Good News Bad News Day

What a frustrating and confusing day it has been. It started out with me heading off to my long-awaited appointment with the surgeon. The two-hour wait didn't make me any happier with the news the doctor delivered. To get right down to brass tacks (which I believe are residing in my knee right now), she says my knee doesn't warrant a total knee replacement. Okay. I can live with that. But I'm pretty confused about why my pain specialist spent quite some time at my last appointment going over the MRI report and telling me all the reasons that I needed one. She had me convinced, but today I saw the x-rays, and I believe the surgeon.

(images provided for no other reason than to make this rant more entertaining)

So I guess it's good news that I don't need such an invasive and scary procedure, but that doesn't make the pain in my knee any less debilitating than it was before I saw her. Nevertheless, doctors have an annoying way of acting as if their pronouncement about what one does or does not need somehow heals the patient and settles the matter. I suppose in her mind it does.

What totally made me mad however was the blank stare she gave me when I brought up the matter of the MRI films...you know, the ones I drove sixty miles to deliver so that she would have them 48 hours in advance of my appointment. The ones that would cause my appointment to be canceled if I didn't cough them up in the 48-hour time frame. It seems the MRI films vanished after I handed them over the receptionist who said she would "log them in". That was two weeks ago. Further, she hadn't bothered reviewing the note from the other orthopedist in their clinic and so she had no idea of my 30-year knee pain history...ten years with their clinic alone. Pardon me while I curse. (Insert your favorite curse word here.)

Without belaboring the point, I was still steaming about the lost MRI films after I got home and I ended up calling their office manager who was ever so polite, but who obviously couldn't give a flying fart about any of this.

"What resolution would you like to see?" he asked politely.

Hm. The mind reels with possible responses. Instead of choosing one of those, I inquired what I was supposed to do about the appointment I have two weeks hence with the original orthopedist. Helpfully, he suggested that I contact the radiology clinic where the MRI was done and ask them to provide me with another copy.

"Will there be a charge to me for that?" I wondered.

He assured me that they would reimburse me for any charges.

Later on this afternoon, I received a call from the original orthopedist's assistant (we'll call him Dr. B.), who informed me that the radiology clinic would be sending me the films. In other words, they took care of the leg work for me...presumably because I have a hurting knee.

"Do I need to provide them 48 hours in advance of my appointment?" I asked. "Because wouldn't it make more sense for them to send the MRI directly to your office?"

"No," she said. "Just bring them when you come."

Thank you. And so I ask you, dear friends, what do you think is up with this 48-hour commandment, when clearly it makes no difference whatsoever? I mentioned this to the office manager who confirmed that is their policy. I suggested he might pass the message along to their doctors or else "stop making that demand of your patients!!" I presume he's taking it under advisement.

***End of Rant***

Okay, so what is going to happen, you might wonder. In two weeks I'll go back to the original orthopedist (Dr. B.) who will decide to either (a) do an arthroscopic procedure to repair the tears to my lateral and medial meniscus, or (b) try yet another cortisone injection. I was under the impression that I'd used up my allotment of cortisone injections, but I guess not. Apparently, you can have them years apart, but not weeks apart. And I'm more-than-tired of thinking about my knee now.

Here is the good news part of the day. When it looked as if I was going to have a big surgery, we decided to cancel our trip to Colorado, reasoning I would need Mike to take the time off to help me recuperate. With that off the table, we are going to go ahead with our plans to go to Colorado in September. Yay! Rocky Mountains, here we come!

Some more good news: while it was tempting to go home, throw myself on the floor and have a good old three-year-old style tantrum, I decided instead to stop at the Oregon Heritage Farms store, which just opened for the season. It seemed like a good day to bake a pie...which I did.

I used a combination of Gravenstein and McIntosh apples. Yum. Mike better get home soon. 

Then I surveyed the tomatoes and figured out I have enough for another double batch of pasta sauce.

Guess I know what I'm doing tomorrow.

Then I checked on the plums. They are completely purple now, but still quite hard. They need a few more days, but they are so close! I'm thinking sometime next week I'll be making some plum chutney.

This post has been updated to link up to:

Also, my quilting buddy, Pat and I are going to the Oregon State Fair next week. I'm kind of excited to see it now. I received an email from one of the local quilt shops with a sneak peek of the "Quilt Walk". 

