“Your doctor screwed up.”

Never thought I would hear another doctor say this about a referring doctor, but it happened today. This just furthers my case I have been building since 2009 and my ACL injury, followed by the statin and Vitamin D prescriptions to the latest in a series of follies that have me very frustrated…check that pissed off as it relates to my most recent injury, my left knee.

Let me quickly recall the folly as it has taken place to date. Sunday, March 4, I play soccer for the first time in about 9 months. In an “I told you so” moment, I hurt my left knee after falling on the outside of the knee. Later that evening I am working on my knees and I hear a pop, suddenly I have a shooting pain on the inside of my knee. The following day I get an appointment with the nurse practitioner since the doctor isn’t available.

After work I stop by the office for my appointment and after waiting 15 minutes I am admitted to a room to wait for the nurse practitioner. About 5 minutes pass and she walks in and asks some routine questions pertaining to what I thought and how I hurt my knee. She spends no more than 5 minutes with and says “it’s just sprained.” Followed by the standard, ice, heat, elevation and an anti-inflamatory medication, which she was too thrilled to prescribe. She also noted on my record physical therapy IF I wanted it. I declined, but the note stayed on my record, so I could call and they would send off the referral.

A week goes by and the knee doesn’t improve, it’s swollen, sore and honestly I am having a difficult time walking. I call and ask for a referral to my orthopedic surgeon. I am told I cannot have that because the nurse practitioner would need to see me for a follow up, but the doctor wouldn’t. Figure that out. So I take the physical therapy since it was the only referral I was granted. I call and make appointments, but the soonest they can see me April 3!

I give it a day and call back and tell them I am in excruciating pain and walking is becoming a difficult. I get an appointment for Tuesday and the nurse’s assistant has me strip to my shorts as I wait for the nurse practitioner to see me. She walks in and right away her demeanor is different. She can see something now with me knee, she obviously couldn’t feel in her 5 minutes with me the week prior. She pulls and yanks at my knee and says, “your meniscus is torn.” She then writes up another prescription and a referral to the orthopedic surgeon.

Today, some 2 weeks after my injury I finally get to the orthopedics’s office. As seems to be customary, I was on time, but waited about 40 minutes before I get into a room, in my skivvies waiting for the orthopedic surgeon. The first words out of his mouth after he greets me, “you know, your doctor screwed up.” I explain my frustration to him, why I don’t know but then he says, there is nothing I can do since the doctor did not request x-rays. Thankfully one of his assistants was nice enough to get me the referral to get x-rays done on my left knee. Unfortunately, he didn’t even ask about the injury and I had to reschedule my appointment for Wednesday.

So that 30 minute appointment turned into a 3 hour fiasco, but I did get the x-rays and I am just livid with my primary doctor’s office. I believe that was the final straw for me. Hell, I might not even go back to get his opinion on what his prescription of Vitamin D has done for my alleged deficiency after I get my blood test in about 2 weeks. I can’t believe I have had such a poor and frustrating experience. I am sure not all doctors are this bad or experiences this frustrating. Unfortunately for me I have just seem to draw the poor luck when it comes to doctors. While I am still looking for a new primary care physician, the list is quite long, some 300 doctors in our local area, all accepting new patients. To be honest it is somewhat mind boggling because outside of reading reviews on the Internet how does someone know if they are going to get a physician they like? So the search continues, but my journey has only just begun, much like resolving this left knee pain. More on Wednesday…

Coincidence?: Part V – The Referral

So it took two office visits, $30 and 8 days, but I finally got what I was after. Then again in my opinion I should of had that referral last Monday when I met with the nurse practitioner. Still the end result, which isn’t truly the end, more like the beginning because I will have to go through a similar process when I visit the orthopedic surgeon next Tuesday. This is the same doctor who operated on my right ACL nearly 3 years ago. Funny, but to this day the knee is still numb…

With the referral in my hand, I will have to give up going on vacation with my wife, son and mother-in-law. It was going to be my first visit to SoCal in 7 years! Hard to believe it’s been that long. I cannot put off the office visit with the orthopedic surgeon if indeed there is more to my knee injury. The nurse practitioner did seem pretty confident I had a torn meniscus, but still unsure as the severity of the injury to the MCL.

So today was a step in the right direction. We will see what happens next. I just find it really weird this playing out similar to what happened in 2009 when I tore the ACL. I am guessing the orthopedic surgeon will request an MRI, which will probably happen Tuesday of next week, followed by another office visit. Chances are IF surgery is required it will happen before the end of March. Fingers crossed we will see what he has to say next week

Coincidence?: Part IV – The Bullshit

My wife continues to tell me it’s due to insurance reasons, but I have my doubts. I called the physical therapy office today about 90 minutes later they returned my phone call, took some basic information and started the process to schedule some appointments. The first available appointment, April 3! That is three weeks away, what am I supposed to do in the meantime with a knee that continues to be a problem as described yesterday in Coincidence?: Part 3?

The moment after hanging up the phone with the PT office, I dialed the doctor’s office. I explained my situation and how the knee was doing. I explained that it would be next month before I could get in for physical therapy and if there was someone available to see me today. Unfortunately, maybe I should have pushed a bit more, the nurse practitioner, wasn’t available, but they would not have the doctor see me. Huh?

