Universtity of Connecticul Medical Center
The good news is, I most likely don't have rheumatoid arthritis, the bad news is that I still have no diagnosis. And the pain, of course.
I had an appointment with a rheumatlogist today at UConn Health Center. My PMD sent me, saying I should see a specialist, since my sed rate is up. (This measures general inflammation in the body.) Now I actually work for Correctional Managed Health Care which is run out of UCHC, although I work in the local women's prison. (Or used to work, as the case may be), I know my way there, even though CT is one of those small states that has no roads running from one corner up across the to the other, but it takes an hour and a half.
By the time I arrived, I was hurting! No good med management today; I don't take break through pain meds when I'm driving. It's a huge hospital, but I eventually found rheumatology, schlepping in with my X-rays and lab work and info from a myriad of doctors. The specialist looked at all my info, my answers from his huge questionnaire I had filled out, and asked, "Why did your doctor send you here? I see no indication that this is rheumatoid in nature." Please understand, I don't want to have rheumatiod arthritis, I just want to know what is going on in my body. This doctor was nice about it, ordered more bloodwork and X-rays, and sent me on my way, apologizing for not being able to help me. In my experience most doctors take a look at any woman who weighs 300 pounds, and assumes she is not in touch with her body at all. I spent way too long working my way into my body awareness to be put off by such assumptions any more. I am always on guard for any hint of this, and am grateful he did not pull that on me.
But...as I trudged out to my car at 3pm, I had one of those black hole experiences, when all the good work I've done around learning to love and listen to my body gets sucked away, and I am left with self-doubts. Maybe it's all in my head, maybe I am exaggerating the pain so I can't go back to work (nevermind that I went back 9 weeks after open heart surgery!), maybe I'm doomed to carry it around with me forever, maybe things will never improve......and more and more and more. I was crying by the time I made the car.
After I got into the car, I began to feel silly. Here this doctor had told me that in his esteemed opinion I don't have a painful autoimmune disease, and I was absolutely sobbing! Partly, I blame my reaction on the hospital-just being in one drags me down. Also, I am always exhausted, either part of the problem (whatever it is) or because I wake a lot at night due to pain. And I do quite desperately want an answer, a diagnosis, something to point to and say, there-that's what's going on-and I didn't get that today.
I may never get it, a grim thought, but I do have to keep going. Giving up just doesn't seem like an option I'm willing to take. I wiped my eyes on a dunkin donut napkin, and set off for the long drive home. When I finally arrived, I took pain meds (oh thank Goddess for pain meds)! and collapsed into my recliner. I was still telling Rene about my day when I dozed off. Tomorrow, I see my orthopedist-the one I don't like, but I'm not expecting any real help from him, so I may not feel as let down tomorrow. We'll see. Tonight, Roxy, my Chihuahua and I are going to bed.