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Doctor-dialling ritual begins again...

Finally decided to request a telephone consultation with my GP, because my baclofen is no longer working, and I don’t know if I need to go all the way back to the hospital (next scheduled appt. July), or what I’m supposed to do about it (have never had an MS nurse).

They have this stupid “Phone at 8 a.m.” system for appointments. I’d usually still be in bed now, or at least having a relaxing soak in the bath, to ease the muscles before starting the day. Instead, I’ve already called the surgery three times. Predictably, engaged every time.

But I note with some satisafaction they’ve abolished the dreaded queueing system, which meant you were paying for time spent on hold, still not speaking to anyone. At least an engaged tone doesn’t cost.

Tina

Aarrrgghhhh…one thing guaranteed to get my gander up is that bloody recorded message " we know you are waiting and will answer your call shortly. We apologise for the wait and can assure you that your call is important to us. You are in a queue and your position is currently one billion and two" Good luck !! Xx

Up to six times now, and nearly three-quarters of an hour. It wasn’t worth getting up early in the first place, was it?

I should have realised that from past experience. Why on earth do you need to call on the dot of 08:00, when you have more chance of winning the lottery, than of getting through at that time.

Think I’ll give up and have my bath, and call later, at an “unapproved” time. I can’t see why it actually matters WHEN I call. I’m not seeking a same day appointment, nor even a face-to-face. If she could call me back any time this week, that would be fine.

I’ve got a hunch that with Easter imminent, she’ll be on holiday anyway, but we can only try…

Tina

/Sigh

I spoke too soon. Over one hour later, and the ninth attempt. I was elated to hear it ring for the first time! Only to find it’s gone straight to queue… (Hung up to save the bill).

They used to have two lines, as well. Tried the other line, only to find that is now registering as “unobtainable”. Don’t know if that’s a permanent thing, or a fault, or what. It’s still showing on their website as a valid number.

Ho hum.

T.

And breathe…!!!

It might sound stupid, but it’s making me really anxious. I tend to be a bit avoidant, and put off contacting the doctor until I really have to.

But having made that decision, I get really nervous if I can’t just get on and do it, and it’s still left hanging over my head. I think things are easier if you can just do them. The more obstacles in the way, the more apprehensive I get, and start thinking: “Maybe I don’t really need the doctor after all?”

My doctor is nice (has been even nicer since she realised I wasn’t just neurotic!), so it’s not a problem with her personally. I just always seem to find it daunting. Maybe it’s the difficulty making the appointment (like now), maybe it’s that I can’t very easily “pop in”, or maybe it’s that she might refer me back to the hospital - which I also get stressed about.

T.

Phew !! You’ve just described my sentiments about doctors, hospitals, surgeries…the lot…I find everyone and everything daunting…maybe a legacy of previous experience with nasty neuro or maybe it’s just the fact that I feel like somehow knowing about my MS and being a part of it they have some sort of part of me or control over me or an intrusive part of my life…I don’t know but I just feel nervous everytime. I have a hospital appointment with the neuro department this afternoon and I already feel stressed. Xx

Oh God, I’m sorry - hadn’t meant to trigger stressful feelings!

But yeah, I’m exactly the way you are with it. I don’t think I’m “in denial” about my MS - I reckon I’d hardly hang out here every day if it was that. But somehow always getting myself in a sicky state when I have to deal with the Medical Profession about it - even when it’s perfectly routine, and I’m not having anything done. Most of my neuro appointments have lasted less than two minutes - the journey takes ten times as long. So really not worth getting in a state about such a trivial in-and-out job. But I still do…

Crackers, isn’t it? Hope it all goes OK this afternoon. Just think ahead to when you’ll be home again - that’s what I do.

Tina

x

It surely is…but it’s just nice to hear that I’m not the only one that has this response !! Xx

Hurrah - success!

She’s going to call me Thursday.

No indication when on Thursday, of course (I expect she’ll use a slot if one of her patients doesn’t turn up), so I’ll be getting in a state again on Thursday, waiting for the phone to ring. But at least I’ve taken the first step and arranged it.

Interestingly, the immediate response was: “Oooh, no, she hasn’t got anything for ages…”

But when I added: “By phone would be OK”, she could suddenly do it Thursday.

T.

x

Hi Tina, our GP surgery has same day appointment set up. So we do have to ring early too. I also have some kind of weird dread of seeing my GP face to face. its the initially moments when I wheel into her room. She never says hello first, but looks at me and doesnt smile either. Once that immediate time has gone, shes lovely!

But I havent had to actually see her for a long time. Instead I have telephone appointments and they are more comfortable to deal with. It`s usually to discuss utis or constipation or back pain. These appointments still have to be made early…I dont get up to make the call, I do it from the comfort of my bed. My GP always rings at the appointment time.

Hope the call, when it comes, helps with the problem.

luv Pollx

Tina, What an awful start to the day.

Top tip - write all your questions down and keep a notpad by the phone to write down the answers.

Good luck.

Jen xx

Hi Jen,

I lost count of how many times I tried to get through, in the end. I think it was more than a dozen, before I finally hit the jackpot. Feel really tired now - not just from getting up an extra hour earlier (I won’t fall for that one again, as I didn’t get through any sooner than if I’d got up at the normal time). But I was getting so stressed, ringing and ringing, and thinking I might not be able to get through at all, and have to start all over in the morning.

I don’t really have a lot of questions for the doctor - it’s just the basic one: “Baclofen’s no longer doing the job, so now what?”

I had a bit of a problem getting her to prescribe it in the first place - GP surgery and hospital both thought the other should do it! So whether she’ll be willing to try something different, without getting it signed in triplicate by the hospital first, I just don’t know.

It’s never been that clear to me who I’m supposed to go to about what, and they don’t really seem to know themselves. I’ve got a number for the relapse clinic, but I don’t think I’m having a relapse, so probably not much point phoning them…

T.

x

Hi Poll,

Seems I’m not the only one with “White Coat Syndrome”, then. Not that I’ve ever seen my GP in a white coat, but you know what I mean - blood pressure and heart rate shoot up, as soon as you’re in the same vicinity as a doctor.

I think I also get stressed about getting there. It’s such a fight to get an appointment in the first place, and now there are no direct buses. I get really stressed things will go wrong and I’ll miss it, and then I’ll have to start again from scratch, and won’t be able to get another appointment for a month.

Phone is by far the better option - as long as the problem isn’t something that needs a direct physical examination. Means I don’t get stuck in the waiting room for an hour, either, which always cranks up the anxiety.

T.

x

Tina, you are not alone. My son wanted to know if his x-ray had come back and results, but to no avail. The phone kept cutting off as if the secretary was taking a coffee break or something but definitely not answering the phone.

Why oh why is there a number to ring and one cannot get through, perhaps they should increase their system and put on more receptionists.

Nowt more frustrating. I tried one morning for 26 mins and then got through to be told all appointments had gone!

Holding your hand in frustration,

bren

x