"I was made to feel like I was wasting the consultants time"

About: The Royal Liverpool University Hospital / Rheumatology

(as the patient),

I went recently to a consultant in my home town for the first time in October 2010. previously I have been diagnosed with Rhuematoid arthritis and given treatment ranging from NSAIDS to Methrotrexate. I've been diagnosed by two consultants, one in liverpool and one in Cumberland, which was the last one before this consultant. The last consultant, in the Cumberland hospital told me as soon as he examined me, that he was in no doubt that it was RA and that he wanted me to go on Methotrexate immediately, which I did, reluctantly. He also told me when I mentioned previous hospitals that I had attended prior had found that it didn’t always show up in my bloods etc, he told me that it was very often the case and informed me that it was a known fact called seronegative rheumatoid arthritis and that it was important to start the Methotrexate as soon as possible.

I did start taking the treatment however my personal circumstances changed dramatically and I had to leave the area and return back to my home town, Liverpool. Due to a previous bad experience with another doctor I decided to just carry on with the pain relief until I had time to settle in. The problems and symtoms increased so bad, and the pain relief became ineffective that I was forced to ask my GP to refer me to another consultant, which he did.

This Consultant gave me a very quick and brief examination, which I felt missed several things, and all the time I felt like I was wasting their time! After a series of blood tests I went back to see the consultant, or rather their deputy, to be told that it didn’t show in my bloods and that it wasn’t arthritis. Wow I was cured!!

I do agree at this point I was having a quiet period but that I had just had two months of sheer hellish pain and swellings prior to my first visit, but that’s the way it goes with this illness, one minute you’re up, next you’re down.

I informed the deputy that I was not too happy with the diagnosis and he got up and walked into the other room and brought his boss out who asked what was wrong etc. I told them about my previous history, which it felt to me like they ignored. I asked them what was the matter with me, they told me ' I don't like to label people' which left me sort of dumfounded and in a lot of pain still!

So I’ve had two consultants correctly diagnose me, or so I believe. And one who doesn’t like to label patients, who presumably has wards full of patients who are totally confused as to why they are there? A sort of patient version of ‘consultant induced dementia'!

The consultant seemed very reluctant to discuss this further and asked me 'what would you like me to do'? I was at this point confounded and put in a position I'm not used to occupying ie: I'm not the expert!

I left at this point bewildered and very down with no clear idea of what was going to happen to me and more than a little depressed. To make matters worse all the time that my consultation was being conducted, the consultant was wearing clothing which I found inappropriate. I found it hard to look at them and discuss my case in a reasonable manner.

I'm currently still just on my pain relief, limping along and trying to see what my future holds for me. All in all it’s a very depressing time, and at times I feel like a fraud and I should not have wasted the consultants time so much, or indeed not even have attended in the first place, perhaps the latter would have been the better course of action!

I have reached new depths of depression now and to be quiet honest I feel life is not worth living so much now and at the age of 60, should that be the case?

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