Wednesday, August 2, 2017

One Big Step Forward, One Big Swipe Back

I had high hopes that the orthopedist would get down to the meat of the matter when it comes to my crippling leg pain.  Just like I hoped, he had his own x-ray machine in his office, so I didn't have to deal with those bumbling buffoons at the imaging place who mixed up my x-rays with someone else's last year.  The orthopedist's nurse took x-rays of my right knee before I could even finish filling in my paperwork.   I explained to the lady that I probably needed x-rays of my hip and back too, but she said she couldn't do that because the insurance company would get suspicious.  Seriously?  The doctors are going to let the insurance companies dictate how they diagnose their patients?  We have a serious health care problem in this country... but we already knew that.

An hour later, the doctor sat down in front of me with a puzzled expression and said, "What can I do for you?"

I got half a sentence in to explaining my symptoms and history, and he cut me off to begin the examination.  I knew he knew something I didn't, so I wasn't too put off by his inability to listen.  It seems that not being able to listen is an epidemic among doctors these days.  Although, I did hear him out in the hall flirting on a social level with a female patient while she rambled on about how old she was.  I figured he was a talker, and that's why I had to wait an hour past my appointment time.  I'm sure it was his charm that won him all those "Best Doctor in the Valley" awards he had in the waiting room.

He manipulated my knee multiple ways, and nothing he did hurt me, which was baffling because each step I take is painful, and I can never get into a comfortable position when I sit and lie down.  How can I be in pain all the time, but not feel any pain when he pushed, twisted, and pulled on my knee?  Once again I was coming across as a perfectly healthy patient.  My hopes for a diagnosis were dwindling by the second.

He said, "Well, your x-rays show a perfectly healthy knee.  There is no arthritis, no cysts, no tumors, no bone spurs, no cracks, no chips, no muscle tears...  Your choices are that we can dig deeper and do an MRI on the knee to see if there is a muscle tear deep down in there that the x-ray can't pick up, or I can give you a corticosteroid shot and see if that helps."

I opted for the shot.  I wasn't going back to that imaging place from hell.  I told him that I was so sure that my knee was the culprit of all this leg pain, because physical therapy had treated mostly my hip and nothing improved, and when I lie on my side at night, the bones in my knee feel loose and feel like they are cascading down in a pile on top of each other, pinching my nerves.

He said, "That's back pain masquerading as knee pain.  You'll have to see a doctor who treats backs."

So, it's back to the drawing board if I want a diagnosis, and the original diagnosis, the one my general practitioner has been treating me for this past year, is wrong.  Just as I suspected, the knee and back x-rays were of some other patient's body.  My G.P. thought that only the hip x-ray had been mixed up, which is why he's been treating me for osteoarthritis of the knee and back.  Now I have to go back to him and tell him to get those x-rays and results out of my records, and ask, "Where the hell are my prescriptions?"  I want to get the bad data out before I find a new doctor, because I don't want to risk getting another doctor who just goes by what he sees in my records and doesn't listen.  The last thing I need is more misunderstandings, more misdiagnoses, and more of my time wasted.

The good news is that the shot in the knee helped considerably.  It has helped improve my mobility during the day, but I still have that bone crushing sensation in my knee that keeps me awake at night.  I'm hoping now that all I need is another corticosteroid shot in my back, and I'll be good as new.

Time is of the essence with this, because not only will horseback riding season be upon me in a couple of months, but my photography mentor has arranged a wildlife photo shoot class, and even went so far as to hire a driver so that I don't have to walk the entire day.  She didn't know that getting in and out of vehicles is a major problem for me too, and that I suffer from motion sickness when other people drive me in unfamiliar vehicles.  I'm hoping I can get enough of the pain resolved soon so that I can sign up for her class, and if I can get my G.P. to renew my prescription, then I can take the edge off the motion sickness.  It's pathetic that my whole life revolves around medications right now, but that's the way it is.  I wish it were different.

Right now I'm just happy that I can sit in a chair without having to shift my position every few seconds to avoid pain, and I can walk upright with just a slight limp, as opposed to whimpering and keeling over with each bad step.

