Having a Good Rheumatologist Appointment

Last updated: March 2022

As sad as it is, having a good doctors’ appointment is harder than it seems to achieve. Far too often, I’ve had a not-so-great experience with a doctor, and I’m almost certain we can all relate to this.

Preparing for the appointment

With Omicron being the dominant variant in Canada right now, and especially in my area, I decided that I didn’t want to go into the hospital to my appointment because I didn’t want to take the risk of traveling on public transit for 2 hours all the way into the hotspot of Toronto. I called the day before (which was probably too close to the appointment, but the holidays happened, so it was my only option) my appointment and asked for a virtual one. I wanted a video call rather than a phone call because I wanted to show them a few things that couldn’t be seen over the phone. Luckily, the receptionist is really kind and understanding, and she told me it would be no problem. She set up the video call for the next day, and I was almost all ready to go.

I’m sure a lot of us do this, but I take notes leading up to my appointments in a notebook. Whenever I think of something, I write it down on the page dedicated to that appointment. The night before, I make sure it all makes sense, and that I have everything covered that I want to talk about.

And with that, I was prepared for this virtual appointment with my rheumatologist.

The appointment went really well

My rheumatologist always has a resident doctor speak to me first. Unlucky for me, I’ve had a different resident doctor each time I’ve seen him. It just turns out each doctor finishes their time with him before my next appointment.

This resident doctor was amazing. She was extremely thorough with her assessment of me and listened to everything I had to say. I told her about my newer symptoms and she didn’t brush them off as the last resident doctor did. I’ve been experiencing pain different from my AS pain. It’s been burning pains, tingling pains, and in different spots of my body than my usual pains. I also experience headaches now when I overdo it, which hasn’t happened in my 5 years of having AS.

I’ve been worried about these different pains since around October 2021, but nobody had really seemed to care until now. I knew something wasn’t right with what I was experiencing.

She actually made steps forward

The resident doctor decided that I should see a neurologist because I’m experiencing neuropathic pain and less arthritic pain. She told me she would write my family doctor with recommendations to refer me to a neurologist, and for the time being, increase my pregabalin prescription slightly to see if it would help me at all. I’m also to ask about the migraines and what I can do for them.

My rheumatologist came in and heard what was going on. He approved of all of her decisions and that was it! My appointment was done.

I’m so happy with how it went

Compared to my last visit, this appointment went extremely well! I was heard, and things were getting done about my new symptoms. It feels amazing to actually be heard and to be believed. It’s sad, but it’s not often that it happens. But it can happen, and I’m so happy it did.

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