Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Starting Fresh

I just saw my new Fibromyalgia doctor today.  She is a Rheumatologist, recommended by my niece, who also has Fibromyalgia.  It was overall a pretty good experience.

Despite the distance I have to travel to see her, I think she is going to be a good choice for me.  She was very attentive, spent plenty of time asking me detailed questions about my symptoms and finding out which ones bother me most.  She asked about my diagnosis, and it turned out she knew the doctor who diagnosed me, as well as my current general practice doctor. 

Anyway, since my previous doctors didn't do any comprehensive testing to rule out anything that might explain the FMS, she worked up a list of comprehensive tests to do to check for several conditions.  After examining me and giving me the dreaded tender point test and checking out my hands and feet for signs, she decided to add some x-rays to the test list as well.  Get that?  X-rays, not CT scans or MRIs.  The least expensive but effective option for initial investigation.  (Can you tell I've been medically abused?)

I was able to get all of those tests done today, while I was in the neighborhood, since the testing facility is near the doctor's office and they already had the electronic order on file.  (Finally, paperless transactions!)  The place I'm used to going for testing requires the doctor's paper order in my hands when I go for testing.  Forget them!

I got blood drawn at the lab, peed in a cup, and then got my x-rays all done.  All that and I didn't even have to process any insurance crap or even show my ID to anyone, unlike the place I usually go for testing.  Bonus: the lab girl looked at my arms and said they both look "good" for drawing blood.  Huh?  I had to stop her right there and tell her that it's practically a joke that my arms get double-poked for blood or IVs.  She had no problem.  One poke and it was nice and easy.  She was humble, too, saying that being dehydrated can make it hard to draw blood.  I'll keep that in mind, but with all the times I've had it done and it went horribly wrong, I think she deserves some credit.

Getting back to the doctor's office, the staff there seems like an efficient bunch, too.  For starters, when I got there, they had lots of papers for me to sign, but not fill out.  (When your hands shake and hurt when writing, you learn to appreciate things like this.)  Everything was pre-completed with my information and I just had to double-check it all and sign.  Everything was correct, too.  They are even taking care of transferring my file information from my previous doctor to this one, with a single form I completed and signed.  Any previously done labs or notes will be available to my new doctor soon.

Oh yeah, my new doctor is having me try a different muscle relaxant to try to replace both the mediocre, chalky, bitter one I am on now AND my sleep medication.  She wants me to try taking this med at night to do double-duty as a muscle relaxant for my muscle spasms and to help me sleep, since it can cause drowsiness.  Once again, I'm pleasantly surprised to have a doctor try to reduce my prescription medications, rather than pushing whatever is new.  What's more this drug has been around for a long time, is reliable, and is available in generic, so it costs me less than a newer, name brand drug would.  On top of that, I'm replacing another prescription, so I'll get further savings there if this all works out.  If not, I can always go back to using the sleep meds or trying a different plan.  Bonus: the doctor asked me for my favorite drugstore and sent the order electronically to them.  I picked it up on my way home.

I will be seeing her again in a couple weeks, after trying the new prescription and all the lab results are in.  We will discuss whatever is uncovered by the testing and start fresh.  If nothing new is uncovered, we continue to treat my Fibromyalgia as best as we can.