The reason was because the doctor was not the original physician to “treat” (which they didn’t) me last Monday. All I am trying to get out of this visit is an MRI and a referral to an orthopedic surgeon, someone who knows more about the true problem other than hearing “it’s a sprain, ice, heat and you’ll be fine in 6 weeks.” My body is telling me otherwise, yet nothing I have said or done seems to strike a chord with this doctor’s office.

I am set up with an unnecessary appointment (that will cost me $15) with the nurse practitioner, who will probably spend less than 5 minutes with me (again) and not provide me with additional information that I already don’t know. I would venture to guess they will be quick to prescribe medication. Way to go! Big Pharma to the rescue again. Pfft…not. Regardless of the outcome, I won’t get a definite answer on my knee until AFTER we get back from vacation (which starts Sunday). It includes a roadtrip to SoCal with stops at Disneyland and San Diego scheduled. That is one less week to recuperate IF surgery is needed to resolve the MCL issue. Unfortunately time on the books is not something I have a lot of. So the saga continues…

Coincidence?: Part 3

This is slowing becoming a replay of 2009! After the doctor’s office FORGOT to forward my request for a referral to an orthopedic surgeon last Friday before closing, I was forced to wait until Monday to call and see if that requested had been filled. This morning I called and since the nurse practitioner who saw me wasn’t in the request had been passed to the doctor. I was told to call back after lunch time.

After waiting another 3 hours I finally put in a call to the office. I got lucky and got the nurse’s assistant. I explained the situation and then wanted to know the update on my referral request. She told me that the nurse practitioner wanted me to go for physical therapy for 2-3 weeks BEFORE seeing an orthopedic surgeon. Huh?

So let me get this straight, neither the doctor or the nurse practitioner can confirm what the problem with my left knee is, either a sprain or tear of the MCL. This was the same condition 3 years ago when I was told by my doctor, consequently I fell down the stairs a few days later and got a referral to see the orthopedic surgeon. Instead I was “pre-authorized” to go to physical therapy for a condition that CANNOT be verified!

As of today, now 8 days after injuring my left knee the only symptom that has improved to a degree has been the swelling. Quickly perusing the Internet for a few signs of a possibly MCL tear, I found this from Cedars-Sinai:

  • Pain, which can range from mild to severe, depending on how serious your injury is
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness along the inside of the knee
  • A feeling that your knee may give way under stress or may lock or catch.

Let’s take the list from the top. Pain, yup! I have it, but it does range from sever to mild, depending on what I am doing. If I am standing for any period of time, the pain becomes too much. Sitting at work, it’s not bad, it doesn’t go away.

Stiffness. Sure thing. If the knee is bent too long it’s sore and stiff on the back of the knee. Conversely if I have been laying in bed and try to get up, it takes a bit to get the knee to bend, but the pain is always there.

The swelling comes and goes with the amount of time I am on my feet. The longer I am standing, the knee will start to swell. If I am sitting, such as at work, the swelling does decrease. I have also notice an odd bulge that pushes out from the left side of my knee. I figure that is probably just fluids, but I can’t confirm that.

The MCL region of the left knee is still tender, has been since last Sunday evening when something popped and the pain flared up. Even to the tough, the region is warm and very tender. Pushing or probing the area is quite sore.

Finally what concerns me most, having a feeling my knee will give away. I had it happening once and I fear it will happen again, unannounced without warning. I take extra care in walking up and especially down the stairs. Last thing I want is another fall on the stairs as I had in 2009. It was also be the quickest way to get that referral I should of had last Monday!

Now I probably could have pushed the issue and might do so tomorrow. I know my body better than my doctor. All the signs of a possible tear are evident, but WHY they won’t give me a referral is anyone’s guess. This is just one more situation in which my doctor isn’t out for my best interest. His office has been on my shit list since January I met with the doctor to compare my blood tests (July, 2011 vs December, 2011) and he didn’t think I could sustain a plant-based, whole food diet. That same appointment saw him prescribe 50,000IU/weekly of Vitamin D for a reported “deficiency.” He has been wrong too many time recently and I am not happy.

Coincidence?: Part 2

It really comes as no surprise that the nurse practitioner said I injured my left MCL. I knew that before I made the call to get an appointment. Unfortunately this situation is like watching a rerun of what happened in 2009. The same diagnosis, “nothing damage” but take some anti-inflammatory medication, ice and heat. That didn’t do much back in 2009 when 5 days later I fell down the stairs. There WAS something wrong. This time around the knee feels just as sore, if not more and I can’t walk with support of a very nasty hobble.

Today in addition to the ice and heat I have been wearing a knee brace for a little extra support. My main fear is the knee giving out without any notice Not that knowing this ahead of time in 2009 would have prevented the inevitable. So I am going to give this MCL injury a week or so and then request to see the orthopedic or at least get x-rays or an MRI. I believe the first time around the x-rays couldn’t tell anything, while the MRI did reveal the tear in the right ACL.

So until that time I will deal with the pain that I am having regardless what I am doing, sitting, standing, walking, lying down as it makes no difference. I cannot put much pressure on my left leg because of the MCL. While I am hoping for the best, I don’t believe I will return to the soccer field, even if things turn out for the best and there is no damage, just a strain. If it is the worse and it’s torn there is a good chance I will miss out on the family vacation that starts on March 18.I can’t continue to batter and bruise my body at age 42. Time to pass the ball to my son regardless of how this situation turns out.