As you will know C has a chronic illness, I have documented it along our journey along the way. This has helped some have an understanding on what a chronic illness is, for others it has helped them realise they are not alone, how to push for medical help.
One area that has come to light since becoming ill, is that C also suffers with TMJ, it is a condition that affects the jaw. Four years ago she had a referral to the hospital, where they gave her a sheet with exercises to do and said nothing they could do.
For the past four years we have struggled on trying the exercises, pain relief, hot and cold you name it we have tried it all.
Over the past few months her pain and jaw have got worse. To the extent she is not sleeping properly, she can barely talk or eat. You can hear the bones of her jaw clicking and grinding and making noises that you have not heard before.
During this time, I rang our GP, I was told they had no appointments and maybe could speak to an out of hours Doctor. I explained about C’s jaw and told that she would triage it and one of our GP’s would ring us that day.
At just gone 5pm, I had a phone call from the receptionist telling me that the GP has said why am I talking about her TMJ when there is no diagnosis for this. I explained she has a previous diagnosis, and had spoken to a GP a week before regarding this, she found this on her records and said she would go back to him.
About 20 minutes later another phone call, again from the receptionist, saying with the amount of medication she was on he can not prescribe anything else. I pointed her to a Consultants letter from 2 weeks previous, where it highlighted which medication she was now on. Which was one pain killer and one other. I got upset and said he has obviously not looked at her medical records and passing the buck, and that I wanted him to phone me.
He eventually rang me, with his first words I have looked at her medical records. We went over the conversation of what was wrong and he asked me what I wanted him to do. I said something to relive the pain and a referral back to the hospital. He refused the referral as wanted to leave her another two weeks, and asked what pain medication I wanted. Well at this point I did lose it, and pointed out he was the Dr and not me.
He suggested Naproxen which she had tried from a previously and did not help. Another he could not increase as she already had it, and then Tramadol. As much as it would give her some relief she is 17 and I did not want her on it, plus the side effects would be awful for her. He just said there is nothing he could do and would review in two weeks time.
He rang me two weeks later, and surprised that there was no improvement, he left the call saying we will see how it goes. I explained that the pain was getting worse, you could see and hear her jaw, that she was barely sleeping or eating. I left the call and went and hid and cried, C was fast forwarding a major crash and our GP couldn’t care less.
I was telling my Mum, and she just said go private, we will pay just get something booked. So I went online and found someone privately, at the same hospital where we see C’s ME Consultant. I booked an appointment for last Friday. During this time I had a text from our GP surgery saying they had put in a referral and then another saying the hospital has refused the referral.
At the appointment my parents paid for to go privately, he spoke to C, and asked her all sorts of questions. He did a lot of examinations and tests and even got me standing behind him so I could see how bad it was. Her jaw is a lot worse than I realised. He has given her exercises to do, totally different to the sheet she was given four years ago. We do have another appointment booked and I do feel hopeful that she will get whatever treatment she needs to make it better.
I am going to shout about this, I am going to show just how much we are still in lockdown and how much we are not getting the medical treatment we need. Not even being able to get in the door to see a Dr. This is going on her medical records as he is writing to our GP surgery.
I am lucky that we could go privately, through my parents. But what if we did not have that option. What about the thousands of people out there who do not have that option.
Have you had an experience where the GP has let you down?