patient, RA, rhuematologist, appointments, organized

I took another week off from blogging. Completing the Memories of Marceline book project has taken up a great deal of my time! I am hoping to get it submitted tomorrow.

In my last post I mentioned we would continue with steps to being a better patient.

The Arthritis Foundation listed the following six steps in their booklet: Let’s Talk RA.

Come prepared: Before your appointment you will need to write down any questions you have, if any new symptoms have appeared, and any additional items you want to discuss with your doctor. Take notes: Studies have shown that as much as 20-50 percent of what is discussed is forgotten shortly after an appointment, so take notes of the directions and things talked about. Avoid last-minute moments: Too many times the most important things are brought up at the end of your visit. Bring these up at the beginning of your appointment so that there is plenty of time to discuss them. Partner with your doctor: Be sure to tell your doctor any specific needs or concerns you have. You both need all information in order to be a team in the plan tailored specifically for your health needs. Be honest: If your doctor doesn’t know the complete story, any recommendations or directions given can conflict with what you are currently doing or even potentially harm you. Speak up: If there is something your doctor hasn’t mentioned and it is important to you, speak up and get the information. The only way to learn is to ask.

 Now, for my personal experiences: I went for a second opinion on the treatment of my RA since my last post. I very much liked the doctor; he was thorough and took considerable time talking with me. By the end, I thought: “Wow, this guy is great!”

Some time has passed and I have decided I will not be leaving my rheumatologist. She has been my lifesaver for the last few years and helped me get the treatment plan so I can at least enjoy life and have some relief from the symptoms. I also began having second thoughts about some of the things the new rheumatologist said and some of the things just didn’t seem to hold true. My current rheumatologist is wonderful and I am not going to leave her. She has done more for me than any other physician, but I guess I just needed to make absolutely sure.

I am a firm believer that if you have any doubts, you are having them for a reason. My issue was lack of sleep. The doctor I went to certainly did help me with the sleep issue, but I don’t agree with much else he said. In addition, his office was supposed to call me with test results and I have yet to hear anything from them, even after leaving a message. My nurse, Stephanie, would have been right on top of that. I wouldn’t have had to even leave a message.

How could I leave them? They have truly become family to me and I no longer have any questions about the treatment plan we have developed.  I guess I just needed reinforcement that she is the best for me and I certainly got that. Don’t hesitate to go for a second opinion if you have any doubts. The only thing that can happen is you find that the treatment plan currently being used needs revised or that the plan you have is the one you should be using.