It's an option, but maybe not the best.
Having already been treated by another doctor (Dr. Randy Moles of Milwaukee/Racine) and having suffered for more than 11 years with TMJD, I walked into doctor Mackman's office on 76th street with some expectations, which may be why I am so disappointed with the treatment I've received in the 14 months. Immediately, I was greeted with tension as I tried to check in for the first time, but was stalled by an argument between the receptionist and the doctor's assistant (I am not exactly sure what her professional title is). Then, the assistant turned her attitude on me because I was 10 minutes late for my appointment (the receptionist was quick to defend me and explain that I had called to say I was coming from the other side of town and had gotten lost on Wauwatosa's winding streets). At first, Dr. Mackman appeared very compassionate, and I actually cried- I felt so hopeful that I might find relief from the debilitating effects TMJD has had on my life. He eagerly explained the difference between the splint he was fitting me with and the one I had been wearing for the previous 4 years and arranged for me to start physical therapy ASAP (something that took Dr. Moles more than a year to prescribe). While wearing the splint and attending pt twice a week, I did experience some improvement, but my insurance money quickly ran dry. I thought it odd since my insurance paid for treatment at Dr. Moles clinic for 3 times as many appointments, and since I couldn't afford the $80 that Dr. Mackman wants, up front, every 3 weeks to adjust my splint, I was forced to stretch the time between my appointments. I figured it was just as well since the quality of care had plummeted after I started to pay out of pocket (I don't think, at least, I hope there wasn't a connection.)
At the beginning of the year, when my insurance rolled over, I returned to scheduling every 3 weeks, as my "treatment plan" dictates, though I'm not sure I even understand what that means anymore. When I go in, Dr. Mackman's assistant reviews the vague questionnaire that I fill out before each visit, asks me some more questions- I.e. "Have you experienced any ringing, popping, clicking, buzzing," etc? AND, "On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your facial pain?" All of which sounds fine and dandy unless you're like me and your symptoms sway. I have tried to explain this to her when she asks whether or not I've had any headaches or migraines since my last visit. Of course, I have, and she wants to know how many. "Well," I might say, "I had two the first week, none the second week, and now I've had a headache for the last four days in a row." She just shakes her head, and wants me to "average" them for her. In this way, I feel my treatment has become de-personalized. I feel like I am a face among many who are all being treated the same way.
This feeling is only further magnified by Dr. Mackman's entrance. Nine times out of ten I am left to sit in a small room while I listen to the doctor complain to staff about mistakes they've made in the hallway. His tone of voice changes when he bee bops into the exam room (yes, that's what he does) to shake my hand before he gloves it to remove my splint. I feel stressed to relax as he shoves transfer paper between my teeth to check how my teeth touch. Then, he goes to work with his Dremel, shaving off small pieces of the applicane's plastic. Every time, he tells me the same thing: "Oh, you're doing just wonderful! Keep up the good work! You're doing you're exercises, right? Good, good! We'll have you done and outta here in no time!" I feel so patronized. I am not a doctor; I don't know what that blue paper and his measuring tools are telling him scientifically, but I don't FEEL better physically. (I have been wearing a splint 10-20 hours a day for 5 years now.)
Sign in with Facebook Sign in with Facebook to see what your friends are up to!