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18 Responses to “Meeting the New Rheumatoid Arthritis Specialist”

    1. Karla says:

      Great tips, Kelly! You forgot #12 though… bring (yourself) a copy of this article so that you can remember all the things that will help make your visit a success 😉

    2. EXCELLENT, EXCELLENT IDEAS !!!! great work Kelly!

    3. Thanks!! I got lots of good responses via Facebook & Twitter. I’m realizing this list would work for others too. Funny to me because when I wrote it, I had only RA on the brain. :chic:

    4. Anj says:

      Really helpful we will be moving this summer and I have been dreading looking for a new Doc. This list takes away some of that dread.

    5. Great advice! I have many doctor friends and they say that tip #8 can actually make a big difference in how they are able to understand the patient’s situation. If you can show them your pain journal that describes how your pain & symptoms progress through the day and night during a regular week it gives them a much clearer picture, and may also give them important information which can help them find better treatment for you.

      For my own part I think #1 is most important. Sometimes the specialists may say very important things that you could miss or forget, and quite often they can say sad or hurtful things that you just don’t want to have to carry all on your own. And if nothing else, it’s good to have a witness who can laugh about it with you afterward… 😀

    6. URandomnessK says:

      Don’t forget the most important thing, the Easy Button!! 😉

    7. Well timed post Kelly – i’m due to see a new specialist tomorrow! I will take heed of your very useful advice..i already have a list of q’s to ask him – i maybe there a while, if he’ll let me..
      Thanks again x

    8. Judi says:

      This is more info than ive had in 6 years! Im so gratefull to have stumbled onto this site and Kelly! I will use this info with my Rhumy to see my results if any…If it doesnt work out i will have to find another doctor..Thanks Kelly I belive knowlegde is power! Power to help myself..Gratefull

    9. Laurie says:

      Great post…I’d like to add a couple items.
      Bring a photo of your hands, feet, knees, (whatever hurts) on a “normal day” and on a flare day. Personally I work nite shift and my worst times are after the end of my nite when I am stiff and swollen from getting up and down off my chair a million times a nite, and typing our nurses notes in the computer. It made a big difference for my rehumey to see what really bothered me and aggravated my RA.
      Drink a whole bottle of water on your way to the office. Sometimes the docs will do their own labs, and if you are dehydrated and have multiple rotten veins after years of getting labs drawn, it makes it easier for the tech to find a vein.
      Make friends with the doctors staff…bags of individually wrapped candies and fresh fruit never hurt, and it helps them remember you when you call in for something. I had done a lot of travelling until a year ago…I always bring back a treat from where I went. Macadamia nut Hershey kisses from Hawaii were their favorite….they still talk about them 4 years later (and I keep telling them they are welcome to donate to finance my next trip!)

      • Thanks, Laurie. Good points. :)
        At first I thought those are on this post, but I realized their on different posts. I need to link those ones together somehow so it’s easier to find all of the ideas. Maybe I can divide the “talking to doctors” tag into 2 tags…? Here’s one of them: here.

    10. Thanks foe the advice. I’m going to a new RA doctor in April & I’m super nervous! Im hoping this guy will be betterr than the last.

    11. Kath says:

      Hi Kelly
      I am seeing my new Rheumatologist tomorrow. Back in November I wrote the same thing (but can’t remember which blog). I haven’t given feedback until now. Back then I set off to see my new Rheumatologist with my best mate and my mum in tow. Only about 2 1/2 hrs drive, but we decided to have a girls couple of days away. The boys were on their hollies (meaning my Rotties were at their kennels) and off we set. Leaving plenty of time for coffee stops etc we arrived at the hotel with 2hrs to spare.
      A while later, we headed of to the Rheummy and when we got there, they had only made a 15 minute appointment for me and not the customary 45 minute appt for a new patient. I had sent the referral etc etc, they had even rung to confirm my appt time and vice versa so I was a little taken aback and was remarkably calm, even when they said “No he CAN’T see you today – but we could try for February”. I mean just how much could be achieved at a 15 minute 1st appt with someone anyway?
      I was startled, surprised and a whole lot more. I had waited for the pretty much normal three + months and I guess I had built up my hopes after a not so good 1st Rheumy and his indifference. The message I got before I left the clinic was “Doctor doesn’t make exceptions for people just because you come from out of town” – wow did I feel small at that point?
      I had a myriad of things rushing through my head, but said little as I didn’t want to say something I might regret later. In fact I think I would have just cried at that point and I wasn’t going to do that.
      I decided that I also wasn’t going to let this spoil our ‘girls time’ and so it didn’t, but afterwards I did struggle with the disappointment. I guess I had hoped that things might change with that appt – but obviously not. What did change though, was the fact that I spoke to my GP and decided that maybe that happened for a reason and so I am seeing another Rheummy (at the same practice) tomorrow (God willing). I have prepared ‘my folder’ and included all the info that I can think of (thanks to your list) and just hope that I have a good appt. Regardless, I will write about it this time – I might even dare to be hopeful. Maybe I should have taken that Rolodex in November after all 😀

    12. Jen says:

      Oh goodness, thank you for posting! I am having bloodwork done at PCP on Monday and then see my first of two scheduled Rheumatology visits (2 different docs to see which one will be closest to my game plan for my life) on Thursday, so this came JUST IN TIME! I am planning on taking my mom with me bc my hubs has already taken so much time off work. And if anything, they can be there to write all the info down for you if in case you’re having a “bad hand day” that day and writing seems like it isn’t going to happen! I’m nervous and terrified, but need to get to the bottom of all this…..I’m going C-R-A-Z-Y!!!!!!!!!

    13. emilie cole says:

      I would add that perhaps you bring a pre-populated typed form with some of the basic information requested in many new patient profiles (Past medical history, primary care doctor, current medications, etc). I have been shocked at the request to complete lengthy paperwork requiring writing information out by hand that happens even at my rheumy doctor’s follow-up visits. It is clear that the idea that this could be difficult/painful or even impossible for some patients has never been considered. Then when you are handed the forms, you can just complete what is missing or necessary for that visit. Doctors that treat such patients need to come into the computer age and have touch screen standard forms or questionnaires for such purposes, but I am not holding my breath on that one.

    14. Deborah Kelly says:

      I really like my rheumatologist. We have been together for 25 years. However, lately, he had focused more on my lab results and less on clinical manifestations–ie, accelerated crippling and pain. I had to tell him last visit that I can hardly walk and have to spend most of my time at home in order to convince him to change my bioligic.

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