Monday, February 26, 2007

My Doctor SUX!!

I had to go and see my doctor today to follow up from an ER visit on Saturday morning. The ER visit came about because all night Friday night my left hip joint screamed in agony and when I got up on Saturday I could hardly walk, sit, stand or any of the everyday activities that a hip joint is required for. I took some of my anti-inflammatory medicine and waited for it to kick in. After two hours I decided I could take no more and went to the ER. I would have gladly gone to a regular physician, but there is not one open outside of BHAM or MTGY on the weekend and I was not able to drive that far.

At the ER I was told I had tendonitis in my leg. I told them I did not think that was the case as I hadn't done anything to get tendonitis in my leg and that it was not a muscle that was hurting. It was bone....grinding bone, as a matter of fact. I told them about my family history with osteoarthritis/porosis and rheumatoid arthritis and how all of my joints hurt.They took an X-ray and said "it's tendonitis"....but you need to follow up with the orthopedic specialist next week. They gave me a shot of Toradol (NSAID) which helped a great deal, a script for Motrin (why pay more for prescrition brand of something you can get over the counter?)and sent me home.

This morning I called the orthapedic specialist to schedule an appointment. They did not have one until next week but said in the meantime I could get the blood work to look for patterns that indicate rheumatoid arthritis from my regular physician and just have them forward it. I set the appointment for today and I just got back from one of the most frustrating doctor visits ever.

When the nurse was checking me in I went over why I was there and what I needed. I saw this same doctor back in late November for cervical spine pain and told him at that time of my family's history with arthritic diseases. He seemed skeptical. Today he walks in and says, "So, you are having some elbow pain is that right?"

"Yes. Elbow pain and knee pain and back pain from my cervical spine down to thoracic spine where the ribs meet the backbone. This is a follow up from an ER visit on Saturday."

"Yes...well I think you have tennis elbow. Lots of muscles connect the fingers to the elbow...blah...blah...blah. So, it's probably related to the work you do."

I let him finish this spiel and then I asked him, "So, what kind of work do you think I do?"

He looks down at his sheet of paper and draws a blank because there is nothing written there.

"Well your sheet doesn't say so I don't know."

"Don't you think that before you diagnose me with repetitive motion symdrome, tendonitis or tennis elbow that you should know if I do work that involves repetitive motion? Don't you also think maybe you should do some sort of physical exam? Have you not looked at the sheet I filled out detailing my family history with arthritis? The pain in my elbows is bad enough that it is difficult and painful to pick up a coffee cup in the morning and drive for more than 45 minutes. I do not have a job that involves any sort of repetitive motion. I work in the political realm which requires some typing, lots of driving and lots of talking but nothing that requires repetitive motion. And if it were tennis elbow then why do I also seem to have it in my neck, back, my knees and now my hips? Does tennis elbow cause joints all over my body to swell up and get so hot you could almost fry an egg on them?"

"No. Let me write you a prescrition for Loratab 7.5. That will take care of your pain."

"No Doctor, keep the dope please. I do not like opiate based narcotics. They make me itch, they make me nauseous and the incapcitate me to the point that I cannot get my work done. I am not here trying to score drugs. I am here for you to draw blood and perform lab work that looks for a pattern in determining whether or not I have rheumatoid arthritis. That is all I want you to do. Not dope me, not misdiagnose me, not refuse to perform even a basic examination because you think I don't have insurance. I do have insurance, as you will see on the form, and all I want you to do today is draw blood and send it to the lab."

And finally, that is what he did.

Why is it that doctors go to school for all those years and then not employ what they have learned once they get into practice? How can you possibly diagnose someone without doing a physical examination? Why is it that they offer you narcotics right off the bat? That should be the last line of defense in pain management. I just don't get it. Why do they treat people this way?

I won't be seeing this doctor again. Hell, he ought to pay me for diagnosing myself (as he apparently so no need to expend any effort towards that end) and for telling him how to properly do his job....and I've never even been to medical school.

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