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    • #20053
      Price Wooldridge

      It’s been over a month since I talked with the Patient Advocates office in my VA Center to change neurology clinics and change neurologists. That sounds easy enough, right? How tough can a ‘divorce’ be? Well.

      When I initially filed this request with the Patient Advocate I was told to expect a ‘seven-day turnaround’. We’re now well over a month and counting. What’s up? That’s my question too. It was partially answered early this week.

      While shopping at Bed, Bath, and Beyond, carrying my shiny new skillets to the checkout, I got a phone call from the ‘US Govt’. Not having a clue who was calling, I sat my skillets down and took the call. It was my neurologist calling! This was the last person I expected a call from. I quickly learned she knew I had talked to the Patient Advocate and wanted a frank talk with me. Yikes. First, I didn’t know my confidentiality in the process would be breached. Still, I went right into why I was trying to get a new neurologist. My patient-doctor relationship with this physician is broken. I don’t feel like I’m being listened to, or that my clinical report of my symptoms is part of their consideration for my treatment plan. When all of this happens, I feel like I need a new start. To keep it short, this doctor again lapsed into previous behavior, questioning the reporting of my symptoms. Nothing has changed.

      In the course of the conversation, I was also told there is a coming ‘Board Review’. This, I believe, is the delay. Why is there a Board Review for little old me, one patient in the vast VA medical system? I can only speculate. Perhaps the doctor has other requests to move from other patients, or there’s a history there. Regardless, this is why seven days is now in a holding pattern.

      Having this type of conversation is difficult in some ways, but speaking frankly about a relationship problem is important so both parties are on the same page. Being frank can solve problems. In the end, this is my LEMS diagnosing physician. There will always be a special place for this doctor in my memories and my life. I made sure this doctor knew how important this diagnosis they gave me, changed my life. In the end, it was a good phone call I took.

      Have you gone through the process of switching physicians? Do you have any tips?

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