My Doctor Is Terrible

My doctor is terrible. He doesn’t care and is too busy to pay attention to his patients.

I know I had said in the past that I was excited about this new doctor because he seemed to really care. That he wanted to put thought into my case. Well, not so much.

As you know, I had my follow up three weeks ago and he wanted to put me on Neurontin. Well, it took a week for my friend to pick up the medication so I didn’t have a chance to read the insert right away. The insert said that I should not take Neurontin with magnesium.

It didn’t say why.

So I emailed Dr. W. to ask what the actual interaction was. Nothing. No return email. I then called him a few days later to ask again. No return call, nothing. I then went into the office to get my blood work drawn and asked the front staff there if they could have him get back to me. Nope.

I then decided to start researching the drug myself. Come to find out that it has really bad withdrawal. I specifically asked him if there was bad withdrawal. He said no. What? How can it be so different?

Here’s the thing. If I can’t even get the man to call me back about questions I have about going on the medication, how is he ever going to call me back if I go through withdrawals? There are medications that he can prescribe if I have a hard time coming off the drug but it is useless to me if I can’t get him to call me back.

I even called him yesterday because I got my first cold in 3 years and I’m terrified. I don’t know if my back can handle a coughing spell. I called specifically to ask him if he knew of any heavy duty cough suppressants that he can prescribe. I also said that while I don’t take narcotics for my back, that I might be willing to take them on a short-term basis if it was due to acute back pain from the coughing. No reply. I even told the office staff to call me back regardless if he wanted to order something or not.

I should have called them back this morning, but I didn’t. I was feeling terrible and just wasn’t up for an argument.

I will be calling them tomorrow.

Madeline Fresco is a novelist who lives in San Diego. She is the author of CROSSED THE LINE, available for Kindle at Amazon.com, for Nook at Barnes & Noble, and as an ePub at other eBook retailers. You can also listen to her novel as a free, serialized audiobook atmadelinefresco.com. Her second book THE CHOICE, is available on Kindle at Amazon. Her third book ANGUISH, is available for Kindle at Amazon.com

I Will Be Trying Flector Vs Lidocaine Patches

So I have become quite addicted to wearing my Lidocaine patches. I started a few months back to try 30 days worth of Lidocaine patches to see if it would break my pain cycle.

It does actually make me feel better. I mean, it doesn’t cure me or anything, but it does make me feel better.

However, at the end of the 30 days, I was supposed to stop. I just can’t bring myself to stop relying them.

Yet, I wonder? What makes me feel better, the Lidocaine or the fact that it comes in a patch form? I wonder if my back just feels a bit more stable having something back there. Kind of like the tape that athletes use. Therefore, I asked my doctor to write for Flector patch, which is an anti-inflammatory patch. That way I can try a different class of drugs in patch form and rule out if it is medication, sensation, or both. I’m gonna start tomorrow with a five day trial to see if I can determine what makes me feel better. I had a hard time convincing my doctor, he just wanted to write for a Fector cream, but I insisted. He completely was not paying attention to my rationale.

The unfortunate part of this is that my new insurance, which is shit, does not pay for Flector. There is also no generic. That means that a 30 day supply is $300. I got 10 for my trial, but I can’t believe it. How can they not cover it when there is no generic? My Synthroid, Calcitriol, and Lidocaine patches weren’t covered either. It is really quite shocking. I can only imagine what will happen when I need a new MRI or a CT. I’m confident that my insurance company will not cover it or deny authorization.

The other shocking thing was the pharmacist. I had an inkling that the Flector patches would not be covered since my Synthroid, Calcitriol, and Lidocaine patches weren’t. So I asked the pharmacist if there was a generic of Flector patch or any generic anti-inflammatory patch. He said there was, which was the Lidocaine patch.

This is completely inaccurate. Lidocaine is an anesthetic. Flector is an anti-inflammatory agent. These are two totally different mechanisms. I can not believe that a pharmacist gave such horrible advice and completely inaccurate! What if I hadn’t known this! My God! It’s not life threatening or anything but these are two totally different classes of drugs! All I have to say is be careful people!

