If there is one thing I have learned in the last 5 years it is that in Canada, you have to fight for the best medical care possible (I suspect this may actually be an international thing). You have to be your own advocate. You have to research. You have to get yourself in front of doctors. You have to push for answers.
Yes there are great doctors out there. Sometimes we are fortunate enough to have great doctors in our lives – I have a phenomenal family doctor. And when I say phenomenal, I mean truly phenomenal. I also had a great immunologist who was beyond supportive, went out of his way to do research and was excited to learn from the reproductive immunologist we went to. And I have friends who are doctors who I like to think are great doctors because they are great people (but since they are friends, I don’t know for sure because they are not my doctor as that would be awkward for all involved).
But like all professions, not everyone is great at what they do. I have had more then my fair share of horrible emergency room doctors – the list is too long to write out. And, I also had a horrible Reproductive Endocrinologist who wouldn’t look at the latest research, who didn’t support our decision to seek out leading expert medical advice, and who didn’t care about our mental health as we went through more and more losses. As much as that experience was horrible, I did learn a lot about the Canadian medical system and I learned to advocate for myself – lessons that will probably serve me well in life.
And, most recently I had a Gastrointestinal doctor who did a top to tail procedure back in September. He appeared phenomenal. He promised to keep searching for an answer. And then, nothing happened. As in, 4 months later, no follow-up. No confirmation of any results. No follow-up appointment booked. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. (I did have my family doctor look into the results to confirm they were basically normal – microscopic gastritis – so at least I knew there wasn’t something super sinister going on that fell through the cracks).
Since I had confirmation that nothing scary was going on, I’ve been putting off following up myself. I tried once back in October and never got a return phone call. And then I just gave up, knowing that at some point I’d have to push for proper follow-up and more testing. I’ve been putting it off, because I hate navigating the medical system – it’s so time consuming and so darn hard sometimes.
Yesterday, I finally put on my big girl pants and summoned everything in me to prepare for battle as I called the clinic. I was all prepared to beg for an in-person appointment if someone actually answered the phone. And, on the assumption that I’d just get an answering machine, I promised myself I’d call every single day until I could speak to a real human being. And then I’d call every single day until I could get an actual follow-up appointment – I even made Mr. MPB promise to neg me every day to make sure I actually did it.
Well, to my surprise, when I called, a living person answered the phone and she booked me an appointment in February!
There was no fight just to get an appointment. I kid you not, I had tears in my eyes I was so excited and relieved.
Now, I just have to push for more testing. I believe there is a link between all the “weird” things my body has done throughout my life – drug induced lupus years ago, recurrent pregnancy loss, and gastritis like symptoms every few years. I my mind, these things have to be related – people don’t have that many random, rare, non-diagnoseable coincidences. So, I plan to keep pushing for an answer, if for no other reason then I’d like to prevent the gastritis from happening have 2-3 years.
Wish me luck!
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