It’s been nearly nine months, doctor. By now I was expecting to be able to at least walk relatively normally. You told me that exercise was good for me, but it seems to leave me even more crippled.
Yes, I was subject to bouts of incapacitation of ever-increasing length, and I concede that being unable to bear any weight on the leg whatsoever for a few days at a stretch was pretty intolerable, and it was obviously getting worse. So something needed to be done. But right now, I would almost prefer the periodic incapacitation, just so I could have the days and weeks between when I felt completely normal.
My leg is fucked, doctor. I know that my obesity is aggravating any problems I have, I am acutely aware of that. So I’m working hard at changing it. But it’s almost impossible if I can’t do any activities much more vigorous than hobble from place to place. And why is this? What the hell did you FUCKING DO TO MY KNEE? Why wont’ it heal? I don’t expect to be 100% and doing gymnastics, doc, really I don’t. But this is goddamn miserable, and I’ve been pushing through the pain for weeks and months now, and not letting myself get discouraged, and just counting on time and commitment to exercise and weight loss to do the job. But I’m really starting to lose it. I’m scared. I’ve lost almost 20 pounds, but my knee is as messed up now as it was a few weeks after the surgery! And I’m getting weird shooting pains up my hamstrings, the inside of my thigh, and down my shin! The whole leg is a mess!
I’ll do whatever it takes, doc. Just tell me what it is I’m doing wrong and how to fix it. Please. PLEASE. PLEASE HELP ME.
(I had a meniscus surgery in June of last year. Not a repair, he cut away the tear (more than just the tear, i think, which is what worries me. I saw the film) and shaved the bones, which were a little arthritic. And told me lots of patients re playing sports a month later. Yeah, well FUCK you.)
Stoid–I know how you feel. I’ve had my share (maybe more than my share) of serious health issues and doctors who either: 1. diagnosed me wrong, 2. didn’t tell me important stuff I needed to know, or–and this was the worst, I thought–3. wouldn’t admit it when they didn’t know something, especially when they didn’t know something really important.
If I were you, I’d go see another doctor. Preferably a specialist.
Best of luck with everything.
Are you in the Central Ohio area? If so, and you need help with something, please let me know. I’m on Spring Break for about 10 days or so. If there’s stuff you want to do but that’s proving really hard to do because of your leg, I’d be happy to help you out.
You need to see another surgeon. My husband’s second surgeon found 3 small bone chips under the patella that caused damage and terrible pain when he moved or put weight on his knee. The second doctor was able to remove the miniscus and resculpt the knee to allow him to walk. Those bone chips were not visible in xrays; they hid. The second surgeon was also very skilled and became a sucessful sports injury surgeon. He got 15 good years out of that knee after that sugery. He was walking the next day.
My husband was told that he should just work through the pain. The surgery revealed that if he had tried, he would have made his knee much worse. Once he had the chips take out, he worked very hard and was able to build it back up. After they replaced his knee the pain was horrible, but he was eventually able to walk. Sometimes the pain is a sign to stop, sometimes you need to work through it. From the sounds of it, a second look is needed.
I also think a further medical opinion would be useful. Meanwhile, have you tried water based exercise, aquaaerobics or swimming? It’s great for strengthening muscles without stressing the joints. Aqua did me (overweight, fibromyalgia) a lot of good after breaking an ankle and ripping out tendons. It had the bonus of getting me into swimming too.
**Stoid ** go to a doctor asap. Not necessarily THAT doctor, just see a doctor.
Your knee should not be causing you pain in your thighs and calves if everything is working properly, obesity or not.
It’s either that the surgery wasn’t done properly, it was done properly but a new problem has developed, or an old problem that was being masked has now come to the surface.
where the pain is
what kind of pain it is (shooting, stabbing, burning, cramping etc)
whether it’s constant or related to activity, temperature or position
what makes it better and worse
what medications you’re taking
whether the pain seems to radiate to any other areas
whether it’s associated with anything else (eg blueness, pallor, numbness, tingling, swelling, redness, fever, shortness of breath, palpitations, nausea etc)
Make sure to give all of that information, even if it’s not asked for.
