and it is one of the best decisions that I have made. Many posts have referenced changing Rheumatologists or wishing they had. I decided to find a new one around the Christmas holidays. Why did I do this? My former doc was a nice guy, was good about keeping my medicines under control and issuing refills promptly. Everything was fine as long as no new issue or problem arose. Over time, I came to realize that he liked the "20 minute " patient. He wanted patients that he could see for a max of 20 minutes and then move on to the next one. Too much of his time was a problem and I was being rushed, albeit in a very friendly manner. When my Remicade infusion ceased to be effective, he really dragged his feet getting a replacement. I admit to demanding he find something that Medicare would cover. I was being seen every 3-4 months and we were not making much progress. The final straw was his response to my knee problems. Arthritis had left me with bone on bone findings in both knees. I had been seeing an orthopedic doctor and had taken shots (Euflexa) into my knee joints, as a way to avoid knee replacement surgeries. These “gel shots” had been very effective for me. I made it a point to advise him when I got these shots so that he was current with me and my arthritis. I had an appointment with him and I mentioned these shots while there. His response was “why don’t you go ahead and get the surgery. You know you will eventually need it, and you are just wasting insurance money to put it off.” There were a number of reasons not to have surgery unless absolutely necessary which he and I had discussed previously. I remember thinking that he had not listened to a damn thing I had discussed with him over nearly 3 years. Then I remembered he had never done anything except see me in the office. He had not even had a single x-ray taken. I decided right then that the time was now to make a change.
I got a referral from my ortho doc to another Rheumatologist. For some reason, our area has a shortage of Rheumatologists, so I didn’t know if the new doc would take me or not. I completed all of the paperwork associated with a new patient, including my medical history for the 24 years I had been treated for psoriatic arthritis. The first thing she said to me was “wow, you’ve really been through it and I’m so sorry.” I initial thought was here was a doctor who had actually taken the time to read about my medical history, and who had compassion for what I had gone through. I think many of you who have had similar frustrations with doctors, as well as battling this disease for years, can appreciate it when I felt I had definitely made the right choice when I changed doctors. She’s been great so far, and the difference in attitudes is phenomenal.
So, I guess what I am trying to say is don’t be afraid to make a change. As in any field, there are good and bad; and doctors are no exception. Don’t lose sight of who the patient is, and who the medical professional is supposed to be helping. Maybe those of you thinking about making a change will get some benefit from my experience.