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Thread: Advice Needed regarding Tripler, Rheumatology, Pain Managment.

  1. AKA: Jerseyatheart86
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    #1

    Advice Needed regarding Tripler, Rheumatology, Pain Managment.

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    A little back story:

    Tripler Army Hospital only has one Rheumatologist on staff from what I have been told when I first started going to the Rheumatology clinic back in April. I last saw him in August for refills on my meds and to schedule a CT. He told me to make a follow up appointment after I had the CT so he would have the results. I did have the CT and the soonest appointment they had was for the end of October. I made the appointment back in the middle of September. Two of my meds have refills and one doesn't because it's a controlled substance and refills aren't allowed. I'm down to two of those pills left and there is no way I can make it to the end of October. I have Ankylosing Spondylitis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, 2 herniated discs in my thoracic spine and finally kidney disease. I cannot take Advil, Aleve or any other NSAIDS (typical medical for both the Ankylosing Spondylitis and RA.) I cannot take any NSAIDs because my kidneys are permanently damaged with decreased kidney function. I have good pain days when I don't need it and other days where I absolutely need it. I suffer from chronic pain and I hate that some doctors just assume I'm a drug seeker. It's very discouraging. Tripler and my PCM have all of my old records from NJ, copies of countless x-rays, MRI's cat scans, that all show the damage from inflammation, the disc herniations, etc.


    The Dilemma

    I've called the Rheumatology clinic to see if anyone had cancellations and an appointment opened up. So far no luck. Should I call back on Monday and ask to speak to the dr and see if he can call in a few pain pills to hold me over until my appointment. Should I see my PCM and explain the situation and see if he can prescribe some pain pills? I did that option when I first got here and my old PCM treated me horribly for asking, saying he isn't for pain management and that's not his job. He also wouldn't give me a referral to pain management. Those are some of the reasons I switched different PCMs. I honestly don't know what to do. I never had to wait this long back home for an appointment for Rheumatology and my PCM back home would prescribe them if I need a few to hold me over to my appointment. Any suggestions?


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    #2
    I have never been in this situation before, so take my opinion with a grain of salt. I would call the pcm first and see what they say, if they can get you some medication or anything. If they say no, then I would call the other doctor, see if they could possibly see you any sooner or get you some medication to help with the pain until your appointment.
    Sorry I'm not much help I hope they can figure something out for you
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    #3
    Why not both? Try whatever works.
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    #4
    I would just call the PCM, if they can't help you, call your doctor with Rheumatology. I just had to do this for my own hip/leg/groin pain issues but unfortunately they both had the answer of nothing stronger than tylenol for me. I really hope you get your meds filled! Oh, and I'm not sure if it's the same with the specialized departments at Tripler but I would call every morning as soon as the appt hotline/clinic opens up to see if they can squeeze you in from now until your scheduled appt. That's how cancelled appts get filled so quickly. Just be a pain in their butts and keep calling until they recognize your voice

    I hope you feel better!
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    #5
    Quote Originally Posted by JRNemo View Post
    I have never been in this situation before, so take my opinion with a grain of salt. I would call the pcm first and see what they say, if they can get you some medication or anything. If they say no, then I would call the other doctor, see if they could possibly see you any sooner or get you some medication to help with the pain until your appointment.
    Sorry I'm not much help I hope they can figure something out for you
    Thanks for your response.

    Quote Originally Posted by Heisenberg View Post
    Why not both? Try whatever works.
    I never thought of trying both but it is a great idea! Thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by KnittingGuamMama View Post
    I would just call the PCM, if they can't help you, call your doctor with Rheumatology. I just had to do this for my own hip/leg/groin pain issues but unfortunately they both had the answer of nothing stronger than tylenol for me. I really hope you get your meds filled! Oh, and I'm not sure if it's the same with the specialized departments at Tripler but I would call every morning as soon as the appt hotline/clinic opens up to see if they can squeeze you in from now until your scheduled appt. That's how cancelled appts get filled so quickly. Just be a pain in their butts and keep calling until they recognize your voice

    I hope you feel better!
    I have to see my PCM anyway for other issues that I keep putting off so I'll just suck it up and make an appointment for those and ask him while I am there anyway. I usually call the Rheumatology clinic directly so I'll call first thing in the morning every day. I'm pretty sure the receptionist there thinks I'm a pain in the butt anyway so it'll just add to it. Oh well. Sometimes that's the only way to accomplish things with Tripler.

    Thanks for the well wishes. I hope I feel better tomorrow. Today has been absolutely miserable. I was close to going to the ER but DH was away all day at the range and I was in no shape to drive myself.


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    #6
    Also, if Tripler only has one Rheumatologist who is in the Army, what happens when he takes leave? None of his patients can see him? What about emergencies?


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    #7
    Quote Originally Posted by jerseyatheart86 View Post
    Also, if Tripler only has one Rheumatologist who is in the Army, what happens when he takes leave? None of his patients can see him? What about emergencies?
    There's likely another doctor who is trained in rheumatology but in another department there who covers for him or someone from another base (even off island) does a TDY to cover him. We have that a lot out here. DH saw 6 different ENTs between PCS's, leave, temporary fill in's from Hawaii, etc.
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    #8
    Quote Originally Posted by KnittingGuamMama View Post
    There's likely another doctor who is trained in rheumatology but in another department there who covers for him or someone from another base (even off island) does a TDY to cover him. We have that a lot out here. DH saw 6 different ENTs between PCS's, leave, temporary fill in's from Hawaii, etc.
    That's great info to know. I figured they had to have someone to cover his patients in case of leave. They can't just leave patients in limbo although that's what I feel like right now.


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    #9
    I agree with January to try both.

    If you're not happy with your level of care and that they can't seem to see you as often as you require, you could ask for a referral to a civilian doctor. They might refuse, but it could be worth a try.

    Another option is to switch to Standard and then you could pick whatever civi dr. That takes Tricare who might be able to better meet your needs. You would have copays and stuff but it might be worth it. You could still have your prescriptions filled with a paper scrip at the pharmacy for free.

    I hope they can help you like you need to be. Also, I would have changed PCM's too and filed a complaint; that's horrible he treated you that way.
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    #10
    Quote Originally Posted by BlueButterfly505 View Post
    I agree with January to try both.

    If you're not happy with your level of care and that they can't seem to see you as often as you require, you could ask for a referral to a civilian doctor. They might refuse, but it could be worth a try.

    Another option is to switch to Standard and then you could pick whatever civi dr. That takes Tricare who might be able to better meet your needs. You would have copays and stuff but it might be worth it. You could still have your prescriptions filled with a paper scrip at the pharmacy for free.

    I hope they can help you like you need to be. Also, I would have changed PCM's too and filed a complaint; that's horrible he treated you that way.
    I'm going to make an appointment with my PCM on Monday. Hopefully they can see me the following day or even same day. I'm still going to call tripled to check foe cancellations. When I finally do see my rheumatologist, I'm going to ask him what I should do in the future if this happens again. He might say to just call and ask for more or maybe he can write the script for more pills. I'm planning on going home for Xmas and I want to make sure I'll have enough for my trip. If that appointment doesn't go well, I'm going to ask for a referral to a civilian. If none of those work, standard might be the way to go.

    Thanks for the advice!

    I'm just tired of being in chronic pain. It's been worse than usually lately and I can't figure out why.


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