Have you ever read something but were left wondering – well what happened, how did the story end? I sure have. In an attempt to not leave you hanging after this previous post about my seemingly one-sided tango with my insurance company, I’m going to catch you up with the good news below. To be honest there are endless more noteworthy topics to write about, but today I’m completely exhausted from yesterday’s appointment and my brain doesn’t seem to be bringing anything else to the table.
Just to catch you up, in March of this year I had asked for a referral to see a new Rheumatologist. My health insurance basically spun me in circles; honestly, I’m not playing the victim here, for about six months. The referral person at my doctor’s office literally said they were “jacking me around”. Anyway that’s in the past and now we venture on, because you know…adulting.
A couple weeks ago I was finally approved to see a new Rheumatologist just as the initial referral was set to expire. I did have to wait a couple more weeks for the insurance company to renew the expiring referral but it did eventually happen (insert happy dance) and then it was time to make an appointment – seriously hip, hip hooray! I’m one of those people who is now terrified to go to any type of doctor after having had so many negative appointments so my nerves carried on from the date I set the appointment until the doctor walked in the room. And of course there were a few issues (because you know…me) but I won’t drag you through those.
Finally the big day. My son and I arrived at the doctor’s office parking lot at about 11:15, and this is after a half hour drive, so I’m pretty tired by this time. Just to clarify the thought of the journey from the car to the office seemed insurmountable. On a side note, my now 21-year-old son takes Monday’s off so he can take me to appointments and run errands for me. Sweet kid, huh? So I grabbed his arm and we made our way in to the office. Come to find out the appointment was at noon, but the check-in time was 11:30. Can I ask you chronic illness warriors something? Does this upset you as much as it does me? A half hour to fill out three pages is NOT necessary and we do not have the energy for this tradition in health care. Anyway, we weren’t called back until after 1. Not only was my son beside himself but I was exhausted, shaking, dizzy, weak and my memory was shot. I guess the good news is the doctor got to see me in a true state of this illness. So you may be thinking she said above there was good news down here, where is it!?
Here’s the good news. Contrary to nearly every appointment I’ve had in the past the doctor didn’t second guess me. When I gave him my four-page printout of symptoms (yep I’m not backing down with my long but 100% honest symptom list) he didn’t bat an eye. He simply asked what my most troublesome symptom is and I said fatigue. I know this is different for all of us but for me it’s this freaking exhaustion. And when I asked if he would be willing to sign off on a disability placard he didn’t bat an eye (Compare this to my last appointment with a random nurse at my PCP office who when I asked her to sign off simply said, “Why” in a snippy tone and then said she couldn’t do that). So the new doctor is running a bunch of new tests and trying new meds and most of all he listened to me, and my son. When my son said to him we have been here for hours and this is too much for her the doctor said let’s get her out of here. He was compassionate. I’ve just not had much of that experience and gosh it was refreshing. I felt like a person and not a number or billing code. When I’ve seen doctors in the past I wasn’t looking for a cure, I know there isn’t one. I was just looking for someone to hear me. Yesterday I finally felt heard. I obviously have no idea what the future holds, but for today I feel like I’m making a fresh start in the right direction, and that’s a good feeling.
So that’s about enough out of me. I’m going to let my brain rest now. Thank you for reading along!
Oh but one more thing! If you haven’t seen the film Unrest and you have iTunes you can order it now. If you have a chronic illness, know someone with a chronic illness or like a good romance…this is for you!
Here are a few more of my recent paintings from the World Watercolor Group daily challenge on Instagram. It’s open to all skill levels so if you want to come join us!