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Author Topic: My new HIV Dr and I am not pleased  (Read 2935 times)

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Offline woodshere

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My new HIV Dr and I am not pleased
« on: October 02, 2007, 02:59:31 PM »
Since I began my journey with HIV 18 months ago I have seen only one doctor.  He was in a practice by himself, had a couple of nurses and one lab tech.  Everyone knew my name.  The lab tech knew each time she saw me to use a butterfly  to draw my blood and even remembered my first thyroid reading because it was so bad.  Dr. V would spend about 1 hr with me.  We would go over the labs, talk about my overall health, discuss medications and then he would do an exam.  I was very pleased.  However, he has taken a position with the VA and will no longer be seeing his patients.  So I have had to find a new Dr, which is somewhat difficult in Louisville.  There are only 3 or 4 doctors that specialize in HIV.

So yesterday I had my first appointment and it was horrible.  He is part of a huge practice that is connected with one of the major hospitals in town.  I have gone from the country store approach to the Wal-Mart approach complete with a greeter at the door.  There were probably 50 nurses, techs and receptionists. Since my new doctor is part of an internal medicine practice the number of senior patients is quite large.  Yesterday was the first day to give out flu shots so the reception area looked like the game room of a Miami retirement home.  I was not happy and it went down from there.

I am just not happy after my first visit with my new doctor.  He seemed extremely rushed.  Didn't seem to listen to me.  In getting to know me, he  wanted to know how I got infected and if I knew who infected me and if I had told him.  Plus he wanted to know if I had been contacted to get a list of my sexual partners.  I told him no and that that was not possible as I really didn't know there names.  Of course I did clarify that that was prior to testing poz.  When he saw my first CD4 count, he looked at me and said, "So you have AIDS".  Well yeah, but it was just the way he said it and my previous doctor never once referred to me as having AIDS.  He jumped around from one thing to the next, repeated questions I had answered and seemed a bit scattered.  On a positive note, in reviewing my records he did catch where I haven't been tested for Hep B or C, so we are waiting for those results.  After reviewing how my numbers were he said he would see me in 4 months instead of 3.  That I had responded well to the meds, everything was going ok, so there was no need to do quarterly appts.

I left very frustrated.  I had questions I wanted to ask but didn't have a chance.  However rather than jump ship and find another Dr, I will give him another try in February.  Change is hard.   I know the odds of finding a Dr. practicing by himself are slim, so I guess I have to adjust to the advances of modern medical practices.  YUCK!!!

Woods
"Let us give pubicity to HV/AIDS and not hide it..." "One of the things destroying people with AIDS is the stigma we attach to it."   Nelson Mandela

Offline Moffie65

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Re: My new HIV Dr and I am not pleased
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2007, 03:06:14 PM »
Woods,

One question:  Are you being subjected to this doctor, or is he being subjected to you?

Remember, GROUND RULES.  Yours are obviously different than his, and while waiting till February is not a bad thing, you are in for a repeat of this visit if you don't first let him know who is the boss of your body!

Just my view.

Love,
The Bible contains 6 admonishments to homosexuals,
and 362 to heterosexuals.
This doesn't mean that God doesn't love heterosexuals,
It's just that they need more supervision.
Lynn Lavne

Offline woodshere

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Re: My new HIV Dr and I am not pleased
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2007, 03:12:30 PM »
You are exactly right Moffie. And I had a game plan, but he was so rushed that I didn'f follow it.  In Feb I will be better prepared.
"Let us give pubicity to HV/AIDS and not hide it..." "One of the things destroying people with AIDS is the stigma we attach to it."   Nelson Mandela

Online Miss Philicia

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Re: My new HIV Dr and I am not pleased
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2007, 05:04:35 PM »
Isn't there someone else on this board from Louisville?  Have you asked him who he sees for a doctor?  Do you not know any other non-board member in the area with HIV to get a reference?  Might as well at least do some groundwork in advance of your next visit over the coming four months.

I would never think twice of jumping ship from a doctor.  It's the most important relationship to have, as we all know.
"Iíve slept with enough men to know that Iím not gay"

Offline fondeveau

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Re: My new HIV Dr and I am not pleased
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2007, 06:16:08 PM »
Let me know how this goes.  I get to keep the same doctor and physician's assistant, but the whole practice is moving from affiliation with a major university to a county health department.  Won't have my first appointment at the new place til the first week of November, so we shall see.  I'm glad you are giving them a second try.  LIke any relationship, it develops.  And, I suppose it depends on what you expect out of it.  Now that you have had your first experience with the new doc/staff, you will be better prepared to address your concerns.

Offline woodshere

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Re: My new HIV Dr and I am not pleased
« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2007, 07:37:48 PM »
Isn't there someone else on this board from Louisville?  Have you asked him who he sees for a doctor?  Do you not know any other non-board member in the area with HIV to get a reference?  Might as well at least do some groundwork in advance of your next visit over the coming four months.

