How much time do you usually get with the doctor?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by Fireball, Mar 22, 2003.

  1. Fireball

    Fireball New Member

    Hello--I would appreciate some advice.

    I have quite a few symptoms--extreme fatigue, dizziness sometimes, restless legs symptoms, pain everywhere, brain fog, sensitive to sounds, had a rash recently etc. I have been diagnosed with fibro by a physical med doctor who I have seen several times over the last few years. I recently went to a rheumatologist after waiting months for an appointment. I only got a few minutes with this specialist. The only thing that he did was tell me to take vitamins and gave me a prescription for something that should help with the leg pain in the evening. However, I
    lost this prescription and will have to call the doctor back.

    After waiting for months to get an appointment, I guess that I thought that he might have some answers but evidently when someone has a lot of symptoms, a doctor is not able to take the time to address all of them. I need to know how to get more of my questions and concerns addressed next time. (I don't have another appointment though for 6 months.) I did prepare a checklist of symtoms to take with me.

    Like many others on this board, I have a great deal of difficulty leading a "normal life." I work full time and I have very little energy to do other things like shop, clean, cook, go out etc. I try not to complain at work and I don't even have the energy to go to a monthly support group.

    Please give me suggestions on how to get a doctor to address more of my symptoms. Thanks.
  2. LErdman

    LErdman New Member

    I know what you are saying! One Dr. I went to said almost the same thing. Take vitamins and exercise. I hardly had the energy to get up and take the vitamins. I feel the same way you do about going to a support group. I am to worn out to go anywhere. I just want to stay home.

    I agree with the other post about looking for a new Dr. It is frustrating but we must do it. I FINALLY found a very understanding Dr. but he is 45 Minutes away. One Dr I saw was only 10 minutes from my home but he was no help at all.

    I still only get about 10 minutes with this guy and it is difficult to tell them everything in such a short period of time.

    You sound like you need to see someone NOW, not in 6 months.
    What state do you live in? Maybe someone on this board can suggest a Dr. in your area.

    Good luck and let us know how you are doing. Try to find a Dr. so this doesn't drag on because it takes long enough to be diagnosed.

    Linda
  3. herekitty

    herekitty New Member

    I got so disgusted with only being able to discuss a few symptoms at a time that I neatly typed up the whole list and took it to my next appointment. The doctor looked at me like I was bonkers and asked "What am I supposed to do with this?" I told him that it was for my file, for when we finally figured out what was wrong, then we could look back and see how much faster it could have been. By golly, he actually read that puppy, and referred me on to a CFIDS specialist.
    Kitty =^..^=
  4. pearls

    pearls New Member

    Fireball, I'm with you on short appointments. To be given 5 minutes when things are as complicated for us as they are is such an insult and so frustrating! I've given up my my rheumatologist for the same reason and am going to find another. Luckily for me, my physiatrist is my pain doctor and I'm very happy with him. He does give me the time I need.

    Just last week, I found out, when I had pneumonia, that my PCP had simply left town without telling anyone where he was going. After some panic, resolving to report to the emergency ward at the hospital for my problem, I decided to stop at the office of my former doc to see if it was real. It was, but after some discussion, the receptionist offered to see if his partner would see me.

    When I agreed, I could not believe how much time this old man gave me. Here he is - swamped with patients - and he gave me the necessary time, reviewing my complete file, sorting it, and asking questions. I commented to his receptionist that this must be hard on him and she agreed that it was.

    Several days later, after telling the story to my hairdresser, she said she uses the same doctor (we live in a rural area). She also told me that my former doctor had been gone for about a month - and that the old man who saw me lost his beloved wife of many years only a couple of weeks after that. And this is the person who gave me so much time when I was in need.

    There ARE good doctors out there.

    Hugs,
    -Pearl
  5. JLH

    JLH New Member

    I'm lucky I guess, my primary care dr. and my rheumy both spend as much time as needed with me.

    However, I do take a neatly typed list of what I want to talk about, with the most important topics listed first.

    I make 2 copies. I give him one and I keep the other to follow along as we discuss each subject. He then files his copy in my file. I always make sure I indicate my pain level, etc. in my comments.

    By giving him a typed list of my comments, I don't have to waste time explaining everything to him, nor do I have to worry about forgetting to mention something.
  6. LisaMay

    LisaMay New Member

    This is certainly frustrating. My PCP spends all the time in the world with me; my Neuro is the same; my Rheumy is in and out within minutes.

    I type myself notes of questions/symptoms that need to be addressed, rating them from greatest to lowest, and take it with me to my appointments. That way I get most of the answers (at least the big ones) and I don't forget what I needed to discuss.

    If you are still unsatisfied, find a new doc that is willing to meet you half-way. It can be worth the extra travel time if needed. Lisa
  7. teawah

    teawah New Member

    The doc I went to see, now my primary, walked in looking at her watch and made me feel that i was wasting her time. I had all this info I had printed and she just cringed. Needless to say, I never bothered showing her. She made it clear she just wasn't interested. She sat on her stool for a couple of minutes and then actually started backing towards the door as if to say, "OK, I have heard enough, Can I leave now?" I am so pissed. I am going to ask her for a referal to a pain specialist. On my ins. here I have to have "permission" to go to anyone but her and I don't think SHE thinks I need any "special" care. God I hate doctors! Don't come to Idaho to be seen. They treat you like a junkie and most aren't hardly dry behind the ears yet or they are too old to care and they all seem to have a GOD complex.

    Sorry, went off on a tangent. Bad subject.

