First Appointment

Well I had my first appointment yesterday and it wasnt what i thought. I arrived on time but the nurse told me that the doctor had not yet arrived. After 45 minutes the nurse went to see the main consultant and was told that my original doctor was not supposed to be seeing patients as he was training. The consultant said he would squeeze me in.

As i walked in he said I can see by the way you are walking you have joint stiffness. He then asked me how it all started and i began to tell him. He then looked on the computer screen and said I see you have suffered from depression in the past so o think you have Fibromyalga as that is very common after depression.

I asked about my rheumatoid factor and he said that at 27.2 it was a low positive and that 10% of people have a positive without having RA. I tried to explain that my symptoms had got progressively worse since my initial gp visit and blood test which was several months ago.

He has prescribed me Gabapentin and ordered a load of blood tests.

The whole appointment took 10 minutes. To be honest I feel that my past depression has me labelled. He said the blood results would take 3 weeks and they would write to me. I felt rushed and did not have an opportunity for questions as the nurse came in and told him his next patient was here.

9 Replies

  • Oh after all the wAiting and high expectation that is so sad. Why don't you call the hospital doctors secretary and ask for a further extension to this appointment and why you are asking. Just not fair to leave you feeling like this xx

  • So sorry the appointment was so bad. I have suffered from depression myself, but it has never been a factor in my diagnosis, except that it is a very common partner to RD.

    At least he ordered blood tests, let's hope that these support your symptoms. I would go back to my gp, and tell them how you feel it went. To have to be'fitted in' like that is totally unacceptable, you are entitled to a proper appointment, and you also deserve an explanation for why it had been made with the wrong doctor!

    Don't lose heart, I know many people who have had to battle to get a proper diagnosis. No comfort for you, but you're not alone, and you will get through!

    Good luck! M x

  • Hi Cornishchap. Did he examine your joints and are your inflammatory markers raised at all I wonder? I don't think anyone can diagnose (or not diagnose) RD without at least examining joints for tenderness and swelling. And if your inflammatory markers were raised along with symptoms and a low positive Rheumatoid Factor then your GP obviously referred you for a reason. I would query this diagnosis as it doesn't seem very thorough? Ten minutes is a very short time to rule RD out and put you on quite a strong neuropathic drug such as Gaberpentin (although it is used for Fibro as well I believe). Have you tried Amitriptyline yet? If not it might be worth checking this out with your GP again before you try the Gaberpentin because it may be a better drug to start with. It does seem that the history of depression influenced this doctor's judgment and that isn't right at all. Twitchy

  • that is so bad i really feel for you flower i would put a complaint in about how you have been treated and how it made you feel,

  • That's awful. My first appointment lasted almost an hour and all checks were made on my joints along with fluid drawn from my knees (very painful!). x rays and more bloods were ordered. I was also allowed to speak about how it was all affecting me. I think you should go back to your GP and tell them of your experience.

  • Hello Cornishchap,

    To have waited so long, to be then treated that way, any one would feel cheated out of their time and you did not have any checks.

    My first appointment was so different to yours! I had bloods taken, scans on my hands, my weight and height taken, then the consultant checked every joint. I spent two hours there altogether.

    The out come of all this was, I tested positive for RA! You really need to go back to your GP and explain how you were treated.

    I hope your next appointment is a better one (being that none of us wants this).

    Good luck.

  • Thank you. He flexed my elbows which are only a bit sore and felt my knees and hands.

    My finger joints are swollen as my fiance bought me a ring 6 weeks ago that fitted perfectly. I have since lost 14lbs to try and help my joints but the ring will no longer go over the joint.

    I would obviously much rather it wasnt RA but feel the appointment was rushed. My partner who was with me had the same impression.

    I have started the Gabapentin but it has knocked me for six and I am very woolly headed. I will try and get a gp appointment next week.

  • Please let us know how you get on with the Gaberpentin and with the GP. I think your GP should be aware of the fact that you've been on this med - especially as it is knocking you for six and making you wooly headed. I hope you get to see another rheumatologist who is more thorough.

  • I felt the same after my first consultation. Everything I told him, was just shrugged off as Fibromyalgia, a disease I didn't even know I'd been diagnosed with. I know how you feel about having an existing condition take presidence over everything else.

    I was asked very few questions and he looked at my hands and pressed my ankles. More tests were ordered, half of which 4 weeks on, I'm still waiting for. No questions about how it was affecting me. No support at all. I only found out a week after from reading my notes that he thinks I have a rare form of RD.

    My latest blood tests are going to take 6 weeks for results and I won't know or be informed of them until November when my follow up consultation is meant to be.

    My experience of the NHS is poor, when I used to be lucky enough to have private health care, the main difference was being given time and treated with respect. Having time to ask questions and a consultant with the common courtesy and time to explain things was wonderful! I only wish I still had private, but I don't, so I'm left uninformed and feeling bewildered.

    I know how you feel! X

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