Why do some doctors have to be so impossible?

I had Friday off work, so I had scheduled a couple of doctor appointments – one for my knees, the other for my female problems with a brand new doc. (Don’t worry, I’ll cut tag when I get to that part.) Both doctors are located in the professional suite at the local hospital — in fact they’re at opposite ends of the hall from each other. So getting from one office to another would be nice and easy, as long as the first appointment didn’t go over. First appointment was at 10AM, the second at 11:45AM, but they wanted me there by 11:15AM since I’m a new patient.

My knee doctor appointment was to get the first in a series of 3 shots to each knee. Since mom & I weren’t sure how my knees would react to the shots, she volunteered to drive me to the hospital and drop me off, then come back up there at 12:15PM to pick me up. That way, if my knees DID decide to seize up (like they have in the past with the steroid injections), I wouldn’t have to worry about attempting to drive. And, she wasn’t stuck all day at the hospital with me, waiting. She might have to wait for me a little to finish up with the second doctor, but we figured it wouldn’t be too terribly long (especially since it was close to when they break for lunch!).

We left so that I would get there about 15 minutes before my appointment with the knee doc. That left me time to run down the hall and drop off my new patient questionnaire with the other doc, and still make it to the knee doc right on time. I walked into the knee doc’s office with 2 other families. This made me a little paranoid that my timing would be off and I’d be late for the second appointment, but I didn’t need to worry. I got in there, had a brief wait, then it was back to an exam room where I waited a little more. After a quick examination of my knees, it was time for the shots. The ones I’m getting now, as I said, are in a series of 3 per knee, and I’m getting both knees done at the same time. The brand of injections is Supartz, not Euflexxa as I thought it was going to be – but either way, they accomplish the same thing of replacing the synovial fluid that is lacking in my joints. After both shots were administered, I paid and headed down the hall to the little lobby area near the elevators. It was only 10:45AM, so I still had 30 minutes until my next appointment. I was pleased that my planning the two appointments so close together didn’t backfire in my face! haha.

After killing time, I headed to the other doctor’s office. There was only one other person waiting, so that was encouraging. I figured that they had wanted me there early to fill out paperwork – the stuff that I’d already filled out and dropped off that morning. So if I had to wait another 30 minutes before going back because my paperwork was already done, I was cool with that. I had my book and settled in to wait. Well, I ended up getting called back early – probably about 11:20-ish. I went through all the normal pre-visit questions with the nurse as she went over my files, took my pulse and BP and all that fun stuff.

Quick aside – I forgot to mention that my heart doesn’t beat right before she took my pulse. It completely freaked her out at first that it was beating fast, then stopping, then starting again. Haha. She had to attempt to take it a second time, but the funky beats do make it difficult to take a 10 or 30 second pulse and multiply it out to a minute. *giggles*

Anyway, we get all that stuff, and she leaves the room, saying the doctor will be with me shortly. Since I’m in there so early, and the doctor is apparently already on her way, I decide to text mom and tell her to go ahead and come up a little early, maybe shoot for getting there @ 12 instead of 12:15. About 5 minutes later, the nurse comes back in and asks if the front desk had informed me that the doctor was doing a c-section that morning (no, they hadn’t), and to let me know that the surgery was running a little late, but the doctor would be down as soon as possible. The surgery part of the hospital is just a 5 minute walk from the professional offices, so no biggie. I was not annoyed that I’d have to wait a little more – but I was annoyed that I hadn’t been told that earlier, since I’d just told mom to come up earlier. I texted her again — she’d already left. Crap. Oh well, she said she’d still come up and wait.

So we wait – me in the exam room, mom out in the waiting room. And we wait. And we wait. Again, I’m not upset that I have to wait. If there an issue with the surgery, that’s much more important than me. I understand that. I had my book, so I just settled in and read. At one point, the nurse popped her head in to let me know that the doctor was done with surgery, and was rushing back to the office and would be in to see me shortly. It’s a bit after noon, so I’ve been waiting for about an hour at this point. I texted mom and let her know they told me the doctor would be in to see me shortly. The nurse came back in a few minutes later, and we determined that they had misplaced the medical records I had brought up at the beginning of the week. About 10 minutes later, she pops in again to let me know they finally found them.

I’m now expecting the doctor to be in at any time, since they told me she’d be there. But I sit there and wait. And wait. And wait. I start getting a little grumpy. (I later find out from mom that they took back another family while I was back there waiting. We believe the doc went and saw them FIRST, before coming in to see me. Even though my appointment was earlier than theirs.) Finally, around 1PM, I start texting mom, telling her if she wants to go get something to eat, it’s okay. She doesn’t have to wait on me to be done. At 1:07PM, mom finally agrees. The text she sent me said “Am going to get lunch. Nurse said she [doc] would be with you for about an hour.” I texted her back a minute later saying I still hadn’t seen the doc yet, so it’s fine for her to go eat. I get a response from mom at 1:10, saying “she told me she was on her way in to see you”. Right as I receive & am reading the text, the doctor walks in.

