Chaos + Growth = Change

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Bad Doctor..Good Doctor.


     As you can see, last month my knee objected to the soccer game the rest of my body was enjoying. I was still walking after the game and I went on in to work for my night shift. It was not until I could not walk out to my car after the shift that I decided I better get my knee looked at by a doctor. My wife had noticed that one of the big ortho places on the south side of Indy had a walk in clinic. So I limped in Monday morning. The staff was very professional and I was taken to an exam room in reasonable time. Then things went down hill. After a while the ortho doc (We will call him Dr. O.) came in, looked at my knee, asked what happened then proceeds to ignore my response, then orders an X-ray and leaves. He spent about 2 minutes doing this. After the X-ray came in Dr. O graced me again with his presence for another minute to let me know nothing was broken and that I needed to schedule a MRI. So I limped to the checkout desk and they said the MRI would be the following day and my follow on with Dr. O the day after that. I limped away. Fast forward to my follow-up and Dr. O came in, handed me a sheet of paper that among other things had "disruption of the ACL" typed on it. Dr. O said I had torn my ACL and surgery would be required to fix it. He mentioned that some people choose not to have it repaired and just live with the limitation of the knee collapsing whenever it feels like it. I asked if it was a total tear and Dr. O responded with arrogance , "yes, that is what disruption means". Well excuse me for the stupid question. Since I was on a roll I attempted a few more questions. They were met with the same attitude, that  I was wasting his precious time.  He instructed me to make arrangements for my surgery, and was gone. The total consultation with him lasted around 10 minutes. He also could not remember me from just two days prior and I of course consider myself pretty memorable. So once again I limped out on crutches consigned to having surgery....At the darkest is when things always begin to brighten up.

     My wife convinced me to get a second opinion from the orthopedic doctor that has put my kids back together after they challenge the laws of physics and loose. "Dr. M." is not part of a big fancy ortho group and practices right here in our small town. I bring a copy of the MRI and hand it to Dr M. who loads it up on the PC. While that is going on Dr M does a few things that Dr O did not, first he listens, then he actually examines my knee, he moves it, checks how loose it is and finds out exactly where it is hurting, shocking!! Dr M then turns to the MRI and goes through it with me explaining what he is looking at. This takes about 30 minutes. Conclusion; I did tear my ACL but only partially and what is left should be enough to keep me in the game of keeping up with my kids. He says that physical therapy is the proper course, not surgery. Weeks later he seems to be right.

     Why did Dr. O apparently misdiagnose me? A combination of factors including working in a place that is more factory than doctors clinic, he is arrogant, he might not of actually looked at my MRI just taking the radiologist opinion of the films and finally, forgetting the basics of patient/doctor relations. Sadly more doctors are like Dr. O than Dr M. Be careful and keep getting opinions till you are convince that the right course is taken. Use the Internet and do some research and ask all the questions before getting cut. Peace and embrace chaos, even if you are limping.


1 comment:

  1. Just so happens that I tried to disprove the laws of physics when I was playing flag football for my squadron back in '85. I lost that battle and blew out my knee. I'm no doctor but my guess is that both of the Orthos you saw were correct in their statements even though one appeared disinterested. Here's my story.

    The base docs looked at the knew and just splinted my leg. Two weeks later the knee was still killing me and the swelling had not diminished at all. The flight surgeon tried to drain it, failed and then admitted he didn't know what he was doing. He sent me to another base that had an ortho.

    That doc drained my knee, did a movement test and told me that I had a partial tear in the ACL. He also said it would probably need to be replaced one day.

    I rehabbed the knee and continued to play sports. Eventually my knee deteriorated to the point that the ACL tore in half, even though I had built up the structure around the knee. I finished playing ball on it that year and tore it up enough that I couldn't even sleep without the knee constantly hurting. So at 40 yrs old I went to a sports injury specialist and he gave me three options to repair the ACL. Hamstring, Patella or cadaver. I chose cadaver and have lived pain free for 11 yrs while continuing to play ball. Had I known in '85 what I know now I would have done the repair work then.

    My point is, you can rehab the knee but if you continue an active lifestyle the ACL will eventually go. It's my opinion that you'll be better off fixing the knee now before you get another 15 or 20 years older. You'll repair faster now and you'll live without the pain and fear of tearing it further.

    Good luck