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The Play

Prior to going to the IME appointment in Vancouver, I received a phone call from the clinic about my referral to get placed with a Physiatrist. It had taken close to a year to get this coveted referral fulfilled. I was given the name of a woman that I was put with, which wasn't right, since I was referred to this highly, respected and sought after, male Physiatrist. I questioned them on this, as I have fought way too long and hard to not get the crème de la crème of doctors at this point....I wanted the best! They told me that I could wait to see that particular doctor but it would likely take another year until that would happen. I hesitantly resided with the fact that I would have to shift my expectations and take this opportunity put before me. The timing of this upcoming new appointment couldn't have come at a better moment. It landed two weeks after my IME appointment.

Most people haven't heard of or know what a Physiatrist is or does. I had learned about them way back when in about year two going through all of this, when I decided to do a google search after a nerve testing appointment in Vancouver and eventually got a referral to see one. You can read about it here ( ) As per my google research, here are some definitions:

"A physiatrist should be consulted when pain, weakness, or disability is preventing a patient from achieving their desired level of independence."

"Physiatry combines physical therapy and pain treatments to help patients avoid surgery. The goal of physiatry is to maximize physical functioning, greatly decrease or eliminate pain, foster independence, and improve the quality of life for those suffering with a disability, chronic pain and physical impairments."

"A physiatrist is a medical doctor that specializes in the field of physical medicine and rehabilitation."

Ultimately, they are your pain advocate and that's exactly what I desperately needed!

( Back to my IME appointment in Vancouver )

"I actually just got the phone call that I got accepted into see a Physiatrist." ( knowing full well that the IME before me was also a Physiatrist.) He grabs his mouse and scrolls through his computer and then starts sifting through different papers and notes on his desk. "Oh, it wasn't included in any of my notes here. When is the appointment?" "Yes, I know that, because the car insurance company doesn't know and neither does my family doctor. My appointment is in two weeks." I explained. I could feel myself getting hot and clammy, trying to quickly decide how to explain myself without coming across as dishonest or like a "Karen." "Well, you see my family doctor is newer and doesn't know me very well and I had to kind of go behind his back and get this referral to see a Physiatrist. He doesn't seem invested in me, which is partly why I'm here. The car insurance company has also been having issues with him." I thought this play could go a few ways:

a) It would keep the IME accountable and honest, knowing someone in his profession would also be checking me over and giving an opinion right after him.

b) Nobody just gets a Physiatrist. You have to meet a criteria and submit up to date imaging and medical reports to see if you are a valid candidate. It proves even more so that I need my treatments to continue.

c) I now had an immediate secret weapon to combat this IME appointment, which is always part of the "game." The car insurance pays a doctor off to side with them, the patient now has to have a doctor with the opposite opinion to vouch for them and once that play happens - the insurance company is required to continue to pay for your medical coverage. My play would be immediate because I wouldn't need to find a specialist to see, which could take close to a year, I already had it two weeks later! All the more reason as to why this IME appointment was a waste of time and money.


This information could go horribly wrong for me and do the opposite. It could discredit my character. Going behind a doctor's back isn't always favorable, especially in the medical world. It's like a secret, invisible code they have for one another. But I chose to gamble against that and felt I had more positives sharing this information, than negatives.

"I'm really curious as to what this other Physiatrist is going to say. Could you send me her report as soon as you can? You said, in two weeks right?" He asked. I gave a slight glance at Brandon, not knowing how to answer his question. Brandon looked back at me and gave me a reassuring nod and I replied, "Yes, I can do that." After he was satisfied with all of the questions he asked, we went over to the examination table and he did all of his physical exams on me. While we were in the middle of this portion, his phone began to ring and he looked down at it, "Sorry, it's my daughter calling. She had a job interview today and I'm sure she's excited to tell me all about it." We chatted a bit longer as he finished up the physical portion and then he said, "Well, I got everything I needed. Unless there is anything else you'd like to add, we are all done." We shook hands and walked out of his office. We ended the appointment an hour and a half earlier than expected! The adrenaline was pumping through me, and at the same time the weight of the anxiety and nerves were starting to melt off, as we were walking through the underground parking to get to our car. Brandon says, "You nailed that appointment! I was blown away at your knowledge and how much you know. You know a lot! You did so well and there is absolutely no way that they will deny your coverage. If they do deny you, then we know for a fact that this guy is working along side of them and not honest." I felt grateful for his support and encouragement, but I couldn't help feeling this nagging feeling that something was off. I played through the appointment, talking it all back through with Brandon and when I got to the point of the appointment where I made my big play, he said "Well, that was the only part I was unsure of, but it's only truth and I guess we will see if they come back with anything. You did so well and you should be proud of yourself. We've got this!"


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