So, I finally had enough in February of 2011 and decided that I would try once again to see if a dermatologist could help me. My family doctor was on maternity leave so I spoke with her replacement who quickly wrote me a referral. I was open to giving this a chance and finding a doctor that would help me “manage” my condition (its chronic and not curable). I was shocked to find out they got me into a doctor a few days short of 2 weeks from the referral.
The appointment was in a small town not to far from the Quebec/Ontario border. The doctor is from Montreal and comes to the town on Wednesday to offer dermatological services to Ontario patient. Sounds kinda like a dream, eh?
Here is how the experience went down: I found the clinic no problem and besides the lack of parking which was annoying I was optimistic this was going to be a great appointment. I walk into the clinic to find 30 or more people in the waiting room (and out into the hallway). Apparently, it is also the local dermatology walk-in clinic whereby as soon as you have a referral you can “stop in” anytime during business hours to see Dr. Y. Talk about a money grab.
Anyways, I make my way to the counter and present my health card. The receptionist proceeds to tell me that my appointment was canceled and rescheduled for in a months time. After informing her that this was news to me (why would I be well over an hour away from home for a canceled appointment?), she told me not to worry as she could fit me in (easy to do for a walk in clinic, I guess). And so the waiting began.
45 minutes later I was called into the clinic and escorted into an exam room. Waited another 15 minutes (or so) until Dr. Y walked in. He was an older guy who walked in with a can of nitrogen gas ready to freeze off a wart or something. But alas, he gets me the chronic eczema patient. He quickly looked at my hands and legs but never wanted to see the rest of me (yup, no hospital gown this time), he huffs and sits down in the chair across from me. He asks the usual questions… and diagnosed me with hereditary eczema and anxiety. Yup, anxiety. This dermatologist is apparently also a shrink. I asked what he meant by anxiety and he qualified it with anxiety is scratching. So my eczema is itchy which causes me to itch it which equates itself to anxiety. Jeez, that’s doc.
Now the “fun” part (or the fuck you part of this post). I was 8 weeks pregnant at the time which changed everything about the appointment. He told me that the cream (betaderm) I was told to use (sparingly albeit) would, “Give your baby a cleft palate”. Being a biologist I asked for the studies behind this statement, he abruptly told me to “google it”. Yeah, fuck you Dr. Y! This was a hard pill to take as after 2 pregnancies I had never been told that this cream would/could give my baby a cleft palate. Wow, what is a girl to do when her eczema is preventing her from working some days but she wants the best health for her baby?
Having undergone photoderm therapy when I was in high school I was hoping to get a referral to this type of treatment. I asked about it, he said that it was available in Ottawa but that he didn’t know where. I asked if he could find and get back to me. His answer was, “no, but I can refer you to the clinic in MONTREAL” (which is over 2 hours away from my house, btw). He wouldn’t even ask for me.
So, he explains that he cannot help me at this point and that I should use Lipikar Cream all the time and come back after 20 weeks if its still bad. He wouldn’t even talk about what my options are in the future for management. Wow!
Here are the answers to the other questions I had.
1) Are allergies (food/environmental) linked to my eczema? Absolutely not!
2) For my severe eczema on my hand, are there any other gloves I can use? No, not that I know of. When I asked if he could look in it, he said he would not. (F-you!)
Now for the aftermath: I cried the whole drive home. Leaving with the name of a moisturizer (hoot!) and being told I had given my baby a cleft palate. This idea was stupid and I was defeated.
But alas, I am not one who stands for bad service. After all of the stupidity I had just gone through with this appointment the lasting impression for me was that this doctor comes to Ontario from Quebec. He takes MY tax payer dollars but cannot refer me locally for other dermatological services (ie: the photoderm treatments). Seriously? So, I decided that I needed to do something. Not only for me but for others who face this jerk.
I wrote a letter to the Ontario Minister of Health and Long Term Care, Deb Matthews with copies to my doctor and to Dr. Y. My letter was forwarded from Deb Matthews’ office to the actual Ministry for consideration. I’ve never heard back. I did hear back quickly from my doctors office who referred me to another clinic in Ottawa.
With this guy around, no wonder I have no faith in Dermatologist.