Disclaimer: I just had a frustrating appointment, so this is mainly just a rant. Feel free to chime in with your own frustrating experiences for venting purposes!
I'm supposed to have an artificial disc replacement in a few weeks, and that saga I've detailed across other posts here already, but essentially it's been really difficult getting straight information about anything.
In the interim, I was sent to a pain clinic for medication and possibly steroid injections. Because of my unusual MRI results, there was some controversy about which disc to inject, and that made me super nervous. The neurosurgeon said to inject one level, and the pain specialist thought it was another that was causing the problem. So I spent I don't know how many days calling the pain clinic to try and verify where exactly they were going to inject the steroid, and whether I could get some other medication in the interim (I've been waiting for the steroid injection for almost a month now, with nothing but OTC anything).
They made me schedule another appointment with one of their nurse practitioners to discuss all of the above. I was like okay, fine, sure. This ended up being one of the rudest medical appointments I've had in awhile.
First, the NP said that both neurosurgeons I'd consulted were absolutely wrong in their diagnosis of my problem and their readings of my MRIs. He told me I absolutely did not need surgery, the disc is NOT compressing my spinal cord like two surgeons have said, and I shouldn't even be considering it--I should just keep coming there for injections.
After telling him that I had horrendous side effects from gabapentin, he asked what dose I was on. I said I couldn't remember, but it should be in my records from my primary ortho, and he replied, "When was this that you tried gabapentin? Just six months ago and you can't remember the dose you tried? Are you sure you actually tried it? Or maybe you also have some cognitive issues." Wow. Just. Wow.
So then he says I can try Lyrica, and I tell him that my primary ortho advised against it because 1. It's not covered by my insurance and very expensive 2. There's a potential to have similar side effects. Then he literally says to me, "Do NOT believe your primary orthopedic doctor. He doesn't know what he's talking about. You're talking to an EXPERT here."
I don't think I've ever talked to a doctor, let alone a nurse practitioner that has made claims like that! In my experience...experts don't need to brag about being experts!
Then I explain to him that I'm probably going to be either doing the injections and/or the surgery in the very near future, and I don't know if I want to start down the rabbit hole of the meds that take forever and have major potential side effects (he also suggested starting Cymbalta, etc) without a surgeon's approval first. Then he went off more about how I definitely didn't need surgery and I could just take Tylenol in the meantime if the pain was so bad. I said that I didn't want narcotics, but I was actually wondering about other anti-inflammatories or something like that, anything that would be helpful just in the short term because I'm puking from taking so much naproxen/ibuprofen, and acetaminophen doesn't seem to do anything. So then randomly he says okay you can have a handful of Percocet for emergencies. And he makes a HUGE deal about how he should drug test me and put me on a drug contract, but because he's so cool...he won't.
Next I ask if he could clarify in my chart what I really came there for anyway--to figure out exactly WHERE they want to inject the steroids. He claimed they would inject it into the C6-7 space, but you know, I just didn't trust him at that point. I handwrote a freaking letter to the main physician asking if he could please clarify once and for all exactly where I'm supposed to get this injection.
Later in the day, another office staff called and said that they would actually be doing the injection at C7-T1 because the C5-6 space suggested by the surgeon was too dangerous, and the medication should go upwards two spaces anyway. FINALLY. An answer!
It only took three weeks to finally get that information. Is it just that most patients don't want to know the details? Why the heck is it so hard to have a respectful, informative appointment with a physician? Well, that's most of my rant. Thanks for listening!