car to change a tire. Okay, maybe not that strong, but I could do much more than many people.

I used to run on a stair climber, I used to use free weights, and I used to walk everywhere. When my body gave up on me, I didn't really have any idea what to do. I couldn't do much more than isometrics. Horseback was out. I played with my doggy as long as I could, but my ex became her full time doggy-parent as my hands started to dislocate more every time we played. She is in great hands, now. My cats became my toys. It wasn't enough. I couldn't move. I didn't sleep, and I didn't have anything but pain when I tried to change any of it. Then my husband got me the video game.

It doesn't take much to find ONE thing that makes you happy. Maybe you can sit on a hoppity-hop. Maybe it takes spinning on a lazy-susan. If you like tossing a tennis ball on your wall to irk your neighbors, so what? It's doing something. Maybe you should ask your neighbor to play catch with you instead, but mostly you're just trying to move somehow. Clapping, rolling your hands, wiggling- it's all movement. Movement helps you gain muscle strength, burn calories and lets you have fun. As a kid, I used to love beating up the large collection of dough I had acquired over the years. Pink, blue, green, orange- smells that still remain embedded in my memory- all are part of the best times of being a kid. So be a little childish and play a bit. You may lose some weight, or you may gain some smiling. Either way, you'll feel better.

So this blog questions- what is it that you do to play? What is your fun? Do you have recess for yourself?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Psychic Doctors

Welcome to the new year. It seems in 2010, I was beaten down so badly by my own body I had little energy, inclination, or ability to write to anyone about the issues I was facing. There were more curve balls in the past year. Myasthenia Gravis was one, and having Trigeminal Neuropathy was another. Near the end of the year, one of my doctors decided, with all the breathing issues, whether I liked it or not, the Prednisone was back on my plan for a week or so. In less than a month, I gained 26 lbs on top of another 20 I gained over the summer. This is frustrating. So I see a doctor.

My HMO provided me with a Primary Care Physician, (PCP), who is, well, to be blunt, not exactly friendly. She is medically competent, but lacks any empathy. I would rather see my dog's veterinarian who may not know what's wrong with me, but is absolutely at least interested. The problem with a doctor with her credentials, aside from her lackluster bedside manner, is her ability to pawn off patients to other just as inhumane "specialists" who would much rather be seen in a surgical unit than anywhere near an actual patient who might require a conversation. It's not like Dr. House; it's like Dr. Frankenstein.

I'm firing these doctors from the HMO as of this very moment. There are so many sites that I can go to in order to find out what other patients in this area have found- I don't have to waste my money or time anymore. And, at this point, I have not been satisfied feeling like I have to just blindly take someone's assumption at face value. And, this guy today- all assuming. He came across as a Psychic Doctor.

Psychic Doctors seem to spring up everywhere these days. They think that any and all patients walking in the door have just come in after viewing the last episode of Dr. Oz, and only want to talk about the five health issues listed on the front pages of the search engine landing pages. They also seem keen on targeting the very same patients with whatever potions and pills the latest sales man has brought to them. These professionals appear to lose their understanding of the meaning of the practice of medicine and instead just go through the motions of ushering in people at 10.3 minute intervals, barely even introducing themselves, and certainly not polite enough to let the patients know that when the same doctor is found leaving the room, they've completed their task of the appointment. Go directly to check-out, do not pass go, ensure we have your copay.

It can't purely be the physician's fault. A managed health care system demands volume of patients to meet quotas. It demands that specific illnesses have specific codes marked down on intake sheets or the appointment won't make a specific set of funds. That's a problem. As patients, we can tell a doctor we are there to see them for Problem A, but by the time we are sitting in the waiting room, the office has already deemed that Problem C is the one that brings in a better income, so for some reason only known to bankers and business men, our health is now redirected to whatever is going to be a bottom line payout by the insurance.

This week I was subjected to exactly this type of treatment. I walked into Dr. F's. office expecting to be given some advice on how to handle a case of constipation. I don't want to have any surgery. I don't want to have anyone who isn't aware of my disorder taking a scalpel to my body at all. Because his specialty is listed as Gastroenterology, I had assumed he may have some suggestion on what to do over the weight gain from the steroids I've had in the last few months. Instead, I was given yet one more steroidal treatment, which he described as a "salt absorber". I was told I was eating too much. This is never smart to tell someone who has eating disorders, and who keeps a vigilant food diary- at 1100 calories to 1500 calories a day, that's not possible. I was interupted not once, not twice, but six times when I tried to tell him what I had taken for my issue, and instead I was cut off at first being told I was probably addicted to the laxatives, and then told I needed to have more of them. He never did find out that I had adverse reactions to two that he demanded I have in my medicine cabinet.

Psychics, as some may know, are listening to cues and trying to predict your questions before they are asked. Most astound us by the knowledge they have of our lives, when really they are watching our responses so they can figure out where else to lead the conversation. Well, the doctors who want to tell us what is wrong with us before even reading our files are doing much the same thing. What really pissed me off about this guy, more than the fact I waited for nearly an hour to see him for less than six minutes, more than the fact that I was assumed to need or want Lap Band surgery, and more than the fact he asked me about my illness and cut me off before I told him what it was- he expects to perform a surgical procedure on me, without knowing ANYTHING about Ehlers-Danlos.

At one point in the very short conversation, he asked "You've had orthopedic surgeries, then?" He stated this rather than asking this, and was already on to his next statement before I said, "No, I'm not able to have that type of surgery, my tendons would not handle it, they'd stretch back out of place soon after." He was telling me he was planning on performing a procedure that he let me know had problems such as perforations during testing. Well, for someone with a collagen disorder, hearing this stated from someone who hasn't cut into someone like me left me horrified. In fact, I believe my constipation was healed at that very second.

Within moments he was shuffling me out of the office, setting me up with his "procedure" as he had the previous six patients there from when I arrived. I heard the exact patter as he gave to them, and without missing a step he was in to the room of the last patient of the day. There were no mistakes for him- his job was to get me to agree to a procedure and to ensure the insurance company would pay for it. In fact, I was told that they needed time to get approval before the scheduled date. By now I had made up my mind to cancel this.

If a doctor pushes you into a procedure or tells you his point of view without hearing you, he's not a good doctor. The next morning I scoured the sites that rate medical professionals for someone who is better equipped to hear me, and less interested in pushing me in and out the door. According to all I've read, I'm of the belief this person is one I will meet a week or so from now. If all I have read in blogs and reviews is correct, I may have a very competent young doctor who is willing to hear my issues without telling me what they are first. It may be blind optimism on my part.

My current "Primary Care" doctor has given me two years of seeing specialists, and still not recognizing me when I come in. The last time I saw her she scheduled me for a second annual physical, forgetting that I had one only weeks before. She hadn't read her own notes. She also forgot that she had sent me to another specialist just last year, and said that I was mistaken, it had to have been another doctor- so she sent me in for yet one more sonogram and x-ray. The Radiologist said she had remembered me coming in only a few months before and was surprised to see me so soon. (As was I.) The one hand-off I am grateful to have is that of my neurologist who was able to pinpoint not just one but two issues in less time than this PCP even tried to find in months. He is now one of my regular doctors. She no longer is going to have access to me. I am done being her lab rat.

So this months' question- What have doctors done to make you think they're listening and hearing what you're saying? Have you felt like cattle or do you feel as if you are actually being cared for? What would you tell a doctor if s/he asked how a patient should expect an appointment to go?