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#1
Old 11-10-2012, 02:38 PM
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This is why I fucking hate doctors!

They never listen. Ever. When I went in last week for my annual blood test, I specifically reminded my doctor that my Rx would only last me through the rest of the week. I told her that I would need a refill as soon as lab results came back. Sadly, I knew from experience that they don't listen, so I made sure to call their office when I knew the lab results would be back to REMIND them to call in my Rx. They assured me lab tests were back/normal and Rx would be called in forthwith. Did it happen?

What do you think?

Now my life is not in danger from going without my medication for a few days. The only prescription med I take is synthroid for hypothyroidism. Going without for a few days won't do any significant damage. I went without for a few months when my medical insurance lapsed and I survived - felt like crap, but I survived. Maybe that's why she doesn't feel any great need to expend the few minutes of her FUCKING busy day that it would take to validate my prescription! Maybe.

Or maybe she just doesn't listen. She would would not be the first doctor I went to who failed in that respect. In fact, many years ago, it took me several reluctant doctor visits over the course of many months with the same complaint (extreme fatigue, muscle pain, depression) before I was even able to get one - one! - to finally run some blood tests rather than just advise me 'eh, you're getting older, you're slowing down, this is what happens when you get older...' - I was 45 at the time). When I finally got the needed blood test and was found to be severely hypothyroid, it was too late for even the meds to arrest my downward spiral into a depression that haunted me for years after my thyroid levels had been normalized.

But I'm not bitter. Okay...maybe a little bit bitter...

I have been seeing this particular doctor for three years now. And this happens every fucking year! It's like a dance. Since I hate going to the doctor I put it off until I can't put it off anymore. But still, I do manage to get in before my meds run out - that I'm careful about. And yet every year, although my doctor insists on me coming in for a blood test before she will refill my Rx for the year (my dosage has not changed in ten years, which is why I don't think its a big deal - but, eh! okay I get it, she needs to know for sure that the dosage is accurate), somehow they cannot seem to manage acting on the results of said blood test until I call, and sometimes more than once. What's up with that? This is not challenging!

Up until last year, the only thing I had ever been to this doctor for was to get a refill on my synthroid. Early this year, I had to have surgery for a trimalleolar fracture of my ankle. Before the surgeon would operate, he insisted on clearance from my 'primary medical provider', and this needed to be done asap, as surgery needs to be done quickly for this. But when I called my doctor's office to schedule an exam to get clearance for the surgery, they balked. They didn't have an opening in the next few days, they couldn't squeeze me in...and when I told them, I needed this surgery immediately, they actually said, 'well, we can't get you in - and you've only been here once!' Not entirely true, I had been there once a year for the previous two years, but I was still taken aback. I said, 'I'm sorry - should I be getting sick more often?!!'

It ended up being moot only because my orthopedic surgeon's office leaned on them to get me in for my pre-surgery checkup - but still...really?

So, yeah...when I go in there every year, my doctor is always kind, friendly, seemingly empathetic - but she seems to have the attitude that she is there not to advise me, but to ORDER me as to what I should do - and if I don't accept her orders on every aspect, she has no use for me. (yeah, every year she wants to put me on bp meds even though my bp is only borderline high - and only when I'm in her office! - and also wants me on cholesterol meds, although I refuse those every time too...)

This is why I hate doctors. They seem to think of themselves as dictators rather than advisors - and they don't fucking listen! and now I'm out of meds and my Rx has still not been called in...
#2
Old 11-10-2012, 02:43 PM
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Find a new doctor.
#3
Old 11-10-2012, 02:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright View Post
Find a new doctor.
Yup.

Decent doctors know about "white coat syndrome" regarding blood pressure, and would advise you to get a BP cuff for home, or something similar. They would also fill out a refill for their staff to call in and/or a note for them to do so as soon as your results came in. (Doctors often don't call in prescriptions, their staff do it.)

Last edited by Ferret Herder; 11-10-2012 at 02:46 PM.
#4
Old 11-10-2012, 02:57 PM
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Call the pharmacy and request the refill that way. They'll call the doctor (or PA/NP) and get the refill for you. IME some doctor's offices actually prefer you to go that route.
#5
Old 11-10-2012, 02:59 PM
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Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
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Before you go to the doctor, write out a checklist. You can make two copies, if you like, one for you and one for her. Also, my doctors always have me or one of the office assistants fill out a piece of paper, where I'm supposed to talk about any changes of symptoms, and my primary complaint(s) on this visit. In your case, you'd want to put down "prescription refills".

