Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Interviews Have Begun

Had my first appointment in six months with a new neurologist yesterday. I doubt I'll be seeing him again.

Very soon after he walked into the room he made it clear that he would not fill out any paperwork for disability, school, the dmv, et al, on my behalf. Ever. I didn't bring anything for him to sign to this appointment, and he was the one who brought it up (lest you get the wrong idea about me). Since he stated this policy early on in the conversation, I knew pretty quickly that we wouldn't be seeing each other again. A doctor's written opinion and recommendations are going to be very important to me in the next few months, so this was pretty much a dealbreaker for me. Besides, his outright and pre-emptive refusal sent up some red flags for me, as I have never met a doctor who had this attitude. It made me uneasy.

Despite my first impressions, I still wanted to hear what he had to say, and hopefully get a new perspective. He and I seemed to share similar ideas on improving one's quality of life and choosing treatment options carefully and with thought behind it, instead of prescribing willy-nilly, hoping one of the darts will land on the bull's eye. I figured that he may not end up being my doctor, but he was still a doctor and any professional opinion has value, right? (Spoiler alert: Maybe not.)

I told him my story, as well as I could. I was careful about my words while discussing my head's history. I didn't want to forget anything. Then we talked about ways I keep myself active. I talked about how I think gardening saved my life a little, and teared up. He was supportive of this activity and explained to us for a minute about how a sense of accomplishment can effect the brain positively and can reduce pain. I'm familiar with the idea, and I'm, of course, paraphrasing his explanation. We talked some more about how my life has changed, I welled up a few times, too, when explaining how hard it is to socialize and how frustrating it is to not be able to go out. I told him about trying homeopathy, bettering my diet, avoiding my triggers and trying to keep up with daily life.

He asked about the origins of my head pain. I told him about getting shingles, having to leave a job I enjoyed, and my previous doctor experiences.

Then things went south. He was uninterested in my individual symptoms, changing the subject when I start to explain my experiences. He told me I didn't have migraines, because migraines have a clear beginning, middle and end. I opened my mouth to explain the difference between my daily headache and my migraines, but then shut it firmly once he told me that my online resources, communities, blogs and forums were unreliable and an unhealthy use of my time. This frustrated me very much. Just because he doesn't do anything online but download porn and google himself, doesn't mean the rest of us aren't crazy-wicked researching geniuses. (Note: This last sentence may have been composed in a fit of irritation. I'm sure he at least knows how to use his email.) Bitter digressions aside, I can do anything online, including educating myself enough to survive the past two years without a doctor who is truly working with me. And I should have told him as much. But, I didn't. He had proved himself to be untrustworthy, closed-minded and ignorant. When I closed my mouth, I thought it was going to stay closed for the rest of the appointment.

Then he told me I was wearing a hat and earplugs to cut myself off from the world, that I was retreating and using the headaches to avoid reality. I corrected his assumption and let him know that I was wearing the hat because his overhead fluorescents (THE BLINKY KIND!) were making me nauseous and that I always wear at least one earplug out of the house, in case of sudden noise emergencies. And that I only withdrew from the world when my head decided it was too harsh, and I dearly miss my friends and family and working and my LIFE.

Without missing a beat, he asked me if I had ever been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, or found going outside difficult. I joked, "Not before the pain started." He made a speech about placebos working in people because they have faith. He asked about my relationships with my family. At this point, my boyfriend started to dominate the conversation, as is his defense mechanism when he feels attacked. He told me later that he saw the doctor playing the crazy card a mile away and was trying to head him off. I was already irritated with the doctor, feeling like he wasn't quite understanding my situation, and things got even more frustrating when my usually-polite boyfriend started talking over me to drive a point home with the doctor. (That I'm not unhinged.) The talking and noise were making me confused and cranky, as it happens. So, when the doctor asked my recently-noisy boyfriend to leave the room, I didn't protest. I figured he was going to ask me about our relationship, or some other personal questions.

But he didn't.

Because the joy that was this appointment can not be contained in just one post, I'm cutting the story off here. I'll continue it next week. Stay tuned.


Header said...

Speechless. And what is up with neuro offices having fluorescent lights?! It's so hard to find a good doctor, I feel for you. I'm seeing one I'm not fond of because I'm desperate for new ideas, but I don't think it's going to last. Can't wait for part two...

WinnyNinny PooPoo said...

Had one like that in St. Louis. I came in the door on my first and only visit and he actually THREW a handout at me on medication overuse headaches and told me to read that, he didn't need to see me. What a value for $400!

Sorry you got the armchair psychologist neurologist that seems to be prevalent these days.:( Looking forward to reading the continuing saga, but sad it was a waste of your time...

Jasmine said...

Wow, that guy was a winner. It brought back memories of docs I've seen.

Sue said...

Guys like this one make me want to scream, but my head hurts too much for screaming, so running from the room seems a reasonable option. Either that or jamming a pen through his arrogant eye - but I would never do such a thing. Of course not. :)

I hope you find someone who will listen. Soon.

Aviva said...

I've had the worst luck with neurologists and am still looking for one who will LISTEN and try to help. Most seem so uninterested. (I've seen three, if you count one required by my insurance as an independent medical examiner.)

I hear rumors there are good ones out there. But I sure haven't found one myself.

Btw, you're brilliant to think of wearing a hat to protect you from those damn fluorescent lights. I'm totally going to do that next time. I was in agony today at the ophthalmologist's office because of the nasty ceiling lights.