Monday, July 18, 2011

But I'm too young to have arthritis. . .

What do Phil Mickelson and I have in common? A penchant for taking risks? A plethora of green jackets in our closet? A loved one who had breast cancer? Tired of guessing?

Psoriatic arthritis. Or at least we probably do. I haven't been to see a rheumatologist quite yet but got my first referral today after my visit to the best dermatologist ever. My psoriasis medicine from Nashville finally got used up after months of me trying to squeeze every bit out (in my defense that ointment costs a person without insurance nearly $700, so I was being more than lazy--frugal).

So I went in search of a dermatologist in LA, which is a hazardous affair considering the amount of cosmetic procedures that get done here. I wanted someone who knew their shit. And so I went to get a referral to the best place I knew: yelp. Okay so it probably wasn't the best idea to get a doctor's referral from the same place that recommended several shitty pizza places, but most insurance providers won't do it and I forgot the rate-a-doc site address.

I called last week and found the guy was booked up for a while, but was taking new patients. I called again today and BAM! Cancellation. I slipped in at 2 and for the first time in a long time wanted to kiss yelp square on the lips. Dr. Liu asked me questions about my history with psoriasis, asked me about what medications I was on, what worked, what didn't, my biggest concerns, what my previous medicine application process had been, etc. It was awesome. He spent more time with me in one visit than my previous dermatologist did in two years worth of visits. And then he asked the magic question:

"Have you had any joint issues?"

YES! YES, I have!! I had seen a physician in Nashville about my joint problems and even mentioned my psoriasis, but he just brushed me off (he tended to that unless you were a very attractive female). So I've never had a proper referral. Dr. Liu referred me to a rheumatologist and even gave her permission to view his records of me for my appointment with her. I got loaded up with 6 prescriptions for my various types of psoriasis (my old doctor used two and they never really worked) and gave me discount coupons for all my prescriptions, PLUS generic versions of everything he could. The dude saved me $40 with one prescription and at least $35 each for three more PLUS saved the insurance company.

Clearly the proof will be in the results but when I told him that I had never had a remission in my scalp psoriasis since it first happened he said "Well, I'm going to do the best I can to give you some relief." It just felt nice to be listened to, to have someone willing to above and beyond, and willing to help me. (Did I mention he gave me his personal--not office--email address to ask any questions-- PLUS he actually took a few minutes to ask about my personal life?). Seriously, there's very little this guy could do in the future to ruin this first impression.

Now to see if my hip pain is actually arthritis. While I wouldn't be excited about it, it would be nice to be able to have some relief and maybe even use a treadmill again.


Shera said...

This old lady has f-ing arthritis, too. I didn't know to call it that until RT had his cartilage surgery. They warned him about early-onset arthritis... something my doc didn't worry about telling a 13-yr old girl. Sucks, but controllable. Good luck!

Nicole said...

Interesting that arthiritis can be caused by the skin condition. Fascinating.


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