On the Monday before Thanksgiving I had an 8:10 am appointment with a Rheumatologist. The paper work I received in the mail said that the appointment would be an hour and a half long. The office is in Tacoma, about an hour away from my house. It just so happened that this particular Monday it was snowing, so I gave myself extra time to get there and left my house at 5:45 in the morning. The roads were pretty good until we got into Tacoma. They had quite a bit more snow than what we had in Bremerton. I was in the parking lot by 6:45. I took a little nap, visited with my Dad who rode with me, and then went up to the office at 8:00.
I waited for about 15-20 minutes in the waiting room before they took me back into a room. The nurse told me that the Dr. was running late because of the snow. I laid down and finished taking my nap on the exam table while I waited for him to show up. An hour later he finally came in.
He looked at me lying on the table and said to me that I must always be tired. I am. One of the questions I filled out on the paperwork was how many hours of sleep do you get at night. My answer was anywhere from 3 to 7 hours with 5 being the average.
He asked me a few questions. He saw that I had checked that I am dealing with depression. He asked me how depressed I am. I told him that I am pretty depressed. He then asked me why. I just shrugged my shoulders, because honestly I don't know why. He asked if I had been suicidal or thought of hurting myself. I said that I had. He asked if I was seeing a counselor. I told him that I was going to start seeing one next weekend. He asked about my marriage, if it is good or not. He then asked me a few more questions about my health, told me to strip down to my skivvies, put on a gown, and he would be back in a minute.
When he came back he checked my reflexes, pushed on my shoulders, felt my neck, listened to me breath and asked me again when I was starting counseling. When I told him he said, "good'. He asked if I had any questions for him. I did. I told him that I am pretty flexible and I had seen online that joint hypermobility could cause joint pain and if I might have that. He looked at me and shrugged his shoulders and said, "you have it." He didn't offer any more information so I asked him if that didn't really have any bearing on anything. He said not really, told me to get dressed and he would be back in. I was kind of surprised at his reaction since my online research said that only a doctor could diagnose hypermobility and that they have a checklist that they usually use to test for it. I believe it is called the Brighton's Scale or something like that. Out of the 9 possible points I have 7. The doctor didn't check for any of them. I can touch both thumbs to my forearm, I can bend both pinky's back to a 90 degree angle or more, I can bend both knees WAY back past a normal locked position, and I am able to touch my palms to the floor without bending my knees. The only points I am missing is the ability to bend my elbows the wrong way. Again, he didn't check any of that.
When he came back in he told me that he couldn't tell me if I had lupus or not. He said they would draw some blood, prescribed me a non-steroidal anti-inflamatory, and said he would see me in a month. My hour and a half apt. ended up being about 10 minutes with the Dr. total. I left the room and went and had 11 viles of blood drawn. A record amount of blood drawn for me. Fortunately blood and needles don't bother me.
I left feeling very frustrated, blown off, and pretty much like I had wasted my time. The snow had gotten quite a bit worse by that time so driving home was much more precarious than getting to the appointment. Looking back on the experience it is pretty much the whole reason why I rarely go to the Dr. for myself. Fortunately, my Dr. at the Naval hospital is pretty much awesome and he actually listens to me, believes what I am telling him, and is a good communicator. When I told him how I was treated he seemed to be just as frustrated as I was by it. If my next appointment doesn't go any better he told me he would refer me to someone else. So, now you are all up to speed on everything I know medically about myself, which is not much.