I've managed to lose most of my sleep tonight thanks to the dogs.  Stewie was jumping on and off the bed telling me he needed to go outside.   I got up, put a leash on him, and thought I'd better get the other two dogs now, or I'll end up making three trips.  I carried Scrappy to the door -- something I wouldn't have been able to do the night before -- and put a leash on him.  Midge was nowhere to be found.  I thought I'd just take out two this time, because a coyote had been hassling my husband in the dark and our floodlight was broken again.  Midge was still nowhere to be found when we came back in, so I returned to bed.

Just as I was falling asleep, Scrappy woke me by squealing and whimpering.  He was running around the house looking for me.  He's never done that before at night.  I couldn't sleep after that, so I got up and poured some milk on a bowl of cereal, and blammo!  Here came Midge ready to go outside.  That dog has the worst timing on earth.  I walked quickly toward her, trying to expedite the process before my cereal got soggy, and Stewie misinterpreted my intentions.  He thought I was rushing toward Midge because she was peeing on the carpet, so he charged her while barking, which woke up my husband.  I had to get Stewie under control, race Midge outside, and of course she just stood there sniffing the air and not getting down to business, because that's what she does best.  I quickly walked her over to a different spot and she finally went to the bathroom.  Now I have to take an antihistamine to get back to sleep, because my doctor didn't refill the pills that help me sleep.

I've been having to spend a lot of time disciplining Gabbrielle, because she's been chasing Rock around despite his hoof pain.  The poor horse limps everywhere.  Sometimes she forces him to gallop out to the end of the arena, and then he hurts so bad that he can't get back to the barn for a while.  I don't know why horses are so mean to each other.  Instead of protecting their injured, they make them be predator meat.  I'm planning on either locking Gabbrielle up on Exile Island tomorrow, or keeping Rock in his stall.  I'd prefer him to have the freedom to lie down in the soft arena sand, so it's better to just get Gabbrielle out of the picture.

Exile Island is at the end of the rainbow.


Linda said...

Beautiful photos of the rainbow. I'm sorry you didn't get an answer to your pain, but at least you got a temporary band-aid. Maybe he's on to something with his suggestion that it's actually in your back.

Mrs Shoes said...

I'm glad you were able to get some pain relief! Living with pain is life altering in so many ways that most people do not understand.
I surely do empathize with your knee & back issues; I had what was labelled "a catastrophic break" directly below the kneecap about 8 years ago, which they repaired with a long flat metal plate & eight or nine 3" screws. No surprise, I have had ongoing issues with it. One thing that -I- find helpful is a very firm pillow under my knees or, when I lay on my side, between my legs all the way from my crotch to my ankles.
I haven't had the injections... yet. I was told that a person can only have so many injections in total, so I'm saving that option for my back if it gets intolerable. I remember my dad took them for his shoulder until they would do no more.

I also get where you're coming from on the prescriptions - I find it maddening that I have to attend the drs office every 3 months to get new scripts. Our pharmacist is good &, if the dr is unavailable, then 3 of my 4 meds can be refilled by fax. My 4th prescription I straight up have to have, or God help me. And really, God help anyone in my vicinity too.
The last med is complicated, and most drs won't prescribe it any more. That one has to come straight from the dr; I'm lucky to have gone to one dr for the last decade who understands the problem. God help ME when he should retire or, God Forbid(!) relocates. I'd be so screwed.

I don't have a clear understanding of your medical system, but any mention of it reminds me to be thankful to be Canadian.

Love those rainbow pics.

TeresaA said...

That rainbow is lovely. I am glad that the shot helped but sorry that you don't have any answers.

ellie k said...

I am really blessed with a good doctor that takes as long as we need to find what is wrong. I had the shots in my lower back for about three years, they were wonderful and lasted about three months or longer. My legs were hurting along with the back and the shots took care of both. I am not able to have them now since I have a pre cancerous condition and have been having biposys and tests. It looks like verything is ok the doctor said. Now I broke my foot. My pastor said things seem to come in threes, I told him I am on eight now so I can expect another something to happen. I am glad the knee feels better and maybe a shot in the back will have you feeling better.