Dr Google Was Sort of Right

08.23.12

I forgot to follow up with the funky knee. Last week I skipped the orthopedic surgeon and headed to my rheumatologist. This ended up being a really great decision for a number of reasons. My rheumatologist is incredibly conservative and never overbooked. Every appointment is timely and we’ve never been rushed.

Dr. Rheum gave my knee a check and suspected that I might have a torn meniscus (just like Dr. Google suspected). What he made very clear was that small tears to the meniscus can be treated with physical therapy and that although the laser surgery is effective with a quick recovery you do lose volume with the meniscus and someone with Rheumatoid Arthritis (me) should be very careful about that. It should be a last resort. Before sending me off for an MRI he said to me, “Think of an orthopedic surgeon as a man with a hammer. Sometimes men with hammers think everything is a nail.”

So off I went to get my MRI. I immediately fell asleep in the machine (I know, weird) and just a day later the doctor called.

Good news! The meniscus isn’t torn. Bad news, there’s a half inch cyst resting on top of the fibula. Good news! They respond well to physical therapy and ultrasound. Even better news! There’s no sign of arthritis in the knee. This is the best news of all.

I took my script for physical therapy and called the place where Jane recently had such great treatment and the receptionist put me on hold. She then picked up the phone to put me on hold again. When she asked me to hold a third time I asked if I should call back later, “Oh yes.” She gushed, “Tomorrow would be great.”

So… can anyone recommend a great physical therapist who thinks that the minutia like answering your phone actually matters?

I Need Your Insurance Card Before I Can Make You An Appointment

08.15.12

I’m living in a perfect world insurance wise and I’m wise enough to appreciate it. Currently I’m covered at 80% for all out of network expenses and I have a FSA that picks up the rest as tax free money. My husband works for a large corporation, my primary¬†physician¬†is in network, my specialists are out of network and most of them don’t accept insurance anyhow.

I am a lucky woman.

I’m also betting that I’ve torn my meniscus. According to Dr. Google my symptoms indicate it’s been torn. My right knee buckles at times, is tough to straighten, hurts a lot and makes crazy crackling sounds. I’m not even sure why I’m going to visit an orthopedist, I’m like a step away from doing my own surgery if I could just find a good demo on YouTube.

Speaking of doing your own surgery we saw the Bourne Legacy last night and I loved it.

In any event, I got a recommendation for an orthopedist who has done half the tennis knees in town and I thought I’d give a call. After I got through the phone tree (yes, a phone tree for a knee doctor) I spoke to a scheduler who would ask my name and then for my insurance card. She didn’t ask what I needed to see the doctor for. Again, I’ve been living in this utopian eden where my physicians are gifted and their staff are caring so I found this all shocking.

“Don’t you want to know why I want to see the doctor?” I asked.

“We need an insurance card before we get to that.” She replied. I’m pretty sure she says this a few times a day.

“I’m driving I don’t have an insurance card handy but I have UHC and I have cash and I’d like to see the doctor.”

She begrudgingly set an appointment for me in two weeks. She said I’d have to call back within 24 hours with the insurance card if I wanted to keep the appointment.

TWO WEEKS.

In the car on the speakerphone with my son next to me I might have said something to the effect of, “I’m really fucking tired of being in pain and I understand that most of your patients are too but I’m not enjoying my life and my fucking knee hurts all day and I know there’s a motherfucking appointment that’s not two weeks away. Plus I pay all my bills.”

So anyhow, I’ve got an appointment at 10.20 today and I’m pretty sure he’ll amputate just to teach me a lesson.