October 22, 2019
I was anxiously awaiting my appointment with the kidney specialist. I needed answers. It had been seven months since my first “spell,” and I still knew very little about what was wrong with me. It was making me nuts. I’d have to force myself to stop googling my symptoms and remind myself that I wasn’t a specialist. I couldn’t solve this on my own.
My hopes were high for this appointment. I had brought my over-the-top lab spreadsheet, along with my list of questions. Her medical assistant said, “Oh you’ll really like her. She will have a lot of good information for you.” I couldn’t wait. I mean, I knew it was probably going to be more blood work and no definitive answers that very day, but she’d have an idea of what was happening. We’d have a plan.
And then my hopes were chewed up and spit out. First of all, she was a PA. No offense to PAs. I think they serve a very vital function in our health care system. But I wanted to see a physician. I felt my condition warranted seeing a physician. Not a PA.
More importantly, she didn’t take my symptoms and lab findings seriously at all. She told me to drink more water. I already drink a ton of water, usually between two and three liters every day. When I told her that, she brushed it off and obviously didn’t believe me. She told me to eat less red meat. I hardly ever eat red meat. She told me to use less salt. I don’t eat a lot of salt. My sunflower seed days were far behind me, and it is a rare thing for me to salt my food.
And this was the kicker: She literally said to me, “Well, you’re in your 50s now,” as though going into stage 3 renal failure in a four-month window was the natural function of hitting my 50s. She didn’t run labs, she didn’t do anything. She breezed out the door with, “Come back in three months.”
I was stunned.
I was pissed!!
I’d waited SO LONG for this appointment and had pinned my hopes on this to get some answers. And she blew me off. Just completely blew me off. And she thought I would come back in three months? Yeah, I didn’t see that happening.
But then I had to start all over again. And how long was it going to take NOW to get an appointment to see someone new? I was crushed. So many weeks just wasted. I got home and immediately called another kidney specialist group in town to find out if they were accepting new patients (yes) and about how long it would take to get an appointment (about two weeks). AMAZING. And… they took my insurance! The trifecta. They required a referral so I messaged the hematologist who had initially referred me to nephrology and asked for a referral to this new group. I received a call from them pretty quickly, but unfortunately I was on vacation in Costa Rica when they had their first opening. But I got an appointment for the end of November.