My relationship with my GP has been difficult in the time leading up to my Fibromyalgia diagnosis and in the period following. But yesterday I experienced a particularly upsetting appointment which led me to consider which of us is the ‘expert’ – patient or professional. Read on for my story.
When officially diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in March this year, the Rheumatologist wrote to my GP recommending my Gabapentin medication increase from 400mg per day to a minimum of 900mg. My GP advised increasing to 600mg per day and I was returning yesterday to discuss the next increase to 800mg.
I picked up my health file (my own records which I take to all appointments) and got ready to leave. I happened to glance at my repeat prescription and did a double-take… 300mg tablets? I take 100mg tablets. I tried not to panic as I looked through my file which confirmed I had been taking 100mg tablets. If my last prescription contained 300mg tablets then had I unknowingly quadrupled my dose? When I checked the packet and saw 300mg tablets, to say I panicked is an understatement. I arrived at the GP shortly after and explained the situation, asking how this could have happened.
A very confusing discussion
My GP assured me I had always taken 300mg tablets
- maybe I have got this wrong I thought
When I pointed him to my Rheumatologist’s letter stating a 400mg dose, the GP stated this must have been an error
- I became a bit more sceptical
He then told me the Neurologist started me on 300mg tablets
- I have never seen a Neurologist and it was this same GP who prescribed the Gabapentin and completed all my medication reviews. When I pointed this out, he fumbled through the records not making eye contact with me
As I persisted and said this didn’t reflect our discussions, he said something I found very hurtful:
A relationship damaged beyond repair?
Already having a particularly emotional day, I felt the sting of tears in my eyes. There were so many contradictions that I knew he had made a mistake somewhere. And yet he was the Doctor, the expert, and the authority on the matter. Whereas I was the person with the illness, prone to confusion, who couldn’t possibly be right.
I pushed back the tears, swallowed my pride, and moved the conversation on to how to proceed. Yet I hated having my condition used against me in this way. I don’t think I’ll ever understand what happened but one thing became clear – I need to find a new GP. I’d just like to be clear that I’m not disputing the skills and knowledge of the medical professional, however I too am an expert on how my condition affects my body and my life. I have a contribution which should be listened to. I feel relationships with medical professionals should be based on trust and respect and, sadly, that’s something I’m certain I don’t have.
What would you do?
Have you ever experienced a similar situation? How did you handle it? I’d love to hear your experiences, comments and any tips so please leave them below.