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Thursday, December 27, 2012

I can Fire him!

Do you love your doctor? I do. Not in a creepy inappropriate way, but in a very satisfied I know he's got my back, -and brain- way. My mother gave me the name of my current Neurologist given to her by a co-worker who had been newly diagnosed with MS and just raved about this doctor, so I thought what do I have to lose?  In the ten years I have been a patient of his, he and his staff have proven time and time again that they are there for their patients.  From same day return calls, often within an hour or two, to immediately securing me a space in the infusion center.  My neurologist is the one who broached the whole social security disability issue with me and then backed it up with a letter stating why he felt I needed and  deserved social security disability benefits. He takes an active interest in my life outside MS, he knows my husband is in the military asking about his well-being,  and asks about my daughters.  He will even go as far as shamlessly using my girls to guilt me into keeping up on my shots, "Do you want to continue going to their swim meets and dance competitions or do you want to sit at home and wait for them to call you and tell you how it went? Keep doing your shots!"  His nurse is a total dream to work with and has gone to bat for me over the years battling my insurance company.  I can always count on her for good advice about many of my health concerns, from MS to my depression issues and even if I think I may have a UTI.

I am very fortunate to have such a great office to deal with especially since that hasn't always been the case for me.

Being diagnosed at the young of 20, I initially just listened to what the doctors I first encountered during this diagnosis process told me. I didn't have any health insurance at the time and a lot of the times the office staff weren't very personable when they found out.  It was hard to get treatment when I needed it, and I just didn't know enough to demand it for my self.

Once I was married and had insurance through my husband I found a neurolgy group that had an MS specialist.  He spoke to me about Betaseron and Avonex, he got me steroid treatments after waiting it out a week or so to see if I got better first..."Whoa wait a minute", you say? "made you wait out week or so?", you say?.... Yep that should have been a warning sign, but it sadly I didn't know better.  I should have known that it should not take 2 days for someone from his office to return my calls. I should have known better when he always treated me like he had never laid eyes on me before at every office visit for almost 8 years. My eyes were opened when  I was sitting in the exam room,unable to urinate, walk, or control the spasms in my left arm, and his nurse/office manager came in and said there was a problem  with our insurance.  We had recently switched providers, and unless I paid for the office visit right then he would not be able to see me.  My husband was livid, I was in shock and didn't know what to do.  She said my other option was to go to the ER.  Well I'm ashamed to say we paid for the visit. Ugghhh, I didn't know better? Nope.

I decided I did not deserve to be treated that way. I was a human being and should be treated more than just as an office fee or insurance claim.  He works for me. He works for me.... and I can FIRE him!  It was an epiphany.  I could take control. Even though he had degrees and education he still worked for me and I didn't have to take that kind of treatment anymore.

I learned valuable lessons from my previous doctors:

I have to be my own advocate for my health.
I will never allow a "professional" to treat me like I don't know my own body and mind.
I will speak up when treated poorly.
I can "fire" doctors!

You might be asking, "well what happened with that last visit?"  I did end up in the hospital for IV steroid infusions and our insurance issues were taken care of very quickly, but I never went back to that office again.  I sent a very strongly worded letter stating how I felt about my treatment by the doctor and his staff.  I never received a reply and when I switched to my new doctor, they wouldn't send my records to the new office without me paying a copy fee first.

Well at least I know better now.

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