After waiting five weeks, the appointment with Dr B, the pain medicine doctor, was going well. She’s a good doctor and was helpful with my lumbar injections earlier this year. She listened and took my MCAS precautions seriously.
I wasn’t thrilled that I had to schedule an extra appointment before getting the cervical injections recommended by my orthosurgeon, but we are used to jumping through hoops, aren’t we?
Out of the blue, she sheepishly says, “Oh, by the way, I don’t do cervical injections.”
What???? Why am I here? And why did I wait five weeks to see a doctor who couldn’t help me?
She says she can refer me to her colleague, Dr. C, but he is very picky about doing cervical injections, so I'll need an initial consult with him before I can schedule the injections.
Are you kidding me? I need to start over with a new doctor? Steam was coming out of my ears.😤 Okay, maybe not real steam but it sure felt like it.
The EMG that the orthosurgeon recommended wasn't even on the books yet, either. Talk about being lost in our medical system, yet they weren't the ones dealing with arm weakness and pain that limited my ability to work and greatly decreased my quality of life.
I took a deep breath, looked her in the eye, and said I don't want this level of disability to be permanent. I want to work. I want to hike. I want to be able to use my arms and not be in extreme pain afterward. This has been going on for almost a year, and I'm worried further delays may jeopardize my recovery.
To her credit, she offered to do the EMG and the initial consult with Dr. C. on the same day. That way, the EMG would provide important information for the cervical injections. She did her magic and opened her schedule for the appointments only ten days out. As I said, she’s a good doc and I appreciate it.
The first was more egregious with a bait and switch approach where they told me I was scheduled with Dr. A, the expert knowledgeable about EDS, but when I arrived, I saw Dr. M, who just told me I was too complicated to ever figure out. It took months and a new referral to finally see Dr. A, the doctor who I should have seen the first time.
Not only did I drive over an hour to each of these appointments and pay for an appointment that didn’t help, but it delayed my getting the care I needed.
As much as I want to blame these doctors, it isn’t really within their control. With the rise of corporate medicine, they have less control over which patients are being scheduled. A fully booked doctor's calendar is the goal. Money is money, after all.
Gone are the days when the receptionist knows the doctors and what they do. Imagine if the receptionist had known my doctor didn’t do cervical injections and recommended I schedule with Dr. C from the beginning.
Gone are the days when clinics respected your choice of doctor and didn’t mindlessly move you to a doctor with openings without telling you about it. Imagine if I had seen Dr. A for the first time six months ago, bypassing the frustrating and useless appointment with a doctor who won't deal with EDS.
I know I’m complicated, and I appreciate my team is working to figure out the real cause of my issues, but I’m tired. I’m afraid. I’m in pain. I want to be able to use my arms.
I want to get the help I need to be on the road to recovery.
I now trust the medical system even less, especially when it comes to scheduling an appointment. Sadly, I’m beginning to expect wasted appointments with the wrong doctors unless I am proactive and better protect myself.
So I ask more questions. I call and verify I will be seeing the correct doctor.
With Healing Hugs