I don't see my quilt in this image, but I do see some beautiful quilts! Now I'm excited to see the rest. They look wonderful. Also, now that I have a mind to enter some canned goods in next year's fair, I'm going to pay close attention to what the judges have to say about this year's contestants. I have no idea how canned goods are judged. Have any of you ever entered canned goods in a fair?

So that's about it from the Three Cats Ranch for today. Mike went out on the boat this afternoon. I took so long at the doctor's office (and I was so frustrated when I left), that I decided baking a pie sounded better than boating. Now I'm going to go down and finish binding my quilt. I'm on the last of the four sides, so that finish is less than an hour away.

Thanks to all of you who have left such supportive comments. It warms my heart to have such good bloggy friends, and I treasure each and every one of you more than you can imagine.

30 comments from clever and witty friends:

evelyn said...

I've heard of making lemonade from lemons-well dear, you took it to a whole new level. I would still be cursing the incompetent medical profession and wallowing in self pity. You would think that with such a long history, the doc would want to read those reports. Hope your next visit goes better.
Yummy looking pie, good thing you took a picture-bet it's all gone now. LOL

Quilting Babcia said...

Doctors office staff are the pits in these parts, same thing happened to me before my foot surgery last winter. However my surgeon is top-notch and if you want a third opinion and a great surgeon I'll be happy to give you his name. Looking forward to our trip to the fair!

Maree said...

Hi Barbara - sorry to hear about your problems with your knee and more especially with the medical staff. It surprises me that they are still using film in your area. I work as a radiographer here in New Zealand and we have been completely digital for two or three years now. Images are provided on a CD and are much easier to send off to any specialists who are unable to access our digital records.

Good luck with your future appointments.

The pie looks yummy.

Vroomans' Quilts said...

I think I would be getting another opinion, also. We don't do films around here either, all computerized and as simple as a post to another Dr. But I think you are safer in 'hand delivering the day of' rather than sending them early.

Teresa in Music City said...

Well that just STINKS!!! (Notice that word did not end in itch, it, or uck!) It really seems to me that it has gotten next to impossible to find a medical professional higher than one's general doc who gives a rat's a** about one's health!!! All they seem to care about are keeping their systems going strong and rolling in the dough! I hope your original doc will be able to offer you some relief from the pain. I have to say, I'm pretty surprised at her diagnosis - they seem to be doing knee replacements right and left here in my neck of the woods.

Junebug613 said...

Wow. I guess Drs are just like anything else. Some are fantastic and some, not so much. I'm glad you don't need the full knee replacement, but I'm sorry you have to deal with the pain longer, while the Dr figures out what's best. I'm happy you get to go on your trip! That's definitely a good thing! Mmmmm Apple pie! Sure wish I lived nearby!

Lynda Halliger Otvos (Lynda M O) said...

Does "ucker" count as a verboten word cuz when I have days like yours I like to call the entire situation a "pig-**cker" at which point Ormond knows I am at wit's end and about to implode. So for you I yell it out at the ortho's...

Now about that pie... I would dearly love a pie crust recipe that is easy to do. I have a Gala tree in my front yard that is crying to be harvested and cooked into pie but alas, I have never made a pie crust and cannot abide the thought of spending upwards of two dollars each for store-bought crusts. So if you have a spare moment or a blog-light day, perhaps you could be so kind as to share you crust process with us, your dearly beloved readers.

The Rockies are the best for visuals, you'll have a great time.

Chronic pain sucks. I am being awakened a dozen times a night right now with hip pain that causes me to cry aloud and awaken the sleeping husband. Hate it and yet they say, Nothing to do. So on we go....

Kristine said...

I had a fun Dr appt on Wed. Broke down into tears. Yeah. I just want to be able to move around normally again without hurting all day long. My crying got me an MRI next week. I hope you get some relief soon. I've only been dealing with this for a month, and I'm going nuts. Oh, and my online research revealed that there's an alternative to the steroid shot - a lubricant shot. Ask your Dr about it.

BillieBee (billiemick) said...

What a very big mess! I'm glad your trip is back on :D

Dasha said...

