Sunday, April 29, 2018

Orthos and Arthros

Bad news about my knee, friends.

Xray of my knee
Bad knee! Bad!

I got the results from my knee MRI a couple of weeks ago. I had waited a couple of days for my orthopedist to call me and when he didn't, I called to find out if they had my results and the receptionist told me that I had to make an appointment for that.

I told them that I wasn't going to do that because I didn't have a good experience with the doctor, so I would just take the MRI elsewhere. Now, it is at this point that I would imagine the receptionist would say, "Oh no, what was the problem? Maybe we can make it better," but that did not happen. Instead she said she'd have the doctor call with the results. And then instead, a non-doctor called me back to tell me I had a bone contusion and medial meniscus tear.

Evidently they didn't care why I'd had a bad experience or they just didn't care period. Cool.

My next step was to find a new orthopedist who could tell me what to do. (Well, actually my next step was to google the hell out of "medial meniscus tear" and discover that sometimes it needs surgery and sometimes it doesn't.) I'd gotten a recommendation from a friend for a new ortho, so I made an appointment for the following Tuesday and then went on a short run to see how it felt on the knee.

I was able to run and after a month without it, running felt amazing. Unfortunately, my knee felt significantly worse afterward AND I pretty severely strained my foot/ankle by compensating for the knee (or at least that's what my new orthopod suspects).

My appointment was last week. I made the appointment for 9:30 on a Tuesday and made a note to myself that I had to get there early to fill out forms. By Tuesday, I'd convinced myself that my appointment was a 10 and that I was supposed to get there at 9:30 with pen and insurance card in hand to be a good patient.

That's why I rolled into the ortho office at 9:32 on Tuesday, signed in, and was feeling pretty good about my ability to handle change.

Then the receptionist called me to the desk and told me the doctor I'd signed in for wasn't at that practice and that I was in the wrong place. Somehow I had managed to deliver myself to an entirely different orthopedic practice with which I had no affiliation whatsoever.

Good job, Jean. Never change anything ever again.

I hadn't put the correct ortho in my phone yet because I didn't know if I'd like him, so I had to search him up on the internet on my phone and beg forgiveness from the receptionist. This is when I found out that my appointment really was at 9:30—not 10. Evidently the front desk at my new ortho office is the nicest in the world because they gave me the correct address and told me that I could still come by to see the doctor. I already liked them better than my previous ortho practice.

Seriously, the front desk was great, the nurse was thorough and attentive, they updated me to let me know they were waiting for a fax from the imaging office so I wasn't wondering why it was taking so long to see the doctor. (Actually, I was prepared to wait all day what with their generosity in squeezing me in.) Also, the exam room in which they had put me had this numbered drawing of chipmunks on the wall:

Framed black and white drawing of three chipmunks.
It's like they knew I was coming.

Anywho, long story short, because of the type of tear I have, yadda, yadda, yadda, the doctor ended up recommending arthroscopic surgery, which I was assuming was orthroscopic surgery—you know, because it is done by an orthopedist—and just ten or so minutes ago discovered that it starts with an "a."

He said I didn't have to do it right away, but I am tired of not running and I figure the sooner I get it done, the sooner I can start relearning to run. Plus, I didn't want to get surgery in a couple or three months only to have to ease into running in the winter again, because that would be some buuuuuullshit.

My surgery is scheduled for just under four weeks from today, so you all should spend that time enjoying my lack of whining, because as soon as I'm hobbling around on crutches, I'm sure I will be the most annoying person in the history of the world. Also, crutches? I feel like they don't know how clumsy I am. This is likely to be a hilarious and embarrassing disaster of a recovery.

I actually feel okay about the whole thing. I'm glad it is something that can be fixed—or at least improved. If everything goes well, the recovery won't be too long and I'll be back on my feet soon.

Until then, I'm looking into upping my cycling and strength training. Although I gotta tell you, after not exercising for a month or so, my motivation is suffering. I gotta learn how to step up my non-running, non-eating activities.

Also, I would greatly appreciate not hearing about your arthroscopic surgery horror stories. Maybe after everything goes perfectly for me and I have a like-brand-new leg, we can talk about that, but until then, I mostly want to hear, "Gosh, that sounds fantastic; I think this is definitely the right decision and your recovery will be like butterflies and unicorns and you will be running at twice your normal speed within weeks."

That would be great, thanks.


  1. That is so aggravating about the office not even caring that you had a bad experience, ESPECIALLY SINCE they were going to try to act like they absolutely had to charge you an entire additional doctor visit to hear your results, when all along a NON-DOCTOR COULD TELL YOU OVER THE PHONE. ARRRGGGGG EVERYTHING IS TERRIBLE, except your surgery, which I am sure is going to be lovely, like a dream of chipmunks!

    1. "A dream of chipmunks" is my new favorite phrase.

  2. Love the new office! My mom had to have major arthroscopic (which I also thought was orthoscopic until I read this blog post) and it was fabulous. She didn’t need the crutches, though she did have Ava e for a while. Those chipmunks, if numbered, are a print; if you get me a clearer pic with the artist name, I might be able to track one down for you. :)

    1. She had a cane. Not a whatever those random letters are.

    2. I wondered how Ava helped her. :) I'm glad to hear it went well for her.

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  4. I know about knees, friend. I just had both of mine replaced in January. Now that I am bionic, things are getting better. You will do fine, I am confident!

  5. Good for you doing it. I put it off a long time ago because I "didn't have time" and when I did have time it didn't hurt, so I did nothing. Years later, I've completely screwed up my knee because I didn't fix it. I'm the poster child for, "guurrrl do what the doctor tells you". So really GOOD FOR YOU.

  6. Jean, so sorry to hear about your injury! Since you have a little time, perhaps you can get a physical therapy visit in before surgery, to see which exercises you can do now to strengthen your knee?
    If you have access to a pool, water running / walking is a great option. The JCC fitness center in Rockville, and the BCC Y, are both awesome! My neighbor loves the County aquatic center on Executive Blvd.
    btw, I have a partial ACL tear and another really old knee injury from tripping on a broken sidewalk and falling almost twenty years ago. DON'T run at night! :( Haven't considered surgery yet, since I don't run. Also, I need to lose a lot of weight, which should help with my knee as well. Right?!
    - Karen G

    PS: I don't think I have any of the IDs for commenting, so this one is Anonymous. :)

  7. Oh, and I'd suggest asking the orthopedic office whether you'll be able to put [some] weight on the operated leg right away. Just so you know what to expect.
    Don't be scared if you feel a little unsteady on crutches at first; you'll get used to it quickly. Someone will adjust them to your height, and show you how to use them.
    - Karen G


Thanks for commenting! May you be visited by unicorns and kittens.