Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Orthopedic Surgeon Visit

I saw the Orthopedic Surgeon yesterday afternoon.  After all the initial paperwork, she came in and explained that my insurance had a strange limitation in it.  Xrays have to be done by an xray specialist. Even though she has an xray machine in the office, it wouldn't be covered.  So she was going to write a referral and have me come back afterwards on another day.

So I asked what she would charge if I just paid her myself.  $50.  I actually laughed.  A second visit with her would generate another $40 copay, and the xray specialist gets one too.  Cheaper to just pay her myself and save 2 more trips!  So we did that on the spot.

She showed me the xray  It isn't the shoulder ball/socket joint that was separated.  There is a small bone that attached the clavicle/shoulder blade to the top of the ball/socket joint that detached.  It's not even "broken" just separated.  She recommended NOT repairing it surgically (unless I had a heavy work job or threw things professionally).  I can do all the gardening I want, lift paving stones, etc.

That explained a lot.  I WONDERED how I could be putting my weight on the walker with a separated ball/socket joint.  Plus, there is no pain and I have nearly complete mobility of my arm.  An operation would carry its own risks anyway.  

She further explained that, had I visited within a couple days of the fall, an operation would have been easier and with a higher likelihood of success.  Well Gee, I hadn't even gone to the hospital by "a couple of days"!  She said 3 weeks or 6 months doesn't make any difference now.  But, that if it ever starts to bother me (pain, redness, mobility problem), a repair operation could be done then just as successfully.

I have a follow-up visit in a month, and a referral to a physical therapist.  I will call the physical therapist to discuss what they can do that I can't do at home.  I don't want to travel to (and pay for) stuff I can do myself.  That would be like going to a gym club to do push-ups, LOL!  Plus I'll look this up online tomorrow.

I'm getting around with the walker more easily and can free-walk farther each day.  I will be walkinmg normally soon enough.  I can get up and down stairs without any great difficulty (still doing it sideways one step at a time, but I could BARELY do THAT last week).  

The Dr said I seem to be healing quite well and quickly (from what she read in the hospital report).  My ribs and shoulder aren't causing pain.  There are really only remaining problems.  My right leg/foot is a bit unsteady and hard to lift, though it bears weight well enough when I'm just standing still.  The right leg groin muscle hurts sometimes when I move carelessly or change positions in bed, but she says that will heal on it own.

The nasty-looking bruise on the shoulder is completely gone, and the REALLY nasty ones from hip to hip across the back have gone from solid deep plum purple to "paler pebbly", so they should be gone in a week.  I wish I could show the pictures, but modesty forbids.

I went downstairs to the basement yesterday in order to try doing my own laundry.  That worked fine.  I'm not ready to try getting on hands and knees to do the cat litter boxes yet, but I bet I will in a few days.  Wonderful Neighbor Deb was doing my laundry and litter box cleaning.  

I'm sure she will be pleased.  "Willing to do" and "wanting to do" are very different things, LOL!  

I bet I can drive by early next week.  I told Deb not to be surprised if she sees me driving the car in and out of the garage and up and down the driveway while I test my foot strength, pedal sensitivity, and reflexes.  And if that works 100%, up and down our dead end street.

Deb doesn't mention it often unless there is a timing conflict, but she is home all day because she teleworks (conflict management training).  And in spite of what she says about "liking to help people", I  am sure her generous help is interfering with her work and regular daily routine.

I have an appt with my actual primary care doctor on Thursday.  I am sure it will be mostly a "pro-forma" visit and a complete waste of time, but I suppose I have to go just in case something goes wrong in the future and the insurance company could point to any cancelled appt to disallow a claim.  *SIGH*

Lastly, I don't want to sound like I am disparaging doctors.  They are wonderful when there is something they can actual do.  The xrays/ctscan/mri have been useful.  Checking my vital signs has been informative.  But neither the hospital, primary care PA, or orthopedic surgeon have actually been able to quite FIX anything.  It's THOSE kinds of problems.  The healing of MY problems is more time-oriented than action-oriented.  Just my luck, no quick-fix, LOL!

On the other hand, I was lucky.  If I had hit the ground differently I could have died (and the vultures around here are hungry) or been consigned to a wheelchair the rest of my life.  I have sometimes been amazed at my general good luck (which bothers me because I know things SHOULD be rather random).    But it is a case of my being unlucky in small things and lucky in the big things.

In the small things, life is cruel to me.  If I am playing a game and my opponent needs an unlikely roll of the dice, they get it (and I don't).  But the large things matter more.  I've never broken a bone and I have done plenty of stupid things that deserved one.  I don't catch infectious diseases in spite of roommates and carpool members who were CONSTANTLY sick.  When in danger, I escape.  I was involved in an icy road car pileup once and I had the only undamaged car.  I had EXACTLY the right neighbor to help me this month.  The list goes on...

Well, that's it for today.  Things are improving steadily.  One day at a time and all that...


Megan said...

So, if a small bone became detached, how does it get reattached? Has it gone back to its correct position and will heal in the right place? That seems to be what your post is implying.

I appreciate that this round of interactions with various doctors hasn't helped all that much, but it has reassured you that you haven't done something that won't simply heal in time, and that's got be worth a bit of time, hassle and expense. Might be worth one visit to the physio to get instruction on the various exercises etc - and then do them at home. Many many many patients don't do the 'homework' that their physio recommends, so making follow-up appointments can help such patients motivate themselves to at least do some of them (so that they don't find themselves saying that they haven't done any!). But you seem to be a very disciplined person, and can probably be counted on do the work yourself.

Any point Googling for exercise ideas now that you know more precisely what your injuries are? That may enable you to get started sooner rather than later.

I think that you are being very sensitive about your neighbour. You're absolutely correct - the time she's spending with you is, no doubt, having an impact on her and 'willing to do' is different from 'happy to do'! LOL

Cat litter trays: any thought that they could (temporarily) be moved up off the floor onto a bench of some kind, so that you can reach them readily without inconveniencing the cats too much?

Sydney, Australia

Meezer's Mews & Terrieristical Woofs said...

I am glad you got a fairly good report from that ortho Specialist.
She seems not to be too 'knife happy' which is a good thing.
Keep on healing, Mr Mark!! You are doing well, considering!
Sending heavenly purrs from us meezer angels and the pups are wagging their tails at full speed, just for you:)

Memories of Eric and Flynn said...

I am glad you are progressing well and the X Ray has given answers about the condition of your shoulder. It was a big accident but time is the healer, and you did have luck on your side.

The Florida Furkids said...

It sounds like you are making progress. You were super lucky.

The Florida Furkids

pilch92 said...

Someone is definitely watching out for you. I am glad you got a good report and won't need surgery. My hubby had shoulder surgery and said he never would again, he would give up some range of motion if needed. Luckily, he did get it back after a lot of physical therapy. i think you healed well because you eat good foods and you were active to start with.

Marvelous Marv said...

Great update! I am glad you are a "Lucky" person. And glad that your neighbor is such a great person! Have a marvellously Happy Day!

catladymac said...

When I saw an orthopedic surgeon for my back (stenosis, disc degeneration etc) he said they are the one type of surgeon who do NOT push for surgery.
Your last paragraph is so true for me as well. "The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places-Ps 16:6)" despite all the dumb things I have done.
So glad you are progressing - and the Mews must be happier too !

Timmy Tomcat said...

It is really great to hear this good news. You will be back to better in no time it seems and we all are cheering your recovery. Dad says he has crummy luck in big and small so stays away from 7 card stud and blackjack. Purrs

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