Doctor Is Lost ~ If Found, Please Return

Well, one of my top five worst nightmares has happened. Here’s what I know.

I got a flu shot about a week or so ago. When I got home I was just looking over the pharmacy sheet that came with it and noticed that the “prescriber” was an unfamiliar name. Estep. Hmmm. Okay, no big deal I guess, maybe Dr. C was busy or out of the office and someone else from the office okayed the shot. Fine.

So then now it’s Monday, the 23rd. I see one of my prescriptions is running out and I need to renew it, so I called my pharmacy and asked for a new prescription. They always contact the doc for me. I got an email the next day saying there was a “delay” and as soon as the doc okayed the new script they would email me. Hmmmm.

Next day, no script yet. Hmmm. So I get up today and first thing I do is check Walgreens website and BINGO, there is the prescription…..with the prescriber’s name as…..Estep. Huh? Who the hell is Estep and why isn’t Dr. C’s name on there?? Then a sinking feeling hit me…..oh shit. Dr. C. My Dr. C, who is my age and has had heart disease for years and omg did he die or what. Oh shit.

So I pick up the phone and call the office, Paula answers. I tell Paula I am a patient of Dr. C and told her about the flu shot and the prescription both having the name of Estep on it for prescriber and is Dr. C okay??? Is he ill? WTH is going on?

She takes a breath and says, What we are able to say at this point is that as of the 11th of this month, Dr. C has resigned from the office. I said WHAT?? WHY?? Is he okay? I told Paula I knew that he has heart disease (they are not usually at liberty to give details of the health of a doctor to a patient) because I had to know if he was ill ~ I HAD TO KNOW. She said As far we know he is fine health-wise. I asked, Is he coming back? Is he going to practice somewhere else? She says, We do not know Anything about his plans, he has not told us ANYTHING. We are waiting for him to let us know what he plans to do next.

I’m sitting there with my jaw open, listening to this in utter shock….this does not sound like something Dr. C would do. He loves being a doctor, it is his reason for living, he absolutely adores it. And he just up and left? WTF?

I asked Paula who was left to take care of patients there…..she told me there were two docs still there and Dr. C’s nurse practitioner, ESTEP.

Okay. Deep breaths. I hung up and then called the hospital that Dr. C is affiliated with and spoke to a personnel director there. She spoke slowly and guardedly…..No, his health is fine. No, we don’t know what his plans are, but when we find out we will let his patients know by letter, whether he continues practicing elsewhere or if he retires. We are sorry for this inconvenience. Hmmmm.

So. Now, here I sit, wondering what the hell just happened. What made him do this crazy thing? He can’t quit being a doctor, he has a daughter in law school, he’s paying her tuition. He would never turn his back on his patients and just walk out. So now I’ve got all kinds of scenarios running through my mind. Did he flip out, have a nervous breakdown? Did the pressure get to him? I know he has chronic pain and heart disease. Is he really dying but they can’t tell anyone?

And now here comes my situation…..this doctor and I have had a good rapport for at least 10 years. (I can’t remember exactly how long I’ve been seeing him but at least 10 yrs) The reason we’ve had a good rapport is because we are the same age, we both have chronic pain and cardiovascular issues (his much worse than mine, I have high blood pressure and he’s had 3 heart surgeries at least). He always gave me lots of time in the exam room to address all the issues I came for, explained things to me so I’d understand them, was kind & cheerful & compassionate. He acknowledged and appreciated my understanding and knowledge of my own medical conditions and I think he was impressed that a layperson did her homework and educated herself… we often talked together about my illnesses and my medications almost as equals….he was not threatened or offended by my knowledge (as some docs would be) and I think he liked it that I was not some dummy that just swallowed her meds without understanding why I was taking them and what they did. AND…. he was not afraid to prescribe me the pain medicine that I need to keep me functioning. And now, he’s suddenly GONE.

So I am in “Doctor Limbo” once again. When you are a person with chronic illnesses, finding a good doctor is not such a monumental task. You just get some referrals or go to the Yellow Pages and pick one. There you go. But when you are a person with chronic PAIN issues that require PAIN MEDICINE, that task is indeed monumental. You have to find someone who #1) Understands chronic pain and does not dismiss it  #2) Understands that sometimes there are cases that requires narcotic pain medicine to allow that person the ability to have some quality of life #3) Understands that not everyone who asks for narcotic pain medicine is looking for a HIGH. To find a doctor with these qualifications can sometimes require months of searching. The thought of having to find another doctor with these qualities PLUS the thought of having to build a good rapport with ANY doctor all over again is overwhelming and daunting and depressing as hell.

I’m left sitting here with so many questions, concern for Dr. C and concern for myself. I can see the nurse practitioner for my prescription refills for now…. along with any minor medical issues, and maybe that will be enough. But eventually I will probably need to find another GP and I would rather stick needles in my eyes.


