Let’s talk doctors. When you are a “normal” person it is nice to have a good relationship with your GP, however when you have a long term condition it is essential. Your GP is often the only one willing to send you to see specialists and to understand your everyday struggles. I have been very lucky, my GP for the past few years pretty much since I became disabled has been the only one who has constantly believed and fought for me (apart from family and friends). Through specialist after specialist he was there trying to get me the help I so desperately needed. I had to have monthly appointments which were extremely difficult (sitting in a wheelchair in a waiting room that set off every one of my sensory issues and anxiety of lots of people and just the general discomfort of sitting for that long) but he was very sensitive to my needs and even came out and pushed me in my wheelchair to his room “to save my mum” having to strain her already sore hands. So imagine my anxiety levels when in November last year my “rock” of a GP announced that he needed a break from the NHS constraints and stresses and was taking a sabbatical. The only person who knew how difficult I found sitting in the waiting room, all my conditions (that most doctors have never heard of), and who had believed and fought for me when others had written me off as neurotic. I was in a huge panic, my anxiety levels were at critical and I just had no idea what to do. I asked him if he was coming back, if this sabbatical was just that or if he wasn’t coming back. He assured me that he was coming back, he just needed a complete break. He agreed that I would only see his locum if I needed to, filled him in on my conditions and I was somewhat pacified that he was going to come back in June/July this year. I had a couple of issues while he was gone and his locum was nice, reassured me that as I’d now seen him and spoken to him that he would look after me.
However about a month ago the bomb dropped, my GP’s sabbatical was now permanent he wasn’t coming back. Cue my anxiety levels returning to critical and my panic setting in. What the “enter own expletive here” was I going to do?? I currently have investigations going on because my liver function hasn’t returned to normal after gallbladder surgery earlier this year (if anything it’s got worse) and I’ve been found to have cysts on my kidneys, I’ve also got an on going issue with my chest. Plus,as if that wasn’t enough, my EDS; POTS, fatigue and pain levels are also not returning to normal after the surgery. So I’ve had the countless blood tests and samples done, been scanned and x-rayed and it has now become necessary to return to the GP to see if anything has shown up or if I’m just to be labled a medical enigma again. I went in as I had to chase a prescription that had gone missing (my chemist is within the surgery) and was told that the replacement doctor was now in our acute unit and so appointments cannot be made with him (acute unit appointments are for on the day only and not for ongoing problems). Now I was on the verge of a panic attack in the middle of the doctors surgery begging that he could at least see me once more to sort this problem out. Baring in mind though that all over the website and surgery are signs saying that the locum is seeing all my old Drs patients until a permanent replacement is found. Now if I didn’t have the on going conditions I might be able to see whichever doctor is available. However you only get 10 minutes for an appointment how can you, within that time, try and teach the doctor about conditions they have never heard of while trying to say how these conditions are being flared up by something. You also have to justify the need to be on the concoction of medication you are on simply to manage these conditions and this simply cannot happen within the time given. I have now been waiting 2 days for a phone call to see if the locum will see me and nothing. My panic is so bad, do I phone the doctors surgery inducing another panic attack as phone calls are impossible for me? Who will I see if they won’t let me see the locum? If I see the locum who will I see next time? The list of silly questions keep going on and on, it’s like a train that doesn’t stop. You know, if you can think logically for a few minutes, that these thoughts are silly. But try as you might the thoughts won’t stop they keep coming more and more faster and faster. I don’t know what I’m going to do, but until it’s sorted I’m going to have to live on the edge of panic staring over the edge. This is what it’s like having an anxiety condition and other long term conditions together. This is my life.