Wednesday, May 1, 2013

"Google Only Get's You So Far"

Have you ever wanted to say something to a doctor because you were so aggravated with them but never thought you actually could, or for that matter would? Well this happened to me. In February of 2010, Dr. K wanted me to see another orthopedic at a different well known Chicago hospital just for a fresh set of eyes to make sure nothing was being overlooked since I continued to have shoulder instability. This doctor was supposed to be top of the line in his field. When you go to a new doctor, it can be quite a production when you have complex issues. Before seeing this doctor, I had to get all of my shoulder records and MRIs to their office before being evaluated. This is to provide time for the doctor to review your records thoroughly before meeting with you so they have an idea of what is going on.

When the day came to see this doctor, I was anxious to hear what this doctor's take was, but I was also nervous. It's always a bit nerve-wracking meeting a new doctor because you don't have a trusting relationship just yet. Once at the doctor's office, I was taken for x-rays; these were normal but it is standard protocol. Before the doctor came in, I met with his physician's assistant. She asked me about my history and why I have had so much surgery. I showed her the motion I had before I would subluxate. As usual, I was asked if I had any genetic soft-tissue disorders. My answer: no. After she took my history she left the room to go get the doctor.

The doctor knocked on the door and walked in with a cocky arrogance. He seemed to have his mind made up about me before he even met me. While I was standing, the doctor asked his questions and examined both of my shoulders. When my right arm was raised in front of me about 45 degrees, the doctor kept asking me why I would pull my arm away. I told him I had sharp, stabbing pain down the back of my arm. What proceeded next was close to civil verbal war. The doctor questioned all the scarring I had. He told me my muscles were NOT detached from my shoulder blades; my muscles were just "loose". I told him, "No, they are not just "loose". They were physically detached from the bone." He disagreed and kept telling me my muscles were just "loose". You can't even begin to understand how absolutely frustrating this is when you send your records weeks in advance to have them reviewed. The doctor by now is supposed to have an understanding of what you have been through. Instead he was very arrogant and very confrontational in his bedside manner.

After realizing that we weren't going to come to a verbal agreement with what was wrong with my shoulder blades, (even though the operative report was sitting in my chart on the table) he decided to examine my right shoulder while I was lying down on my back. By now my mom and I both realized this M.D. didn't believe a word I was saying and obviously didn't take the time to thoroughly review my operative reports. His aggravation was apparent in the less than gentle way he maneuvered my right shoulder. (To all my physical therapists who wonder why I have such a hard time relaxing when they try to do passive range of motion, this is why. I have been yanked and pulled on more than one occasion). By the time I sat back up, I was teary and the doctor was completely frustrated. He looked at me and snapped, "I don't know what's wrong with you." He followed it up by saying, "What do you think is wrong with you?" in an argumentative tone. By this point I was at my wits' end and I had, had it. I looked at him and snapped back, "I don't know. Google only gets you so far!" This angered him more and his mouth fell open. His little physician's assistant who was in the corner documenting this visit, smiled, put her head down and brought my chart up in front of her face so she wouldn't get caught.

The super-specialist then looked at my mother and I and said, "This is impossible." My mom took a deep breath, looked in the doctor's eyes and said, "With all due respect, this is not impossible. Your "impossible" is our reality. I guarantee you, this is not impossible. We live it every day." At that, the doctor looked stunned and said, "If you need surgery, I will be more than happy to do it." He then left the room.

Seriously?!? After telling me he doesn't know what is wrong, he offers to do surgery on me?!? I don't think so. My mom and I left that office and never returned again. I saw Dr. K the following week and told him, "I do not like him. He does not like me. We are oil and water. I refuse to see him again." Dr. K looked at me with a funny little smirk on his face. He knows that I usually get along well with all the medical professionals he has ever wanted me to see. Dr. K also knows that I am usually rather quiet and it must have taken a lot for me to verbally spar with this doctor. At that Dr. K said to schedule surgery.

 Tiger I drew with colored pencil for  stress relief. I ended up
giving it to my dad for Father's Day.

So March 24, 2010 I had surgery by Dr. K. He did a right shoulder arthroscopic synovectomy and extensive debridement, subacromial decompression, open anterior capsular shift for multidirectional instability and opened up the back of my shoulder to release the adhesions that had formed. But as the other doctor said, "There's nothing wrong." Good grief. Again, my surgeons wouldn't do surgery on me if they didn't feel it was necessary and I wouldn't allow them to do surgery on me if I didn't think it was necessary. They are very well accredited and top of the line in their fields. As my mother fondly says, "She didn't take me to monkeys."

 Still smile even when you feel awful! My hand is blue
because of the soap they used. I do not have
a circulatory issue.

 Incisions in the back

Advice: do your research and pick your doctors wisely. Don't be afraid to ask questions like where they went to school, how long they've been in their field, have you done this procedure before, what is the success rate etc. etc. You aren't always going to find the right physician for you on the first try. You have to have faith and trust in who you choose because it is your life they are dealing with at the end of the day. Do your homework.

A fundraising page was created to help with medical expenses. If you would like to donate follow the link below. Thank you!!

1 comment:

  1. Hi, I stumbled across your blog. You poor thing, what a curved ball life has thrown you. But keep on keeping on. I wonder if you have a genetic disposition to loose ligaments that may be exacerbating your health issues? And I am astonished by the beauty of your art work, what a talent you have. I'm a bit if a tiger lover myself. I hope your medical issues can be resolved and you can continue on with your life older and wiser for the experience. It's harsh but so many truly gifted and talented people who go on to make a difference in this world struggle to get there, it's their life journey that makes them who they are. Wishing you good health and good luck for the future. From a mum in Sydney, Australia.