Friday, September 05, 2008

My "Medical Underground"

Back in early August I began a new round of physical therapy for yet another diagnosis of what has been causing me severe pain for the past couple of years. Having consulted with an orthopedic surgeon and finding I have torn glutes and accompanying tendinitis that makes sitting for long periods impossible, I asked if he'd sign a waiver for the current jury pool being formed.

First he wanted to charge me $25 to do so. I protested and he relented so I trotted the paper work to his office. A week later his receptionist called and said bursitis of the hip was not due cause. I asked that he review the file again. Another several days passed and his nurse called to tell me his decision stood.

I was frustrated beyond words.

At my next therapy session, I explained my dilemma explaining that after two years of various types of therapy I never could break through the level I had reached. My guy is great. They have all been great; just stymied.

He suggested I see a chiropractor he knew. Off I went. After more poking and prodding, she suggested, "You can't up straight for long, can you?" Wow! We talked for quite awhile. I told her how much I liked the whole body approach of my physical therapist and how he thought she could help. "I'm going to co-ordinate this," she told me in no uncertain terms. I was elated.

She called the therapist, put me in touch with a deep muscle massage therapist and got the actual films from the x-rays and MRIs, rather than relying on the written reports.

We have a plan now. My "underground" is working as a team to help me. Isn't this what it's supposed to be about? The outcome has yet to be determined. If what we're doing now doesn't help there are no other alternatives than a regimen of pain control. So be it. I will have given it my all.

In the meantime, I have to say these health care professionals may be the least appreciated and most helpful in the field of medicine. My G.P. has helped by signing the therapy requests for medicare and taking over the pain medication responsibilities from the surgeon, but it is the physical therapist, the chiropractor and the massage therapist who have done the consultation, investigation and designed the protocol to help me regain at least a vestige of my former self.

To each and every one of you, past and present, from office staff to those who've had hands on, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.


Margie's Musings said...

Golly! I'm a lot older then you and have no aches and pains. I feel very blessed after reading your story. I am so sorry you are in such pain. I hope they can all help.

Anonymous said...

Did you have surgery or prior surgery on this condition? Did the orthopedist want to do surgery?

Is Medicare paying for all of this therapy? Is pain management completely covered by Medicare? Is the pain management therapy without medication?

I ask this because so many people cannot afford out of pocket money to assist in their healthcare.

It is a novel approach vs. surgery.
I would not be too hard on a surgeon - that's what they do. It's like going to a dentist and telling him not to fix your teeth.

You should always have a copy of your films. You are entitled to them - yourself. You just ask for a copy on CD these days and you can pull them up yourself on your computer.

If you have torn muscles that cannot be repaired, makes sense that it would hurt, also makes sense that you would need some sort of pain management. Hopefully at this point your GP and "underground team" have the plan.

Good Luck.

Dogwalkmusings said...


To answer your questions. No surgery. The surgeon said he had never seen anything like it and wouldn't know what to do anyway. Not a confidence builder there.

Medicare pays for little. They pay for a modicum of physical therapy and chiropractic. A lot of the massage therapists are independent operators and don't take any insurance.

I am able to afford some out of pocket but there is a definite limit and it's getting perilously close!

I write about such stuff just to make others aware of things they might look into if they haven't already. I'm getting quite the education on how the medical community works - and doesn't.

Thanks for your input.

Anonymous said...

If you have torn muscles you may never be able to repair them. That is the cost of aging. I would be leary of "working" them.

I say this because at an age when I thought I needed repair and exercise my chiropractor said, "Why wear yourself out?"

I could not afford a total "neck" or "hip" or "knee" so I listened to him. This man was a 'God.

I am poor. I could never rely on Medicare. By the time I qualify for it - it will not even afford my gas to get to work.

Linda said...

Bless you. I've had these types of problems off and on since 2004 and the pain is indeed excruciating. Once I had to make a quick trip back to Texas in the middle of one of the episodes. I thought I was going to die. It was awful.

So far mine have gone away just before I'm ready to jump off the nearest bridge, but they do last a long time.

Like you I go through an exhaustive process trying to figure out the cause.

My doctor, and everything I've rea read, says to keep moving. Upon my return from Texas I was in such agony and so beaten down I spent 3 weeks between my bed and a chair taking anti-inflammatory medications and it finally went away.

I also have to be careful how I sit in a recliner.

Bless you as you work through this one. It's a dilly. Fortunately I have excellent insurance so have not suffered financially.

In the state of Oregon you can postpone jury duty once or twice, without having to have a medical excuse from a doctor. I think you have to answer to summons sometime during the year but it can when it fits your schedule.

Dogwalkmusings said...

Thanks to you all for the good wishes. It's comforting to know I'm not the one and only. Of course I know that but sometimes it feels that way.

Anonymous, you've shared some great information with me. If you'd like to continue the conversation, please e-mail me. You can get the address on my profile page.