Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Doctor Drama!

Things have been seriously crazy in my life right now. So you may see a few updates in a row. Don't be alarmed, its just the flow of random thoughts and posts I had in my head for a while and waiting for the actual time to put them down on "paper". And instead of creating some super ridiculous rambling post, I'm gonna break it down for you. :)

So...back to Dr drama. I've never really liked my Primary Care Physician. She tends to overreact to labs/symptoms/situations when my other Dr's roll their eyes and tell me I'm being paranoid when I ask them about it. No...sorry, not me...just got a little freaked out about the phone calls and referrals to specialists that apparently are not necessary. Before you go into a lecture on why I stayed with her for so long, let me explain...

Now don't laugh...but I saw my pediatrician until I was 17... I know right? Stop laughing. She was awesome! She's actually the Dr I was seeing when I first started getting sick and having symptoms of RA. She narrowed down the field a bit and sent me on to my rheumatologist to figure things out. That's when she decided it was time for me to find a regular PCP; it also coincided with me leaving shortly for college. So I took the first name off the list of those she suggested that would agree to take me (first mistake...always check into it before making a blind leap into the unknown. Professional referrals are good, but patient opinions are occasionally more accurate.) I saw her a few times and discovered different things I didn't like about her, but as I was leaving soon for Ohio (I live in Pa) it didn't seem like switching Dr's again was top of my priority list...I wouldn't be seeing her much anyway right? flags in my details of Dr drama:

  • When discussing a possible medication addition for cramping she tells me: "well you're already taking Peroxicam, which is what I prescribe for that all the time. Let me look, I'm not sure what the highest allowable dose is..." Not even kidding...right there, looked it up. Gotta give her props for admitting she didn't know, and yes I am aware there are hundreds of medications out there and she can't know them all by heart ( I worked in a pharmacy for 4 years, believe me I know...) But seriously? If you prescribe something ALL THE TIME wouldn't you think she'd know the maximum allowable dosage?? Does not instill a lot of confidence. 
  • Whenever I got sick, had any kind of infection, flare up or other medical problems she would test for anything that could even remotely be related to my symptoms. I mean everything. I can't begin to tell you how many times I've been tested for mono. I've never had it. But I've been tested for it at least 10 times, probably more. I have a chronic inflammatory disease. One of the main complaints of RA sufferers is fatigue. Seriously...if I'm achy, sore and sleeping all the time...I'm having a flare up, I don't have mono. Every time my glucose level has been a little on the high side, she'd have the tests redone. I've had the fasting time delayed glucose test twice. Both came back negative. She tells me I have occasional hyperglycemia, my rheumatologist (dr mak) tells me its normal to be elevated while I'm sick/during a flare. 

So I try to avoid going to her if at all possible, and try to only go when unrelated sickness occurs when I'm not having a routine appt with dr mak (my rheumatologist) However, not even that works all the time. Because she's my PCP, all of my test results, etc automatically get sent to her. So I'd get phone calls because she didn't like the results of blood work that she didn't order, nor did the other physicians deem necessary to report or consider a problem. And she would then insist I come in to see her about them, get additional testing, or see a specialist. However, other than the fact that she tends to be an alarmist, and lets be honest, that's not a trait I want in my Dr, (how bout you?) there are the other "little" things that completely bug me about her office.

  • For starters, her receptionist is extremely rude, second only to the billing lady at my dentists office who insists that she can't separate my dental billing/info from my moms (can we say HIPPA violation?). But that's another story... 
  • Also, EVERY SINGLE TIME I've gone into see her I've had a wait time of no less than an hour and a half...and that's before even being taken back to the exam room to wait some more...And I'm not just talking those sick visits she would fit me in for, these are also routine scheduled appt's. It's ridiculous. And seriously, the last thing I want to do when I feel like absolute crap, have a fever of over 101, sinus infection, etc is sit in her waiting room for two hours just to have her tell me she doesn't know whats wrong, order a bunch of tests, and tell me she'd rather refer me than prescribe anything for me. Thanks, that was an awesome use for my time, glad I woke up, drug myself out of bed, into your cold, uncomfortable office for that...yes, thank you. 

So after the last flare-up landed me in the ER with rapid heart rate, pneumonia, chest pain and irregularities in kidney function on blood tests....and I got that phone call of overloaded concern...I asked my rhuematologist for a referral for a new PCP. He of course wanted to know why I was unhappy with my current physician, but promptly gave me information upon hearing my reasons. So the search was on for a new PCP, I'd finally had it. Check for my next post on how I actually made my decision...its an interesting story... :)


  1. May I give you my two cents? Call ahead to your doctor next time and ask them how late they are running. Tell them to pull your chart and you'll be there in X amount of time. It may or may not work. Our PCP will accept us doing this as my sitting still on a bad day is a bad day for anyone around me.

    Now on the "over" doing it with labs. I'm torn here. Most of us can't find a doctor worth squat for years to pay attention, give attention or call to attention anything going on. So on one hand I want to say, "try to embrace your doctors over zealousness until she is comfortable with your disease" But then, if your paying out of pocket, put the brakes on.

    Just tell your dentist, "IT VIOLATES HIPPA". Nothing more needs to be said really but if you need to, tell them it violates your right to privacy and don't whisper it because others are nearby. Usually, if you embarass them, they will change their ways.

    My hubs was in cvs picking up a script. It was a controlled substance. Crazy lady behind the counter hollers out his name AND the drug. Can you imagine, leaving cvs and some dumb ass wants to hold him up because the street value of the drug far outweighs the risk of being caught. Well I was pissed. I got hold of the manager and told him what happened. We left. Next day, she is no longer there. Speak up for yourself and DEMAND YOUR HIPPA rights.

    Hugs to you

  2. Thank you! I love comments! I'd love for this to be a place for discussion (and debate where appropriate). I know what you mean with everything, the time thing wouldn't bother me as much if I didn't always get the feeling she doesn't really know what she's talking about. She doesn't exude confidence, and often hems and haws about things and second guesses herself...out loud, in front of me...and that just makes me nervous. I've been seeing her almost as long as I've had (or thought I'd had) RA, and don't feel she's made any effort to learn more about it or become more familiar with my medications or popular course of treatment. Obviously, I still need to see a rhuematologist for my MCTD (ra/lupus, whatever you want to call it) but I'd like my dr to at least make an effort and feel confident they can handle my health situations. She got super concerned about whether or not she should give me a medrol dose pack once, and that she couldn't get a hold of dr mak to verify that I do indeed take them during flares or can actually take them with my other medications, that she actually called another rhuematologist, who I've never seen, to get his opinion because she knew she could get in touch with him. She then wrote the prescription and tried to get me to change my rhuematologist...and told me not to tell anyone she'd called him, cause she's not supposed to do that...yeah...awesome...

    As for the dentist thing, we've had the hippa debate a million times, apparently the billing lady is not concerned nor does she think its an issue. If I didn't LOVE my dentist, I would totally be out of there. But I don't have dental and my dentist is awesome and really good about payment plans.

    Sorry about your CVS problem, some people can be really stupid about things. I worked in a pharmacy for 4 years, and we all underwent hippa training and were certified. So when I see blatant hippa violations, it really irks me.