Done that.  There are several guys in my poz social group who are also patients of Dr. V and we have been exchanging notes about all the  doctors.  And if there is one thing a group of poz queers are good at it is knowing the low down on the HIV doctors.  I know which one is gay, which is cute, which one has no sense of humor plus the important stuff like one is not taking new patients, one you need a referral and all are part of large practices.  My new dr. comes highly recommended, he is just different that my first.  We all know how special our first was.  I was expecting this to be more like my previous dr.  When I go back I will do some things differently and then if that doesn't work search out another. 
"Let us give pubicity to HV/AIDS and not hide it..." "One of the things destroying people with AIDS is the stigma we attach to it."   Nelson Mandela

Online Miss Philicia

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Re: My new HIV Dr and I am not pleased
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2007, 09:50:38 PM »
We all know how special our first was. 

If you're talking about men then my first prossibly infected me.  So yes, he was quite special.
"Iíve slept with enough men to know that Iím not gay"

Offline Life

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Re: My new HIV Dr and I am not pleased
« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2007, 10:09:27 PM »
Woods,  next time around, you should set the ground rules... Not the other way around..  Your the one writing the checks.   Hopefully February will be a 180 from this visit..

Eric

Offline allanq

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Re: My new HIV Dr and I am not pleased
« Reply #8 on: October 02, 2007, 10:21:22 PM »
Hi Woods,

Unfortunately, your new doctor sounds much more like the norm than your old  doctor--rushed 15-minute appointments, with little time to discuss anything in depth.

The business about his repeating questions and being scattered is disturbing, since it indicates poor communication skills and wastes some of the the little time you have with him. As Moffie said, you need to let him know what you expect from a doctor. One of rules should be that he listen to what you say and not waste time repeating questions. Set a specific agenda for him at each appointment: review lab results, answer questions, then do a physical exam (which will probably  be very cursory in the absence of a specific complaint).

This situation will place more of a responsibility on you for your health care, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. You will have to keep up with the latest treatments and look out for alternatives that may serve you better than your current regimen. You should always get copies of your lab reports and make sure you understand the results. The Lessons on this forum are helpful for that. I bet you've been doing a lot of this already, even with your previous doctor.

I hope you're not having blood drawn at each visit, with the results to be discussed at the next visit. That would put too much time between the blood draw and the review of the results. It's better to have the blood work done about ten days before your doctor's appointment. That way you'll be talking about results that are current.

Look at other possible doctors, but I wouldn't give up on this doctor after just one visit. I think you may be able to make this relationship work.

Allan

« Last Edit: October 02, 2007, 10:24:14 PM by allanq »
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Offline leatherman

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Re: My new HIV Dr and I am not pleased
« Reply #9 on: October 02, 2007, 11:51:58 PM »
My new dr. comes highly recommended, he is just different that my first.  We all know how special our first was.

My first ID doc was not special at all. Quite the opposite really. He was an older white man, who had been dealing with low volumes of "special" cases in a small city. He was always quite snide and curt with his answers. You could tell by the look on his face that he really wasn't pleased to have all those dying gay guys in HIS waiting room.

However, his partner for a limited time, before she moved into pediatric HIV care, was a wonderful woman, both kind and courteous. I was quite thankful that it was her who was taking care of my late partner; instead of the hateful guy I dealt with.

Randy passed away. Years passed away. I went on and off meds. Heck, I didn't care; neither did my doc, and things weren't good. When I had to wait in his office for 3 hours and he still hadn't shown up, I walked out of his office without a second thought. However, soon after a second hospitalization with pneumonia, I contacted a local human services org. because something had to change. Everyone's first question to me was WHY was I still with THAT doctor?

Needless to say, they put me in touch with a much better doctor. This one finally listened to my problems about the various side effects after a few visits, and helped get me onto a regimen that I can tolerate. (Barfing once or twice a week is a helluva lot better than every damned day!) Now he always remembers my partner's name when we both go into the exam room; fusses about my smoking; gives me the "evil eye" about staying compliance to taking ALL my meds; and thinks that I'm a nice pony-tailed computer geek who doesn't take this all seriously enough. But I do take it seriously, and that's why he is still my doctor. We're both there to do the serious business of taking care of my health. Now he expects to see write down my results, show him my list of recent problems/questions, and sometimes even dazzle him with a chart off the CoolTools. (I've got one to show him Thurs to prove this latest vl "blip" that "concerned" him is actually the smallest of FIVE blips over the last three yrs.)

What happened to the first doctor? Well, after getting caught drunk in a car crash, and being kicked out of the hospital (with a big ol' write-up in the local paper), I don't know and frankly don't care. Part of me does pity him though. It must have been hard for even a homophobic, uncaring man to have seen so many of his patients pass away despite his efforts.

The moral to all this is two-fold: it's your health, and doctors are just like people - they're all different. Sometimes, for your own health, you just have to find a better one. Sometimes it takes a couple visits to "click" and then things go well.

Good luck with this new doctor!
leatherman (aka mIkIE)


chart from 1992-2013; updated 2/09/13  Reyataz/Norvir/Truvada

Offline StrongGuy

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Re: My new HIV Dr and I am not pleased
« Reply #10 on: October 03, 2007, 12:23:05 AM »
I'd definitely agree strongly with the "set the ground rules" suggestion. You're a nicer man than I am because I probably would have straightout told the doctor some of his questions were "dealt with in the past and none of his f--ing business."

