Wednesday, August 25, 2010

New job, new house & new rheumatologist

All in one week!

New job - I am back in the workforce on a 15 month contract working 9 of 10 days. While leaving the kiddies is hard, I was craving adult interaction of a business kind. The company I work for now has flex hours (yeah!), 90% drug coverage as opposed to the 80% (yeah!) and is closer to home. A winner all around. Oh, yeah, and the work seems really good as well.

New house - we signed on the dotted line last Saturday for a new home to be built in the same area of Bridlewood (a subdivision in Kanata, which is the west end of Ottawa) where we live. We will move in next August. Making 1000s of decisions about paint, tile, hardwood, electrical and hardware will be time consuming and exhausting, but I hope it is mental exhaustion only, I'm working now - no more afternoon naps!

New rheumy - well it seems a few weeks ago, I received a call from my rheumy's secretary with some not-so-hot news: the office will be closed for 6-9 months and my upcoming appointment is canceled. Go back to your GP for a referral. Oh dear.

Worst phone call ever (ok, that's an overstatement, but it was likely the worst phone call of the month). Nothing drives fear and emotion than the feeling that you don't have access to the health care you need.

So, being both scared and emotional, I cried. I cried to the next 2 people who called me that day. Then I located my bootstraps, pulled them up, and started surfing the web for rheumatologists in the Ottawa area. Several came up on, and I selected one and called the office. I can be a fantastic conversationalist, so I thought I might talk my way into an appointment. Worth a try, I thought.

Well, the number I called was the Ottawa Hospital, and it seems they have an Arthritis Centre. And somehow, living here for 11 years, I never knew this place existed. I felt a little dumb. Actually, very dumb.

The upshot is that I spoke with the clerk there, very nice man, who told me if my family doctor put the referral as "urgent" I would be seen in a month. Awesome. I went off to my family doc a few days later and a phone call with an appointment followed a few days after that. Painless some might say. My appointment is next week.

I was on the verge of asking for a "file review" (read: I want another rheumy to look at my file because I am not convinced that you are the best doc for me) at my next appointment with my old rheumy, so this is a nice way to switch docs without an uncomfortable conversation.

I am 15 months into using Enbrel and I don't feel that much further ahead. Last year I was on 10 mg prednisone daily and 25 mg methotrexate weekly. Now I am on 5 mg prednisone daily, same MTX dose and Enbrel. Somehow, I thought I would be able to drop more MTX or prednisone, given that I am now on Enbrel.

I felt at times like a palliative care patient with my old rheumy. Like I should take my drugs, take my lumps and not complain too much. And that there were absolutely no other drug combos that would help me. So hopefully my new rheumy will entertain some other drug options that may lead me off some prednisone.

Lots of "new" in my life. I am thankful for the "old" who are supportive and loving and helping with all of these transitions.