The time has finally come for my first appointment with my new rheumatologists. I’m not comfortable saying who it is, at this point at least, so for now I’ll just call it The Center.
I’m really pretty excited about the appointment. One of the things I hated about moving was leaving my old rheumatologist. I loved Dr. O. She was kind, compassionate, tough when I needed it, and actually responded to phone calls and emails when I had questioned or needed help. The consolation was I moving to a city with a well-known and highly regarded center for the treatment of Lupus and other autoimmune disorders. The Center has doctors that are considered some of the best. They are some of the leaders in research and treatment in the country — they publish papers, speak on panels, guest edit medical journals, in short these are the people who are cutting edge of treatment and research for autoimmune disorders like Lupus, RA, Sjorgern’s Syndrome and others. If I’ve got to find a new place to go for treatment this seemed like the place to go!
But, as anyone who’s ever gone to see a new doctor and been greeted with something like, “And what makes you think you’re sick?” you know it’s not easy to walk into a new doctor’s office. There’s always that bit of fear in the pit of your stomach. And that part of you that gets ready to defend yourself or for a fight.
It shouldn’t be that way. I know that. You know that. But that’s that the reality.
You would think that a place that specializes in people who other doctors have refused to believe (because, come on, if you have the kind of chronic illnesses that would bring you to the doors of a place like this, a doctor somewhere told you that it was all in your head) will be different. You’d think that they’ll be kind. You’d think that they’ll be believe you. But still, there’s that little bit of fear.
I’ve had the pages and pages of patient background forms to fill out for weeks. They’re sitting on my dresser looking at me. Even as I type they are staring me down. I just haven’t been able to finish them. I’ve done a few questions at a time, just not buckled down and do it all. I’m sure it’s all a mental thing.
Let’s face it, I’ve been on a somewhat rapid decline the last year. There is a very good chance there is another diagnosis in my future – the one I’ve always known would probably come eventually and half dread, half look forward to just so it stops hanging over my head. If anyone can jump into the mess that is me with suggestions that might actually help, it’s these people. Then why am I so scared?
It’s the fear of the unknown. It’s the idea of putting my life in the hands of someone new. Even if these are some of the best hands around, and I am incredibly lucky to be able to be a patient at The Clinic. I think this is just one of those times I need to have faith.