I'm not quite sure when it happened. It isn't like I woke up one day and thought, "I need to be my own doctor," it just happened slowly over time. When I first got sick many years ago I allowed the medical profession to constantly inform me that all my problems were in my head, or I was fat, or i was lazy, or I needed to eat better, or I needed to relax more, or I needed to exercise more, or the pain was in my head, or I needed to have more sex (OK that one I was never told to do but it sounds good to me), anyways you get the picture.
Finally one day I had to see a different doctor because mine was out of the office and I was really hurting The first thing she said to me after looking at me and looking at past blood tests was that I had arthritis I thought to myself, FINALLY a doc who is going to help me. At that time that was short lived too because she sent me to a sports medicine doctor who basically told me I was fat and needed more exercise. I never went back to her and basically gave up on all medical help and any faith I had in doctors.
I went for my yearly physical in 2006 and said to my doc, "I can't continue to live on like this anymore." This time she actually listened and asked if I wanted to see a Rheumatologist? Of course I said YES! I asked her if there were any women in the area because I had already been to a male one, last name starting with the letter M, many years ago and I needed a doc without an ego that filled the room with arrogance. She told me there was a new woman in town. Dr. Jolene Key. Amazing doctor! I never in my life had a doctor spend so much time with me before. The first appointment had to have been at least an hour or more. She still continues to have lengthy appointments every time I go. I am indebted to her for listening to me, treating me with respect, and helping me feel better. After seeing Dr. Key I she suggested I get an Internist for a primary doctor. It just so happened Dr Cory was in the same office as Dr Key so I switched to her and love her!
Although I do have really good doctors now I have also learned to be a partner in my care. I have learned I cannot count on the doctor to make everything better. This is how I use to think when I first got sick. Why can't they help me? Why can't they make me better? Why? Why? Now I have learned my care is a 50/50 process. I must do my part. I try, I really do, to eat healthy, I get plenty of rest and sleep, I try to stay active and on my feet. This does not include a 30 minute work out like most people. For me it includes picking up the house or playing with my grandbabies, it is all something for me, not much for a healthy person but for me it is like climbing Mount Everest on a daily basis. Just keeping myself in order is a full time job all else is just an extension of life that wears me out to the bone. Crazy as it sounds!
I have also learned, in the past and especially after the past 10 days that when I am really down and I must call the doc I cannot always count on their advice and sometimes must take matters into my own hands. It is hard because I have an office where my primary doctors MA's think they can diagnose me for some reason without talking to the doctors. I can call and I get their advice when they never even talked to my doctor. Last week she even made me cry. Believe me I don't cry but when you are that sick it brings out the core of your soul and can bring you to your knees. I love my primary doctor, I really do, but when the help isn't that great you can get very frustrated. For me I am fortunate to have my Internist and Dr Key in the same office so when I was told "You probably had a bug" I told the MA to talk to Dr Key because this is NOT a bug. Geeze I am 49 years old I know the difference between a bug and my autoimmune flares. All this as I was sobbing. She apologized but it still makes me angry that I have to be the doctor when I am feeling so sick I can hardly stand up and I NEED a doctor. The energy it takes to even call the doctor is draining enough but then to have to explain to one person who doesn't take a message properly for the nurse it just makes it even more frustrating. I feel I am stuck. Do I leave a office because of incompetent help or do I stay because I really do like my doctor??
So once again I become my own doctor. Don't get me wrong finally after things got straightened out and the MA talked to Dr Key I did get proper advice. I really should be calling back today but I don't want to deal with the help again. Frustrating! So I decided to be my own doc today and increase my prednisone again hoping I get more relief from this hell. We shall she. Dr Dianne is in the house! Ya baby!
I don't write this to complain but to educate. I hope all of you reading this have learned you must take some charge of your health and your health care because after all you really are just a medical chart number. It sure isn't right or is it fair but it is what it is. So take charge! I bet you could become your own doctor if you needed to! Take care and stay healthy!