A friend of mine jokingly said that I have must have killed a doctor in a prior life because I have such bad luck with doctors. If that is the case, then I must have blown up a whole hospital full of them because I seem to have really bad luck with doctors the last couple of years.
Don’t get me wrong, I have had some really good doctors too. The first doctor I had when I was diagnosed with diabetes was really good. Back in the days of taking fixed amounts of insulin, he recognized that didn’t always work and had me adjusting my insulin for certain things. After going thru a bad foot infection, I wouldn’t have my leg today if I had not changed doctors and found some good ones.
Right before my foot got infected, I had just moved to this area and switched doctors. I was already being treated for an ulcer when I moved. After I moved, I started having some problems and my new doctor just brushed them off. I landed in the hospital & found out I had osteomyelitis. I decided to start going to a local wound center and that is when I found out I had MRSA. Right before I finished my 2nd round of Vancomycin, they did another culture of my foot. An MRI was scheduled right after they removed the PICC line. I was told that the infection was gone. The doctor stopped the antibiotics and decided to put a wound vac on my foot – that should not have been used while I still had the infection. Things kept getting worse so I decided to switch doctors. My sister called the wound center and talked to the nurse assigned to me – the nurse told my sister that the MRI showed that I still had an infection. Because that was the 3rd MRI I had done, I thought maybe the nurse had looked at the wrong report. When I got the records for the new doctor, I found out she was not looking at the wrong report and I really did still have an infection – both the culture & the MRI verified that.
After my foot finally healed, I continued to see the doctor that did the surgery on my foot. I started having a lot of pain in my heel. I tried repeatedly to talk to him about that but he either sat there & stared at me without saying a word, or the couple times he did say something, he was extremely arrogant about it. I felt like he did not believe me so I tried to talk to him about that – that didn’t go over too well either. Normally, I would just walk away but I wanted to try and fix whatever the problem was because I knew that I would not have my leg today if it were not for him. I have broken my feet several times that I did not have any swelling, redness or other signs of obvious injury to my foot other than pain. The doctor I had when those breaks happened listened to what I told him and x-rayed my foot to find the break. It was important to me to have someone that believes me so I decided to change doctors.
I decided to make an appointment with one of the doctors that I met while doing HBO at the wound center. One of the things that had been brushed aside when I tried to ask was that my leg was swollen. This doctor was a GP and had experience with wounds, so I figured he would be a good one to ask. Because he was not a foot and ankle surgeon, I didn’t expect him to be able to help me with my foot, but he did. A simple modification to my orthotics solved a lot of the problems that I was having. He also gave me an answer to the swelling in my leg – lymphedema. He was actually the 4th doctor that I talked to about it but the first one to tell me what it was.
Last year, I started having problems with my thyroid. When I called my PCPs office about test results, I was then told that my thyroid problems were secondary to my protein levels being low. The tests they did were only for thyroid and if my protein levels were low, why was I not told that 3 months before when blood work was done. I asked for copies of my labs and discovered they had not checked protein at all the couple times they did labs. I had provided a copy of the labs done before I went to her and my protein levels were normal.
What I did find out though was my Free T4 was so low that it was not even registering a number. Because of several other things that happened with that doctor, I decided it was in my best interest to look for another doctor. I made an appointment with a new PCP but had to wait several months to get an appointment. I kept my last appointment with her because I was hoping to get a flu shot. I decided to take all the labs in with me. When she came in the room, she told me that there was nothing wrong with my thyroid. I then pointed out that my Free T4 was not registering a number. It had not been in range when they tested it 3 months earlier and no one told me. I didn’t ask for that number because it had always been in range before. She pretty much had a look of shock on her face.
She decided to do more labs. I waited the appropriate amount of time then called about the results. I also asked to pick up a copy of the labs. When I picked them up, they were in a different format than the other labs had been – they logged into their account with the hospital & printed them out that way instead of the usual printout from the lab. I just had a gut feeling something was not right so decided to get a copy of the labs from the hospital. I am glad that I did. She had checked my Anti Thyroid Peroxidase (TPO) and mine was 3,044 with a lab range of 0-9. That test indicates that I have an autoimmune attack (Hashimoto’s) going on. Since I did not know she had done the test, I did not ask about it when I called. By the time I picked up the copy of labs from their office, they knew I was not coming back, so it is not like she planned to talk to me about it in person.
Thursday, I went to a new doctor. I have been trying to find someone that understands thyroid. I was told by someone on a thyroid message board that I would have a hard time getting treatment in PA and I think she was right.
Years ago, Synthroid caused seizures for me, so I am not able to take that – it is the most commonly prescribed thyroid medicine. For years, I took only Cytomel, which is a T3 drug (Synthroid is T4). In December, an endocrinologist put me on Armour Thyroid, which is a desiccated thyroid hormone and was the only thyroid drug prescribed for years. Since Synthroid came on the market, a lot of doctors don’t like Armour. There has been a shortage of Armour in this country so a lot of patients have been getting the Canadian version, which is what I did.
I thought this new doctor was arrogant even before we started talking about my thyroid, so I am actually glad that he didn’t work out. He never heard of the drug I am currently taking – that didn’t surprise me. He never heard of Cytomel – I started on that in 2003 and it is now available in generic form so has been around for awhile. He does not like Armour Thyroid and did not understand why their name would be on the Armour site (I got the name from the Armour site as a doctor that will prescribe Armour). I don’t think he really believed me that Synthroid caused seizures for me and he seems to think that is what I should be on. I finally stopped him & said that it was obvious he was not able to help me so there was no point in either of us wasting any more time.
Friday, I had an appointment with the HBO doc. I had been seeing him about every 3 months to take care of the callous I get on my heel but in January, I smashed my good foot so have been seeing him more frequently for that. Thursday, I also found a sore spot on my bad heel so I had problems with both feet that visit. I talked to him about the problems I have been having with my thyroid and doctors. My labs still are not in range and according to the Armour prescribing information, you are supposed to increase the dosage every 2-3 weeks until you are optimized. I can’t get anyone to raise my thyroid dosage, and I feel worse than when I started and my labs even show that. He did some blood work and gave me a script for the Armour. He said that I really need to see an endo because I have too many problems going on and I need someone that can understand that stuff. He said that he would talk to a friend of his and get me a name of an endork.
It is bad enough when you have a doctor that doesn’t believe what you are telling them, but when you have labs that show something is wrong, I don’t understand what the problem is. I am starting to think that because I have a bunch of health problems, doctors think it is OK to ignore stuff. I have learned the hard way to always get copies of test results. Maybe I should make sure my next doctor has both glasses & a hearing aid – then at least maybe they can see the labs and will actually listen to what I say.