    Loves, teawah
    PS. Well i was going to say something SO important but now I can't even remember. Must've been real important huh?![This Message was Edited on 03/23/2003]
  8. JP

    JP New Member

    I organize my list of symptoms and after I review my symptoms I add one to three questions at the end. I then fax it to the office or email to my doc. I ask if they will please clip it to my chart for my next visit. My doc has 15-30 and 45-minute slots of time. I ask for what I think I might need...some times I have a short conversation with the receptionist or nurse. I might think I need 30 minutes and the receptionist and or nurse might think a little different based on their experience. It works...I am respectful of my doc and her staff and they are the same with me. I look at my watch when she rolls in...Okay, how far behind are you, I ask? She smiles and says, were okay today...which I know is not true...everyone has needs that exceed the time available. It I am really organized, I can cut our time a little short so that she might catch up!

    Just my thoughts...they work to me...

    Best of luck to you...Jan
  9. pearls

    pearls New Member

    In the interest of saving time and having information ready, I've developed this system for myself:

    1) I always go in with a printed, up to date list of all my current medications, what they are for, when I started them and what dosages I take along with a page listing all my discontinued meds and why they were discontinued.

    2) In addition, I take a printed list of my 3 or 4 main concerns with space under each for writing notes.

    3) For my pain doctor, I take a printed copy of my notes regarding how I felt each day and how many of my rescue pain meds I needed per day. In bold print at the end of every seventh day, I list how many I took per week total, and how many I averaged per day during that week.

    4) a list of surgeries, procedures, and tests by date, with the latest listed first. I list all test/procedure, etc. names in bold print, followed by the doctor who ordered it, and the outcome. My biggest problem, though, is listing bloodwork. I have a hard time keeping up with what was tested and exactly what was learned, even if given a copy. Those things are not easy for a non-medico to read and to ask the doctor to interpret it would take more time.

    5) I always keep the following in my purse in a plastic bag labeled "Medical Records:" A) a list including my name, address, phone number, and phone number at work; my husband's and sons' names, addresses and phone numbers, and all my medical workers' names, specialites, addresses, phone and FAX numbers; and B) the items in #1, #2, and #4 above.

    6)I even have an extensive family medical history in my computer - and I take a copy to every new doctor I see. Some are interested and some just smile. Nevertheless, I think it can be a valuable tool. Otherwise, why would they ask about family medical history in the first place?! I have a lot of the material right off of death certificates and even military pension medical records. My grandfather, for instance, was in the military in the late 1800s. He had a thick medical file dating from the time he was in the military until he died in the 1940s.

    A friend of mine says her knowledge of her husband's family medical history saved his life one night when they went to the emergency room believing he was suffering a heart attack. He was told to go home, but she persevered, knowing that several of his close relatives including his father had died from heart disease. They stayed in the emergency room, and later her husband received a multiple by-pass when it became obvious she was right.

    (I'm sorry, I got carried away.)

    Anyway, sometimes this system works well right away and sometimes it takes a doctor awhile to realize that I'm really on the ball with this and he should pay attention to it. I highly recommend that you take along printed records and a printed list of your top several concerns. We should try to respect the doctor's time - and expect them to do the same for us.

    -Pearl
  10. JaciBart

    JaciBart Member

    I think I spend around an hour with him, I went in at 1:30 for first time visit paperwork, weigh in, bp, etc and got to him at about 2:15 or 2:30, left about 3:30.

    It really did help not having to explain every stupid little symptom and justify everything I said and beg for drugs.

    I highly suggest him for any of you who can possibly get there.

    Jaci
  11. layinglow

    layinglow New Member

    My Doctor has never, ever left the exam room with me desiring more time with him.

    There are 15, 30, and 45 minute appts available. As a matter of fact the first visit I spent an hour and 15 min. with him. There are far too many symptoms and ground to cover with these disorders than a five minute appointment would address. Not being seen for another 6 months is also inadequate. I can get an appointment immediately with my doctor if the need is severe. Otherwise I can schedule the following week.

    I, too compile a list with what has occurred between visits, such as new symptoms, symptoms that have increased, or haven't been alleviated, and reports on new treatments or meds we began. He is very concientious about hearing my list in its entirety. He always has a list of questions he asks as well, and addresses all my questions. We discuss possible new treatments, meds, supplements, diet, which might give improvement.

    If you are being rushed into and out of an appointment in 5 minutes, and not being reseen for 6 months, in my opinion, you are not being treated. Period. This disorders encompass so much, and it takes time to find an individual treatment protocol for each patient.

    If you discover that the Doctor is no more interested in you and your treatment than an appointment of 5 minutes, with 6 month durations between, you are not being afforded the care that you deserve, and could benefit from.

    Sometimes it is necessary to drive quite a distance to find a good Doctor---but it is certainly well worth it--especially compared to ineffective appointments that do not improve your health.

    Best wishes,
    LL
  12. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    I am in an HMO and get 10 mins. with my PCP unless it's for my annual exam. An initial workup with a new doc takes longer, but after that, it's back to the 10 minutes.

    I go in super organized with questions ready. I check them off as we discuss each one. My docs know I don't want to waste this precious time and appreciate my having it all together when I go in.

    Love, Mikie
  13. LeLeHpr

    LeLeHpr New Member

    I get 10 minutes at most with my PCP and maybe 4 with my rhuemy if I am lucky.
  14. epicurean

    epicurean New Member

    I don't know how much time is alloted by my drs.My PCP and my Pain managment Dr. always ask me if I have anymore concerns before I stand up to go or they get up!!!Love these guys!!!