Professional patient…

I’ve always considered myself as lucky that I have amazing doctors. I recently decided to change primary care doctor because of the location and their hours. It was a bit too hard to get an appointment when I was sick. I found myself going to walk-in clinics when I had a sinus infection or bronchitis. So I don’t have a new doctor until next week, but am sick as a dog. I decided to go to my health system’s urgent care. I figured it would be best because they have all of my health records on file. (Actually my former primary used to tell me to go there if I could not get an appointment with her). I should have known something was odd when they kept referring to their doctors as “providers”. A PA came in to examine me. I explained my symptoms (body aches, headache, runny nose, laryngitis, cough, and low grade fever) and that I take a biologic drug that lowers my ability to fight off infection. I explained how each day I am feeling worse even when I do nothing. I was figuring I had a virus and now was getting a sinus infection. It is what happens to me whenever I get sick. The PA leaves and the “provider” comes in. He looks in my mouth. Says you have a virus and a fever, so stay out of work tomorrow if the fever doesn’t go away today (it hasn’t). I asked about an antibiotic because of my history (which he can see in his computer). He responds, no, I won’t treat that. Call your rheumatologist. Uh, what?? The other clinic I went to in the past always gave me one to cover me because of how sick I would get. This doctor left the room before I could even get a word out. I told his PA I wanted it documented that I asked for an antibiotic and was refused. She looked freaked out. It ended up not making it in the file. I left, called my rheumatologist, and now have an antibiotic.

I get his reasoning, viruses don’t react to antibiotics, but I have a history (which he had record of) that shows that I can’t fight off viruses and I always end up with infections…ALWAYS.  When that happens, I miss a lot of work or I struggle to get back to work and get worse. I followed this directive once.  A PA for my doctor told me that I had a virus and an antibiotic was not appropriate.  Two weeks later, I was still out of work with raging bronchitis. When I went back to the PA, he was shocked.  Telling him “I told you so” was bittersweet.  I guess, in this doctor’s opinion, I need to get sicker then go back and he would then give me a script?? Now I should note that I am walking again now, but still have a surgical shoe on my foot and have to use a cane. So getting around is still not easy and we are having a huge winter storm. Getting to another doctor appointment would not have been easy at all. Today, I felt generic. Maybe it’s my fault for going to an urgent care, but I thought going to one with all of my records would be the best choice until I get my new doctor. Oh well, no more “providers” for me.  I really felt generic and not like an individual getting individual treatment. I’ll stick to doctors that actually look at me for more than 2 minutes. Oh well, live and learn….and always speak up for yourself…and fill in the feedback, I did.

So tonight, I picked up my script.  I am laying here with a raging headache and earache.  I think it will be appropriate for taking my antibiotic tomorrow.

I’m looking forward to meeting my new primary care doctor next week and building a good relationship.

 

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On a positive note, I look as good as I feel…. 🤒

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Kelly holds masters degrees in both Special Education and Speech-Language Pathology. She works full-time as a speech-language pathologist in both a public school setting and as an adjunct faculty member at a university, in Philadelphia, PA. She specializes in both autism and augmentative/alternative communication and took her skills to Uganda, Africa to start a special needs program for disabled children living in an orphanage in 2011. Kelly began experiencing symptoms of autoimmune arthritis in 1984 (while in her teens) but wasn’t officially diagnosed with autoimmune arthritis until 2001. Her first diagnosis was Sjogren’s syndrome. Eventually her diagnosis was changed to sero-negative RA and now Polyarticular Spondlyoarthropathy. She also manages thyroid disease (resulting from Graves Disease), fibromyalgia, renin-deficient hypertension, and disseminated superficial actinic porokeratosis (DSAP) on a daily basis. Kelly connected with other autoimmune arthritis patients via social media in 2008. She began volunteering with the “Buckle Me UP! Movement”, which evolved into the International Autoimmune Arthritis Movement (IAAM) beginning in 2009. Then became a cofounder of IFAA in 2013. She has represented the ACR on Capitol Hill as an Advocate for Arthritis, was a finalist in Wego Health’s Health Activist Hero awards in 2014, and speaks at various healthcare conferences as a patient advocate in the Philadelphia area.

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