When Doctors Don't Take You Seriously
Sunday, July 05, 2020
I finally decided to get serious about getting something done about my left knee. It got to the point where I could barely walk and when I went shopping I had to use the cart like a walker. I took walking for granted, but it had been getting steadily worse over the last few years. I had mentioned it to my primary care (PC) doctor many times over the years and he insisted that it was not arthritis and gave me some exercises which I faithfully did with absolutely no improvement.
I finally put my foot down (the right one!) in early February and asked him to please refer me to an orthopedic doctor. He said he would refer me to a pain management doctor instead because I did not have arthritis, but a twisted knee cap. So I did that and the first thing this doctor did was order an x-ray and PT. At my next appointment in May he told me that the x-rays indicated that I have pretty severe arthritis and bone spurs in my left knee. I kept doing PT, but that stopped being helpful after a while and the therapists said they thought I needed to see an orthopedic physician. So I went back to my PC and he starts talking about other things and I finally asked him if he had read the report from the pain management doctor he sent me to and he said no, but he had it right there on his laptop. So I FINALLY got referred to the proper place. This doctor was excellent and he said that eventually I am probably looking at a knee replacement, but they usually try cortisone shots first. So he gave me a shot and it took about a week or so, but it feels amazingly better. The orthopedist also told me that cycling is better than walking at this point, so I bought an under-desk cycle that can be used for both legs and arms. I've been doing that regularly and it's going great! I feel almost like a new person. I can even walk my dog again!!
So I have to ask myself, why did my primary care physician not take me seriously for at least 5 years? Is it because I am severely overweight? I can't help but think that and I have thought for a long time that maybe I deserved to be treated this way because I have not been taking care of myself. I know that if I lost weight there would be less punishment on my knees and other joints, but if a person can barely walk, it is not just physically painful, but emotionally and psychologically damaging.
I am pretty sure that I am not the only one who has had these kinds of experiences with doctors who view us as a waste of time for them to treat, but this is the first time that it has become crystal clear to me. I am not a lost cause and neither are you!!!!