Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Am I A Bad Patient Or Do I Have Bad Doctors?: When Is It Time To Dump Your Doc?

I’ve talked about my lack of attention to pain management, both with my doctors in Michigan and my doctors in New York.

Now I’m having other issues.  After my last rheumatologist appointment, which was in January, I was not told to make a follow-up appointment. 

And I’m not being required to get blood work done every three months like I was in Michigan. 

The last time my liver levels were checked was September, and at that time, only one, not both ALT and AST, was tested.

I’ve been having some itching attacks recently, which typically only happen when my liver levels are high. 

But I don’t want to go to the doctor.  The medication combination I am on now has been working fairly well for the most part, and I don’t really want to have to change it. 

Chronically low white blood cell count and extremely elevated liver levels have always been the downfall of almost every medication regimen I have ever been on.   

Plus, the way my current insurance works, I pay a $15 co-pay for office visits, but then I pay 20% of the total price of the visit and any lab work and other tests.  That adds up quickly, which means that I feel like going to the doctor only when it is absolutely necessary.    

And unfortunately, I don’t have the same rapport with my rheumatologist in New York that I did with mine in Michigan.  Despite his flaws and our issues when I first started seeing him, I really miss him, and would go back to him in a heartbeat if I move back to Michigan.

I’ve been told by several people to switch hospitals for rheumatology care.  However, I will be interning this summer at the hospital that people want me to switch to, and it doesn’t look like their rheumatology department even accepts my insurance.  

So I’m in a bind. 

For a lot of reasons.

How long should I be seeing a doctor for before I feel comfortable with them?  To be honest, I have ambivalent feelings about all of the my current doctors.  They seem like fine doctors, and I don’t expect five years of rapport that I had with my doctors in Michigan to translate into rapport with my new doctors in just a few months. 

But – if each visit is like a date – I’m waiting to get that feeling, and I’m just not.

And I know that my feelings about New York in general range from ambivalent to outright hatred.  But I really want to love my doctors.  Where my health is concerned is of utmost importance to me.  But right now I just don’t love my doctors. 

And I’m honestly not that sure how much they like me, either.         

So when do I walk away?  At what point will I know that it’s time to say goodbye and either find new doctors or get really ballsy and go it alone for a while?    

1 comment:

  1. What an important topic, Leslie. And dear to my heart. I've switched doctors a lot -- and within the same office and system. I think it's critical to our well being that we feel comfortable. That said, it's not always possible -- whether because this is the only person with this specialty or insurance, as you said. So, here are some questions: Have you discussed what you want/need with your doctor? He/she might not be able to give it but at least you have made this clear. If that doesn't change anything, then I think that you should leave when you feel you have done your best and when you've got some other option in place.