A doctor welcomes in a patient into an appointment. To the right of the patient's head are lines that have check marks beside them, and the left are lines that point to the doctor with question marks beside them.

Steroids, Bed Rest, and Drugs

Dark grey walls. No pictures. Outdated pamphlets on an aged corner table. Nothing has changed in the two years since I have been seeing this neurologist.

The receptionist called my name through a hole in a scratched plastic shield at the front desk. She told me to wait in room number three. I walked through a side door and sat in the exam room. Thirty minutes later, the doctor entered. He seemed rushed. He performed a few quick tests. And assessed I was a little weaker than usual. Then he suggested what he always recommended. Steroids, bed rest, and drugs.

I did not return.

Another disappointing neurologist

White walls. Small window. Magazines on a coffee table. I have been seeing this neurologist for one year. Nothing has changed. The receptionist called my name and said the doctor would see me in room number four. I used my arm crutches to walk down the familiar hall to the assigned area.

Twenty minutes later, the doctor joined me in the exam room. He quickly began assessing me. Including some field tests. He told me he had time to answer two questions. We reviewed the last visit and compared notes. Then he concluded I had progressed. But his prescription was the same as the previous visits. Steroids, bed rest, and drugs.

I did not return.

Finding a good MS neurologist

Bright colored walls. Multiple flat-screen televisions hanging from the ceiling. Brochures highlighting cutting-edge treatments. I have been seeing this neurologist for one year. And there are always some new office upgrades. The receptionist offered me something to drink. Then a nurse pushed me in my wheelchair to an accessible exam room.

Ten minutes later, my doctor walked into the space. He was trailed by a couple of medical students. After a customary introduction, he gave me a very involved physical exam. Then he asked me if I had any questions. I took out my list and we reviewed all of my concerns.

What about stem cell? When can I get medical marijuana? Should I change my diet? I kept questioning him like we were playing truth or dare. But he never picked dare. It was always truth.

Communication and compassion matter

The reality of my condition was obvious. He told me I had primary progressive MS. His words about my existence were painful. I guess he saw the sadness in my eyes. So, he quickly recommended we try a different disease-modifying therapy. He also wanted me to start some type of complementary rehabilitation.

After I told him about my problem with extreme fatigue and heat, he suggested an alternative to the gym and outdoor exercising. He pushed me to his computer. We searched the internet and he helped me enroll in a free local chair yoga class.

Worth the search

When we finished, the doctor shook my hand and said goodbye. Before leaving the office, I made an appointment for my next visit.

It took me three years to find the right neurologist. I was so lucky to unearth him. He always listens to what I have to say. He guides me by using the latest in scientific research. And he never recommends steroids, bed rest, and drugs.

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