Do not walk away without a satisfactory explanation and a plan of what they’re going to do to sort it out. The plan might be “if it’s not better in a month we’ll do an ultrasound” but you should at least have a plan that you feel is acceptable in place.
I saw my original doctor. He was dismissive and arrogant, and insisted to me that my problem is arthritis. I asked him, politely but pointedly, why this arthritis didn’t bother me in the slightest before the surgery, but has never let up since? No really good answer, some mumbling about how the arthritis is interfering with recovery.
When I became weepy, he said “I don’t why you’re acting this way, is it your ADD medication?”
Umm, no, it’s that you are not giving me answers that feel right to me, and even if they are, you are offering no help, and essentially telling me that I am disabled. So yeah, being the girl that I am, I get a little teary at this news, ASSHOLE.
So I have an appointment with a different doctor.
I am continuing to exercise, and I did get a brace, which helps a great deal, since my leg did not feel truly stable.
I will let you know what the next doc says.
(And general concensus seems to be that orthopedic surgeons are, as a group, arrogant dismissive assholes. What a drag.)
I’ll tell ya. . .for a year after my surgery (ACL and medial meniscus) I was trying to get back into running. Well, my knee stayed painful and would get swollen after most runs.
I had lots of followups with the doctor. He kept subscribing naproxen. Now, that helped. It kept the swelling and pain down, but if I went off it, the pain came right back. I kept telling the doctor, “I don’t want something that just shields that pain. I want to know what’s wrong.”
Basically, he had no answer. Appointment after appointment. He was, as you said, arrogant and dismissive.
I’ve come to realize that the medical profession really isn’t as scientific as people think it is. Or at least as I thought it was.
They simply don’t always know the answer.
Anyway, I still don’t like running on my knee. I got a bike last summer, never looked back, and I’m in the best shape I’ve been in since 1997. Maybe the best shape of my life.
I don’t want to sound like some self-help guru here, but things just didn’t get better until I took the responsibility of really working hard, and sticking to it. I took weight off, built up my legs muscles, all without impacting the knee.
That’s how I look at it now: the doc did the best he could. He couldn’t reconstruct a perfect knee. He gave me back my ligaments and tendons and from that point on, it’s all me.
Hey, Stoid. I’m sorry to hear that your doctor is really crappy. I’m also sorry to hear that you haven’t gotten any better so far. But I’m glad that you’ve made a decision to see another doctor.
A doctor who’s dismissive and arrogant is a lousy doctor. Good for you for getting a second opinion.
This is another pretty strong sign that you should be using someone else’s services. Any doctor who won’t admit when he doesn’t know something–or that (gasp!) he might have been wrong about something is a doctor to avoid.
Yay! Best of luck with this one.
Yeah, well…if it’s any consolation, there are some really arrogant, dismissive asshole ENT surgeons, too. There are some great doctors out there. I’ve been lucky enough to have some who really treated me great, who were honest with me about what they knew and didn’t know, and who were genuinely concerned with how I was doing. But I get the feeling that there are plenty of doctors who are motivated much more by prestige and cash than by any kind of real desire to help people. You have all my empathy in dealing with this.
One of the most compassionate doctors I ever knew was an orthepedic surgeon. He was in his 80s and 90s when I knew him, had retired in the 1960s, yet was so good he was constantly used in a consulting form by about 50% of the Orthos in Houston. So, they are out there.
But, I have met my share of complete asshole doctors of all types. The profession seems to accelerate any predisposition towards assholewry. Sorry you had to find out your doc was one of those.
Don’t give up and give out, tho. I found a doctor who really cares (GP) and so can you. They are out there. I hope you find one soon, too. Emotional health can have a huge bearing (IMHO - IANAD) on your physical well being.
You might call some PT centers in your area. Not only will they know what doctors are the best, but they should be able to help design an exercise program that will help your knee recover. My uncle just went through knee surgery and had to endure weeks of PT. Said it was very painful, but in the end it was worth it because he can finally golf again.