About two weeks ago I went to see my doctor to talk to him about how I was doing on Androgel (I've been on Androgel 1.25% for the last three months.) I told him that I was only getting a partial response - libido still not very good and still having problems getting and keeping an erection. I asked him if we could increase the dose.
He handed me a requisition form for some bloodwork and a physician's sample of Cialis and admonished me by saying, "Testosterone alone will not fix your erectile dysfunction." Then I asked him if he would refer me to an ED specialist in town. He declined, saying, "Dr. XXX will just ask why you're not taking Viagra." I pointed out to him that I'd heard some horror stories about Viagra/Cialis, etc. mostly centering on guys going deaf, blind, or dying of heart attacks after taking such drugs. He brushed this off by saying, "millions of men have taken these drugs without incident." I don't think that he realizes that ED drugs won't work if libido is poor, anyway.
The crazy thing about this is that this very same doctor who agreed to prescribe the Androgel also offered to send me to an ED specializt when I first enquired about getting some treatment.
So I went off and got the bloodwork done. The only things the doctor asked for were lipid/cholesteroal profiles, A1c (I have Type 2 diabetes, controlled with diet and exercise), fasting blood glucose, total testosterone, complete blood cell count (which includes a hematocrit reading) and a couple of other things not related to my ED/low testosterone.
I called his office yesterday to ask if the results were in. The receptionist put me on hold and then came back on the line and said, "Your blood sugar is a little elevated, and your testosterone levels are normal." I pointed out that I wanted to set up an appointment to discuss the results with the doctor ask him to increase the dose and to get a refill authorized, since the Androgel I've been using is about to run out. She offered to talk to the doctor and then call me back.
Ever the proactive type, I called the office this morning to find out if the receptionist had talked to the doctor. She would only confirm that she got a message from the doctor saying that my testosterone levels are normal. So I asked her if I could at least get a refill, and she agreed to authorize it for me. Clearly, an appointment was out of the question.
So, here I am, not knowing whether the Androgel has increased my T-levels or by how much, and not much better off than when I started using it. Nor do I know why, beyond being 50 years old, being a bit obese and havind diabetes, why I have ED and poor libido. On top of all that, the doctor's behaviour is quite uncharacteristic - he's been my doctor for the last twenty years and he has never shied away from making referrals or running tests.
I get the feeling I got blown off because the doctor isn't very skilled at treating ED/low-T beyond prescribing standard ED drugs and testosterone gel if the patient begs for it. I really am beginning to wonder if the sum total of his medical knowledge is what he learns from drug company reps.
So, I guess it's time for me to look for another GP, and hope I find one who's competent enough to refer to an ED clinic. Wish me luck, because I live in Canada and there's a shortage of doctors willing to take new patients, and ED clinics are few and far between.
At least I've got three refills of Androgel to tide me over.
I wish I could convey how pissed off I am about this. Canadians pay some of the highest tax rates anywhere in the developed world, but they can't get decent health care. Arrrgggh!