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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Knee-Jerk Experience

So today's blog post is installment #4 of the saga that is my knee pain.  (You can read the other installments here, here, and here.)  This week's episode is about my visit to the orthopedist to see what he thought about my nagging knee.

I kind of started out in a bad mood, because my appointment was at 10:15 AM, which meant that I was going to get up and go to work for 2 hours then drive all the way back to this office.  (I normally like to make my appointments either really early or really late because of work, but this appointment was made for me by my PCP after my MRI appointment.  /digression)  And I found out that there is only one majority group of people who come to appointments like this in the middle of the day:  slightly older retired people. 

Most of the people I sat next to in the lobby sported a cane and white hair (if any).  I overheard some of their conversations about having their knees scoped, recovering from surgery, and (my favorite) "there's no arthritis in titanium".  The thought of having my knee scoped is about as pleasant as a root canal without a numbing shot.  I felt like I was looking into my very depressing future.

I sat there for over an hour, filling out paperwork, playing with my iPod, and waiting for my name to be called.  (However, the office did have free Wi-Fi, during which time I was able to download the Starbucks app.  I'm thinking we should petition all doctors' offices to have free Wi-Fi, no?)  They finally called my name, and I was escorted to another room.  During this time, I had a mild low (67 mg/dL) from the waiting and the fact it was getting close to my lunch hour.  I just knew I would meet the new doctor while chomping on some raspberry glucose tabs, but no such luck.

Then the doctor came in (with a medical student shadow, cool) and pulled out my MRI images.  He asked me about my pain, and I explained to him that I used to be a catcher and had been having pain off and on for about 8 months, mainly during cold weather, walking up and down stairs, and sitting still with crossed legs for a long time.  He said this pain is fairly common, especially in women because we generally have wider hips.  (Which is extremely evident on me, if you've ever seen my hips.  Which would be weird if we met and you remember what my hips looked like.  OK, nevermind, this is just getting awkward.)  And having wider hips makes the pressure on the knee disproportioned, and being a catcher probably didn't help either.  He showed me on the MRI where the radiologist thought my pain might be coming from, but he wasn't entirely convinced that it was degenerative meniscus.

"It hurts right here."  Around the bright white spot. 

So he prescribed that I do physical therapy for 4 weeks to try to correct the pressure on my knee, and a follow-up in 6 weeks.  This is where things start to get bad.  I go to the physical therapists' office next door to try to set up my times, and all they had available were "in the middle of work day" times.  I asked if there were any offices close to where I work and how long the sessions would be.  She told me they had offices downtown but the sessions are usually an hour or longer.  An hour or longer, for 3 times a week?!  I hardly have any sick time left due to usual diabetes management, I couldn't tack on physical therapy, too.  I told her that I would just have to call them later for some better times.

Between that, my glasses, and worrying about some blood pressures issues I've been having lately, I started to feel vulnerable and break down.  I called Trey after my appointment and, through my tears, attempted to tell him my diagnosis.  When he asked what was wrong I said, "I'm just tired of falling apart."  "OK, well just drive and collect yourself.  I'll talk to you later."  He knows that only continuing to talk about it was going to make me more upset.  So I took the 30 minute drive back to work to clear my mind and figure out what I wanted to do.

I got back to work, and while (finally) eating my lunch I tried to call some of the other physical therapy places listed on my prescription.  On the second place I called (the first was out to lunch), the nicest voice answered the phone.  When I told her I needed physical therapy but needed to do it either really early or really late, she informed me that they're open until 6 PM everyday and I should be able to get in.  Then she transferred me to the physical therapist who briefed me on what to do when I came in.  Even though it was only a phone call, it really lifted my spirits because they seemed so willing to work with me and around my schedule.  It was quite refreshing after the "you need to work around us" therapy center I came from. 

So that's the latest on le knee that's being a jerk right now (hello, post title).  I'm really hoping that I can fix this without scoping or surgery, and that I can learn some things I can do if the pain comes back again.  However, having titanium knees might be cool (and add to my bionic-womaness)!

1 comment:

  1. Hey Holly
    I feel your pain here. My list of complications has led me to far too many specialist appointments over the past 12 months (well over 70) and I am all too familiar with frequenting waiting rooms with patients twice my age and older (often in better health). In my opinion it only adds to the mental strain of dealing with the actual issue at hand.....
    Hopefully things will work out with negotiating times for your PT. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers through this difficult time.

    BTW...none of my doctors offices have had free wi-fi...As a fellow iPod user I would love to see that!


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DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor, nurse, certified diabetes educator (CDE) or any medical professional of any kind. (But I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express!) Therefore, please do not use any of my postings as medical fact. I am simply a blogger expressing my highs and lows (pun intended) with diabetes. For changes in your medication, exercise regiment, or diet please consult a qualified physician.

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My name is Holly and I live in north Alabama with my hubby, two cats, and a dog.