RA & Spring: A Time for Reassessment & Renewal

Vanessa Collins Health Guide
  • Spring is finally here. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and flowers are popping their little heads out of the ground. The earth is awake! I am awake!


    I love Spring. Why? Because it is a time of renewal, a time of new life, a time to reassess and make changes if need be. Sometimes those changes involve health care decisions.


    I have a wonderful rheumatologist and a wonderful orthopedic doctor. What I am missing is a good General Practitioner.


    I live in a rural area of Missouri. I drive an hour to see my Rhematologist every three months. I see my orthopedic doc more frequently, and he is only 25 minutes away from where I live. I see my Urologist once or twice a year, and she is also 60 minutes away.

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    The one doc missing from my medical team is a good GP. I have been seeing a NP (nurse practitioner) as a GP for the last ten years. She used to spend time with me and seemed interested in helping me stay as healthy as possible. Unfortunately, she is not helping me much anymore.


    The last time I saw her, I was shocked. Her office was in a different place on the local hospital complex. She is now sharing office space with two Pediatricians. There were sick little children running around everywhere, as the offices share a waiting room. I was afraid to touch anything.


    At this time, I was in a boot and using a walker. No one in her office came to help me with the door to the office. I was on my own, and perplexed.


    I waited a long time for my appointment with my NP. This appointment was just to go over blood work results that she requires twice a year to write scripts for me. When I finally made it to the exam room, I waited some more.


    Finally, in walks the NP. She didn't ask me what my pain level was, or how I was. She didn't ask me anything.

    My blood pressure was up that day, and I know she was concerned about it, but she didn't say a word. She went over the blood tests and then left the room.


    A short time later, here comes the NP's nurse with orders in her hand for a stress echo cardiogram, and some other diagnostic tests. I was stunned.....and not happy!


    My NP's nurse wasn't happy because I made my own appointment with a well-known and well-respected cardiologist, instead of accepting their referral to a local cardiologist. I am no longer shy about going to the doctor of my choice.


    I talked to my heart doctor and asked if it was really necessary for me to have a stress echo, since I would have to have the chemical variety. I cannot walk on a treadmill. He asked me about my symptoms, and decided that a stress echo was not necessary at this time.


    My cardiologist changed my blood pressure medicine, told me to try to lose weight and stay away from salt. He ordered a renal ultrasound, which came out fine. Then he said to call if I had any other problems.


    Maybe my NP was angry because I didn't go to the cardiologist she wanted me to see, or pursue the other tests she had requested. She is associated with a hospital that is notorious for overcharging and ordering every test possible.


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    I do feel that my NP is intimidated by my RA. She seems almost afraid of me, and ready to send me of to a specialist at the drop of a hat.


    We all need a good GP to help us coordinate our care and to be available when our specialists are not. I think it is time for some Spring cleaning, so to speak. Time for me to find a new GP!


    Are you happy with your medical team? Are there any changes you need to make regarding your health care? Is your med combo still working well for you? Do you need better pain control? Maybe it is time to asses your situation and make changes if need be. After all, it is Spring!


    This is my first daffodil of the Season.  Happy Spring from my house to yours!

    My First Daffodil

Published On: April 10, 2013