I will report back next week how my trial goes. I have to be judicious though and not take any chances. My commitment needs to be at it’s strongest. These medications are now too expensive to be willy-nilly about my plan of attack.

****

Madeline Fresco is a novelist who lives in San Diego. She is the author of CROSSED THE LINE, available for Kindle at Amazon.com, for Nook at Barnes & Noble, and as an ePub at other eBook retailers. You can also listen to her novel as a free, serialized audiobook atmadelinefresco.com. Her second book THE CHOICE, is available on Kindle at Amazon. Her third book ANGUISH, is available for Kindle at Amazon.com

Follow up with new Dr. W.

I had my follow-up appointment with the new doctor, Dr. W.

I think I will never learn.

I should have called before the appointment. We only left the house at 12:50 for a 1:00 appointment. We got there and they told me he was running 45 minutes behind.

Jeez-Louise.

When did I actually see the doctor? Oh, that would be 2:05pm. I checked my watch when we left the room, 2:35. So I have been waiting for this appointment for over a month, and he only spent 30 minutes with me. The other annoying fact was that he was supposed to write 2 prescriptions for me. He said “wait right here”.

He went to go see another patient.

What? Was I suppose to wait 30 minutes for him to come out and write the prescription? Did I not just see him with the clear instructions that I can only stand for an hour? Jerkoff.

But he wasn’t, I think he is just a very busy, and didn’t make the connection in his haste.

Ultimately, what I did like about the appointment was that he was prepared. He didn’t ask me the same questions, nor did he act like he was trying to quickly work through what he wanted to offer me. He right off the bat stated he wanted to test me for spondyloarthropathy.

I copied this from one of the subsections: Enthesitis[5] (inflammation of the entheses, the sites where tendons or ligaments insert into the bone.[9][10]), eg. Plantar fasciitis, Achillis tendonitis, costochondritis.

I have had both Plantar Fasciitis and Achillis tendonitis. There is also a section that describes having back pain for more than 3 month when you are less that 45 years old. It also states that I have tested negative for the others. These are all things that apply to me, so I think it could be a valid diagnosis and most certainly something to rule out.

As for medications, he asked if I had tried Neurontin before, which I hadn’t. That was what he wanted to try first. I asked him briefly about a few other items, but he was running short on time so I didn’t get a chance. He said he only wanted me trying one thing at a time, which was fine, but I did want to know what he thought of some of the items, not just that I wanted to try them all at once.

We did end the visit with him to research who to get PRP from. I told him I absolutely wanted to move forward with that.

I hope that something from this appointment yields some kind of a result. That would be great.

****

Madeline Fresco is a novelist who lives in San Diego. She is the author of CROSSED THE LINE, available for Kindle at Amazon.com, for Nook at Barnes & Noble, and as an ePub at other eBook retailers. You can also listen to her novel as a free, serialized audiobook atmadelinefresco.com. Her second book THE CHOICE, is available on Kindle at Amazon. Her third book ANGUISH, is available for Kindle at Amazon.com

First doctor appointment in San Diego

This past Friday I had my first doctor appointment in San Diego. I had a litany of errors which delayed me seeing someone, one of which was just recovering from the move.

Another was that I had signed up for Covered California and I found myself in a horrible, horrible medical plan. It was a PPO, which I thought meant you could see any doctor you wanted to, you just might have to pay a little bit more.

This is actually not the case.

The doctor still has to agree to contract with your insurance as a PPO. No one did with my insurance. I couldn’t believe it. On this insurance’s website there were maybe 3-5 doctors that I could see. For pain management there was maybe 5-7. The first one was closed. The second one was in a chiropractor’s office which seemed very sketchy when I called. the other 3 were from Redwood City — 7 to 8 hours away. Really?

I was paying $450 a month and I couldn’t see anyone.

Therefore, I spent countless hours on the phone over a few weeks trying to get my plan switched. Then I had to wait until the last day of February to change so I wouldn’t have a lapse in coverage. Right when I thought it was all handled? Nope, they called me back and said they couldn’t do it. I didn’t stand for that, and after and hour or more, I finally got my plan switched. I paid for the plan that day. This was a Saturday.

