Patient Blogs | Psoriatic Arthritis
Seeing a New Doctor
photo of doctors appointment

Earlier this month, I had to do something I hadn’t had to do in about 10 years. I had to see a new rheumatologist. I had been with the same doctor since I moved here. I liked my rheumatologist. He has seen me through several different medications, good days and bad, bad ankles, bad knees, bad knuckles. The relationship between doctor and patient should be based on communication and trust. Then, at my November appointment, there was a note on the door that the doctor was moving away. He had sold to another practice in town and their doctors would be taking over.

Well, this was a bit of a shock. Not gonna lie, an initial thought was, “How could he do this to me?” because everything should be about me! I am kidding, mostly at least. My first thought was actually a misunderstanding. I thought the whole practice was closing and we could choose to go to the new offices, but the one I go to would still be open, so that’s good. I decided to give them a chance.

I had my first visit with this doctor earlier this month. I wanted to be as prepared as I was when I first started seeing my previous doctor. I know what I have been through, I know my body, I know my treatments, etc. 

I have been lucky with my doctors over the 20+ years. I have had doctors who first off know my disease. But they also know that I know my disease and my body and they listen to me. I didn’t know if this doctor would follow with this trend. Thankfully, this doctor did. They said that after 20+ years, I knew a lot about my disease and continued to make my treatment more of a partnership rather than a one-way street. So, for now, they can stay as my doctor.

To me, seeing a new doctor should be (to me at least) them auditioning for us or us hiring them. I think we as patients sometimes think it’s the opposite. We hope they take us, but really it should be up to us if we want to keep them. In a perfect world, we get to choose a medical provider based on knowledge, treatment style, how much they listen to us. 

Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world. We have to worry about things like do they take my insurance, are they conveniently located to me, are they taking new patients. But no matter what, make yourself heard, make yourself known. If it takes bringing in notes about your treatments and medications, do it. If it takes bringing in your medicine bottles, do it.

Switching doctors isn’t something I planned, and it may not be something you plan. You may move, change insurance, the doctor leaves, or you need a change. The main thing is, especially when seeing a new provider, to make sure they know what is going on with you medically, physically, mentally, emotionally. They need to pay attention to you. 


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Photo Credit: Science Photo Library / Getty Images

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Eddie Applegate

Eddie Applegate

Diagnosed since 2003

Eddie Applegate was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis (PsA) in 2003. His job has involved working behind the scenes in TV ad sales support for over 20 years, but his calling has become sharing his experiences with PsA to help others with the disease. When he isn't working or sharing, you can find him doing crosswords (the more difficult, the better), reading, watching movies, or cheering on his beloved Atlanta Braves or Alabama Crimson Tide.

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