If you’ve been following along on my thyroid adventure, this post is for you. After months of being in limbo, I finally saw an endocrinologist yesterday.
We’ll start with a touch of good news. Mother-in-law has been moved to a care facility a little closer to home. Clark got to spend just a little time with her yesterday. He also got approved to take his last few paid vacation days this week. With mother-in-law being closer, father-in-law was willing to loan us the car while he sat by his wife’s bedside.
Please arrive for your appointment 15 minutes early
We’ve all heard that request. The paperwork arrived just days after I made the appointment. It’s been filled out since that day. We arrived about five minutes early. That’s more than enough in my opinion.
1:25 pm – aka sign in time
I get signed in and hand over the earlier mentioned paperwork. The whole process (including waiting for the receptionist to finish a phone call) took under two minutes. Registration complete, I sat down beside my husband in the waiting room to wait.
2:20 pm – still waiting
It’s been nearly an hour. I check back in with reception. She hands me an apology dripping with honey and excuses. “It’ll be just another 10 to 15 minutes,” she smiles. I return to my seat, feeling irritated at yet another delay.
2:42 pm – “Tiffany”
The medical assistant finally calls me back. After weighing me and informing me I’ve shrunk another inch, she takes me to the doctor’s office. Different, but not unheard of. My neurologists see patients in their offices.
She’s apologetic, and I wonder if they usually bring patients in there. Purses stashed in the corner and spills on the table suggest this room seconds as the break room and not a patient meeting room.
2:56 pm – what happened to the room?
You’re not going to believe this. I hardly believe it myself. After nearly 15 minutes of sitting with the MA answering all the health related questions, she was ready to take me to a room.
“I think the other girl just gave your room away. Well, she’s just going to have to take her patient back to the waiting room.”
She left the office (break room?) door open and off she went to fight for the room. We didn’t hear most of it, but we caught bits and pieces. I would have happily met with the doctor in the same office I’d met with her. I tried to say as much. I heard the other MA apologizing as she dropped her patient back in the waiting room. My MA came and took us to the (newly vacated) exam room.
3:01 pm – the doctor is in
In comes the doctor. He introduces himself and confirms which of us is the patient. He begins transcribing the notes he received from the clinic doctor. I assume they were sent with the referral in August. From time to time he asks me a question.
I showed him the picture of my swollen thyroid (the one I shared in Who’s in charge here…). I answered his couple of questions.
3:05 pm – the doctor’s plan
The doctor says, “We live in Michigan. There’s no such thing as sunlight right now. You need vitamin D.” He suggested 2,000 iu. Not to be taken at the same time as my levothyroxine. Easy. I took one with my lunch yesterday.
Next, he increased my levothyroxine. He doubled it from 50 to 100 and sent the order to my pharmacy over the computer while he talked. He informed me that he’d want to see me in four months. He said we’d do a blood check then. No need for one now unless I wanted it. (I opted for yes, please check my levels since they’ve not been checked since July)
He gave me a quick run down of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Nothing I hadn’t already heard, so I had no questions to ask. He finally came and stood behind my right shoulder and touched my thyroid. Then he said I was all set and walked me to the checkout window.
3:21 pm – blood work
I checked out with another apologetic receptionist and scheduled my followup for the end of March. Downstairs at the very odd facility that houses my new endocrinologist’s office is a tiny little lab. First, you have to check in at the front desk and go through registration. He was on a break. Once he returned, he got me registered. The phlebotomist was practically waiting with needle in hand for her next patient. We chatted amicably while she filled her tube. She was fast and efficient.
4:12 pm – the pharmacy
By the time we’d made it to the pharmacy I was beat. My energy reserves were depleted. I confirmed for the pharmacy tech that my dosage had indeed been increased, signed the digital screens (which never look like my signature), and finally headed home.
did I win?
I fought and fought to find an endocrinologist who would see me. I finally got myself an appointment with one. I gave them more than two hours of my day. The doctor gave me five minutes. I could have answered these questions over the phone, and he could have increased my meds and ordered my blood work. Never a need to see me at all. (The med group offers this service for dermatology).
I started on the new dosage of levothyroxine this morning. Only time will tell if a doctor who spent more time with his computer than with his patient is enough to help me feel like my old self again.