Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Deal with it

"Deal with it." Those were his exact words.

Not exactly the advice I wanted from the orthopedic surgeon I consulted this week. I was hoping for more of a miracle cure.

MRI shows "possible fraying" of the medial meniscus and a ganglion cyst - also medial. Not the source of the lateral knee pain I've been having for the last 4 months. The rest of the news was worse. Turns out the arthritis that's been a relatively minor problem for more years than I care to admit kicked into a somewhat higher gear and by the end of a 12 hour shift the knee hurts like hell. The fact that we've been running an average census of 1.5 to 2 times our typical census might have something to do with that. Especially since we don't often have 1.5 to 2 times as many nurses.

At least he didn't start the conversation with "You're too young to be thinking about total knee replacement. " That's what I heard from the orthopedist I consulted last fall when I smashed the other knee on a rock. I was afraid to go back to someone who brought up the subject of surgery on a body part that wasn't (at the time) causing any significant problems so I found a different orthopedic surgeon.

This one could use a little work on his delivery, but I prefer his attitude toward invasive procedures. He explained why there I wouldn't benefit from cortisone shots or surgery to smooth things out (short term solutions to long-term problems, he says) and recommended a better knee brace and some physical therapy. We might consider those options later if things get worse, but not as an initial approach.

On the positive side, I left the physical therapy facility after the first session feeling better than I have since April. That lasted about 6 hours, but I get to go back tomorrow. No miracles, but I'm beginning to think maybe there's hope.


Julie said...

I crushed my medial meniscus a few years ago. After physical therapy didn't improve my stability we went the surgery route. It was the right thing to do but the most significant difference was made by agressive physical therapy and consistant strengthening over the years. Good luck.

Judy said...

Thanks. Day 2 of physical therapy and I went shopping afterwards -- for the first time in 4 months without whining or being tempted to use one of those little electric carts. I was hurting by the time I got home, but nowhere near what it's been.

I'll probably be icing the knee come Saturday morning when I get home from work, but things are definitely better already.

Julie said...

Icing was and still is my favorite and most effective treatment.