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Should I tell my neurologist that she upset me?

Hi Everyone,
I just saw my neurologist this past week after not having seen her since February. I have had only a few visits with her and she tried me on two medications that didn't help - two different types of blood pressure medications other doctors hadn't wanted to try because my blood pressure tends to run low. (I have been on many other medications in the past that have not helped and, after a 2 year hiatus from neurologists, decided to give it another try as migraines have been getting worse.) In February, we had agreed that I would get a second opinion from a neurologist specializing in headaches - but, because of the pandemic, I had to wait 4 months. I also had to pay over $500 for the visit because the specialist was out-of-network. I returned then to my neurologist, prepared to try Emgality as recommended (though not without misgivings).

The visit had seemed to go okay. I answered her questions and, when prompted to say more, did so. I let her know that my primary doctor was referring me to a cardiologist to rule out POTS because I've been having some symptoms, including mild headaches and fatigue that didn't seem like migraines, along with racing heart.

The part that got to me: on the printed summary she gave me at the end of the visit, along with the migraine diagnosis, was "somatic preoccupation". I am a psychologist and am therefore familiar with this term - it suggests my concerns with my health are excessive. I find this offensive, particularly given that I am a low utilizer of medical services and I wasn't at all dramatic or demanding during my visit with her. I'm probably writing this here so I don't send her a nasty email. I really want to! 😉

  1. Hi drmaryb,

    ABSOLUTELY!! I understand what you went through having a similar experience with a neuro psychologist a number of years ago. I'm so sorry you went through that. Nothing much worse than having crap on our medical records.

    I had neuro psychological testing due to a tbi and prolonged issues many years ago. I could tell when I first walked in the doctor had already made up his mind and judged me, seriously. He saw a stay at home mom, with little to do other than obsess over her health. His report used the word "somatic" as well and I knew what that meant.

    I immediately sent him a letter stated I didn't appreciate his manner or cursory exam and that in fact, I was being treated by a number of specialists!! And wouldn't ya know, I got an apology letter, actually signed by him! He said he would be more mindful of his examinations!!

    So, yes, I would definitely have a word with this doctor.

    Please keep me posted,
    Nancy Harris Bonk, Patient Advocate/Moderator

    1. Hi DrMaryB,
      Wow, do I ever hear you! I’ve had 2 occasions where the provider I had infuriated me for different reasons!
      The first one was also a neurologist, also out of network, as we wanted a second opinion & paid a high fee, as it was at a well known teaching hospital in our area. To make a long story short, the doctor suggested that I take a medicine (Triptan) I’d been told for YEARS was not ok for me because of my history of multiple DVTs (blood clots) & the fact that I’m on Coumadin & Plavix (blood “thinners”) to prevent recurrence. I was STUNNED! I remember questioning him, & saying, but, all my doctors have always recommended against it. His response was classic: Well, you came to see me, I’m here at XXX University Hospital, so I know what I’m talking about. Seriously!!
      I’m an RN & did some quick research on our way home. It’s not any interaction between the Coumadin & the Triptan meds, really. What it is, though, is that the Triptans do have a possible side effect of increased probability of clotting the blood. Not much, & not significant for most people, but for ME, VERY significant! I’d had 8 clots by then, many of them WHILE on Coumadin. (I had another since then, in an even more worrisome spot.) Am I a good candidate for ANYTHING that even remotely hints of causing clots?? I don’t THINK so! I am a retired RN. But, if I could do that research on my phone on the way back from that appointment with that so-called expert at that big university hospital, well, it was pretty upsetting!! I spent a BUNCH of money on that appointment, for NOTHING! Still irritates me!! And, I DEFINITELY should have said something, but didn’t. I’m basically a chicken. But, would I ever go back to that over-priced, egotistical QUACK? Hell NO! GRRRRRRR!

      1. Hi @Savta45,

        Thank you for sharing this with us. I am SO sorry you had this exchange, so frustrating!

        Wishing you a low pain day,
        Nancy Harris Bonk, Patient Advocate/Moderator

        1. To follow up on my own experience: I waited until I had cooled off a bit and composed a polite message (sent through MyChart). I wrote what I found offensive and why, explaining that being so labeled left me feeling that couldn't freely tell her about my symptoms for fear of being judged.

          She responded in a timely manner with what sounded like a genuine apology and said that she would remove the label from my record - and it appears that she has. We've gotten along fine since. So, Nancy, I appreciate your advice. It worked out for me.

          savt45 - sorry you had such an awful experience. When doctors dismiss out of hand what a patient knows about their own health, particularly without explanation, they are not good doctors and are not likely to change. Sadly, we still have to pay them. However, I think it can be worthwhile to file a complaint with the hospital system. Many of them do pay attention to such complaints, especially when there could have been a medical error causing serious consequences.

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