Well, my appointment with Dr. Hopeless (as she's known locally) went as well as I expected, she's about as much use as a chocolate teapot!
My first encounter with her was about five and a half weeks ago to get the consultant's diagnosis. I wasn't told the diagnosis but I was told "You need an inhaler. Book an appointment at the COPD clinic to learn how to use one. I can't give you a prescription until then". So two and a half weeks later I saw the nurse who showed me the consultant's letters, gave me the diagnosis of COPD and showed me how to use an inhaler and I was prescribed Ventolin.
I had a check up with the nurse three weeks later and was telling her things I was aware of but didn't think they were there before, e.g. a raw/sore sort of feeling at the top of my chest and in my throat sometimes, I also tried to describe a feeling I was getting in my chest like a weight or heaviness or like the discomfort you feel when something was stuck. Nurse said to see the GP as I may be better on Spiriva than the Ventolin. I also told her that I was fine using the inhaler with the spacer but if I used it directly into my mouth the powder got stuck on my tongue and didn't get down into my lungs. She said she could possibly change me over to a handihaler (not sure if that would be any better???).
So another two week wait to see the GP and tell her the nurse has suggested I come and talk to her as she thinks I may be better on Spiriva so I tell her the same things as I told the nurse. This is basically how it went, I've left out the bits where she interrupted and talked over me.
Me: I'm aware of things that I didn't notice before starting the inhaler, I'm getting a raw/sore feeling at the top of my chest/in my throat sometimes.
Dr: That wouldn't be the inhaler but I can give you Spiriva. You can take that as well as the Ventolin. Do you need some more Ventolin?
Me: I'm doing OK with the Ventolin using the spacer but if I need to use it directly into my mouth (if I needed to use it when I'm out) the powder's getting stuck on my tongue, I can't get it down into my lungs.
Dr: Yes, it does that.
Me: I'm also getting some discomfort in my chest a bit like a heaviness/something stuck that hasn't gone down properly. Not indigestion as I don't suffer from that and it's not associated with when I have something to eat.
Dr: Well it could be indigestion, I'll give you some Omeprazole to try.
Me: But I don't suffer from indigestion, and it doesn't happen when I've had something to eat.
Dr: But it could be acid, I'll give you some Omeprazole.
Me: I know I have COPD and that it's an umbrella term but I don't know which actual disease. Would it be better to know exactly what it is.
Dr: No, there's no point.
Dr: You went to see a heart specialist who said you had a lung problem didn't you? You didn't have any breathlessness did you?
Me: Yes I did. I first came to see Dr B [my own GP who seems to be always away at the moment so I can't get to see her] because I was getting short of breath after walking about 100 yards on the flat, I can't do inclines or any fast walking. Because of the poor heart history in my family she decided to send me for heart tests as well as lung function tests because the spirometry test here showed some narrowing of the airway.
Me: I wish to be pro-active and keep as well as possible for as long as possible. I do walk my dog twice a day for a total of about one and a half to two hours but it doesn't exactly get my heart pumping, she's a sniffer and a plodder so our walks are just strolls. What other things could I be doing that would help? There's a class locally that does gentle exercise, I think it's mainly for older people rather than youngsters.
Dr: One of our nurses runs an exercise class at the local gym but it's really for people who are far worse than you so yes, go along and do the gentle exercise, anything you like really.
Me: I have a cold at the moment so I'll wait until I'm over that and then I'll go along. Hopefully it wont develop into a chest infection but what should I do about identifying problems and knowing what to do and having a plan to deal with them?
Dr: That's something you can discuss with the nurse.
So, I'm feeling rather frustrated. I don't feel like taking the Omeprazole because I'm sure I'm not suffering from indigestion or acid and I don't feel I'm getting any support from the doctor. There's nowhere else to go, it's the only surgery we have and the other doctor is rude and obnoxious so I wont go and see him. The nurse is very nice and will answer any questions but doesn't come forward with any advice unless you ask something. And the fact that she thought Vitamin D was for bones was a bit of a surprise, I really thought a nurse would know it was for immune support.
Good job another member asked about advice and tips as she was starting Spiriva and I've learnt about rinsing and mouthwash after using it as the Dr didn't mention anything.
Just a bit of a moan really. I'll ring the helpline tomorrow perhaps and discuss some of the things I've mentioned.