After a failed attempt last month to have a discussion with my headache specialist regarding my migraines getting worse, today was my first successful Telehealth discussion, and it felt good. Really good.
If you have a doctor who actually cares, regardless of their field, this is not a difficult process. However, it has lead me to realize that my headache specialist has no patience and is a difficult person. I respect her, but I can’t work with someone who has no respect for me as a patient. I’m just a medical record number to her. There are many appointments where she spends a good five minutes reciting names, and the entire time, I know she’s looking for me, but since she doesn’t look at anyone, it’s good to wait until you hear some version of your name. She usually starts with Erica, and unless I see Erica there, because I’ve learned who is scheduled at the same time as me, then I immediately know she will eventually have a practice assistant approach her to read the proper name off the paper in her hand. She never seems to recall even the most basic info about me, so I wait until she logs into her computer. When a physician has said to you, on four separate occasions, “Is this your first visit?”, it’s startling that faces are blending into the woodwork for them.
Moreover, there is never a valid reason for a doctor to raise their voice and/or yell at you, but she felt perfectly comfortable doing so over the phone. If you’re going to yell at me and talk to me like I’m a moron, it will never get you the desired response. Not ever. I’m not an idiot and I am not new to any of what I am experiencing. Doctors who talk down to you aren’t doctors you need in your life. I feel the same way about regular people, too.
If you suffer from chronic migraines, you probably already know that enormous doses of vitamin B2 and magnesium aren’t going to fix anything. I can only take the magnesium once every few days. and B2 doesn’t seem to make any kind of difference. This is not my first migraine rodeo. She shouldn’t tell me it’s “perfectly safe” when she didn’t bother to see if I am vitamin deficient before demanding I increase my supplements. Instead, she placed blame on a myriad of other issues, and then tried passing the buck to another doctor. That’s not going to work with me because I’m an educated patient and her screaming at me did not garner a positive reaction.
What galls me even more is that she actually billed for a conversation that didn’t even last ten minutes. I contemplated a phone call to my insurance company about this, since their requirements state it must be at least fifteen to twenty minutes via phone in order for any of my healthcare providers to bill for Telehealth, but since they already paid, I’m not going to argue the point. Yes, we all deserve to be compensated for our time, but rules ARE rules and she dismissed me, as opposed to having an intelligent discussion. I am going to ask for a secondary neurologist (as an alternative opinion) as soon as things are safe to proceed medically because she doesn’t want to order tests or talk over treatment plans with me. She is the first neurologist who refuses to put an emergency plan in place into my chart. Every other neurologist handed me a note for any potential trips to the emergency room because every emergency room or Urgent Care finds it so much easier to treat you if they have instructions on how to do it. We are all different and what works for Patient A and Patient B probably doesn’t work for me. I refuse to set foot in an emergency room ever again, but even my last Urgent Care experience was poor care, and it didn’t even involve migraines. Poor care seems to be the status quo, but I am fighting to change that because I’m not the only person who has had enough of the bullshit.
This incident made me even more grateful to have a tuned in discussion with someone today, and to have the take away be that I am doing my best and that the things that are creeping up out of the woodwork are things we will address and gain control of over time. A collaborative relationship is so much easier, and calmer, than a relationship where a physician thinks they can dictate your treatment to you. I hope she doesn’t have children, grandchildren, pets, or even a plant, because I’ve found, over time, that the way the majority of medical professionals behave at work is also how they behave in their daily lives. Others are clearly living a duplicitous existence because they’re only nice to their family or their patients, not both. Yes, I speak from personal experience.
Today, I was notified that my headache specialist will be honoring my treatment for this coming Wednesday. Do I think it’s an essential appointment? I don’t know, but I do know that I’m sick and that I would likely get worse without it. Thanks to a cancellation, my appointment was moved up, so that helps a bit, but having to wear a mask and gloves into a medical building is anxiety waiting to happen. The mask makes me terribly claustrophobic. I’m agitated just thinking about it. A lot has changed since my last treatment in February. I am hoping this one works well and that I am not in the building any longer than necessary. If I didn’t feel the treatment was working, I would reschedule, but I’m going. The mask and gloves redefine “Mugger Chic”. 😉
I am not feeling anxious or stressed over Covid 19. I’m just more self-aware and mindful regarding everything, and I am sure many of us feel the same way.
I’ll be fine and I have another Telehealth conversation scheduled for next Friday, so if I’m not fine, there’s someone on the other end who gives a shit, and that is comforting to know.
© 2020 by Lisa Marino and Blackbird Serenity, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Hello one and all. I hope you’re having a great start to the week.
My procedure yesterday afternoon went okay. I think I’ve just gotten used to it, though my anxiety was still pretty awful. Usually there’s an epic migraine and so much physical pain after this treatment that I come back, feed my cats, and drag myself straight to bed. Surprisingly, I didn’t feel as horrible as I normally do. Completely different side effects this time around. I wasn’t quite prepared to be slammed with nausea late last night into the early morning hours, but that’s what Promethazine is for. It helped quite a bit, and I did sleep, but today, I feel physically, mentally, and emotionally numb and exhausted as hell. I’m supposed to rest, not push myself too hard physically, etc. I felt overwhelmingly exhausted by 1:00 PM, and spiked a fever around two. 😔 Hopefully it’ll be gone soon, otherwise I’ll call tomorrow since this has NEVER happened before. Is it a potential side effect? Yes. I’ve just never experienced it before. A few other rare side effects have popped up, too. I’m erring on the side of caution.
Traffic was mostly avoided yesterday, which was awesome. 🎉 Boston’s tunnels make me feel like I’m in a James Bond movie and about to be shot at. Plus, they definitely mess with my head in the “sensory deprivation” sense. I was able to avoid returning with a migraine. My headache specialist is REALLY pleased with my progress. It’s helping my cervical spine tremendously, and since I was the first person to report remarkable results, she said, “Isn’t it amazing how, we don’t always know if something new will work, but we try it and we end up feeling so much better?” It nearly eliminated my daily neck pain and helped me reduce how many muscle relaxers I take. It has reduced my migraines by about 30-40%. I still get migraines, and there’s still pain to contend with, but they don’t attach themselves to my skull for 3+ weeks anymore. Going 21 days without a major migraine was shocking. Sadly, it takes a while to realize you’re not in agony every single day. Bear in mind, I still have Fibromyalgia to contend with, but help is help, and I feel relieved that this is something I might be able to stick with. 🤞
I chose, from day one, not to disclose the treatment method because I was already being judged by friends and a handful of family members, and because, from a public standpoint, I wanted to see how I’d do before talking about it. No one wants to discuss another failed effort. The fact that it’s successful doesn’t mean it will remain so. My doctor has a backup plan should this fail at any time, and I am confident in both options. Until I’m ready to discuss it, I think it’s perfectly okay to keep it private. Thus far, I highly doubt I’ve run into a subscriber in the building, but you never know. 🤷
I definitely feel blue today. I feel isolated, unsupported, stressed, and exhausted, but I’m trying to look forward towards better days. I KNOW they’re on their way.
Last year, right around this time, my doctor told me about this. He said it wouldn’t be ready for the next ten years.