Actually, I have much stronger words for him, but I can't type them here.
For background, you can read my first post, but to summarize, I have a history of allergies and lately have been feeling ill and extremely fatigued, despite countless allergy meds, sinus surgery, and allergy shots. Because of a family history of RA, I got a referral to a rheumatologist.
But in the meantime, I went out of town for 3 weeks, back to where I use to live a year ago, and where I first started having major allergy troubles. And to my suprise I felt much, much, better! ( though I was still waking up rather achy) So, now it seemed clear to me that perhaps my first instinict was right and it is all allergy related. But I decide to keep the appointment, just to rule out lupus and RA before demanding that I either get my allergies retested or a referral to a better allergist.
So I explain all this to the rheumie, and explain my symptoms, show him an RA checklist with symptoms checked off. He notices my hands and feet are a little sweaty. I explain doctors make me a little nervous, plus I have only been back in AZ for 2 days, and I had just spent 3 weeks where it is a good 30-40 degrees cooler. But he fixates on my sweaty hands and asks about anxiety. I patiently explain I am not a nervous person in general, and anxiety isn't my problem. Then he brings up depression! Having a b.s. in psychology, I say, "gee it's been a while since I was in college, but I don't recall sweaty hands being a symptom of depression." That put him in his place a little, but he still says," well it seems like anxiety or depression is causing you sleeping difficulties, that is why you are so tired." I tell him I have no difficulties falling asleep or staying asleep, just that I sleep too much, and have little engery. He drops it for a moment, and examines me. Then says, "I don't think you have RA or Lupus, but we will order the tests." He also notices my mouth and eyes are dry (likely from antihistimes) but he orders tests for Sjogren's syndrome. In all he ordered ANA, RF, CRP sed rate, complete CBC & metabolic panel and the tests for Sjogren's.
Then he comes back to the anxiety thing. I finally say, "look, all I know is something is very wrong. And before I went home, I really started to think it was RA. But I will not be suprised if the tests are negative, because now I highly supsect uncontrolled allergies. But it has turned into this uphill battle, for the ENT to admit that maybe they messed up and aren't giving me the proper shots. If nothing else, this will help me in my quest to have my allergies re-evaluated because they are convinced it is something else.
I wanted to cry, but I kept my composure. My little speech won him over, and he then restated the tests he ordered and then suggested that if I am hitting a wall with the local ENT that maybe (because my dh is military) I should see the allergist at Balboa Naval Hospital. This is actually a great idea and I hadn't thought of it before.
Why do doctors automatically think all women's problems stem from anxiety? Last time I was told this was when I was demanding a sinus CT scan. My doctor saw no need for it despite severe sinus problems. When it was finally ordered it showed I needed sinus surgery. When are doctors going to actually listen to their patients?
Sorry this is so long. I know the possibility that I have a reason to post on this board anymore is actually pretty small. But you all have been so nice, and can really sympathize with problems getting proper care and diagnosis' from doctors. Thanks for letting me vent.
Hang in there. I have suffered my symptoms (severe fatigue, abnormal ANA titers, joint pain) for the last 10 years. I've been told I was depressed until they discovered my hypothyroidism, then after suffering for the last ten years through miscarriages, premature babies, malar rashes, abnormal labs, mouth ulcers, joint pain- I've finally been diagnosed as "having a connective tissue disease". AND that was only after my RA factor finally came back positive (this past year) along with everything else. Many doctors told me it was stress, depression, the fact that I worked and had two kids, or just plain told me they didn't know, but failed to care to do anything at all to help. I still can't get my rheumatologist to make a further diagnosis than "a connective tissue disease". The one thing you need to do is find a doctor that listens to you, cares about you, and is willing to look further than "in your head". YOU know you are not crazy, WE know you are not crazy, and all you have to do is keep searching for a doctor that KNOWS you are not crazy. We've all been where you are, and it is a very maddening and long struggle unfortunately. As they further understand genetics, I believe we will be vindicated, and we will be given a public apology by all those who said we were imagining things.
Your story is awful but familiar. I think in this complex area of medicine, the autoimmunes, many drs. go completely overboard trying to control our thoughts and expectations. They know that they don't know (yet) but want us to know that they DO know... just so we think they know something (anything!).
So just keep telling yourself that you know yourself better than the dr., at least at the start-off.
My bottom-of-the-barrel appt. was with a rheumie with an attitude---AND a lovely Italian suit---AND a great manicure (polish & all)---AND a very bad toupee that wasn't even on straight.
All I can say is - I second your emotions. I have reached the peak of frustrations this last week. Or maybe not - of course it can always get worse But heck its nice to know we're not alone in this . I guess the drs are told when all else fails hit em with the anxiety lecture. yeah. That's why I'm losing money, off work, in pain and mental confusion and on top of that spending hours on the phone with a lousy hmo in order to get an appt with someone that will give me a condescending speech about obsessing about symptoms and anxiety.
Well, Thank-you you helped me give my bad attitude a vent.
Hope your week improves and your health
As I explained before, no matter what doctor you go to. You mean nothing to them.
What important is their money in their bank account and you are a customer.
I've been to a lot of doctors, when it comes to auto-immune disease they don't understand the suffering from the pain just because they don't want to understand.
If they had it they won't be able to be doctors and keep their job.
A lot of us with auto-immune disease need to quit our jobs and live on little money
from disability or even fight for disability.
and nobody cares of course, your doctor couldn't care less.
Thanks guys for the support. Sometimes these doctors make me second guess myself, and I start to wonder if it is all in my head. It is just so reassuring (albiet a sad commentary on our medical system) that I am not alone.
Also, I just want to clarify, that as someone with a psychology background, I know there is no shame in having depression or an anxiety disorder. I'm just sick of doctors who throw that out there, when they don't know what else to do. The doctor just as easily could've said, "despite your family history, I think your are barking up the wrong tree." And left it at that.
My best friend from highschool is a doctor. I told her the story and she laughed and said," you're the least anxious person I know!" That made me feel better. I wish I didn't live all the way across the country from her.
Now that I am somewhat over my anger, I have to chuckle about how he changed his tune once I mentioned my psychology education. Honestly, I think that is the only reason I got my tests. He knew he didn't have an uninformed patient he could just throw some Xanax at.
Last edited by sneezydiva; 07-15-2005 at 12:44 PM.
I ditto everything said here. When your middle age the docs top it off with you know your not getting any younger or you sound like my wife, that one sent me over the top!!
LOL that reminds me a conversation when I wanted the referral to the ENT for sinus trouble. Besides telling me I had anxiety he said, sinuses weren't my problem because," my wife has sinus problems, so I know all about them." I asked him if this is how he would treat his wife if she complained of the same symptoms I had. He said he would. My friend lives on the same street as him, and told me his wife has since left him! Gee, what a suprise!