Well the surgery you dreaded seems to be off the agenda for a while. Perhaps that is good news. With a bit of luck your original doc might find something to help you get on with your life.
My best suggestion is not to look back on what you used to do that you CAN't do - that will just demoralise you. Look at the things you CAN do and develop those to a satisfying point.
Your pie looks delicious!! Can I come and sample some?? LOL

SoozeM said...

Grr stoopid doctors!! At least you get to go your trip now. Rather than throwing yourself on the floor and chucking a tantrum (as tempting as that sounds just remember that you have to get up off the floor when you are done) you could try giving Gracie and Smitty some extra cuddles, hugging something warm, furry and purring often works for me :)

gpc said...

Well, poop diddle. I'm so sorry for your frustrations and even more sorry for your pain. But thank goodness you have such a float-to-the-top spirit! Hopefully the ouchie parts will get better soon. Hugs. :)

Dana Gaffney said...

He asked you what outcome you hoped for and you didn't mention "where the sun don't shine"? I think I'm proud of you. I'm so glad the trip is back on especially if another shot or something will make the pain stop for the trip. Meanwhile, I'd take Pat up on her offer and get another opinion, I know it's office staff messing up but they're a large part of the whole experience.

Jeanie said...

Doctors..... can't live with em', can't live without them. I'm in the process of finding another because my current one is ......., well, not the best doc. They have us at their mercy and it sounds like you are holding your tongue and doing your best to get along. Good luck with this whole situation. It will be behind you someday. And meanwhile.... enjoy your vacation and leave your cares at home!

Michele said...

Oh my I would have had to strangle someone or a number of someones over that mess. And a 2 hour wait. that is beyond reasonable. My mom has had the tears cleaned up a few times over the many years and it is only now that they are planning the replacement surgery. The fix did help her for quite a while.

Debbie said...

An old favorite to express frustration....."Oh, poopie tail!!!" That just about expresses my sentiments over our healthcare in general as well as individuals who could care less. I don't suppose they even bothered to use their eyes and actually look for the missing films? Nah, that would mean they would have to use their half of a brain!
Glad the trip is back on....enjoy!

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

First, I'm glad the brain xray was not yours- that would have been scary, especially looking like Homer. Secondly- sorry about the medical mess! I used to have to bring xrays with me but now they just email(???) them to the dr. Seems unnecessary to make two trips!
Third- good luck with the knee, I hope they find the right method to correct it.

Vicki W said...

Maybe a second opinion is in order.

LethargicLass said...

I only hope that they are able to do something to fix the knee, even if only for a few more years... I hate knowing you are in pain.

For the Quilt Festival, you will definitely need to plan your day around resting... that concrete floor will play havoc with your knee so try and find as many "husband" chairs as you can.

Thinking about you and hoping everything works out!


Becky said...

Hi - just wanted you to know I had a total of 7 arthroscopies on one knee prior to having a Total Replacement. Each one helped, and bought me several more relatively pain free years. Just cleaning out the junk in a knee can help the pain.

You might be able to alter some activities to buy you time. Stairs are the pits, and aggravate knees terribly. Going down puts 3x your body weight on them at some points. There are other injections besides cortisone that help knees. Some medications, not just pain meds, can help as well.

I did change orthopedist along the way. The one that just figuratively shrugged his shoulders went away quickly. There are good doctors out there, maybe you just haven't found one yet. Find some nurses that work in the OR or on an orthopedic unit. They do know whose patients have good results. Watch out for one's they say are okay, or fine, those are nice ways of saying don't go there without violating professional ethics.

A total knee is not a panacea. It does change your life, and things you have done all your life may not be possible. Please remember in your deliberations that not everyone has perfect results from surgery. You love to garden, I did, too. I would give most anything (but my grandchildren) to be able to kneel down or sit down on the ground to pull weeds. Can't do it. Oh, I can sit, but getting back up takes help.

Good luck in your search.

Lynn - JnL4God said...

Oh Barb - I would have been a lot ticked off too. Urrgh But the Pie looks really good.

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

Oh my! What a pain (in more ways than just the knee). Sorry. Hope they figure everything out quickly, and that whatever they end up doing helps. I'm sure that pie was yummy! Have fun in Colorado. I'll be in Minnesota.

