Good doctor, bad doctor

Just when I have something to say, I accidentally change a setting that deletes the whole blog. Very happy that tech support was able to get it back!

A little while ago, I scheduled two doctor’s appointments back to back to take care of some nagging (not really diabetes related) issues. I really enjoy my endocrinologist’s office, so I forgot how bad and awkward other doctor/patient relationships can be.

Although I arrived on time and with my new patient paperwork completed, the first appointment started thirty minutes behind schedule. The doctor walks into the room and says, “Who referred you?” I tell him that I didn’t need a referral but my endocrinologist suggested he would be good to see.

“Oh, Dr. Endo? We share an extracurricular interest.”

I actually know about some of his extracurricular interests, so I asked him if those were the activities he was referring to. He says no, he is conducting diabetes research in his spare time. Should I mention at this point that I was at the allergist?

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From that point on, diabetes dominated the appointment more than the actual issue that brought me there. He expressed frustration that his work is not being funded. He was excited however that he had finished his research on mice and was moving to studying his treatment in dogs in just a few days. I think he finally realized I was not his target audience when he horribly misstated the percentage of JDRF funded research that involves type 1 diabetes (rather than type 2) and I told him he was wrong. He asked me if I had read a document that a specific organization puts out each year, and I told him he needed to do more research on that organization and their interests.

I am not sure if the awkward ending to our conversation was the reason why I was left in the room at the end of my appointment. His medical assistant thought the doctor was coming back and he thought the assistant was finishing the appointment. I finally had to let them know that I was still waiting in the room. When I return for my follow up appointment tomorrow (for a medication that isn’t working anyway), I wonder if he will remember me.

After being stranded in the room, I had to race across town to get to the second appointment in time. I made it with moments to spare, and waited in the waiting room for the next 90 minutes for my turn.

I had already consulted Dr. Facebook and Dr. Google, but it was time for me to consult an actual specialist for some pain I have in my non-dominate hand. After a quick exam, he determined it was the same issue that Dr. Google suggested.

Because I had an idea what the issue was, I also had an idea what treatment options were available. He explained that the most frequent treatments were either a series of steroid shots or surgery. When I asked him for his recommendation, he said he hesitated to prescribe steroids for someone with T1D. Especially since, as he shared, the shots are a treatment and the surgery would fix the issue.

I asked the doctor if it was weird that we decided on surgery so quickly in the appointment. We probably spent as much time talking about how quickly we agreed on surgery as we did agreeing on the surgery. The doctor had me do the pre-op procedures (paperwork, pregnancy test, blood work) while I was still in the room and told me his scheduler would call me to set up the outpatient procedure.

Considering the speed of that appointment, I was shocked when the scheduler finally called me a few days later. She actually left a voicemail at first, and when I called her back she said she couldn’t talk to me unless I was returning her call. I had anticipated having surgery within a week or two after the appointment, but the next available surgery date was eight weeks away.

I sincerely hope that when the doctor and I discussed the treatment plan, he had no idea how far out they were booking the actual procedures. I try to have a list of questions for every appointment, but I never thought to ask about the pre-surgery timeline. We talked about how long it will take my hand to heal, but we forgot to discuss how long it will still take until that treatment starts. It’s frustrating to lose half a day of work to two doctor’s appointments and feel like I am no better off than when I started.

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