Melissa’s Rap: When one suffers from an autoimmune or other chronic condition (or several), a new doctor can bring hope as well as fear. Hope that THIS is the one; the doctor who will finally find what works so you can function in your life. Fear that they will 1) not understand, 2) put your current treatment at risk and 3) will implement treatments that do more damage than good.
Recently I started a new job and with it came a new insurance company. The new company doesn’t cover my old primary care physician (PCP), so I had to find another one. This is a scary prospect when you have as many health conditions as I do. I have been laughed out of the office by a PCP who didn’t believe I had Lyme disease, even though I had it in black and white: CDC-positive. I have had to fight to stay on medications that have made a tremendous difference in my symptoms, because that doctor didn’t support that brand/treatment/dosage, etc. Many PCP’s don’t know what to do with me because I have so many things going on, it is difficult to know what to treat and how those treatments interact with each other.
Needless to say, it is an incredibly stressful experience, and often very frustrating. But, right now, I can’t help but be full of hope that my new PCP will be a turning point for me. That this doctor will see my 4″ binder full of medical history and say, with confidence, ” I see you have been though a lot. Let’s see how I can make a difference for you. We will figure this out together.”
I have been through so many doctors in my 42 years. It became easier to have everything written down ahead of time to save time later. So, I made a list of symptoms, surgeries and diagnoses’ and their corresponding dates. Then, I can write ‘See Attached’ on the appropriate section of the paperwork and attach the document. It reduces the chances of leaving something out and saves time. If the doctor requires you to complete their own form, you can utilize this document as a reference. Here’s a sample you can use for your own visits:
Another thing that I’ve started doing is making sure my calendar item for each doctor’s appointment has everything I need for that visit: the doctor’s name, address and phone number, the symptom(s) I’d like to discuss with the doctor, and a list of things to bring (x-ray’s, lab results, referrals, etc.). You could also put other important notes in that you don’t want to forget. For example, when I have a mammogram, the calendar item will have a reminder that looks something like this: No deo/lotion! That will help me remember not to wear any deodorant or lotion the morning of the test.
Well, off to the doctor! Here’s hoping this one is just the one I need right now. More to come!
What has been your experience finding a doctor?
Do you have a favorite doctor? Have you found better luck with M.D.’s or Naturopaths? Why? We would love to hear about your experience!