Friday, August 2, 2013

What a Difference a Good Doctor Makes

I forget if I mentioned this before, but I recently started seeing a new GP. It was getting to the point where I'd seen so many specialists and was still having so many issues, that it was impossible to navigate the healthcare system alone and I needed HELP. I e-mailed my psychiatrist Dr. L, who is an angel sent from heaven and also went to medical school, to ask if she had any recommendations. She responded something like "Well my husband's a GP and I might be a little biased since I'm married to him, but I think he's pretty good. Oh and also he has a PhD in chemistry from Fancy University #1 and an MD from Fancy University #2. And a faculty appointment at the aforementioned Fancy University #2 Medical School. He's pretty smart."

So I called his office the next day and made an appointment, and gosh I'm glad I did. First of all, GPs are WAY EASIER to schedule appointments with than specialists. I got in to see him about two days later, when he spent an hour with me asking questions, taking my history, looking over old records, and brainstorming. I brought him the list of blood tests my uncle had suggested, and while I was afraid New Doctor might be offended, he was instead fascinated. He ordered all the tests and said we'd follow up when the results came back.

He called me this past Monday with the results (super high CPK - in the thousands. Normal range tops out at about 140) and admitted that he had no idea what could be behind it, but was going to think on it and get back to me. So he called later in the week after consulting with a couple specialists he knows, and admitted that he still doesn't have any brilliant answers. The most common condition with high CPK would be muscle diseases (muscular dystrophy, polymyositis), heart attack, or kidney disease—none of which, as far as we can tell, I have any signs. That's good, I guess, right? He suggested more labs to test inflammatory markers and something else that I can't remember. 

I stopped by his office today after work to get the blood drawn—that's twelve vials in ten days, if anyone's counting—and was sitting in the exam room pouting about getting stabbed again and about being a medical mystery when New Doctor knocked on the door and stuck his head in to say hi. Like literally, he was like, "I just wanted to say hi!" We chatted a little bit about The Mysterious Labyrinth of Weirdness That is My Body and about how symptoms like fatigue and pain are nonspecific, elusive, and hard to evaluate. 

I said, "Most doctors think I'm crazy at this point."

He said: "Nah, you're not crazy. Something's up. We'll figure it out."

I finally, finally feel like someone has my back. I am so sick of being the detective; of trying to educate myself and advocate for myself about stuff I don't understand. #doIlooklikeadoctor? Hopefully New Doctor (I can't think of a new initial yet...Male Dr. L? Mr. Dr. L? Sir Dr. L? I'll work on it) will continue to take the lead and pull strings and call in favors and study my case by moonlight in the wee hours so I can finally take a break. At the moment, it's almost enough just to know that he takes me seriously. 

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