Sandi’s dilemma: To keep, or not to keep, her rheumatologist

Sandi's dilemma To keep, or not to keep, her rheumatologistI don’t know what to say.

I’ve mentioned before that my rheumatologist has no regard for anyone else’s time but her own.

In addition to this, I’ve had suspicions that she doesn’t read my file before speaking to me, nor has she ever come up with a treatment plan for me.

Even with these strikes against her, I am hesitant to stop seeing her because of the shortage of rheumatologists. I don’t know if I can get in to see a different doctor, so I endure hours of sitting in exam rooms waiting for her to drop by and give me a 30 day supply of those opiate pain pills that most of the time make my life bearable.

Since the first of the year she has steadily either stopped prescribing a drug or cutting down the amount I can take daily. The pain pills are the only medicine I get from her now.

Last week, she finally did what I halfway expected.

She’s sending me to a pain management clinic and has stopped writing prescriptions for opiates altogether.

I was seeing a pain management doctor when I started seeing her. I was glad I had a doctor who could treat both my disease and the pain caused from it.

Adding insult to injury, she asked me if I was still taking one of the drugs she took me off in February. She hadn’t opened my file before she strolled in to see me, two hours after my appointment time.

The drug she quit prescribing in February is one that states plainly you need a doctor’s supervision to be weaned from it. I’ve taken it for decades, and expected for her to either cut the dose or the daily amount.

She took me off cold turkey. I didn’t sleep for more than 90 minutes at a stretch for six weeks. 

Now, I’m back to square one. I don’t see my rheumatologist again until August. I’m weighing that decision carefully. I’m not sure it’s worth it to see her again.

I know I have the invisible type of rheumatoid arthritis. My spine is shot, I have Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue and a sub par immune system. It evidently is invisible to my rheumatologist too. In the years I’ve gone to her, she has not tried to treat any of those. She sent me to a spine surgeon and now a pain management clinic.

Frankly my primary care physician is doing a better job of treating me. She has sent me to a physical therapy center that is actually helping me. They fixed my limp with a lift for my right shoe and the difference is miraculous to me.

She also gave me a drug to help me sleep, and I’m now snoozing at least five hours at a go. It’s heaven.

I am trying to see past my disappointment in my rheumatologist right now, but it is hard.

Am I the only one going through this? If you have a story to share, please do.

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