Transformers, Shia LaBeouf, and My Rheumatoid Arthritis

What do these three seemingly unrelated things have in common?

They were all in Westwood, California this afternoon. Shia LaBeouf (Megan Fox, if she’s more your style) was presumably attending the premiere of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, at the Mann Bruin while I was tending to my rheumatoid arthritis at my rheumatologist’s office.

All this Hollywood fuss nearly made me late to my appointment.

Only in Los Angeles…

Red Carpet for the Transformers Movie

Arthritis Patient Seeking Dr. Right

Happy Valentine’s Day, arthritis friends!

“Doctors” is a popular topic at my young adult support group meetings. I’m lucky that the two rheumatologists I’ve seen for my arthritis have both been excellent. But, more often than not, people I know tend to complain about their doctors.

For those that are not so lucky to have a great rheumy, it might be worth your while to check out You can browse doctors by city and specialty, and you can also look up specific doctors. I wouldn’t use this tool as your only source of information about a potential doc, but I think it could be a helpful resource, especially for someone who has just been diagnosed.

Say you get a doctor recommendation for a rheumatologist and he/she has mostly negative reviews on, you might want to seek out another recommendation or do some further homework before making an appointment. Of course everyone’s perception and experience is different, so keep that in mind when doc hunting.

If you are curious like me, you can use look up your current doc to see what other people are saying about him/her. I plan on adding positive reviews for the two rheumatologists that I’ve seen, and a negative review for my ex-GP who once looked up my symptom (altered sense of taste) on the Internet. Um, I could have done that for free at home in my pajamas.

Three Simple Ways to Find a Rheumatologist

  • Obtain a referral from a doctor you trust and like.
  • Call your local chapter of the Arthritis Foundation and ask for a doctor recommendation.
  • Find a support group for the type of arthritis that you have and ask people in the group for doctors that they’ve had a good experience with.

Just like you wouldn’t settle in a romantic relationship, don’t stay with a doctor you don’t like. If you feel that you don’t get good care from your doc, don’t give up. Search for a new one, even if it takes seeing a few bad doctors to get to a good one. Stick with it, your health is worth the trouble.

This Valentine’s Day, give your doctor some love, or find a doctor you may start a beautiful relationship with.

Rules for Doctors And Patients

Dr. Rob, a primary care physician who blogs over at Musings of a Distractible Mind, has posted two very good pieces that may just help foster better relationships between doctors and patients and vice versa. One post is targeted at doctors, listing rules on how to best get along with their patients. Another post is for patients with rules on how to really get the most out of their relationship with their doc. For instance, a “rule” for a patient:

Rule 6: No news might be bad news
“No news is good news” can be a fatal assumption.  Never assume that your doctor will call you if there is a problem.  I get 50-60 new documents (labs, x-rays, consults, hospital notes) every day.  I order hundreds of tests every week.  I just cannot keep track of them all.  Some will get sent to the wrong doctor and some results never get sent at all.  Despite our best efforts to develop a system that will close this loop, there are some documents I just don’t get.

I have to sheepishly admit that I am one of those patients that has gone by the “no news is good news” idea. Needless to say, I won’t be using that flawed assumption anymore!

Dr. Rob says his “purpose in writing these posts is to get both sides looking at things through the other’s perspective.” I think he succeeds!

Post your “rules” in the comments!

Rules for Doctors & Rules for Patients

The Difference Between Curing And Healing

Dr. Rachel Naomi RemenA recent podcast of NPR’s Speaking of Faith struck a chord with me. It features an interview with physician and author, Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen, who has lived with Crohn’s disease since she was 15 years old. I found the discussion in the podcast to be immensely inspiring, plus it gave me hope. How refreshing it was to learn how Dr. Remen’s experience with battling Crohn’s has actually shaped her as a doctor.

She developed a course called “The Healer’s Art,” which is now taught at universities around the U.S. Students learn that healing and curing are two different types of relationships, while being reminded “of their power to make a difference through their human response and connection to their patients.” Continue reading