Does anyone else’s rheumatologist not seem to hear you?

I went to my rheumatologist yesterday. My RA is flaring so frequently and badly that I just quit my job because of it. This was a huge and very scary decision but my husband encouraged me to. At the Dr office I told the Dr my symptoms that are bad enough I can’t work because of them. She just seemed to ignore what I said including that I had to take the huge step of quitting a very financially good job. She said that we will continue with my Orencia and Arava and to see her at next available appointment ~ which is 5 months away. Is this nor response? She didn’t bother to even acknowledge the issues I have. Am I expecting too much and just need to wait for the meds to work? I am not a goodwhiner but some of these things really scare me. In fact I don’t usually complain at all, which drives my husband crazy because he wants to know wants going on with me and I don’t always tell him. I just want to know if that is a normal response from my dr? Do I just suck it up and wait it out and then I’ll be fine? I live in a small rural community so there aren’t any options near me. Thank you for your time.


Community Answers
  • ShelleyD
    4 months ago

    Just once. I’ve moved several times, so I’ve had a few. No one was like this particular rheumatologist. Spoke rudely, cut me off every time I spoke. I told her I didn’t want to take biologics then for several different reasons. She ordered them anyway; didn’t know til the pharmacy called. I politely fired her; it was the last straw. Found a wonderful one in the same group!

  • Richard Faust moderator
    5 months ago

    Hi CJ. Sorry you are having these difficulties. On top of the excellent information from Erin, I thought you might be interested in a couple of the positive experiences of our contributors. In this article one of our contributors writes about a doctor who would not let him settle for having the occasional flare: https://rheumatoidarthritis.net/living/the-good-doctor/. While everyone’s RA is different and thus what constitutes control is different, it is not too much to seek good control. In addition, in this article another contributor writes about a doctor who starts every appointment by asking how she is doing and assessing her wellness, rather than just looking at numbers (note: I can attest to this as I happen to be this author’s husband): https://rheumatoidarthritis.net/living/assessing-wellness/. As Erin said, you may want to assert what you want and expect. No one will look out for you like you. Wishing you the best and feel free to keep us updated on how you are doing. Richard (RheumatoidArthritis.net Team)

  • cadade
    5 months ago

    My Rheumatologist is the same. I hate him. His PA is great though. I can’t switch doctors because they’re limited. He doesn’t listen at all. Just tries to change my meds every time I see him. I struggle to go to work and earlier this year I asked about disability and he said “I don’t put people on disability for RA” how can you not? RA is debilitating. Work is stressful. It makes my condition worsen. I don’t know what to do to help myself!

  • Sabrina
    5 months ago

    Wow hon, I thought it was just me who had this problem. No one is listening to me either.I wish I had a solution for both of us.

  • Erin Rush moderator
    5 months ago

    Wow, CJ! I am sorry your physician seems to not be listening to you. I can’t say that this is “normal”. A good rheumatologist will listen to you and partner with you to treat your RA in the best way possible. Sadly, your interaction is not entirely unusual. Many of our members have had negative experiences with their physicians, which is unfortunate. While you mentioned that you live in a small community, should the opportunity ever arise, you may want to consider seeking a second opinion. If you feel comfortable doing so, you may want to have a frank discussion with your doctor about what your expectations for treatment and communication are. And while it can take some time for treatments to reach full efficacy, your physician should always be willing to listen and answer your questions and concerns. I hope you get some relief very soon and I am sorry you had to step away from your job. Best, Erin, RheumatoidArthritis.net Team Member.

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