Letting Go of a Primary “Care” Doctor

Switching doctors can be one of the hardest things to do.  There’s the fear of who the new doctor will be, and how will they fulfill your medical needs?   Will they be compassionate?  The last thing anyone would want to do is move on yet again to another PCP.  For me, it took almost two years from the time I decided I didn’t like what my doctor was doing to finally make the big change to a new one. 

When I first met Dr. S. I really liked her.  She seemed compassionate and thorough, and one of my good friends had been going to her for years, so she came highly recommended.  And Dr. S. did fill the kindness and caring bill pretty well, except for my Chronic Migraine Disease.

Here are some of the things Dr. S. did to make me feel hurt, upset or angry:

*When Botox® injections failed to rid me of migraines, she expressed doubt.  “Well,” said she, “It works on all my other patients with migraine.”   My interpretation:  What’s the matter with you that it didn’t work? 

*Dr. S. wanted to cut my triptans down to three a month instead of the ten I was receiving!  She told me any more than that would cause rebounds.  (My Migraine Specialist & one of the top two in Portland, OR would later contradict that by saying ten a month was just fine).  I showed her a selfie I took when I was in the throes of a migraine so that she could understand the seriousness of my pain.  Her response?  “Oh, you don’t look very happy.  Why is your face all red?”  Her tone was very patronizing.  I felt like an idiot.  But she did relent and refilled my triptan script for ten a month after I pleaded like a dope fiend!

*Dr. S. constantly grilled me about the forty Vicodin a month I was taking for my 22 migraines a month.  Even though I told her I’d been off them before and it never made any difference in the amount of migraines.  And I knew she was prescribing between 160 – 180 Vicodin a month plus morphene to my friend who had neck pain!  I guess migraines aren’t painful enough to warrant a little bit of pain relief.  My friend told me she would cry in front of Dr. S. because the doctor would respond favorably to tears.  Nope.  I wasn’t going to do that.

*Out of the blue, she pulled my Simvastatin because she thought it might be contributing to migraines.  This wasn’t even close to being true as I’d had chronic migraines for almost twenty years before ever taking Simvastatin!

*Flash forward three months and blood work revealed my cholesterol levels had spiked.  She put me back on Simvastatin but threw in Butterburr and Vitamin B-2 despite the fact that I now had Dr. L., the Migraine Specialist, treating me. 

*Of course the supplements didn’t do anything.  I quit Butterburr since it was thirty plus dollars for one month’s worth, but stayed on the B-2.  I had now quit Vicodin – mostly for the benefit of the Social Security judge who mandated I do that because she believed they were causing rebounds and making me have the twenty-two averaged monthly migraines.   Everyone seems to have an opinion about how I should be treating my intractable migraines, so I guess why not the SS judge too?  Good grief!   Dr. S. was all sappily congratulatory – oh what a good job, that’s great, blah blah blah.  And inwardly I felt two feet small and miserable because I knew the upcoming months would be more difficult to bear.

*On my next-to-last appointment with Dr. S. – October 2013, she decided I needed to be on an anti-inflammatory diet because of what she read – no glutens, no dairy, no sugars, no soy.  I told her I’d gone on elimination diets for three weeks at a time but she insisted it had to be all at once.  Dr. S. was my PCP not my Migraine doctor.  I thought very angrily, who was she to decide this was what I needed?  As I could see she wasn’t going to back down, I was afraid Social Security would read that I “didn’t listen to my doctor”.  So we reached an agreement that I could wait until January to start.  When I next met with my Migraine Specialist, he said studies weren’t conclusive, but that it wouldn’t hurt to try the diet.  His anti- inflammatory recommendation was no dairy, no eggs, no gluten.  I went with his over hers.

*The anti-inflammatory diet did nothing.  I was allowed back on Vicodin after five months without it but only ten a month. The last time I saw Dr. S. she asked in a saccharin sweet voice,  “How’s the Vicodin going?”  Really?  When my friend is getting over 150 a month plus the morphene, you’re going to drill me about ten lousy pills a month?  Yes she was.  I told her I hadn’t needed any for the last two days and she jumped on that like a school teacher congratulates a little kid for getting a B.  Ridiculous.  Then Dr. S. decided Simvastatin was interfering with Amlodipine so she switched me to Lovistatin.  I’d been on Amlodipine for seven months with no problems, but she apparently didn’t care. 

*After starting the Lovistatin, I developed deep aches in my knees.  My thyroid doctor questioned the switch from Simvastatin to Lovastatin.  He said the effects of Amlodipine & Simvastatin were fairly insignificant and that I should be on a higher dose of the Lovistatin to make up what I was taking on Simvastatin.  Oh Dr. S. what did you create just to fulfill some need to be in control?

May 2014:  I made the PCP switch!  There were too many straws that broke the camel’s back with Dr. S.  In writing all this out, I realize I should have left her practice the moment she said Botox worked for all her other migraine patients thereby inferring what was wrong with me?  I won’t miss her.  I don’t need to feel any more badly about myself and my unresponsive-to-treatment migraines than I already do.  And I was so spoiled by my old PCP of fifteen years who moved in 2011.  Dr. B. was awesome. 

I met my new PCP on 5/19.  Dr. M. seems like a nice doctor although we got off to a bit of an awkward start.  He saw that I take Vicodin and seemed to wonder if I was doctor shopping.  That damned Vicodin!  If it didn’t help me the little bit that it does, I would have ditched it a long time ago.  I assured Dr. M. that my pain specialist was handling the Vicodin.  (But I know she can’t prescribe it long term either so I think I will have to forget about having Vicodin to ease my pain in a few months).  I think Dr. M. will work out just fine.  He put me back on Simvastatin and no more deep knee aches!  Yay!

Disclaimer:  Any medicines mentioned here or on my other blog posts are not to be construed as advice for any reader.  If you have migraines or other pain, please consult with your physician before trying anything.

About andreamarjulie

Just trying to navigate a life circumvented by chronic migraines. Sometimes I write about managing with those, but at other times I am prone to deviate a bit.
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