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I hate working with a new doctor. Part of it, I’m sure, is that I’ve had my current slate of doctors for a number of years. We’ve gotten used to each other. I like/respect them as healthcare professionals. I have them trained to understand that I’m an active participant in my health care, I know my body, and I don’t raise issues unless they are real issues. I am informed patient but I try to refrain from doing their job of diagnosis and treatment plans. Like old married couples, we’ve gotten used to each other and we’re still married.

I’ve had to “break in” two new doctors in the past year or two because both my PCP and my dermatologist passed away. But I don’t mind putting in the time and effort for permanent spots on my doctor roster. It’s a long-term investment in the relationship.

It’s the one-off relationships that take just as much time but have short-term benefits that make me crazy.

Since my TLIF surgery is in two days, I had to go in for my pre-op medical clearance this week. My PCP’s PA is out of town, so I opted to go directly to the surgical center for the labs and other tests. That way I knew I could get in and medical-recordeverything would be there and available to the surgeon and anesthesiologist in a timely manner.

First of all, everyone was perfectly nice. But let’s face it, I have a complicated medical history, and they look at you like, “Really?”, and you feel like a circus freak. And you have to go through everything the first time with the nurse who puts it into the computer and then you have to go through everything AGAIN when the doctor comes in. And I’ll no doubt have to go through everything YET AGAIN at the hospital.

  • Yes. This is my 10th joint-related surgery since mid-2008 when I was diagnosed with RA. In addition, I’ve had three epidural steroid injections (ESIs), two of them in the last month.
  • Yes. I take 11 prescriptions medicines, most of them daily, several of them multiple times a day. I also take nearly a dozen OTC drugs and supplements.
  • Yes. I am on my 10th drug for RA (methotrexate and nine biologics) plus occasional prednisone and steroid injections. No, my RA is not well-controlled at the moment.
  • No. I have not had any injuries, automobile, work or otherwise related that would account for the spine damage. See note above about RA that is not well-controlled.

I mean you can see it on their face. They come in and see an otherwise unremarkable person and they start sorting through the facts and figures of my health history. I start feeling like the Elephant Man. When you’re in pain and already stressed about having to have surgery, it really doesn’t help.

Then they stick you with sharp things to take blood for labs. (It took three tries.)

The good news is all the paperwork and associated stuff is now behind me. Surgery is in two days and at least then they give you drugs.

Thanks for checking in.