Yesterday I swallowed my pride – or whatever it is that’s been preventing me from pushing my appointment with my rheumatologist forward.
I emailed her wonderful NP and described the increased pain and inflammation I’ve been experiencing, as well as the pelvic/SI joint pain. Email is great. I hate feeling whiny, and I didn’t want to phone and announce all my health information to the office. This way, I was able to give the NP a brief description of symptoms and ask her whether she thought it worthwhile for me to come in early. She did, and I’ll be seeing my rheumatologist in a week and a half. (She also made me promise never to feel like I’m bothering her with anything. I love her.)
I know I’m in more pain than I have been in several years. I know I hurt more in the mornings. I know I hurt in new places. But I’ve never been good at describing that pain effectively. RA is my “normal,” and I don’t pay attention to it in the way my doctor probably sometimes wishes I did.
I figure if I am going to the trouble of making a special appointment, and my very busy rheumatologist is going to the trouble of seeing me, I’d better make it worthwhile. I went hunting for a pain diagram this morning and found the Arthritis Society’s Pain Management Diary. The Society offers a number of its publications for download online, and this one looks like it’s just what I need. In eleven pages, it provides space to describe where pain occurs, when pain occurs, what it feels like, and what helps it. It offers a list of descriptors to help patients describe pain more effectively.
I printed out the entire thing, and then minimized the pain diagram and printed a pile of those, so I can keep track of pain throughout the day until my appointment. I don’t know whether I’ll actually show all of this to my doctor (it’s a bit long), but it will hopefully help me clarify things in my own mind before I talk to her.
You can download the Arthritis Society's Pain Management Diary as a pdf here.