If you still get no satisfaction, find another doctor. Some are very authoritative, and some people respond well to that style. You, apparently, don't. If you live in South Fort Worth, or in the HEB area, I can give you the names of a couple of doctors who are willing to listen to you all the way through, and who will make sure to refill your prescriptions.
#6
Old 11-10-2012, 03:01 PM
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Medical culture has been changing for at least the last decade, and it shows when you find a doctor who's been keeping up with those changes.

- algorithmic software allows doctors' offices to keep appointment slots open for suddenly ill patients on a daily basis. I can usually get seen the same day if I call early, or the next day at the latest.

- doctors have it beaten in to them at medical school (if it's a decent program) that paternalistic, patronizing orders alienate patients, and that patient compliance actually falls. Therefore, more and more doctors focus on creating a rapport with their patient, offering education about different conditions, and providing information about support, follow-up, and alternatives.

- much of what happens in a doctor's office is proximally dependent not on the doctor but on the office staff. If you're not getting your required refills after your test results come in, that's almost certainly because of the office nurse or secretary not doing their job. If you've complained to the doctor or the office manager, the problem should be fixed. If not, then you have a sucky doctor.

All that being said . . .

Get a new doctor, and once you do, let your old one know why you're leaving. (Since your main complaint is hypothyroidism, I'd suggest you find an endocrinologist or internist as opposed to a GP, as those specialties do thyroid day-in, day-out, and have seen just about everything your condition can offer. They'll have a much better understanding of what you're experiencing, and they'll take you seriously.)
#7
Old 11-10-2012, 03:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ferret Herder View Post
Yup.

Decent doctors know about "white coat syndrome" regarding blood pressure, and would advise you to get a BP cuff for home, or something similar. They would also fill out a refill for their staff to call in and/or a note for them to do so as soon as your results came in. (Doctors often don't call in prescriptions, their staff do it.)
yeah...strangely enough, this year when I went in for my annual checkup/blood test, my bp was normal! (probably due to the fact that I was feeling particularly upbeat that day, possibly because it was such a beautiful sunny, crisp fall day and I was feeling almost...well, happy!) So she didn't give me any grief about it, and for once I was not advised to go on bp meds, lol. I will say that originally she had given me a little card to record my bp whenever I could, so she could see that the high bp was only in her office - but strangely enough, subsequently she never asked about that card again, probably 'cuz she never took the time to read the file - a common failing with doctors, I think.

Anyway...the problem with going with a new doc is, its a crap shoot every time. How do I know that the new doc will be any better than the old doc? Keep in mind, I don't think the old doc is incompetent, I just think her office is poorly run and she has what I think of as a 'typical' doctor attitude (i.e. 'I know what's best! I have had years of training! You're a patient and therefore an idiot! Just do what I say!')

Oh, and by the way - I have worked in customer service - I know how easy it is to fall into the 'customer is an idiot' mindset...

And since I already hate having to go to the doctor that I already have, trying to score a new one? not a good idea... In fact this is why I went without meds for several months after losing my job - I had always gone to health services where I worked for all my checkups/bloodwork up til then. It took me months to resign myself to finding another health care provider.

Yeah, I'm kind of an idiot about that - but, much as I hate doctors, I go with the 'bird in the hand' outlook. Because I don't have a lot of faith that I will be able to find someone better.

Its not that I don't believe that there are good and competent providers out there - I'm sure there are! I just doubt my ability to find them...
#8
Old 11-10-2012, 03:17 PM
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Originally Posted by LilyoftheField View Post
Anyway...the problem with going with a new doc is, its a crap shoot every time. How do I know that the new doc will be any better than the old doc?
Patient reviews.
#9
Old 11-10-2012, 03:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joey P View Post
Call the pharmacy and request the refill that way. They'll call the doctor (or PA/NP) and get the refill for you. IME some doctor's offices actually prefer you to go that route.
Ah...that's not a bad idea at all! If I'm going to have to make a phone call at all (and I admit to being a bit phone phobic), why not to the pharmacy? Let them handle the follow up! Thanks, I don't know why that hadn't occurred to me!
#10
Old 11-10-2012, 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright View Post
Patient reviews.
really? I only ask 'cuz I'm an internet cynic, lol. Can I really trust online reviews?
#11
Old 11-10-2012, 03:27 PM
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Well, I wouldn't say they're a great guide on efficacy of care and health outcomes, but they're better than nothing when it comes to figuring out if Doctor X is an asshole or has long wait times.

