So yesterday, I had my first ever appointment with a rheumatologist. Her nurse (or PA or whatever she was) was super cool, but the doctor herself?
Not so much.
She was super dismissive and judgey, basically insinuating that all the pain I’m going through is entirely my fault from lack of access to decent health care (not because there wasn’t decent health care to be had, I just couldn’t afford it), poor life choices and shitty genetics.
I wanted to cry, y’all. I really did. She asked me a few questions about my pain, how long it’s been going on, yadda yadda yadda. Then she proceeded to judge the ever living CRAP out of me and insinuate that the pain was my fault, that I should just suck it up and deal with it.
She also said that I most likely don’t have fibro or RA or lupus (though how she knows that just by looking at me, hell if I know). I got the feeling she ONLY ordered the blood work for RA because I asked, not because she really thought it was an actual potential diagnosis. Her diagnosis, without ever even mentioning further testing, MRIs, X-rays, what the heck ever, was just “bursitis”.
Which I looked up the symptoms on WebMD and I’m not saying it couldn’t be bursitis. For all I know, it could be. But according to WebMD and several other sites I checked out, bursitis is usually temporary. It doesn’t last for YEARS. Or maybe I was interpreting what I read incorrectly. I don’t know.
All I know is that last night, I was up till about 1, maybe 1:30, trying very hard not to have a panic attack because of the way I was treated. I sat on the couch and couldn’t focus on anything, only the thoughts in my brain going round and round about how I probably DID cause all this pain I’m in by basically being uneducated and having no real choice but to work in food service or retail. That going barefoot (which she kind of harped on was part of my problem) was hurting me and that maybe I SHOULD listen to the good (????) doctor and just wear shoes all the time except when I’m bathing or sleeping.
I hate shoes. I really really hate shoes. They make my feet feel like they’re choking. I don’t see how my wearing shoes all the time is going to correct my wonky freaking feet or a lifetime of muscle/joint damage from having feet that weren’t put together correctly. I felt like such an ASS for admitting to her that growing up, we were super poor and shoes were for “nice” (church, school, anywhere we absolutely could not get away with going barefooted) and that I ran around barefoot all day every day except when it was too cold or wet to be barefoot. I STILL do…I love being barefoot and I don’t wear shoes unless I absolutely have to.
I’m also afraid I came off as a drug seeker after admitting that sometimes I used left over painkillers from my multitude of dental surgeries (due to my crappy teeth/mouth) to deal with the pain from my joints when Aleve, Advil or ibuprofen just weren’t cutting it. I explained how the OTC meds would kick my pain level down from a very intolerable 7 or 8 to a somewhat barely tolerable 5 or 6. I told her that I have kind of a high pain tolerance and that was the ONLY reason I was able to get by on OTCs most of the time.
I left there feeling like I’d bothered her, even though I had a referral and an appointment. I felt blamed and shamed and dismissed, which is a super shitty way to feel.
I’m going to wait until the blood test results come back in a week or two, but if they come back negative for RA, I’m going to cancel the follow up appointment I have with her in January. Because I just..I can’t. I can’t go through that again, can’t sit there and listen to her shame me for having joint issues. Can’t sit there and listen to her ignore the fact that my mom has fibro, RA and OA (osteoarthritis). That my grandmother also suffered from OA. So while I might think that my issues are at least partly genetic and beyond my control, the doctor does not (I’m guessing, at least from the way she treated me and the way she behaved towards me). I don’t know if I have the courage to find another rheumatologist, if that’s how I’m going to be treated. I can’t put myself through that again. I just CAN’T. It hurt too much.