Friday, March 5, 2010

Breaking up is hard to do

I am doing it.
I am seeking a second opinion.

I am questioning the care and advice given to me by two of my many doctors.
I have seen these doctors for more than five years, so that's why it’s a bit hard.

It’s like a break-up.

My husband and I have been contemplating this change for some time now.
But what we needed was a little push. OK, a big push!

In fact, what we really got was three pushes. And lots of little nudges, too.

One push came from my local pulmonologist - let’s call him Dr. N. He joined my medical team last year. I like Dr. N and trust his opinion very much. He is honest and proactive. However, he is not an expert on scleroderma, and he doesn’t claim to be.

So it’s almost like a third opinion because Dr. N said it was time for a second opinion.

Why do we need so many opinions? Because it appears as though the pulmonary fibrosis in my lungs is a bit worse than last year. We were advised that I need to change to a stronger medication - one with potentially adverse effects, and maybe some unpleasant side effects as well. We were told there is no alternative.

The second push stems from our frustration with my long term doctors’ “wait and see” approach. Let’s say they seem to be more reactive, than proactive. This approach may be OK when a health problem is not very serious, but doesn’t seem quite right when the condition is both serious and progressive.

The third push came from my friend at Pulmonary Rehab. She has scleroderma, too. My friend recently changed to a different group of doctors, and has been urging me to do so for many months now. She even offered to drive me to appointments. She’s a great person.

The little nudges came in various forms. Like when one doctor did not show up for a recent appointment without much of an explanation from him or his office staff. Or when it took more than a month for these doctors to review a recent CT scan, and compare it to last year’s scan instead of one from six years ago. This review came only after contact by me inquiring about the scan, and pointing out that it had not be compared to the most recent.

Another nudge is what me and my husband call “the hurry up and wait” situation. We do our best to get to my appointment 15 minutes before it is scheduled (as they suggest on their confirmation voicemail) only to do so, then we wait, wait, and wait to see the doctor. Sometimes for over an hour!

So it’s time to move on.

We hope that this change will bring a fresh perspective on my care and treatment.

We also hope that I will receive the very best care possible. Without the wait of course.

But most of all, we hope that this change will bring us HOPE!

1 comment:

  1. My mom had the same doctor for years, for decades, and it was a mistake. He kept her on the same destructive track, probably because he didn't know what else to do for her. He'd basically put her in the hospital and give her all the pain medication she wanted. Not the path to healthy living. He never had a conversation with us about her condition. It was all very strange.

    So all this is to say, yes, for heaven's sake, try other doctors. You are a customer and if you're not satisfied, see someone else. It's your body and no doctor is going to care about your health as much as you do. My mom made the mistake of giving her power over to her doctor and she's no longer with us.

    Let us know how it turns out!