ETA: is your current doctor a PCP or endocrinologist? I daresay you could get some decent recommendations right here if you post your location.

Last edited by Really Not All That Bright; 11-10-2012 at 03:28 PM.
#12
Old 11-10-2012, 03:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright View Post
Well, I wouldn't say they're a great guide on efficacy of care and health outcomes, but they're better than nothing when it comes to figuring out if Doctor X is an asshole or has long wait times.

ETA: is your current doctor a PCP or endocrinologist? I daresay you could get some decent recommendations right here if you post your location.
My current doctor is a PCP. And I live in northeast Ohio so I'm pretty sure there is a fucking boatload of 'competent' health care providers in the area. There is also exponentially more 'incompetent' providers in the area too. (Keep in mind that I have no health insurance right now)

I'm pretty sure if I just pick someone at random, I won't be any better off than I am now..
#13
Old 11-10-2012, 04:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynn Bodoni View Post
Before you go to the doctor, write out a checklist. You can make two copies, if you like, one for you and one for her. Also, my doctors always have me or one of the office assistants fill out a piece of paper, where I'm supposed to talk about any changes of symptoms, and my primary complaint(s) on this visit. In your case, you'd want to put down "prescription refills".

If you still get no satisfaction, find another doctor. Some are very authoritative, and some people respond well to that style. You, apparently, don't. If you live in South Fort Worth, or in the HEB area, I can give you the names of a couple of doctors who are willing to listen to you all the way through, and who will make sure to refill your prescriptions.
Well, my experience over the years has been - they don't care how you actually 'feel'! They care about the lab results. If your blood tests show up as normal, then it doesn't matter how you actually 'feel' - they are going to base their advice on what the lab tests tell them. 'Feelings' are far too subjective...

And when you say 'some are very authoritative', I think what you mean is 'MOST are very authoritative'. So finding a doctor who actually listens to you and actually hears what you are saying and actually reads your chart...well, lol - I haven't found one of those yet, so they may be like unicorns (and sad to say...I'm not a virgin maiden, lol)
#14
Old 11-10-2012, 04:47 PM
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While I can certainly empathise with the animosity towards authoritarian doctors, I do think someone needs to defend at least part of their behaviour.

Doctors train for upwards of a decade to learn their trade. They take multiple courses on biochemistry, anatomy, physiology, endocrinology and Og knows what else; things that the average layperson never will, and most likely never could, understand. They pass rigorous exams in each of these before anyone lets them within 100 meters of a patient. In short, these people know their shit. They are not incompetent, insofar as we're speaking only in cases of pure medical, technical ability.

The real problem most doctors face, in fact (and health psychology classes are oh-so-upfront about this), is "idiot" patients. Now, this is most assuredly not to insult the OP, who sounds very much the ideal, compliant, demanding-only-when-called for sort, but most patients are in no way of such graces. They are non-compliant (sometimes wilfully), woefully subject to the Dunning-Kruger effect, and in many cases hopelessly distrustful of medical practitioners. As a result, they die of all manner of easily preventative conditions - a great many of them doing so largely of no fault but their own, and in most cases, the doctor, or at least the healthcare system, gets the rap for it.

Truly, doctoring efficiently requires much the same skill-set as parenting efficiently. In fact, one could claim they are functionally equivalent; shepherding an individual lacking proficiency in some critical skill(s) through some span of time, and hopefully seeing them through to the other side a wiser and not-dead person. Doing so, as most parents will attest to, sometimes requires a display of some authority.

Some parents manage to be authoritative, which most certainly requires above-average people skills, and unsurprisingly, many who try exercise instead authoritarianism. So too is it with doctors; their job made no easier by that pesky patient's rights thing, which I know more than one doctor sometimes wishes in a passing moment would be constrained severely.

TL;DR - In short: OP seems reasonable, but doctors in general get too much of the bad rap for the actions of less-than-brilliant patients, and people should be more understanding of the very real plight a doctor faces when trying to achieve patient compliance. Those of brilliance are not exempt, I might add - I've seen my dad, a brilliant engineer, and CEO of a company with more than 4000 employees, reduced to a bloviating idiot by his own insistence on knowing better than his more than adequately competent physician on more than one occasion.
#15
Old 11-10-2012, 04:48 PM
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I've had some doctors that are very good at listening, and some that don't listen at all, they just bark orders. As phouka said, the medical schools are now teaching the students that listening and offering support will provide a better outcome, so USUALLY, younger doctors are better at listening, but I've had some older ones that are also good. The problem with the older ones is that they retire. So look for a fairly new doctor, one who is anxious to treat you. If you can get in with a clinic, try getting one of the newer doctors. They are more likely to want to build up a patient base. However, if someone recommends a doctor, try him/her out.

