Monday, April 1, 2013

I ditched my doctor

If there is one thing that living with a chronic illness, and suffering some of the "worse case scenario" risks that are sometimes discussed as if they aren't real, I've learned that it is absolutely necessary to be your own advocate.

If something doesn't seem right, ask questions until it makes sense. Raise concerns. And, don't back down if you don't get a response that satisfies you. Nobody wants to be the victim of a case of medical malpractice, or suffer a poor outcome when it is preventable by communication alone.

After the last post, I had yet another potentially catastrophic miscommunication with my gastroenterologist. Dr. Proctor, who is supposedly an expert on IBD, demonstrated that she was unwilling or unable to have a conversation with a patient (me) about treatment plans and diagnostic tests. Even when concerns about incorrect or dangerous orders were raised, her response was, "This is the test I ordered, do it", and not even conveyed directly or with further explaination. So, sick of having non-conversations and receiving repeated orders by way of receptionists - as if I had not heard the first three times, I was done.

It was time for a change.

I filed a complaint with Yale Health detailing the mis/non-communication issues that I had been having, and the delays in needed care and resulting detriment to my health resulting. And, finally, the health center referred me to an outside gastroenterologist at the hospital (students are usually restricted to a small list of specialists who visit the health center only), who is "who students see when they have problems with Dr. Proctor". Apparently I'm not the first.

And, now, I wait for an appointment. Again.

I have a short prescription for prednisone, and am hoping that this mini-flare doesn't turn into something more serious in the interim.

Wish me luck! Since starting that prescription, my pain has decreased enough to get back on the bike a few days this past week. I'm a long way from being in racing shape, but at least I'm riding again.

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