The knee saga rant

So, I sort of mentioned a bit that there has been some stress with the doctors over the knee injury.

Maybe it’s best for perspective to start with a little background.

I first injured this knee in 5th grade, climbing into my uncle’s truck. But, at the time, the kneecap had gone back into place, so when it was still hurting to even try to bend it weeks later, my mom and the doctor had decided I was just playing it up, and saying I had a pain threshold that was in the negative numbers.

A year and a half later, it did it again, on a carousel at an amusement park, but this time, the kneecap stayed out of place.. resulting in an ambulance ride.

But it made no difference… the same doc just said it was a common thing due to growth in teenage girls, and I would grow out of it.

So, for most of my high school years, a couple of times a year I could feel me knee go out of place a bit, but it went immediately back into place, so we didn’t even go to the doctor about it anymore… just wore the leg brace and accepted that it would be sore for a couple of weeks afterwards.

Eventually, by the time I hit college, it mostly stopped. Every now and then I would still feel it wobble, but it didn’t go out, and was just sore for a day or two.

I mentioned that it was still acting up and weak to two different doctors as an adult, and both of them just immediately told me I needed to lose weight, and didn’t take it seriously.

So, this time, it went completely out of place, and it stayed out of place. Lots of pain, and an ambulance ride again.

After it was back in place at the ER, the insurance wouldn’t approve the MRI to be done that night to figure out the damage, because it was no longer an emergency.

So, I saw my regular doc the next day… and she told me that she was having the referrals department schedule the MRI, and she would see me in a week.

Well, it took them two weeks to actually get the MRI scheduled.

Once they finally did, they got it done two days later… but it took two weeks of not getting anywhere, and finally my calling repeatedly, before the referrals person finally called me back… acting like she’d done me a huge favor by calling the insurance company to get it approved. (i could have called them myself had she answered my calls at any point to let me know they needed called!)

So, the MRI gets done. I hear back from the dr two days later.

Fluid in the knee that was causing displacement. Dark areas within the fluid, possibly due to hemorrhage. Possible partial tear, possible loose body, possible fracture. Bone bruising. And of course, evidence of recent dislocation.

Obviously, not good news… but on the other hand, I was sort of glad to get documented evidence of damage…. to finally have proof of what had been blown off.

Especially with the ankle tendon issues last year and a history of knee issues, my doc basically said she was going to refer me back to the othro doc that I’d seen for the ankle and let him make the decision on how to proceed.

So, that was September 30th.

I spent the next month being ignored by the referrals department.

Now you have to remember, I’m in a lot of pain… and having to put up with a lot of disruptions in my life from the injury.

After the two week mark, I started leaving messages daily.

At one point, a strap on the brace broke. I talked to the nurse… who just told me to wait for the ortho doc appointment.

Knowing that they’d never had me in the brace that allowed no motion for more than 2 weeks before, and with it not working at all, I went to one of the local medical supply places and bought one myself similar to what they used to have me in afterwards as a teen, and just paid out of pocket.

Again I got ahold of the nurse, at the 6 weeks post injury point, asking if I should be trying to start bending it, and trying to put weight on it more, and again got blown off and told to wait.

Now, at this point, I’ve given up and just started driving myself around again using my left foot…. and am pretty much figuring like I’m just completely treating myself here.

October 30th, a month after the MRI results, I called the nurse again, and asked her to mail me my MRI results. She’s trying to pull them up in the computer… and goes… "actually, I don’t see those or the referral entered. let me go get your chart…"

So… I’ve been waiting a month… in pain… leaving daily messages… and they didn’t even have it in the computer yet.

I made an appointment with a new doc.

They got me in the next week, and had the referral paperwork done and ortho doc appointment made before I even left the office.

I never told the old doc’s office I was leaving. So theoretically, I’m still waiting for the referral from them.

You might think that’s a good sign that this doc was better.

But, it isn’t.

She didn’t take anything I had to say seriously.

She actually didn’t even look at my knee, and didn’t even have me take the brace off.

