Monday, January 28, 2013

Doctors Don't Yell At Their Patients...Oh Yes They Do!

June 2006

This really can't be happening is all I thought to myself. I had already had surgery to correct damage in my right ankle and right knee; I couldn't have possibly damaged my right hip too. At first I was in denial that something was wrong. I would go to physical therapy and push through exercises that were very painful. It finally got to the point where I had to tell my physical therapist. We tried working on less strenuous exercises but it didn't change anything. My physical therapist once again told me to go back to the orthopedic.

When I went to the doctor, I was more embarrassed than nervous. I knew it sounded crazy to go in and say my hip is giving me trouble. I was now 17 years old and always attributed hip pain to older people. As I expected, my doctor couldn't believe it. As I sat on the examining table he asked me what my symptoms were. I told him I had sharp pain when I sit, a constant nagging deep pain, and it felt like my hip would shift out of place when I would walk. He told me he couldn't imagine me injuring my hip. I then reminded him that nobody thought I could have injured my knee either and that resulted in surgery. You could feel the tension in the air. My mom was getting aggravated. She started acting like a drill sergeant. She looked at me and said, "You stand up here." She then looked at the doctor and said, "Now you, come over here and examine her when she moves her leg." Well, needless to say that got everyone's attention. The doctor started examining my hip and said there's nothing wrong with the front. I said you're right, it's the back that is problematic. He went on to say that's just butt pain. I told him, well then I guess that's what hurts. I then asked if I might have torn the labrum (cartilage) in the back. He didn't think so. Not quite sure as to what was going on, the doctor ordered an MRI arthrogram.

It was the first time that I had ever had an MRI arthrogram; I didn't know what to expect. A needle is inserted in the front of the hip and the doctor pushes dye into the joint with a syringe. More than experiencing pain, it was more an awkward, full, heavy feeling with a lot of pressure. A few days after the MRI was done, the doctor called my mom. He said, "You're not going to believe this, because I can't believe this. Megan has a detached posterior acetabular (ass-a-tab-u-lar) labrum." Easy terms: the cartilage that lines the back of the hip socket was torn away from the bone. The doctor continued to tell my mom that he had already talked to his associates and none of them deal with this injury. What do you mean no one handles this injury??? He told my mom that he knew of one doctor in Chicago and that we should go there.

Of course when my parents called to schedule the appointment, the doctor was booked out 2 months. Since I had no other choice, I waited until August. On the phone, my parents were told the doctor already read the MRI report and said I would need surgery so they should schedule a date. Tentative surgical date is set for the end of August.

August 2006

First off, to this day, this is one of the most arrogant, and disrespectful doctors that I have ever met. I do not think they taught him bedside manners in medical school. When the doctor walked into the room, he said, "Good news, you don't need surgery". The look on my face, as well as my parents, was probably priceless. I looked at the doctor and said, "What do you mean I don't need surgery? The labrum is detached." He then proceeded to put my films up and tell me that if I were to have a labral tear, it would be here. He pointed to the top RIGHT of the film. When I asked him what am I supposed to do, he got up and said let me examine you. I laid on my back as the doctor picked up my leg and started jerking it around in every direction possible. The pain was insane. He then began to tell me, my hip is fine, there is no tear, and I'm young, move on with life.

As I laid there trying to hold back tears, he proceeded to tell me to go walk in the hall. As one would expect, I was limping. He then told me to walk on my tiptoes which was very hard to do, due to the ankle and knee surgery. The next thing I knew, the doctor literally starts yelling at me, saying "Stop limping! There's nothing wrong with you!" In my head, I was panicked. "Oh my gosh. This can't be happening. I am being yelled at for limping? He thinks I'm faking this. Not again. Why do doctors think just because I'm young I'm making this up??" When the doctor was done yelling at me, he then looked at my parents and said, "You need to yell at her every time she limps! Put her in water aerobics to exercise her hip!" At that, the doctor got up and left. My parents and I sat there frozen, unable to speak.

The 3 of us were shocked, dazed and confused. We gathered up our belongings and left their office. In the car I told my parents that the doctor is wrong. I am blessed to have parents that believe every word I say and don't think I am over exaggerating anything when I am injured. During my soccer playing days, I took some really hard falls. I would always keep playing unless I knew there was something seriously wrong. Of course the last thing I wanted at this point was another injury but I had learned to know my body really well and my gut was telling me there was a problem.

In the car I was crying. I was beyond mad and I had, had enough of dealing with doctors. My mom turned around, and looked me straight in the eyes and said, "Don't worry we will figure this out." She took out her cell phone. I asked, "Who are you calling?" She said, "The radiologist where you had your MRI done. I want them to reread your films." Genius! Why didn't I think of that? My mom talked to the radiologist directly, and explained everything that had just happened. She was told that he would personally reread my films and call her back. Shortly thereafter, the radiologist called and said, "All 3 of the radiologists from this facility reread the film and are in agreement that there is a detached posterior acetabular labrum." He mentioned the view number and the location and then proceeded to ask my mom if the "super-specialist" even knows how to read a film because the detachment is right there."

I cannot explain the emotions that were flying through the car in that moment. We had just waited 2 months (living with pain) waiting for an appointment to see the "super-specialist". We had just spent a lot of money to see him. We had just been yelled at, and we were told he was the only doctor in the area that could fix this problem and now he is telling us there is no problem. Now what were we supposed to do? We were back on our own to figure out what to do and where to go for treatment.

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