Chronic Compromises – Dealing With Doctors

I am still dealing with my eyes adjusting after the cataract surgeries, seasonal allergies (that for me are year-round), a fibro-flare and the anxiety of trying to figure out how we can financially survive without moving.

That is all and above my regular chronic pain issues. It is also not taking into account my battle between clinical depression and little signs that my mania, which has been tucked away in a corner, is itching to get out.

On Friday, I was getting up from a nap and my right knee totally collapsed on me. I ended up on the floor with the bad leg under me, but I was able to get up. Since then I have been having 3 to 4 episodes a day of varying degrees. I will fall right over like the first one or I will be able to grab myself. This is my replaced knee and it is 11 years old.

They told me that the knee I was getting was new technology that should last 15 – 20 years; however, it was impossible to test it out because they just started using it. I was only 49 when I had the surgery and they don’t like replacing a knee until at least the age of 60. But mine was an exception to the rule. When my doctor came into the recovery room he said that they had to do it now as there was nothing left of my knee.

Zoom all the way to the present. To see my surgeon I have two options. The first is to go to my family doctor and have her put in a referral and list it as urgent. The other is to go to one of the two hospitals he works out of and go through emergency and have the surgeon on call see me. They all work together in a building across from the hospital and so if I don’t get my doctor whoever I do get is as good (or he can set me up to see my doctor). This hospital, however, is a 45-minute drive each way and that makes it difficult with Hubby’s schedule. Between my eyes and my knee, I don’t think I would get any safe driver awards.

This all brings us to my title. We chose to go to our GP but it turned out she is on one of her many trips all over the world. This time she is in the Philippines or Africa, her assistant wasn’t too sure. Hubby wanted me to do something and he had taken the day off so we headed out on the 40-minute drive to her office. The young doctor looked professional enough, Then she came in and asked me what I was there for.

I said my replaced knee was causing problems. She looked at it and said it wasn’t swollen, I didn’t have a fever. She touched it in all the places it hurt and did the same with my foot to see, I guess if there was a clot. I tried to tell her about the replacement knee but she wouldn’t listen. She just kept going on, basically quoting the textbook of joint injuries. I even said that I was supposed to see the surgeon at the 10-year mark but missed it. She said no, I saw him in 2015. I said that was a visit to check the plastic plate that was replaced shortly after the first surgery. I tried to tell her that with replacements visits with the surgeon are much different from regular surgery.

Please don’t get me wrong. I am not slamming this doctor. She is young and I realized later probably has never dealt with a replacement joint before. She did not make a referral. Instead, she gave me a requisition for x-rays. Once they are done then she (or my GP) will analyze them and decide where we go from there.

That is her strategy. Mine is that if I fall even one more time I am going to the emergency of either our local hospital or the one where my surgeon works. The good thing there is I will get the proper x-rays done and an answer right away.

This is why I desperately want to get a doctor in the community we live in. However, most offices are not taking new patients and the walk-in clinics don’t want to deal with me except for the flu, pneumonia, an infection, etc. They don’t want to get involved in my complex medical history.

I love my doctor, who I have seen for at least 35 years. But with the distance to drive and her being away so much, it isn’t practical. Not being able to deal with her goes further than just not getting the referral. With her, I would probably have asked for something to help with the pain and/or sleepless nights just to get me off to a good start. I do not want to drug myself up any more than I have to, but just something to get me on the right path for one night (at the most two but that’s it).

With the fentanyl crisis all over, however, very serious in the Vancouver area, hospitals and doctors are on the lookout for patients who are opioid dependent. I am very far from this. I will take a Tylenol and codeine as a last resort when my chronic pain is out of control. But that is as much as I will do. I even tried pot but I didn’t like how it made me feel versus the amount of relief I got.

Note to Self: If you feel uncomfortable dealing with a new doctor, then don’t!



6 Replies to “Chronic Compromises – Dealing With Doctors”

  1. Oh, I totally get what you’re saying! I ended up waiting for 5 extra years to get a hip replacement because I was “too young” – I had it done when I was 54. My hip was bone against bone, and I had an impingement as well, where the head of the femur didn’t fit into the socket of the hip properly. The only reason it took so long once I moved was because of the wait list…the new surgeon could tell I needed it badly.

    I’m sorry for all the frustrations you’re going through Lydia. I hope you get the answers you need asap!! Gentle hugs!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Pamela. The main reason for writing this post was because I know that I am not alone and I wanted others to realize they aren’t either. I am sorry you had to go through that extra pain for five years.


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