I'd add that giving the doc a second chance might not be a bad idea. Docs are human too and sometimes thay have good days and bad ones. I know how important a doctor you trust and feel comfortable with is, so I hope it all works out.

:)
"Get your medical advice from Doctors or medical professionals who you trust and know your history."

"Beware of the fortune teller doom and gloomers who seek to bring you down and are only looking for company, purpose and validation - not your best physical/mental interests."

"You know you all are saying that this is incurable. When the real thing you should be saying is it's not curable at the present time' because as we know, the great strides we've made in medicine." - Elizabeth Edwards

Offline aztecan

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Re: My new HIV Dr and I am not pleased
« Reply #11 on: October 03, 2007, 12:34:36 AM »
Hey Woods,

I agree, set the ground rules and try not to judge this doc on one visit. Maybe it was a bad day for him too.

If it doesn't work out, then by all means, look around. While relying on friends to let you know who is cuter, etc., I think I would contact my local ASO to get the low down on the local docs.

Just my two cents worth.

HUGS,

Mark
"May your life preach more loudly than your lips."
~ William Ellery Channing (Unitarian Minister)

Offline Dragonette

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Re: My new HIV Dr and I am not pleased
« Reply #12 on: October 03, 2007, 04:59:14 AM »
I had a bad doc experience and I changed her. I remember how distressed I was, it's really disheartening to be faced with a careless indifferent doc.
I have a new doc now, rushed and forgetful, but at least seems to know what he is doing (he is the head of the dept.). If I were you, I would look for other options, but keep my next appt and try to change things there too. Good luck
"If you keep one foot in yesterday, and one in tomorrow, you piss all over today". Betty Tacy

Offline BT65

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Re: My new HIV Dr and I am not pleased
« Reply #13 on: October 03, 2007, 06:42:22 AM »
I was going to suggest talking to the ASO in your area, but Mark beat me to it.  That's a good option though.  But I agree, give the doctor another chance.  Just let him know what you expect.  Let him know that this is your health and he has a responbility to listen to everything you have to say (or ask).  It's always frustrating with a new doctor.  Just hang in there and see how things go in February.
I've never killed anyone, but I frequently get satisfaction reading the obituary notices.-Clarence Darrow

Offline jonny123

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Re: My new HIV Dr and I am not pleased
« Reply #14 on: October 03, 2007, 06:34:28 PM »
oh wow..the last thing anyone needs when they are trying to manage their health is a doctor who is insensitive. I am sorry for your recent experience.

Several years ago while I lived in Atlanta I had a doctor who went over my test results while the examination door was still open, and the waiting room was only steps away with people waiting to be seen as well. I left there feeling very dirty and disgusted with myself, unable to raise my head when I walked out of the office. It was 4 years before I stepped foot in another doctors office. I was 23.

When I did finally have enough courage to see a doctor again I just didn't get a good feeling after out first meeting and I found another doctor immediately. Maybe I overreacted but to me the first interaction sets the tone for the doctor/patient relationship in the future.

You may never find a doctor like the one you recently had, but not by any means should you settle for a doctor who can't give you at least 30min, and that comes from a doctor who is also a friend of mine that was featured on the cover of POZ magazine "Doctor Love". That is a tell tell sign that this doctor has way too many patients and may not be capable of giving you quality care.

JP
:-)

Offline md

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Re: My new HIV Dr and I am not pleased
« Reply #15 on: October 03, 2007, 07:45:26 PM »
I ended up taking my partner to lots of appointments with different doctors while he was suffering from, but not yet diagnosed with, AIDS Dementia Complex.

After the first few of these visits, and after answering the same questions for what seemed like hundreds of times, I  wrote up a one page summary of his medical history and a list of all of the things that I wanted covered, and I would give that to the doctor as soon as we went in and pretty much insisted that they read it before doing anything else. Most of them were quite surprised by this but, in general, I found that it worked very well.


Offline pozattitude

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Re: My new HIV Dr and I am not pleased
« Reply #16 on: October 03, 2007, 07:52:49 PM »
Woods,

I don't have anything to add to the other posts, I think everyone has said all I could and more. 
I am sorry that you have to go through this bad experience.  I never had to change doctors because of a situation like yours, but I did change doctors several times because of my moves and the worst experience I had was in a practice pretty similar to what you describe there...it feels like an assembly line and you are just a part...that is no way to treat someone.
Allan suggestion to have the blood work done about ten days before your doctor's appointment is excellent.  I do it myself, I always take my lab test form with me and I go to the lab 2 weeks before my next appointment. That way you'll be talking about results that are current.
...and be all the bitch that you can be if the doctor refuses to listen to you...lord knows I went from being a quite one to having the loudest mouth when I don't get what I need from a doctor, insurance company or pharmacy.

Rich
(who understands how Woods must be feeling about all this change)
POSITIVE PEDALERS... We are a group of people living with HIV/AIDS, eliminating stigma through our positive public example.

 


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