And patient reviews are a tool to use. Since you have worked in customer service, you know that some people are impossible to please, and will bitch about anything. So if a doc has a couple of bad reviews, but a lot of good ones, then that's a good sign. If most reviews are bad, though, try to avoid that doctor.

Again, I'm not saying that older doctors are bad. If they keep up with the field, and if they are good listeners, then there's nothing better than an older doc who has a lot of experience. I'm just saying that you, personally, are more likely to find a good fit with a younger doctor.
#16
Old 11-10-2012, 04:49 PM
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Work through the phamacy is probably the better bet. Check with the office staff and see if that works for them, and while you're at it, ask them what's the best way to do this since what you're doing hasn't worked out. It may seem simple and straightforward to you, but if if the office staff (note, not the doctor) have a system in place for this kind of thing and you're not using it, frustration is likely to ensue.


Also, sorry, but look in the mirror, you're attitude and last minute approach is part of your problem.
#17
Old 11-10-2012, 05:03 PM
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I've had the same thing happen to me, regarding prescriptions. Every month was a nightmare getting refills for my anxiety meds- it caused full-blown panic attacks and I ended up in the ER a couple of times.

It was much better once I lucked into the number the answering service used to contact the doctor. One direct phone call at home was all it took for him to see the need for his staff to pick up the slack.

That was a one time miracle though. You might try another tactic-- go down to the office and ask for the prescription to be filled. It's a pain but it's worked for me and since I was just 'dropping by' there was no charge. YMMV though.
#18
Old 11-10-2012, 05:28 PM
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Well, damn, Sampsiceramos, THAT was well said!

Last edited by Faruiza; 11-10-2012 at 05:29 PM.
#19
Old 11-10-2012, 06:23 PM
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I have a multiple month supply I've built up over the years for my thyroid medication. I fill it a few days before the month runs out every month.
#20
Old 11-10-2012, 06:39 PM
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This is why I fucking hate doctors!

My reason is that in the middle they all HAVE to be all like "wow, your prostate is healthier than any of my other patients!" Really kills the mood.

Oops, gotta work on my word ordering.
#21
Old 11-10-2012, 07:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LilyoftheField View Post
My current doctor is a PCP. And I live in northeast Ohio so I'm pretty sure there is a fucking boatload of 'competent' health care providers in the area. There is also exponentially more 'incompetent' providers in the area too. (Keep in mind that I have no health insurance right now)

I'm pretty sure if I just pick someone at random, I won't be any better off than I am now..
Ask around amongst your friends and coworkers. Tell them you're doctor shopping. Most people will have either horror stories or recommendations. Or both.

Also, transfer your prescriptions to Walgreen's and use their pharmacy website to get them to contact your doctor for prescription refills. They're pretty good about nagging doctors for stuff.
#22
Old 11-10-2012, 07:13 PM
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Hmmm....I don't know about how your states works, but in Texas, we can call in the refill to the pharmacy. If the scrip has expired, the pharmacy will call the doctor's office to confirm the refill.
#23
Old 11-10-2012, 07:36 PM
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Find a new doctor and go ask your pharmacist for enough synthroid to last you a week - I take the same stuff and I've never met a pharmacist who wouldn't front me a few pills if I had slacked getting into my doctor, or the doctor slacked phoning in a refill.

I will note that my Dr. will just give me a refill at my appointment and agrees to contact me if the blood results indicate that things need to be adjusted. This has never happened - if you've had the same Rx for years, and have no symptoms, it sounds stupid that your Dr. won't give you the Rx to save you the hassle. Fire her.
#24
Old 11-10-2012, 08:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LilyoftheField View Post
My current doctor is a PCP. And I live in northeast Ohio so I'm pretty sure there is a fucking boatload of 'competent' health care providers in the area.
If you're in the Youngstown/Boardman area, I used to see Reema Taneja on 224 in Boardman and really liked her - she's internal medicine but was my PCP. That said, I left that area in 2007, so it's been a long time since I've seen her.
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