A friend with Fibromyalgia is new to the area where I live and asked for a doctor referral. Oh that is easy, I thought to myself, and sent her the info for Community Internal Medicine at Mayo Clinic, where they provide primary care for Arizona residents. I mean you can't get better care than Mayo, can you? That is where I go and my doctor is the best doctor I've had since becoming ill. She appreciates I am proactive and I appreciate she actually listens to me and works with me to make life manageable. So my friend went and saw a doctor who referred her to a Rheumatologist. WELL the Rheumatologist got mad at my friend, his patient! He was upset the referring doctor sent a Fibromyalgia patient to him. He told her he does not treat Fibromyalgia patients, nor do they at Mayo Clinic in Arizona. She asked for another doctor referral and he all but told her Fibromyalgia was not an illness medical doctors are interested in treating.
So when she messaged me with this account I hit the roof! Not only was I embarrassed, I felt absolutely terrible my recommendation caused her the distress that comes with doctor appointments of this nature. I know I have been there myself, and most Fibrates I talk to have gone through it too. I then got on the Mayo Clinic website and stared disbelievingly at the "Preparing for your appointment" page for Fibromyalgia patients. What the hell is going on? A friend who is a knowledgeable advocate for patient rights suggested she "send a complaint to the Arizona State Attorney General for refusing to treat. Also to the Arizona branch of the AMA. Maybe put a little birdie in the ear of some hungry reporter? And, make sure Mayo Clinic knows about this person." All excellent advice. That a healthy person would have to put forth quite a bit of effort to follow through with. And we are sick, which decreases our ability to defend ourselves and make a fuss the world, or at least the local news, would find worthy of championing.
I am becoming increasingly less patient with the slow progress Fibromyalgia awareness is making. Specifically the lack of continuing education for doctors in practice. I see a message all over the place, doctors offices, hospitals. It says "You have a right to not be in pain". Well I want to take a out black Sharpie marker and write across every damn one of those notes, "Unless you have Fibromyaliga. Because we are so stupid we can't tell the difference between a drug seeker and person who legitimately is in pain due to a medical problem. So if you are a Fibromyalgia patient you are indeed expected to live in pain". And that pretty much seems to be the response so many of us face in the medical community. I started The Fibromyalgia Crusade with the best of intentions. And on Prednisone. So all my grand goals and ambitions were put to the side when I came off the drug and had to start all over at square one to get my Fibro, and my life, managed. But this is just getting silly. So in the next few days I will write out a letter folks can send to doctors that do not treat them well, acknowledge Fibromyalgia is real or flat out refuse to treat. I have had it. I am pissed. I am ready to kick some ass. And when I get this mad I usually don't settle down until a few heads are rolling...
Thanks for joining,