So I called on Monday to get my new insurance ID (I knew the cards wouldn’t be ready, but I thought at least I would have a member ID). Nope. No ID. I was told 7-10 business days. Well, shit. That was this past Monday, and the appointment was on Friday. I really didn’t want to cancel as I had gotten my nerve up to go.

Needless to say I called at 10:00 am on Friday morning and my appointment was at 2:00. Low-and-behold, something finally went my way and I got an ID. I then went online with Anthem Blue Cross and printed out temporary ID cards.

Phew.

I was very worried about the drive there. I have no idea where I live. In San Francisco, I had been well the 10 years I lived there. If you told me a doctor office was on California and Cherry, I knew exactly where that was. I would be able to pep talk myself into knowing I was half way there, how many lights there were. I would even be able to tell you if there were a bunch of bumps in the road.

That is not the case here.

I have no idea how long it takes to drive down certain streets here. I don’t know where the construction is. Is that one way street a time-suck? I really haven’t a clue. So that added to my stress.

Dr. W consults with the Chargers

Yet, the drive wasn’t so bad. 4 minutes! I thought it was going to be about ten, which is out of my driving range, and it all ended up being fine!

We got there and my friend dropped me off at the front. That was great; however, I couldn’t open the door. The nice receptionist came out without me having to ask and opened the door for me. She was a lovely young lady and she handed me what looked like an Etch A Sketch with a Palm Pilot stylus pen. It was the most cumbersome thing I have ever used. It took me 20 minutes to enter information that otherwise would have taken 5 minutes! I couldn’t even help but huff right next to the lady over it. It was getting so frustrating! Then my friend decided to help me finish it and even he was getting upset!

After we filled out that document, we were ushered right back. I liked that. There wasn’t a huge waiting room or huge amount of people waiting in line. The room was super tiny and pretty much entirely filled with the bed. We waited for just a few minutes and then could hear the doc outside of the room. Too bad there was one more snafu! Stupid pharmaceutical sales rep snagged him! I looked at my friend and was like “I”m not gonna sit here and wait while that girl makes a stupid fucking sale or tries to give him a free bagel so she can talk to him for 30 minutes!”

My friend, immediately on my side, was like “I’ll go out there and shut this thing down now.” I was like no, just wait a few minutes and see what happens; however, he already had the bug in him to stand up for me, so he went out there with the excuse that if the doc needed to talk to someone, perhaps I could get my flu shot now, instead of after the visit. That hustled the doc right in.

The doctor was fantastic. I will refer to him as Dr. W from here on out. Dr. W came right in and got to work asking me really great questions and actually listening. Myself and my friend relayed my strong reservations of being moved or manipulated form fear of becoming more injured as a result of the appointment. That was about 1/2 the appointment. The other 1/2 was giving him a background of all my previous injuries that may help him in a diagnosis of what is wrong with my back and what is wrong with me overall. Dr. W then went on to try to do an exam, but relented to just having me answer how it would feel if he were to do certain motions. I was super-duper grateful for him doing that.

He then said some wonderful things. One, he said “You are not normal. We have people who come in here with huge bulging discs that compress their spines and they have more mobility and less pain than you.”

I was like, I know.

He then went on to say that this all was a lot to digest. He said his first inclination would be to send me to physical therapy to see if that would help with my range of motion but that he was hesitant, as I have done in before and been hurt every time.

Thanks for taking the time to consider my case

Then he said this, he wanted to take a few weeks to review my notes and think on it.

How great is that!

I have had so many doctors just shrug their shoulders. One, even literally. One doc said to me ‘What do you want me to do?”

Not Dr. W.

Who knows if the guy can fix me, I know I am an anomaly, however, I like that he isn’t just dropping the ball. He wants to call my other doctors, see what they can come up with together. So far, I love this doctor just for taking the time to listen to me and the time to care enough about my case to try and do something about it. Really, that’s all I can ask for. It doesn’t seem anyone really knows what’s wrong with me or how to fix me. At least this guy is taking more than five minutes to come to that conclusion.