About teeks55

I'm a sleep deprived antique dealer with fibromyalgia, RA, diabetes & more. Love hubby, cats, books & humor! Avid tea drinker. Poker player. Pain fighter.
This entry was posted in Chronic Illness, Chronic Pain, Dealing With Doctors, Diagnosis, Disbelief, Fibromyalgia, Health, High Blood Pressure, Life Journey, Life Path, Medical Community, Medication, Narcotics, Pain Medication. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Doctor Is Lost ~ If Found, Please Return

  1. I totally sympathise. My GP is retiring in the new year. He is amazing. He gives me time to talk and listens. I owe him everything for getting me diagnosed, to the best consultant and into a recovery path. And now the time has come for him to retire. Im doing the head in sand thing cos it is just too stressful to even begin to think about finding someone to fill his shoes. I wish you loads of luck, you have my full sympathies.

  2. teeks55 says:

    Thank you so much. I am sorry you are facing the prospect of finding a new doc. I’m 58, got diagnosed with fibro in my middle 20’s….I’ve been through this many times but now that I am older and my pain is so much worse, just the idea of having to look for a new doc that will be a good “fit” for me is absolutely overwhelming. Good luck to you and me both!!! xoxo Thanks for reading.

  3. shainajohnson538 says:

    I am in the boat with you on that one! I am on new insurance and trying to find a doctor! Sigh! I wish you the best of luck in your search!

  4. teeks55 says:

    Oh Shaina, I’m sorry to hear that! What are we going to do?! It’s really incredibly stressful to be left in the lurch when we are already feeling so bad physically. To have to go on a hunt for a doctor with specific qualifications is a nightmare. Well, at least I’m not alone in this mess!! Good luck. xoxo

    • shainajohnson538 says:

      Well I have given up on trying to find a special doctor and decided any doctor will do! I will just coach them into doing what I want until I find a better one. 🙂 Sounds horrible right? But I am just so sick of looking and all the doctors I like won’t see me for months or don’t take health insurance (which is a big yikes). I have a huge list to call on Monday- I was supposed to call yesterday but I am procrastinating- I just don’t want to deal with it- but alas, I must! 🙂

  5. teeks55 says:

    My dream come true would be to find a doctor that we don’t have to “coach” LOL!! (but I sure know what you mean) I have learned a lot over the years, how to talk to them, how to phrase things, precisely how to ask for and GET what I need from them. But there are still some of those docs out there who think they are GOD and expect you to just cower and comply and do what you’re told without any input or “back-talk”. I pray to god that I (you too) will not have to weed through these jerks until we find someone who is willing to provide the care and the meds we need to function. I wish you good luck. Let me know how it goes!! xoxo

  6. Trisha says:

    I’m sorry you have to go through this. You’ve so right, finding a doctor to treat chronic pain issues is a monumental task. I finally found a doctor I liked and she moved away. Since then I’ve been through a dingy doc who had to be sampling drugs from the closet, an unfeeling robot and then a condescending jerk. I finally switched clinics. I hope your doctor search goes better! Or that your doctor goes to a new clinic.

  7. teeks55 says:

    Ohmygosh Trisha… understand this mess, obviously. I could so relate to your descriptions of the docs you’ve had to deal with. Thank you for your good wishes. I will see how the nurse practitioner is for now….if she is competent and kind, then I won’t be in such a hurry to locate a new doc. But if she’s not, then I will have to start looking, and I am right in the middle of a flare up from hell, so the timing couldn’t be worse. I may hook up with a local rheumatologist that I haven’t seen for years….was planning on making an appt. with him soon anyway…..maybe he can drop a few names as possibilities for a new GP for me. I guess we shall see what the future holds. Never know, maybe Dr. C will continue practicing somewhere else. One of the hospital personnel I spoke to said that once they knew what was going on, they would inform Dr. C’s patients by mail so I am hoping for good news. Not optimistic though. Good luck with your new clinic, take care…..and thanks for reading!! xoxo

  8. tlohuis says:

    I’m so sorry for your dilemma. With all my different chronic diseases I have several different specialists. It took me years to finally get the team of doctor’s that I am satisfied with, which was a major pain in the ass, as you know. Just this year 2 of my doctors retired. The first one, I’ve been seeing for 29 years. talk about a rapport. The second was my eye doctor that I’ve been going to since I was 9. The only eye doctor I’ve ever been to. When you have so many issues and so many doctor’s it’s hell to have to start all over, because your current doctor already knows your entire history. I sure hope Dr. C. is ok and will be coming back. Try to be optimistic.

  9. teeks55 says:

    Yeah, I guess it’s just a fact of life that no matter what, some time in our lives we will end up losing a doctor that we have held dear, whether it be from illness, retirement, death or whatever. It’s so hard. It’s hard to lose that very unique relationship that has been such an important one for many years of our lives, and then it’s also very hard to try and find someone to fill the shoes of the one that we lost. It’s especially hard when we have so many illnesses to manage. It’s not like a doctor-patient relationship that you have when you only need someone to prescribe an antibiotic for an infection or a sore throat. So this is a big deal for people like us…. Anyway, I am trying to remain hopeful that he will continue his practice elsewhere, somewhere I can get to. I am also trying not to worry, but I just have a gut feeling that there is something terribly wrong, this is just not something he would do to his patients….. I just pray he is okay. He’s a very special person, and he’s always tried to help make my life better. Keep your fingers crossed for everything to work out, Tammy!!! Thanks for reading. xoxo

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