The Pain Diaries: When Your Doctor Fires You For Not Being Serious Enough

When I moved into this apartment I was not sick.

I didn’t think Rheumatoid Arthritis was looming around the corner for me. I didn’t think a year into living here why this location would be so crucial to my health and why I pay ridiculous rent to stay here five years later.

I’m close to everything I need, especially since my diagnosis of debilitating rheumatoid arthritis at 29.

My family doctor then was out in Langley, a town which takes too much time to get to from Burnaby when you’re a single parent with a toddler to cart around without wheels. Back then I didn’t understand why carrying my young son was so damn painful.

I was told it was after pregnancy body and hormones, carpal tunnel from being an esthetician.

Exercise, lose weight, watch your diet, wear a wrist brace at night, here’s an SSRI.

After my experience with preemclampsia during my pregnancy then my search for answers which lead to my diagnosis of RA I felt that family doctor wasn’t taking me serious enough. I don’t know how many times I heard how great I looked, my hair color was nice, I am young.

It took me awhile to understand how detrimental that was being to my health. It wasn’t carpal tunnel or my hormones, I was anything but fine, looking great and young.

I decided to leave that doctor and find a new one. Luckily for an arthritic girl a doctor office a cross the street from my apartment building was accepting new patients. I found one quite easily, considering there is a lack of family doctors for our growing population in the lower mainland of British Columbia. We don’t always get to pick and choose our healthcare providers.

I quite liked my new family doctor, he was easy on the eyes and came with a nice British accent. Being that my Dad’s side is British I suppose that was calming to me. The bad news always looked and sounded nice at least…

I liked him because if tests needed to be done, they got done, it didn’t matter if I looked great or I was young. He took my disease serious and helped me find out I was also living with osteoarthritis when he ordered xrays on my neck and spine. It was there we found Mister Lumpy living on my thyroid. It was a lot to take in all at once and I broke down in front of him when he told me about these issues.

I think once a doctor sees you breakdown over your health, you become a bit attached to them and a level of trust is formed. It’s not exactly a fun situation to be in after all.

But what happens when that doctor has to move on? His colleague was taking on only some of his patients. I’d seen this doctor a number of times when my family doctor was unavailable, I also quite liked him and he had been treating my son for his impetigo and eczema.

“We’re only taking on elderly or severe patients.”

Patients with dementia and Alzheimer and the such.

Patients who will pass away sooner than I will and they can pick and choose more of their patients.

I pleaded with them to take me serious enough.

I pleaded them how hard it is to keep up with all these doctor appointments, especially as a single mother with chronic and debilitating pain and fatigue. A doctors appointment can wipe me out for a day or two.

I pleaded with them about my trust issues with some doctors not taking me serious and how that previously jeopardized my health, now I have irreversible joint damage.

I pleaded with them I was an advocate for arthritis to be taken more serious.

I pleded with them they were also looking the other way from my son who’s had to come to so many doctor appointments with me, I worry how scared that makes him so young.

I pleaded about my thyroid lumps need regular testing, which has been done through them since day one.

I pleaded about my up coming Bilateral Laparoscopic Salpingectomy surgery and the discovery of an ovarian cyst.

I pleaded about my open ICBC claim for the car accident I was in a few months before. It was my regular doctor’s replacement that saw my first doctor visit when it happened, I had no one to follow up with and could not fight my ICBC claim.

I pleaded that they were treating my mental health.

Now I don’t want to sound entitled. I was only asking for some human care. I believe all patients should have equal care but there is something so unsettling being told your health or age isn’t serious enough for the care you desperately need, too.

I currently have no family doctor and so much on my plate coming up health wise. I have to find a doctor accepting new patients and who will give me the care I need. Just part of the stress living with chronic illness and a reminder why I am a patient advocate, we have rights.