Overall, I was at his office for about one hour standing, which was completely reasonable. It was later in the day, so I was very worried about the drive home. After sitting to get there, standing, the stress of having to relay how shitty my life is, and then get back into the car? Yes, I was worried. Yet, it wasn’t that bad. The one ways on the way home worked in our favor.

Nothing happened that day that made me feel nervous. Sometimes I leave doctors and I’m like, well, that wouldn’t have hurt a normal person, but I’m worried for myself. Nope. All was fine that night and the next day. Today is Sunday and I’m back to my normal crappy baseline.

I’ll take it.

One last thought. I’m really grateful Dr. W wants to contact my old doctors and kind of conference about my case. My only reservation is that Dr. D who was my primary before, really is set on my condition being a result of idiopathic hypoparathyroidism. I just really want fresh eyes on the case, not for Dr. W to be swayed by Dr. D.

Also, in regards to that point, it makes me more mad that my previous sports medicine doctor wouldn’t consult with his mentor. I had blogged previously that my sports medicine doctor ran out of ideas on how to help me, and thought I should go see his mentor. However, the trip was too far for me so I asked if he would call him up to discuss my case. He said no.

I had seen that doctor for years in regards to my back ailment and previous ailments. He wouldn’t even consider going out of his way for his patient. This new guy? He did it within one hour of meeting me.

I like him.

****

Madeline Fresco is a novelist who lives in San Diego. She is the author of CROSSED THE LINE, available for Kindle at Amazon.com, for Nook at Barnes & Noble, and as an ePub at other eBook retailers. You can also listen to her novel as a free, serialized audiobook at madelinefresco.com. Her second book THE CHOICE, is available on Kindle at Amazon. Her third book ANGUISH, is available for Kindle at Amazon.com

Today’s neurology appointment

Today I saw Dr. K for my neurology appointment to find out why I am still having so much pain and if there was anything that he could do.

Wow. That has got to be one of the worst doctor visits I have ever been to! First of all, the door to my room was open. He walks up, breezily looks in at us (my husband and I), continues his conversation with someone unseen off down the hall. Then, he calls me by the wrong name, Beverly, shrugs when I correct him, stating “it must have been my other patient.” Uh … okay? I then tell him my case. He is unimpressed to say the least. He literally stares at me and is like, “what do you want me to do?”

Not vacantly stare at me!

I must have asked him in three different ways if he could think of some reason for my pain. He kept saying, “it’s a pickle the situation you are in.” No kidding! I live that “pickle” every day!

He was just so unhelpful. So completely uninterested in coming up with an answer. He didn’t even try! I have never been so disappointed. It was insulting how little he cared to come up with an answer.

Madeline Fresco is a novelist who lives in San Francisco. She is the author of CROSSED THE LINE, available for Kindle at Amazon.com, for Nook at Barnes & Noble, and as an ePub at other eBook retailers. You can also listen to her novel as a free, serialized audiobook at madelinefresco.com. Her second book THE CHOICE, is available on Kindle at Amazon. Her third book ANGUISH, is available for Kindle at Amazon.com

Random Ramblings: Neurology appointment secured

I want this dog

I, unfortunately, had to cancel my appointment the other day with a neurologist because I couldn’t find a ride. That was quite the debacle. The problem is, I can’t just take a taxi, as I can only sit in an SUV. That because I can’t squat down into a low car. I need to essentially just slide over. I can’t take the bus, because the step up is too high, and, if you are not from San Francisco, you can’t imagine how Kamikaze the drivers are here. I had a friend offer to drive me, that, again, he drives a mini cooper. Not going to work. My car is also in a parking garage a few blocks away, which just adds to the issue.

However, I was able to secure a different neurologist for Tuesday to hash out why it is I am having numbness and tingling when I lay down, if, as the MRI reads, is not coming from my spine. Which, seems, highly unlikely.

We shall see!

