Frustration, Fibromyalgia and a Lack of Accommodations

Frustration, Fibromyalgia and a Lack of Accommodations


Does this scenario sound familiar? You have run out of medication and are denied a refill until an appointment is scheduled. However, the day of the appointment you are not feeling well enough to go to the doctor’s office. The Catch-22 is that you require the medications (that you cannot get a refill on), to help make it feasible for you to make it to your appointment, sans no flares or non-fibromyalgia related illness.

I have had to spend too much time on the phone or computer trying to explain my situation. While my doctor may understand, I am required to plead my case to a barrage of staff members and nurses before a message is sent to the doctor. Why must I have to provide a tutorial to most of my doctors about my experience? Am I the only fibromyalgia patient the doctor and staff have ever met? I know the impression must be that I am shirking my check-ups and just want my medication, which is far from the truth.

The other related issue is being given the “talk” by an office staff member. Because you had to cancel your appointments more than twice, you can no longer schedule appointments in advance. Instead, you must call on the day you are able to make an appointment with the hope the doctor has an opening. That is feasible in some instances, but not for special procedures or lengthy appointments. So, the concept of being accommodating comes across as lip service with the intimation of finding another doctor/dentist.

It comes across as a vilified child being scolded and told to sit in the corner because their behavior is inexcusable. I understand that a business is being run and that the cancellation could have been used by another patient. However, there needs to be some leeway.

I recall a dentist manager telling me that I could not schedule appointments in advance anymore, and even though there was always a slot open every day it was for emergencies only. She explained that giving me the option to come in the same day would mean “special treatment that would be unfair to the other patients.” Really? If there is an open slot that is available and no emergency patient exists, why not allow a same-day appointment? Who will know? Why should what other patients think be a concern? It is a benefit to those who require it, thus bringing more patients to your business, not decreasing.

I have not experienced this too often, but enough that when it happens I feel shocked and disheartened. Is every person in this world so healthy that no accommodations need to be made? Surely I can’t be the only person in the world with a chronic illness of this magnitude. What do others with tenuous illnesses do? Who are the special medical professionals that they see? Or do they have to wait until an ER visit is required, or a serious dental ailment arises, that brings the care to the forefront?

I am not trying to be difficult; I just want my medication. I am not asking to be treated “special,” but the reality is I have an illness that fluctuates day to day.  The irony is that the profession that has the issue with my health is the one that should be familiar with it.

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Note: Fibromyalgia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Fibromyalgia News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to fibromyalgia.

6 comments

  1. Maggie Molina says:

    Oooh, can I relate to this!! It took me 3 trys to get my mammogram done. Each time kaiser was accomodating but I was frustrated at my bodys failure to get there. Third time I made it & the tech was gentle as she moved me around the machine. The “girls” are fine but the visit wore me out. I have also missed dentist appts & again they were accomodating but I felt so guilty to ask for another appt. If I was healthy I wouldnt b making the appt!

  2. Jeannie Rogers says:

    Amen,you’ve hit a nail on the head!We spend half of our energy re-explaining our entire medical history to every person,that we are sent to.Sometimes several persons in one phone call!REALLY ?!Omg!In 27 years of Fibro alone,I’ve hung up the phone screaming!!!!Just to find a doc that is experienced with fibromyalgia period,has always been a nightmare!I’ve been to every free clinic in every city I’ve lived in,trying to obtain my meds,due to financial situations.I’M TIRED!Thank God for financial independence!!!!

  3. Diane says:

    Boy, I thought I was the only one with these problems. I, too, had a Dr. actually refuse to allow me to see him. It was the “receptionist Nazi” actually, she yelled at me (no joke), saying I’d rescheduled 12 appts (not true, only six)….nevertheless, she wouldn’t let me get another appt. I have severe fibro as well as degenerative arthritis, more bad days than good. When I’m met with such rudeness and lack of compassion, it sends me into a case of the blues quickly. I have to cancel SO many appts. and after dealing with that last nasty woman, now I get horrible anxiety just picking up the phone. If I could get a med. marijuana patch for my pain, I’d not have to deal with any of them, nor their holding me “hostage” for pain med. prescriptions.

  4. Sandra says:

    I have had this for 20 years disabled and severe. Somehow, no matter how crummy I’ve felt, sweats and all, I have drug myself to those appts. I’m sick after all. What do they expect? Zsa Zsa Gabor? (I used to work in the medical field and I will tell you how very extremely difficult it can be accommodating just one patient – …cuz that’s how we all see ourselves…we’re just one patient. But there may be 25 ‘just one patients’ in the course of a clinic’s day. The rules are there for a purpose. Sorry, gals. Some things just are but it’s nice to have a place to complain about it where somebody listens and actually cares cuz they’re there too.)

    • Lori Galpeer says:

      I understand, and thank you for making the realization known that this can happen to many patients; however, at the same time, I realize that some of my doctors (like my rheumatologist who has a large patient population), doesn’t give me the ‘naughty kid’ routine and says to call back when I am feeling up to it. I am glad that you are able to make your appointments, but, you have to realize that not all of us can . . I, too, want to make mine, and have drug myself in – but other times (like to go to the dentist) the pain and exhaustion is too great to sit for even a few minutes (and this is with medication). What I was trying to convey is that certain doctors (ob/gyn; dentist) seem to have a misunderstanding of our illness, and the rules set up do not even offer the chance to accommodate. This isn’t meant to complain rather state a fact and the fact is that not all of us are as healthy as their standard patients and where can those of us with chronic illnesses go for preventative as well as emergency situations if the doctors are unwilling to understand?

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