So, now it’s 1:10 PM, (Yes, the time is important) and I’m finally seeing the doctor. And this is where I’ll go ahead and cut-tag the entry, since it’s all about personal things & female issues. (OH! Quick note before I go on. When the nurse initially saw me at 11:20-ish, after discussing my history and everything, she lets me know that because of my past, the doctor might decide to do an endometrial biopsy on me, and gets out all the equipment – “just in case” – so it’d be ready if she did. I was hoping that she wouldn’t, because those things hurt like freaking HELL!!!)

Okay, anyway, it’s 1:10, the doctor just walked in. She apologizes for being late, saying she was in a c-section, and there were complications with the mom bleeding too much. No problem, as I said earlier, I know that the mom was a LOT more important than me … but I am a teensy bit grumpy at having to wait an hour AFTER I was told the surgery was done and the doctor was on her way back. So, she takes a glance at my chart, and asks me a few questions about my history. (Instead of typing out all my issues again, I’ll just link you to the older posts.) She asks if I have any desire to have kids – my answer is no. Her response was that made treatment options a lot easier, so that was good. She has me get partially undressed, and get on the table for a very quick exam. (Another aside here, while I know that she’s about to do a female exam – she’s the first doctor I’ve seen who hasn’t left the room while they have you get undressed and on the table under the little paper blanket.) After the exam, she writes out a prescription for meds that I’ve taken before, and that don’t work properly with my system. (I’d already told her this at the beginning of the exam, but, well. Apparently that didn’t matter.) She then starts describing the procedure she’d want to do. Even though she didn’t state the name of it, I can tell where her description is going, so I ask “An ablation?” Her: “Yes.”

Well, I figured that would be the first procedure to come up. It’s also a procedure I DO. NOT. WANT. Now, I don’t have anything against it, it’s just not for me. Statistics show that of women that have had this procedure, somewhere between 80-90% (depending on which article you read) will end up with “normal” cycles afterward. I have a very high tendency to fall into the smaller percentages who procedures don’t work for, or for whom there are more complications, etc. So, that’s one reason I don’t want to have an ablation. The other — I do not ever wish to have a period again. Ever. Having one that lasted for 10 months, after having others that lasted 4 and 6 months each? Um. Yeah. I’d rather have it all ripped out and never deal with it again.

I inform the doctor that I would really prefer to have a hysterectomy. Her response? “There’s less recovery time for an ablation, so it would really be a better procedure.” I don’t care about that, so I tell her that I have done some research on ablations, and I know that they are not guaranteed to stop periods. And since I don’t ever wish to have another period again, a hysterectomy would be a better procedure for me. Her response, again? “Well, the ablation is an outpatient procedure, done here in the office, so it has less recovery time. I think we should try that.” I don’t give a rat’s ass about if it’s out- or in-patient. And yes, I know a hysterectomy would have a longer recovery time. That’s all fine and dandy. I still prefer a hysterectomy. The doctor, though, is VERY adamant about me having an ablation. She even says that we should do the ablation, and if I’m not satisfied with it, then we can go the hysterectomy route. Finally, I just say “yeah, sure,” because I figure we’ll have to do a bunch of tests and stuff first, and that leaves plenty of time for me to argue my case. 😉 So, she gives me the prescription, and tells me that she wants me to schedule an ultrasound and a follow-up appointment, then she leaves the room so I can get dressed. I slowly work my way off the table (it isn’t easy getting on/off those things when you have bad knees, and a tiny little platform to step down onto!) and get dressed.

Once I’m done, I head up to the front counter to schedule my appointments. The nurse says she’ll be with me in a minute, so I go ahead and text mom to let her know I’m done. I look at the time as I send the text — it’s now 1:21 PM. Seriously. That entire visit with the doctor took only TEN MINUTES!!!! Well, eleven, including me getting dressed and to the front desk. And yet, when my mom left to go get lunch, the nurse told her the doctor likes to spend an HOUR with new patients. Ummmm. Yeah. Not even remotely close there. And if we hadn’t disagreed on the possible course of action, I’m pretty sure I would’ve been out of the office a few minutes earlier. That is just absolutely ridiculous. I seriously got the feeling that my appointment was rushed, just so she could finally go to lunch, since she hadn’t gone yet.

I went ahead and scheduled the other two appointments. That took at least 5 minutes, because we had some conflicting times with my upcoming knee appointments. Once we figured out when was good, I was all done. When I was finishing up and getting directions to the cafeteria from the nurse (where she had sent my mom), mom walked back in the waiting room. So we headed home, and I told her about all the crap with the doctor. She and I both started getting more and more upset as we went over it all. I’ve decided that I’m going to cancel my follow up appointments, and just find another new doctor. It makes me a little more upset that my old doctor decided to close her practice, especially since we’d JUST started having treatment discussions on my last appointment with her, and she would’ve been likely to agree with my preference. Sigh.

Back to my knees, though – they seem to be doing very well. They didn’t seize up on me, thankfully! For some people, the shots can take up to 6 months before there is noticeable improvement. So, while I’m not holding my breath for anything to change any time soon (esp. since I have 2 more rounds of shots to go), I was surprisingly almost pain-free yesterday. Today they are somewhere in between. Better than they have been, but definitely a long way from good still. I think I’m suffering from some of the side-effects though. I was nauseous all day yesterday, and it’s a little bit worse today. Oh well. I can suffer a few days of nausea if it helps my knees feel better.

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