When the Doctor Actually Listens

The validation one can experience when someone actually begins to believe you is something to behold, isn’t it? It’s like the weight of the world is lifted off of your shoulders, the clouds part and the angels begin to sing. Truthfully, I never thought I would experience that kind of elation, especially after discovering the judge denied me so when it happened this afternoon, I was moved to tears.

The person I saw today is actually a physician’s assistant but so far, one of the best that I’ve ever had to see. He was a trauma medic in the military, worked in the trauma department in several hospitals and was an ICU nurse before he became a PA. He’s got an eye for things that most miss or ignore - case in point, I had a serious situation arise with my gall bladder a few years ago that triggered a major response in my intestines. The doctor diagnosed me with IBS and put me on a specialized diet, which I followed and continued to have flare-ups and general discomfort that left me wondering if I was ever going to get relief. When I went to see the very PA I saw today, he diagnosed me with diverticulitis and lactose sensitivity, changed my diet completely around and I have not had a flare-up since. So when I found out he was back in my area, I jumped and scheduled an appointment to see him.

From the start, he was extremely compassionate and actually…are you ready for this, listened to everything I told him about what had been going on with me since the stroke in 2014. There was no sense of urgency because he had another patient waiting, he took the time to ask a question, allow me to answer, tell me his thoughts and allowed me to voice concerns. We discussed my issues with the Sumatriptan, which he feels that right now is my best bet and calmed down the fears that I had been having by letting me know that the side effects I have been having are normal. He also believes that the dosage has been too low to be completely effective and increased it then softly chastised not just the pharmacist for not letting me know about the side effects, but also the doctor that prescribed it.

I am still on the Buspirone but he has added Trazadone that I will take nightly before bed, not just to help with my severe sleep issue but also to level out my serotonin which he thinks may be one of the causes of my migraines so this is actually the very first preventative I have been prescribed. We discussed my depression and we both feel the low dose of Trazadone will be a good start to combat it. Considering my stroke, my migraines, my sleep issues and fighting with the government, he said he would have been surprised if I said I wasn’t dealing with depression. I have been on Trazadone once before and I am very comfortable with this addition. He was completely on-board with the Promethazine prescription and will gladly refill the prescription next month when I see him and this current prescription has run its course.

When I told him how many migraines I endure in a week, he immediately said that this was out of his realm of expertise but has referred me to a neurologist in West Plains that specializes in migraines. He also gave me my first professional and documented opinion on my condition – chronic migraine with Todd’s paralysis. This is the break I have been waiting for, my previous doctor referred me straight to a headache care clinic in Springfield where the doctors are nothing more than general physicians that specializes in headache disorders. Considering my background, and the fact that little sis has cluster headaches and big sis has MS, the headache clinic would have referred me back to a neurologist anyway. In essence, if I had followed my previous doctor’s advice to go to the headache clinic (who wanted $350 for the first visit for an uninsured patient and would not work with any kind of payment plan), it would have wasted precious time.

The beauty of it all is that not only did he refer me to a neurologist, he also referred me to the offices that takes care of patient’s assistance. Since I have not worked since my stroke and I am working on my disability and Medicaid, patient’s assistance will be able to defer most, if not all medical costs from the neurology visit. Another massive weight off of my shoulders, he said that I will more than likely have to endure another MRI and CT-Scan so the doctor has the most up-to-date pictures of my brain. I had to deal with claustrophobia all the other times I have had my head stuck in one of those – considering I am finally starting to see some progress, I’ll suffer through it again…gladly. And since his opinion and referral is documented in my medical file, I can enter this into evidence for SSI. My attorney will be extremely happy to see both.

Everything I have said in this post is ten times more than I have received from all the other doctors I have seen and when I told him that, he was extremely pleased to hear that I was feeling better. Before I left his office, I signed the necessary release forms to get all my medical files shipped to his office and I will not be seeing anyone else other than him and the neurologist until there is such a time that it warrants I need to be seen elsewhere. If I am unable to control a migraine but don’t want to go to the ER, I am to call ahead and he will have a quiet, dark room ready and an injection on standby.

It makes a world of difference when you finally have a medical professional in your corner and it is a true tragedy that there are some out there that don’t believe you or don’t want to take the time to really listen to you. I have to admit that my confidence in the medical community in my area had been distorted since my ordeal began, but it took one visit to one man that really wants to help and will go above and beyond to see to my comfort and peace of mind to change my way of thinking and actually come up with a game plan to try and solve my current medical enigma. And it may be that the neurologist will be left scratching his head as well but regardless, the validation I got is priceless.

Bottom line is this - there are people out there that actually cares and wants to help. Sometimes we have to dig around in the dirt to find them, but they are there. As migraineurs we tend to suffer a lot at the hands of those that don’t believe in our condition and it demoralizes us in ways that are unfathomable to those that don’t suffer from our condition. Those that don’t believe in us and what we are trying to say may not realize the real damage that is inflicted on us by their hands and as care givers, in my opinion – it is an unforgivable act. I was ready to give up entirely on finding anyone to believe me but just when it seemed like things couldn’t get worse, I found that someone that cares and believes and it strengthened my faith. So don’t give up if you are in that situation, keep looking – you’ll find what you need and I promise you, things will change for the better.

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