And so it goes, SjoDry will maintain membership in the ranks of chronically ill patients who seem to be perpetually searching for the “right” physician. We are taught to shop for brands, bargains, price, etc. Yet, when it comes to our physicians, that concept becomes a more challenging proposition. Why is that?
I think the first assumption that we all have, is that we have started our search for and hopefully will find a “specialist” in whatever disease or collections of symptoms we are there for. We all share a general consensus and expectation that we are seeing a physician that will (if all goes well) develop into a long-term, care-giving and trusting relationship.
And let’s face it, the pre-appointment paperwork, insurance authorizations and more, are time-consuming and a hassle. It is a lot of work to research doctors, wait a lengthy period of time (sometimes months) to get in to see a doctor, only to discover that the doctor does not fit the criteria that you were hoping for. Or even worse, you were somehow made to feel dis-believed or invalidated as a patient.
The emotional build-up from negative doctor’s visits combined with the daily battle of chronic illness cannot be compared to the daily individual benign shopping comparisons we experience. I mean in the doctor-patient relationship, we are already starting from an inferior position. Disappointment in a brand, bargain or price is not very emotionally charged. However, a few bad doctor’s visits can easily shut a patient down from continuing the search for treatment. I know this from experience. At least twice, while crying all the way home from a negative doctor’s visit, I have sworn that I’m done. No more! I will not put myself through that experience one more time. If you have Sjogren’s or suffer from another chronic illness, you are probably now rolling on the floor laughing, no doubt! Of course, Sjogren’s (pardon my language) always bitch-slaps me back to my colorful and diverse symptom reality. Yes, once again the pain, inflammation, fatigue and all of it, forces me to start the search in my network provider’s database once again.
And then there’s the decision of which specialist to I look for this time? Yes, my multiple system involvement allows me the choice of choosing which dominant symptoms will dictate my specialty choice.
In spite of my reservations about going through the entire process again, I am still filled with a small sense of hope. Maybe this is the time that a doctor will truly care and look at my whole spectrum of symptoms instead of just their own specialty area. I sometimes entertain the fantasy that I might be able to establish a team of physicians who will (as they do for the geriatric population in my Mom’s area of Florida) actually communicate with each other about the same patient that they share in common. Imagine a team of doctors who are all on the same page in terms of a treatment care plan. Okay, I know that is too much to hope for and I’m not able to move to Florida (though I keep trying to convince my husband that the climate would be better for my health).
So here I go.. another day another doctor’s appointment. And the specialty choice of the day, is: Immunology. Wow, I was even given an appointment with only a one week wait. And, he’s even received 2 patient compassion awards! Could this be the one??
Stay tuned for my SjoDry update.