Getting A New Doctor Is Like Going On A Blind Date

Tomorrow I'm going to see a new neurologist. I feel like I've been set up on a blind date by someone I met on the bus.

I had my first visit to my new family doctor last week, and it was a fiasco. I carefully timed my dosage of Neurontin so that I would be lucid enough to actually engage in conversation. Then his nurse "lost" me in the patient room for 50 minutes.

By the time I actually got to see the new doc I was a stuttering wreck who probably looked drunk. I could feel myself repeating a thought over and over, I lost track of what I meant to say and trailed off while staring into space, and was nearly in tears from the embarrassment of it all. It was so bad that he wouldn't let me drive back home.

Oddly enough, he seemed disturbed by the fact that my old neurologist knew the side effects I deal with and kept me on Neurontin anyway. (I stuck up for him and said that Tegretol was actually much worse.) I told him that I thought the old doc didn't like me much, and I was okay with that because I didn't like him either. He actually had his office schedule an appointment with someone new.

Tonight I'm feeling nervous. Will the new neurologist be a jerk? Will I have to start all over from square one? Should I wear a nice dress and put on makeup? I'm just kidding about the last one, he can count himself lucky if I'm wearing pants.

I'm really wondering about the strategy of it all, because it seems possible that my "finding a decent neurologist" problem is at least partially my fault. They can't all need a proctologist in order to scratch their noses, right? . I'm probably too jaded for my own good, I've come to assume that these "blind dates" will end up with the equivalent of the guy who picks his nose at the table and talks endlessly about WoW or his mother. But maybe I'm getting exactly what I deserve. I'm probably a terrible patient, I could care less about a cure, just keep me on my feet enough to function. Maybe I'm the stereotypical third cousin with a "great personality" and an eye that wanders off on its own sometimes?

So here's what I'm trying to decide:

1. Should I be honest about my pain? It hurts like hell, but I don't know how to rate it on a scale of 1 to 10. Maybe a 6? I'd think that a 10 would be getting stomped to death by clowns riding circus elephants. Or should I just say it's a 10 because that's what I'm supposed to say?

2. Should I be honest about my difficulties with compliance? I mean to take the pills on time, but sometimes I end up in a world of hurt because I forgot that I forgot to take them. Other times I end up stoned out of my head because I remembered that I forgot, but remembered wrong. I also have a bad habit of not scheduling appointments if I feel good.

3. When we're doing the "getting acquainted" bit, should I be honest about the fact that I have no idea what my medical history is? Or should I guess and try to sound convincing? Is "I dunno, was too stoned to remember the '00s" a conversation killer?

All I really want is a partner in my treatment who will listen to me and be there in the bad times. He doesn't have to be perfect, but I'd appreciate it if he put a little effort into holding up his side of the (doctor-patient) relationship. Is that too much to ask?

  1. Yes, you should be honest about your pain levels. If you’re at a 6, then say a 6. I never say 10 because I reserve that for being burned alive, or something also. My doctor knows this, and treats me accordingly. I think that they kind of blow off people who always claim level 10. If one is always a level 10, it’s hard for the doctor to treat you and know if anything is helping, even if it’s only a little bit. It is imperative you are honest with your doctor, otherwise he/she won’t be able to treat you accordingly. Also, doctors don’t like patients who lie, and by gaining his trust, you’ll have a better relationship.
  2. Yes, you should tell him you have trouble remembering if you took your meds, and that sometimes you might double a dose, or not take a dose, on accident of course. You should also buy a days of the week pill holder, because this will help you keep track of whether or not you’ve taken your meds. Also, alarms on your cell phone are a good way to make sure you don’t miss your meds. If you do those things, it will show the doctor you are trying. He’s not going to want to try if you yourself are not trying.
  3. Again, yes, be honest. If I were a doctor, I’d want my patients to be honest. And if I felt they weren’t being honest, I probably wouldn’t put too much energy into helping them. So yes, be honest. I promise that no matter what you say, he’s heard worse.

And I love your analogy, yes a new doctor does feel kind of like a blind date. :slight_smile:

Good to see you still have a sense of humour. And I too love that analogy... make sure you have an easy exit if the date is not working out... it's a shame there aren't as many available neurologists as there are guys.

Almost a perfect analogy. I would say it’s more like going on a blind date set up by someone you met on the bus who already doesn’t like you very much…but maybe that’s just my experience!
I’m new to all of this, but I would say to try and be as honest as possible. With my memory problems, I just get into trouble when I try to make up alternate histories.
Good luck!

Also, in regards to being a 10 or a 6...I'm sure I've been discounted for saying I'm a 7 or a 6 instead of a 10, but having given birth recently, and having had severe, hospital-trip-inducing migraines since I was 9 years old, even TN hasn't rated a 10 yet for me!