Friday, March 12, 2010

Free Therapy Friday: Doctor Woes


Join me and Home is Where... for Free Therapy Friday! Today's prompt, Doctor Woes. Have you had a bad experience with a doctor visit? Have you ever been so annoyed you could scream at the doctor? Have you had to battle insurance? Spill it here! You know the drill. Write a post and link up! Hopefully, we can provide your therapy, doctor free today!

For those of you who have been following my blog, you know I have been having problems with my knee. I played soccer as a child and during my 11th grade year, I tore my ACL, Meniscus, and damaged the cartilage in my left knee. My coach told my parents not to take me to the doctor unless they had to and I guess they didn't feel like they had to. However, I knew there was something wrong with my knee, but I was a kid and was out of luck. As a young adult, I was able to run and continued to play soccer, although not with the intensity as previous to my injury. I never had the same confidence in it. After having kids, I took up running again after 8 years of not running due to pregnancy and child birth. I recommitted to myself and my passion for running and completed my first (and possibly only) half marathon last May. By October, 2009 I had developed pain different to any I have had in my knee before. I knew it was time to seek medical advice. So I made an appointment with an orthopaedist who was very highly recommended. Initially he thought my PCL was torn, but an MRI confirmed it was my ACL. He recommended strengthening it and continue on with life as if there were nothing wrong with it. I wasn't satisfied and was less than impressed with this man who I felt really didn't listen to my needs. I asked a PT friend of mine for a recommendation and he gave me two names. One was a doctor about 45 minutes (without traffic) from home and the other was local. He felt like I should see the one further away because he has seen more of his work than the local guy. However, it was a second opinion and i figured maybe he would recommend PT to address the weakness and call it a day. No, two days before Christmas I saw him and he told me that he recommended reconstructing my ACL, cleaning up the Meniscus as best he could, and doing an OATS procedure which transfers cartilage from a non-weight bearing portion of my knee to the place where the cartilage is damaged. The surgery it long 2 1/2 hours and after I would be 6 weeks non-weight bearing. With four kids and full time job in which I have to be on my feet working hand on with students, I was shocked to say the least. Oh, and he told me no more running. I didn't really want to believe it. I asked why his recommendation was so drastically different than the other physician and he said "35 year old mother of four, just let it go". He said the surgery was major and it was a huge recovery. I liked him a lot, I just was in shock. I told him not running anymore wasn't an option. I left his office still in shock and angry that this injury had not been addressed properly when it happened. However, it was Christmas. I had to let it go. And I did for a month. I continued to run and went about my business. My husband and I went back at the end of January to ask more questions and get every bit of info about the surgery we could. We both liked him a lot and he made a lot of sense. He also told me that he is 100% certain that if I do nothing I will need a knee replacement in the future and if I have the surgery and run on it it will be the same result. He is giving me a chance at not having one by performing the surgery and putting these restrictions in place for me. While, it kills me not to run, I know that I want to ski and be active long into my retirement. I can't ski with a knee replacement so that's it. But, he has only done 4 of these surgeries (the cartilage transfer). So I sought a 3rd opinion and decided to see the doc that my PT friend recommended. I made an appointment the next day and had to wait over a month. I thought, well he has to be good. Last Wednesday I drove the 40 minutes toward the city and proceeded to get lost for 30 minutes after that. I walked into the appointment 2 minutes late and noticed that someone was signed in at the same appointment time. I thought great if I hadn't gotten lost. But, also thought well it must be for a cortisone injection or something. They wouldn't double book it. Oh, yes they would! I waited a hour and half. The mother of the girl who he saw before me said to the doctor "thanks for fitting her in today". Oh no you didn't, I waited over a month and you fit her in and now I had to wait an hour and half to see you! When he came in, I was already annoyed. Then when I was speak, he cut me off. I was explaining my active lifestyle. I felt this was important so that he knew what my goals were. Ultimately, he recommended reconstructing my ACL to "buy me some time" before a knee replacement. Really, buy me some time. That is the best you can do? My sister thinks that the 2nd opinion is giving me the best option because he is younger too. He is about my age I would guess. She thinks that more progressive teaching was done when he went to medical school. I really like the 2nd surgeon and now need to figure out when to schedule the surgery. I was so annoyed by the 3rd doctor I could scream! How is it possible that someone be so inconsiderate that you wait an hour and half and then don't give the patient the time to fully explain their concerns. I just don't get it!

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