Primary Doctor Appointment – Yup, I’m Worse

After about 5.5 weeks of continued, ongoing, non-improving back pain with new numbness and tingling, I went to see my primary care physician, JD. After explaining my symptoms to him, he decided to do a test. He pricked the sides of my legs to see if I was having any diminished sensation. Well, sadly, I was. He said that it was consistent with an increase in the amount of herniation at my disc site. I’m totally not happy about that. All of this increased pain from going to see a doctor so that maybe I could get better, and instead, I am worse off.

So uncool.

 

Therefore, my doctor is sending me to get another MRI. This time it is at a different campus, and the MRI machine is not as good. Oh, well. I have no idea how I am going to make it through the MRI with this worsening back pain. Honestly? It’s going to be terrible.

 

The other shitty thing is that it’s late in the day – 5:10pm. I don’t know how I am going to make it all the way through the day, trying to mitigate as much pain as possible, then drive there. Jeez, by the time I get there, I’m already going to be done.

 

Since the MRI is so late, I won’t have any results until probably Monday, probably late day at that as well, considering that any emergencies over the weekend will take priority.

 

Unfortunately, now we are talking surgery. Not that I am opposed to surgery, not at all. The only issue is, it will probably only fix the numbness and tingling. That’s why I was never a candidate before, because I didn’t have numbness and tingling.

 

I don’t even know what to think anymore.

 

The other awful thing was that when I asked my doctor how this impacted my long term health of my back, he said “you were going to always have problems before this, and now, yeah, you will always have problems.”

 

I don’t even know what that means.

 

I hate the idea that I’m always going to be in some type of pain. How has this happened? I mean, I know, but, how so bad?

Random Ramblings: Lots going on – failed doctor appointment, 2nd denial from social security

There has been a lot going on this last past week.

It started on Tuesday being contacted by MetLife to find out if I thought I could do any kind of work. There were a lot of questions about what I’ve tried so far and how I’ve been feeling for the last year. It was pretty emotional having to talk through how shitty my life has been the last year and a half. I actually cried on the phone. I couldn’t help it. I really wish things were different, and to try and explain yourself to someone was extremely emotional.

Then on Wednesday I decided to go see the new back D.O. again. Ultimately, I decided to try and see him again. One, I felt slightly pressured (by myself) from MetLife to have a follow-up with the guy. I just wasn’t sure since I have been in continuous, worse pain since the last time I saw him. Yet, I thought it would be good to actually find out what he was going to do for me, since I was in pain and all, I might as well find out at what cost.

The drive there is only two blocks away. It hurt so bad! A part of my back that had never hurt before, plus the annulus, and all of the lower back muscles. I had to try and hold myself up in the car just to take some of the edge off.

We made it there, and, thankfully, they whisked me right in. He asked me how I was doing, and I told him the truth — way worse. He decided that he wouldn’t do any manipulations that day and wait until I wasn’t so flared up. I have to tell you, I really, really appreciated that. I’m so flared up right now I could barely walk around the block. I asked him what he thought I should do in the mean time, and he suggested getting some cranial massage to try and relax my nervous system. I think as long as the people can come to my house, that would be in my best interest.

Today I was supposed to see that Dr House guy. Again, the office gave me the run-around. My appointment was originally scheduled for 2:00. It then got bumped to 3:00 and then 3:30. She was so bitchy with me on the phone and I just don’t want to suffer trying to drive there and find that I have to wait forever just to see him and be in severe pain tomorrow and, well, let’s be honest, for weeks upon weeks after.

I had a long conversation with my husband and we both agreed (which was really nice) that I wouldn’t go. He called the office and asked since I already had the time scheduled, if the doctor would call me for a consult — she didn’t even ask him, she just said no. I think, just after this last appointment and how bad my back hurts, I’m just not up to it. I keep trying and trying. When is enough enough? How many doctors do I have to see? I’ve seen 3 back doctors, 3 pain management, 6 different physical therapists, 2 different acupuncturists, a rheumatologist, my primary, my endocrinologist, a massage therapist, and a myofascial therapist.

I’m so frustrated by this last setback. It’s bad. It hurts when I lay down again. Walking is difficult. Stretches — forget stretches. I’ve had to lay down twice just to write this blog post.

