Rheumatology rock star

My rheumatologist is fantastic!  She sets the gold standard for medical care.  She went above and beyond yesterday!

I am very picky about doctors.  Actually, that’s a huge understatement.  I’ve received a lot of poor care over the years.  There was the pediatric surgeon with no compassion.  There was the internist who lied and told me a certain test didn’t exist even though it did.  There were the several who ignored my theories of what was happening with my body (and it turns out I was right.)  There were the many who simply wouldn’t admit when they didn’t have an answer.  That’s one of my biggest criteria: every doctor I see must be willing to admit ignorance when it’s warranted.  My standards are high, and I won’t accept inferior treatment any more.

At my first appointment with this rheumatologist, I told her early on that I understood that my condition didn’t have a particular name and that I was ok with that.  She looked downright relieved, then told me how it can take patients many years to accept that.  She was glad we could move on and focus on treatments.  I knew then that I liked her.  She understood.

Over the last several years she has been helpful and caring.  She only works three days a week, but if I leave a message with an urgent situation, she’ll call me back on her days off.  She’ll call me at 7pm if she’s been with patients all day.  I can always trust that she’ll call.  When I need to be seen and her schedule is booked, she always finds a way to squeeze me in.  She tells me when she doesn’t know what to do.  She’ll ask what I want to do.  She listens to my thoughts and theories and takes me seriously.  She trusts my assessment of my body, but conducts her own assessment as well.  I can actually trust her.  That’s not something I do easily.  And, of course, she’s good at what she does.  She’s knowledgeable.  She’s worked with other patients with my unique rheumatological situation.  If I ask her about something she’s not completely familiar with, she researches it and gets back to me.

But this week she really outdid herself.  I was blown away!  I’ve been on edge about signing up for disability insurance.  To make matters worse, there will be a big gap between short term and long term disability.  This is mostly because I got the paperwork for the insurance application on the first day of my rheumatologist’s 10 day vacation.  She’d told me she was going on vacation, but I didn’t realize what the timing of the paperwork would be.  Well, there was nothing I could do.  I sent her the forms, along with a note about the timing, asking that she not wait until our next appointment to fill it out.  I know how hectic things are after a vacation, but she’s been so responsive that I hoped she might do it within a week of getting back.  Boy was I wrong!

She got back from vacation on Thursday.  Early Friday morning she responded to my email and asked if she could call me later in the day to discuss the forms.  She called at the exact time she had said and then filled out the forms while we were on the phone!  She told me what she was writing and asked me questions about the various sections.  She told me she wanted to get it done right away because of my timing issue, then she apologized for not calling the day before!  She said she had to spend that first day catching up from vacation, which of course I understood!  Plus, we had a temperature and humidity spike last week, so I’m guessing that many of her patients were calling.  This paperwork is important to me, and I’m nervous about it, but I never expected her to do it on her second day back!  Her forms will get to the insurance company before mine!  (She faxed hers and I have to mail mine.)

I’m not thrilled with my endocrinologist right now, and I need a new gastroenterologist, and I might need to see a neurologist, and I’m not crazy about my PCP, but thank goodness that the one doctor I rely on the most, the one who provides so much of my care, is so fantastic!  I wish I could find more like her.  I wish we all could!

Good luck to you all in your search for good doctors.  Let’s hope there are plenty more like this one.  We all deserve them.

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If you can relate to this, please pass it along and share the camaraderie!  Thanks!

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