Ha ha ha ha ha, see my GP for a relapse :D, that’s a good’un. Sorry sarcasm alert!
I love the fact that some of you can discuss MS wth your GPs and they can knowledgeably discuss whether having steroids would make a difference. Here’s my experience of my GP and relapses -
Relapse 1 - Phoned specalist nurse at clinic. Described symptoms (right leg seized up, painful calf, struggling to walk). She agreed I needed steroids and said she would fax protocol over to my surgery. Told me to book an appointment with GP the following morning so he could check for infection and prescribe steroids. The next morning (a Frday) I phoned the surgery, asked for urgent access app’t (the only way I could have been seen in the time scale), described the problem. Receptionist booked me in.
Half an hour later she rang me back to say I didn’t need the appointment, GP had said I needed to drop in a urine sample so they could check for UTI and he would then issue the prescription. At about 11.30 the GP phones to say my urine sample is clear and what are my symptoms and do I have a temperature? I wanted to scream at him! If he had’ve ruddy well seen me in surgery he would’ve been able to check me over himself and examine me, seen how bad my walking was etc!! He agreed to issue the steroids and said the prescription would be available later in the afternoon for me to collect. (If he had seen me in morning surgery he would’ve printed it there and then, saving me precious hours.)
Of course as they were high dose steroids, neither pharmacy in town had them in stock. One could get them in by the following lunchtime so I had to agree to that. My nurse had advised me to take them as early in the day as possible to counteract the insomnia which I knew was how they affect me, so I had to delay starting them until the Sunday morning. Thanks, doctor! By that point my walking was now a shuffle. Why couldn’t he have seen me at 9.00 am and given me the prescription then I may have had the tablets by Friday afternoon or Saturday morning at the very latest?!
Relapse 2 - Didn’t realise/want to admit it was a relapse. Three months later the right leg was much better but left leg started playing up with sudden extreme cramp and eventually seizing up, again making walking very difficult. I convinced myself that it was due to over-compensating for the right leg for the past few months. Saw GP and asked for referral to physio. He didn’t know what to do with me and wanted to give me more steroids. Told him I didn’t want more steroids because of the side effects. He faxed my neuro to ask for advice. I phoned specialist nurse who gave me a number to self refer for physio and wrote to my GP saying I had the right to refuse steroids and it was reasonable to refer me to physio. She also suggested further drugs for neuropathic pain if I should need them.
Surgery then ask me to make another appointment. GP offers me gabapentin which I decline as I want to try exercising. Physio tell me it will be months before I am seen so I do yoga stretches twice daily which freed the muscles and the pain. It hurt like hell to start with but I did a little bit more each day and I could tell it was working as my walking gradually improved. By the time I saw the physio 6 months after the referral, we only had my balance to work on.
Result - I don’t go to my GP re MS unless I have spoken to nurse first and she advises me on which Fact Sheet to take along with me. GP has other MS patients but doesn’t seem very knowledgable and has no interest in learning. Would it be rude to drop off some off the ‘For Professionals’ leaflets?
Sorry for the rant, I feel better now