The Fourth Appointment aka The “Probably” Appointment

March 3, 2009 at 2:33 pm 4 comments

The fourth appointment in my journey to rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis was actually my first appointment with my rheumatologist. Ihad to wait almost three months for my appointment with her, but fortunately my PCP had given me a prescription for Feldene (piroxicam) anNSAID to help with the pain and stiffness in my hands and feet to hold me over until I saw her. It helped quite a bit, but I still wasn’t 100% like I had been when I took the prednisone.

The drive ended up being almost two hours to her office and this was not because of traffic. It was straight driving for two hours. Sadly, there are no rheumatologists in the town where I live, but my doctor does come down here once a month for followups. Just my first appointment was required to be at her main office. I have a fear of driving, so I am very grateful that she comes here.

I got to her office, which is in a large complex, and walked into the waiting room. It barely looked like a waiting room! Other than the receptionist’s desk, it looked like someone’s fancy living room in their house. A couple of plush, flowered chairs and love seats. Cute little end tables. It looked nothing like the doctor’s offices I was used to seeing with their generic chairs and cold decor.

She also spaces out her appointments. There were never more than two patients in her waiting room at one time. How awesome is that! I’m so used to the cattle call that most doctor’s waiting rooms are.

I got my clipboard o’paperwork from the receptionist and sat down on the comfortable love seat. I fill out the first page which is pretty much just name and address, emergency contact, stuff like that. Hardly anything. I go to the next page. Just something to read and sign. Next page…read and sign. Next page…read and sign. I go through the paperwork again thinking I must have missed a back page or something. Where was the medical history? Where was the insurance info? Where was my whole life history questionnaire? I went up the the receptionist to let her know I was missing pages. She said, “Nope. That’s all you have to fill out. Can I have your insurance card.” WHAT? This had never happened before, and I’ve been to other types of specialists.

It ends up that my rheumatologist understands how difficult and painful it can be for some people with arthritis (of all kinds) to fill out pages and pages of paperwork. She (her staff) does all the work of gathering the information from your referring doctor and gets the rest of it during your appointment. How completely awesome is that?!

When I get in to see her, she asks me lots of questions. My symptoms, how long it’s been going on for, have I had any unusual illnesses or infections, etc. She then examined my joints including ones that weren’t bothering me. I was having a good day (anyone with RA will tell you that you always have a good day when you have a doctor appointment-they never get to see you when are in a ton of pain and can barely move 😉 ) so was feeling defensive when she was examining my hands and they barely hurt. I kept telling her, “They use to be a lot worse.” I’m so used to never being believed by doctors that I didn’t want her to ignore that fact and tell me there was nothing wrong with me just based on this one good day I was having. 🙂

Thankfully, she’s a good doctor. She tells me I “probably” have rheumatoid arthritis and gives me a prescription for Plaquenil and some samples of Celebrex. She also gives me paperwork for some bloodwork I needed to have done and to have x-rays taken of my feet (my PCP had only had x-rays of my hands done).

After scheduling an appointment for two months later, I leave her office feeling saddened (that I “probably” had RA) and relieved (that someone believed me and was going to fix me).

The Invisible,

S.

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My RA Update Rethinking the RMT

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Sara  |  March 3, 2009 at 9:19 pm

    wow-that totally sounds like the spa treatment of rheumatologist appointments! No such luck here in NYC, but I do like my doctor a lot, so there you go. I know that mixed feeling-it feels damning and hopeful at the same time.
    Sara

  • 2. Cathy  |  March 4, 2009 at 6:44 am

    I am sorry to hear you have RA. It is not fun. However, I am glad you found a rheumatologist you like and that she believed you. Good luck in your journey and I hope you have many “good” day. Cathy

  • 3. S.  |  March 5, 2009 at 11:49 am

    I thought it seemed like an unusual appointment. The only problem is is that I don’t go to that office for my followups. Oh well. Like you said, at least I like my doctor.

  • 4. S.  |  March 5, 2009 at 11:49 am

    Thank you.

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About S.

I’m a 30-year-old living with multiple invisible illnesses. Rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia and hypothyroidism are just a few. I’m also studying to be a Medical Transcriptionist. If you get offended by anything I write, please remember I'm probably joking. I have a weird sense of humor. Leave me a comment. I'd love to hear from you!

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