I’ll check back in next Wednesday. That will be two weeks from onset of flare-up/setback. Man, I hope it is in between the car setback and the bike setback. 2 weeks for bike and 7 weeks for car. Although, I feel like it will be more like the car seeing as it was a similar motion — leaning back.

Annular Tear Doctor Appointments: A new doctor. Again. Again, No New Ideas And More Pain

IMG_0355I went to a new doctor yesterday. He is an osteopathic back doctor. The last time I went to see JD, my primary, I asked him, as a last result, was there ANYONE he could think of that I should see? He suggested this guy.

 

All in all, he was very thorough. He asked all the right questions, was on point, and really seemed to listen. I did forget about how to talk with a doctor though who is trying to put you through their exam. It’s hard because in my heart, I feel like I should be able to do all the motions he puts me through. It’s like I have a preexisting synapse that says, yes, he should be able to put my knee to my chest. Yet, I was briskly reminded when he just lifted my leg up in the air to “see” where and when it would hurt. I guess I wish they could just ask me first. Maybe say “how far can you lift your leg” instead of doing it. Doing it has caused me to be in a ton of pain yesterday and today. The problem is, these pains, don’t just last a few days. They last weeks.

 

I have to admit, I’m exhausted. I go see these doctors because we are hoping someone can help. That someone will have the answer. There are so many problems when I go see these doctors. One, I sort of still get my hopes up. That maybe, just maybe, he will have the answer. When they don’t, it’s so defeating. I begin to spiral all over again about how much I have lost in life. Everything. The ability to have kids. The ability to make a man happy. The ability to work. The ability to play with my nephew and niece. The ability to be a more happy and less stressed individual. The other problem is the pain. I am in so much pain right now. Standing hurts again. Yes, standing always hurts, but, now, immediately again. Laying hurts. I can’t get comfortable at night. This whole situation is intolerable.

 

And yet, I have another appointment with this guy next week. Why? Because I still hope. I still dream maybe I will get better. I still struggle with the fact that most people get better. That only 10% of us don’t. I struggle with the fact that even though I didn’t have sciatica, which seems to be a worse condition, I don’t get to get better. The guy who drew my blood today (another issue, just routine maintenance), he said he had back pain with sciatica 16 years ago. He had surgery and now he is fine.

 

I’m not fine.

Cancelled “Doctor House” appointment — really annoying

My make-up appointment with Dr. House was today. It got cancelled.

I’m so annoyed.

I expressed to the lady who runs the desk just how vital it was that I do not stand around forever, waiting on this guy. I can not sit. This was abundantly clear to her.

So I call today, at 2:00 to find out how he is running for my 3:00 appointment. They say don’t bother coming in until 4:15. Smartly, I call at 4:00 to see how he is doing on time. They tell me I won’t be seen until after 5:00. I was like okay, I’ll call you back at 4:45.

This is where it get brutally annoying.

They say I have to come in by 4:15 because the lady who is going to take my blood pressure and EKG is leaving by 4:30. I’m like, I don’t need those. That’s not why I am coming in. So we get into a mild argument and she says I HAVE to get those done. There. I can’t fax them over from any other doctor. Really? It’s not like when you get your blood drawn it is only good at one location. So stupid. I explained to them that it was ridiculous for me to have to wait, and be in excruciating pain, to get two “tests” done, that only take 5 minutes. Well, maybe 10 with the EKG. They would not budge. I think it’s one thing that they need them, but can’t they be a bit more flexible, especially since they expect their patients to be flexible with a two or three hour window? Seriously, Comcast has a better window of service than this guy. Besides, the more I pressed them, it was clear that it was going to be well past 5, if not 6 before I would be seen. Really? They would make someone wait 2 hours!

So I had to reschedule. I really do hope this man can fix me, because, if not, I have waited 4 1/2 months to see him. If he says hmm, nope, nothing I can do … I will scream. Especially since my friends stopped by his office to hand him my health history, which, if you know me, is very detailed.

My husband is going to go nuclear on them tomorrow.