Friday, January 27, 2012

I fired my neurologist

Today I fired my neurologist, but he doesn’t know yet. He will when he gets the request for my medical records from my GP.

I’ve been frustrated with the doc pretty much since the beginning. He’s arrogant and has terrible bed-side manner, but I put up with him because he seemed to know what he was doing. After being his patient for four years, two events spurred the final break.

The first happened back in September. I called his office because I was in the grips of a blinding migraine that wasn’t reacting to any medications. At my previous appointment with him, he had told me to call in any time that happened. So I did. And got no response for 24 hours. By the time the nurse called back, I’d already gone to the ER and gotten the good stuff.

I went in to see him a few weeks later, and he had the ER report in my file. He asked why I hadn’t called in, and when I said that I had but had gotten no response, he just rolled his eyes and told me I should have just come to his office because they are always there. Except for when they’re not answering the phones or returning messages, that is.

At that same appointment, he also prescribed daily preventive medication that I’d taken in the past without result. He also referred me to a pain doctor to have nerve block injections. This was in the middle of living in the cute little rental house and trying to find a new house and dealing with B’s much more serious health issues, so I never had it done.

Last week I called the pharmacy to have my migraine meds refilled, and they called back to tell me the doctor had declined to authorize the refills because I hadn’t gone for the nerve block injections.

Final straw.

I’ve come to terms with the fact that I have migraines. I can do a great deal to avoid triggers, and I can take medicine when one starts, but there’s never going to be a magic cure.

Before you suggest something, or tell me that your friend’s cousin’s brother-in-law had great success with a treatment – yes, I know. I’ve tried it.

In the years since my diagnosis, I’ve gone to acupuncturists, massage therapists, chiropractors and physical therapists. I’ve done biofeedback and meditation. I’ve done yoga. I’ve taken preventive meds that dropped my blood pressure so much that I couldn’t walk across the room without getting dizzy. I’ve taken anti-seizure medications that came with a warning that if I got pregnant, the baby would have birth defects. I’ve taken stuff that suppressed my heart rate, which made it impossible for me to run. I’ve gotten Botox injections that were both hella expensive and painful. I’ve taken supplements and nutrients and enzymes.

And none of these thing has ever reduced my migraines. In fact, most of them made me feel worse, much, much worse. So when the neurologist suggested going back on medication that had made me sick in the past, I decided it was time to try something else.

I have come to peace with the fact that I have migraines. I know what can trigger them and do my utmost to avoid those things; I don’t drink wine or eat strawberries, for example. The medication I take when a migraine comes on works four times out of five. And when it doesn’t work, I can take a pain pill and go to bed. The times I’ve ended up in the ER with a migraine I can trace it back to not taking my medication in time or not having my medication (because the doctor is slow to call in refills) or to letting the migraine get away from me.

So, instead of taking more medications that make me feel terrible or having shots of neurotoxins injected into my neck, I’m going to work hard to manage the migraines I have. Today I saw my GP, and he has agreed to my plan and will handle my prescriptions from now on.

In the next year, if some magic cure comes along, I’ll give it a try. But for now, I’m done experimenting.


donna said...

Good for you...taking control. Seems like your specialist has forgotten that he is dealing with real people. I guess he finds it hard to see passed an ego as big as his.

Unknown said...

solid plan!

Barb Matijevich said...

Good for you. I fired my GP this year after it became clear that he cared more about money than helping me manage my health. I'm healthier than I've ever been, on less medication now, and I have an Internist I really like. I think it's just the way of the world --we have to self diagnose and manage our care because the way the medical establishment works now means the death of personal, cooperative relationships with our doctors.

One thing, Heather, I found my migraines decreased dramatically once I went off of anti-depressants. I know that may be out of the question, but it's something to keep in mind.

Ann in NJ said...

I agree with Donna. Some doctors forget that they are dealing with real people who may not respond they way they think they should.

Sounds like a workable plan.

anymommy said...

It is so important to take charge of your own health and be your own advocate. I have experienced this for a very different problem. I'm so glad you feel empowered and I hope (fingers crossed) that the plan continues to work fairly well for you.

Baino said...

Yeh he sounds like a jerk just wanting to push his own money making agenda. He's not the only neurologist in the world. So the botox didn't work then? I can't imagine how horrible it is to have migraine.

Susan said...

Good for you. I think we tend to stick with doctors when they are not as good for us as our own self-knowledge. So much better off working with a professional than having one manipulating you.