I'm just a few days away from my first appointment with a new primary care doctor. I'm trying not to be too hopeful or too pessimistic, but I keep going back and forth between the extremes.
- Whether she'll take my illness seriously,
- How she'll react to my long-running narcotics prescription,
- How she'll feel about my lengthy list of supplements,
- Whether she'll support my choice of treatment options,
- Whether my list of current problems will overwhelm her or make her think I'm a hypochondriac.
The pessimistic side tells me that I'm overdue for a problem doctor, since I've been incredibly lucky so far. I really don't want to lose my painkillers, though, and the thoughts of that happening make me pretty nervous. I've been on the same dosage for 6.5 years without ever asking for an increase or an early refill (unless I had extenuating circumstances, like a dislocated knee cap.) Those factors should work in my favor, but you just never know how a doctor will view long-term opioid use.
My hopeful side tells me that I can trust my clinic to hire great people, which is why I've had good experiences thus far. Also, I had my choice of 3 new doctors, and I specifically chose this one because she listed women's health and chronic-disease management as her primary areas of interest. Those are good signs.
If I could just go in for a standard introductory appointment, I probably wouldn't be too worried. But it's never that easy for us, is it? Even though my fibromyalgia is in remission, I have several issues to discuss. I quite certain my thyroid meds need to be upped. I've got a new-ish problem with excruciating pain in my tail bone. I'd really like a tens unit for my muscles that refuse to relax. I've had 3 sebaceous cysts lately. And sometimes when I stand up, I get an odd pressure on the back of my neck that causes my hearing to cut in and out in time with my heart beat. Yeah ... not exactly your typical first meeting.
What I try to do in these situations, and it's worked so far, is be really matter-of-fact about things. I make sure not to whine or sound emotional. I slip in a bit of medical terminology - enough to let them know I'm educated, but not enough to sound like I think I know everything. I listen attentively to their treatment/management suggestions and calmly explain why I made my choices. And I tell myself that if I'm being treated badly, it's OK to just walk out and go complain to the boss.
Anyway, wish me luck. I know I'll be increasingly on pins and needles until the appointment is over!
What have your new-doctor experiences been like? How do you approach an introductory appointment? What concerns do you have when seeing someone new? Leave your comments below!
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