Dar said...

Carrie, I'm so sorry about your knee experience, but glad you get to go co CO. That pie would help the agravation I would have felt after such a day with medical incompetence. BTW, that x-ray reminded me of a profile of Bart Simpson!! It WAS entertaining. You held it together better than I would have.

Patrica said...

Well, blast & damnation! I don't blame you one bit for being more than a little put out. I don't see how the doc can make a judgement if a- haven't read the file; b- haven't reviewed the films; c- might be time for another opinion . Hell fire!! As you can tell I can do all the cussin' for ya! By the way that pie is a far better solution for aggravation than my usual way of coping - I just clean the refrigerator while muttering...

Brown Family said...

Doctors can be so frustrating! And they can look so dumb when you ask but what about the pain?

The pie looks yummy!

quiltzyx said...

What a crap pile of an office visit! I still think you should bill them for your time - that would be a satisfying "resolution" to their incompetence. Blerg.

Such a pretty pie. Bye-bye pie!

The fruits are looking tasty too. AND you get to go on your trip - hooray!

Obviously YOUR quilt is in a SPECIAL, right-in-front, climate-controlled case. You might not be able to get a good photo, due to the special tamper-proof glass.

Lynne said...

How frustrating and annoying!

Anne said...

I had intended to comment when I first read this post after it was emailed, but neither my phone nor my tablet offer the best way to respond.

I am sorry you went to so much trouble to obey the directive regarding delivery of your films, only to be told that they'd been misplaced.

It is confusing to the patient to hear one doctor call for a particular course of treatment, and then have another say that a different procedure is necessary. Glad you have confidence in the surgeon's opinion.

My husband has some bulging discs in his neck. He also has bone spurs and stenosis. The orthopedic specialist diagnosed the bone spurs and sent my husband to a neurosurgeon for an additional work-up.

Thank goodness the orthopedic doctor just handed my husband his MRI results and a letter from the clinic that had performed a nerve-conduction test, which showed nerve involvement.

The neurosurgeon went into great detail about the bulging discs and the stenosis. Though my husband needs surgery, he opted for a series of three steroid injections. The neuro guy said nothing about the bone spurs.

I know about cooling your heels an inordinate amount of time in doctors' offices. My hubby waited over four hours in the neuro's office a couple of times, so now he tries to book the first appointment of the day.

The shots have helped my husband deal with neck pain and the tingling and numbness down his arm and in part of his hand. However, after three shots, the doctor said my husband could receive additional injections if needed. Hmm -- steroid shots are not limited to three?

Though patients have seemingly unlimited access to medical advice via the Internet, what we think we know and what we are told are often conflicting. Even specialists don't always agree. I know that medical advances have improved and saved lives, but incompetence even at the clerical level instills fear that something awful could happen based on a simple mistake or misunderstanding.

Hope your upcoming knee procedure, whichever is decided upon, will bring you relief. My husband also has a bad knee from playing high-school football. His left ACL is nonexistent. He's undergone a few arthroscopic procedures that helped quite a bit.

crazy quilter said...

Hi there , I happened upon your blog and just had to read about your knee and Dr issues. I find it quite unreal that I pretty much had the same experience with my elderly mother and a broken leg. Though the break did not seem severe the orthopedic simply refused to consider surgery to repair it for her. She fumed for several days at the denial from this Dr to do the repair. She is elderly but of quite sound mind and for the most part body. Her fall that caused the break was more due to her failing eyesight than from being feeble. We di make a return visit to this Dr whenhe and his assistant refused to speak to me a out why Mother was not a candidate for the surgery. I was really outraged that he could not either return my email or my call to answer my questions. I have decided that Dr's simply do not care anymore . Those of us that do remember when the Dr remembered your name and everything else bout you and your family are h,aging a hard time with the uncaring move them thru the office attitudes of these supposed care givers of today. I am glad you decided on a second opinion from some other Dr , perhaps the one in the small town will be more responsive to your pain and have a better solution . I do hope you have a feat time on your trip with your trekking poles and know your plums will be ripe very soon and all yours! Thanks for the great read and Congrats on your first ribbon, I am sure there are more in your future! Keep on sewing...

Kate said...

Definitely not a fun experience. At least you know what your options are now.