She just lectured me about my weight, (for reference, she’s asian, maybe 5 foot, and probably about 100 pounds) and told me that I was likely just going to have to let it heal, because no surgeon would want to do surgery with me still being so overweight.

In the online notes, she put "MRI report brought in by patient shows no tear" and that’s it…. in spite of the fact that it does mention a possible tear, and other issues.

Even though her nurse had trouble getting my blood pressure and I’m pretty sure messed up the reading (top number being 30 points higher than it usually runs), and not having my past charts to see a history, she still was insistent that I have high blood pressure from obesity, and prescribed a med. When I explained that sometimes it does go high when I’m in pain, I got told that was a sign it was really high in the first place, and that if it was normal, it wouldn’t do that. (Never mind pain being a common thing listed for creating an abnormally high reading)

When I’d given the dosages on my meds on my form, she changed one when entering it into the computer system, to what she felt like it should be, without having asked a thing about my symptoms for being on it.

Like my last bad doc experience a couple of years ago, she told me I was probably already diabetic… even after I told her what my usual fasting readings were, and of the two chemical imbalance issues that throw weight off.

Like that doc, she ordered lab work… but not the labwork to check the chemical imbalanced… just the one for A1C trying to prove I was diabetic. This time I cooperated and took the test.

Their office has an online records portal… mine came back at 5.6…. and up to 5.7 is normal. Diabetic diagnosis doesn’t start until 7…. mine was high normal, but not even high enough to be in the pre-diabetic range.

But… she not only wrote the referral, she also put me back on stronger pain meds when my old doc had changed me to just taking aleve… and wrote me a paper to get a handicapped parking permit for the next two months.

She also mentioned that at the next visit, if my blood pressure is down (it should be, since it wasn’t high to begin with), she wants to put me on a certain med for one of the chemical imbalance issues.

Now… I’ve read about this med on online forums before. It’s effective… but has risks and side effects… and so there aren’t many doctors who will actually prescribe it. There’s actually sometimes posts from people with the same issues that I have that will be specifically asking for names of doctors in a certain area willing to take the risk…. and it’s pretty common for people to be complaining that their doc will recommend gastric bypass with all of its risks and history of not working well with chemical issues, but wont take the risks with the med.

So… I’m not sure how I’m feeling about her. Maybe it’s worth trying the med and putting up with her for a bit… and if the med doesn’t end up working out, then trying again to find a new doctor that actually treats me with respect.

So….. eventually…. a day shy of two months after the injury, I get to see the ortho doc for the first time since it happened.

He tells me that they should have had me out there within a week of it happening, and he could have ordered the MRI from there.

He tells me that it’s a definite tear…. that the fluid and blood are normal following a tear, and had they gotten me out there within the first couple of weeks, he could have removed the fluid…. which would have dealt with the displacement, and thus gotten rid of most of the pain and allowed him to test movement to know the extent.

As it is, he said that the scarring may tighten the tendon down as it heals… and would just require physical therapy and strengthening…. but if it hasn’t, he would have to do surgery to reconstruct and tighten it…. his guess right now is about a 50/50 shot, but he will see after a couple of weeks of therapy to improve motion again to see what it looks like at that point.

Not a single mention was made of my weight being a factor at all.

But he did also say that I shouldn’t have been in the other brace longer than a week.

So… it is what it is…. I can’t change the past…. but its hard to not feel resentment towards the referrals department not even having the decency to call me back. Maybe they were battling insurance, but given that the other office had no problems, I’m not guessing it was likely.

But instead, I got more than a month of extra pain, severe pain initially, that could have been treated right off had they gotten the paperwork together.

Ya know… I hate relying on people… and I hate being dependent on people… and things like this really don’t help that. And from the teen knee issues and other past incidents, I hate dealing with doctors, so not the best help with that either.

My insurance company and I are paying these people to help me… to care for me… and one group completely ignores me like I don’t matter in the slightest…. the other acts like I’m not worth listening to or respecting because I’m overweight.

How do you go about finding a doc that is still kind, respectful, maybe even caring?

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