Rheumy...time to find a new one

Hi everyone...

I have seen this Dr. for the last year and have been disappointed from the start but I live in a small city with few rheumatologist's to choose from. At my visit today I made a short list of things to discuss with him and it turned into a waste of time. My biggest concern is the function of my hands. I am still working in the hospital in both ICU and the emergency room. I have found increasing difficulty in performing my job without significant pain and it is a real worry that I won't be able to function. About a week ago I had to complete my ACLS cert. and my hands were screaming after the CPR rounds on the manikin.

Today at my visit I mentioned the lack of motion in my right thumb and that I am dropping items often. He glanced at it from across the room and said "looks like it's about done" and that it's permanent. Then he asked about my foot that had flared up a few months ago (he did steroid injections so I could walk) and I told him it still is painful and sometimes has a burning pain. His response was that it sounded "neurological". Seriously.

I told him the tendons in my hands feel like they slip over my knuckles and he said that happens then the fingers deviate to the side but that I am not that bad yet. Appointment was over at that point and I was told to come back in 4 months and we would get x-rays in another year. (he does them every 2 years) My other problem area is my back and he dismissed it because I don't have SI problems on x-rays so therefore my back is fine....

Needless to say I left the office in a low mood and felt near tears as I got to the car. It may not matter to anyone else but my hands losing function matters to me.

Thanks for listening..

I am so sorry!

Been there, done that, got the T-shirt and commemorative plaque. I hate hearing that, and understand your frustration.I live in a major metro area. There are quite a few rheums here locally, but I finally found one that is an hour and twenty minutes away. Someone here recommended him and I have been very happy. See if you can get a personal recommendation from a friend, fellow PsA-er, colleague, doc, even patients; basically, anyone with a pulse that you trust.

I "retired" from the ER when I started Humira. There are simply too many cooties in there. I'm glad I did. I work from home most of the time and have pretty flexible hours and do good, challenging work. I love it. It may also be time to think about escaping the physical and emotional stress of the hospital too? Just a thought. I know some nurses who can't bear the idea of leaving the hospital. Just remember that our profession is so diverse and there are a number of areas that are less taxing and just as rewarding. You shouldn't have a problem finding a fit elsewhere if the need arises.

Good luck in your Rheum hunt. The good ones are so elusive they are on the "Endangered Species" list.

Thanks Grumpy. I will definitely keep looking for a better doctor and I appreciate your support. :)

HoneyBunny, it’s time to go bag yourself a new rheumy, even if they are on the endangered species list. It may take a while to get in to see a good one, so don’t give this guy the deep six yet. He’s better than nothing. I think.
Have you watched Dr. Arvind Kaul’s lecture on PsA? (It’s on the main page.) Some good info there. One of the things he said is that he thinks that PsA, unlike RA, doesn’t “burn out”. It’s never done, in his opinion. Sounds to me like you need a second opionion.
You’ve got the PsA book I recommend in “Book Reviews”, do you?

One other place to ask: your pharmacy. My pharmacist usually knows how people feel about different docs. If there is someone at the pharmacy you have built a relationship with, ask. One of the guys at mine even offered to call his cousin a couple of towns over to see who the cousin uses for his RA.

Wow....I know of the worries about your hands. I have been worried about mine a lot over the last several months. He definitely is a problem. He thinks the burning is neurological...that is such bs. Maybe he needs to go back to school...or further his education on PsA. Sorry...it really bugs me that you're having this problem as I have and am going through it. It also bugs me that he doesn't seem to know much.

When my hands were really bad and not changing despite changing meds...I called my doc a lot ! If I couldn't see him...I was asking questions through his office staff. They need to pay more attention.

I had to leave the job I had for a less physically demanding one....I now do a similar job, in an even better department with a better boss. I still drop things...it's worse if I try to rush. I have damage that has affected my function...esp can't hold change in my hand because I can't close it. As Grumpy cat said...it's a diverse field. Maybe you could start looking into your options without having to leave your profession ?

I hope you find a better rheumy...there has to be a better one nearby. Good luck.

I am so sorry you are going through this. I currently drive over 20 miles for my rheumy & about the same distance for my PCP but in another direction. I would rather drive a long way & be listened to & examined then drive a short distance & have wasted my time! What I have found out is that my rheumy more then likely will only do xrays. But my PCP doesn't hesitate to do an MRI. So I have my PCP send me for the MRI & then give the results to my rheumy. Because as you say, I only see my rheumy every 3-4 months. So for example just recently I had a horrible bout with sciatica. I did not call my rheumy ,I went to see my PCP. Even though I knew it was probably related to my PsA. My PCP sent me for the MRI. It works out so much better for me this way.
I always say take control of your treatments. Be actively involved. If your doctor is not providing you with the care you are satisfied, go someplace else. In the long run you will be glad you did. Best of luck to you. Hugs (( ))