Monday, November 8, 2010

I Was Right

I don't like to talk very much about my own life here on this blog, probably because medical problems make it hard for me to change very much about my physical condition. But I'm going to make an exception today and get a few things off my chest.

I have always said that I was born with "poor architecture". That's the term I've always used. When you build a structure and one part is "off" the whole structure becomes unstable and that, sadly, is my story: shallow hip sockets, knees that are far from straight, a spine that's been failing since I was in my twenties. I walk as much as I can and do a highly modified version of yoga but when the architecture's off, you just can't make much progress. For the past 25 years or so, I've just been staving off disaster. For me, success is getting up in the morning without being in terrible pain, just minor pain that lasts all day. Usually, I'm successful, but when things go off the rails--and they have on several memorable and horrible occasions--the experience is totally frightening.

Last week, I had an appointment with an "advanced practice physiotherapist" who basically screens patients before they are allowed to meet with the surgeon I want to consult about my knee. She was totally amazing. I spent about two hours at the hospital being questioned, put through my paces and x-rayed. Her conclusion: bad architecture. That was the term she used. Apparently, just as I thought, my kneecap is literally out in left field, rather than sitting straight as it should. This means that the more I do exercise involving my knee (bicycle or elliptical), the faster I will totally destroy what's left of my kneecap...Exercise is the worst thing I can do.

A few minutes into the examination, the physio said that she thought I was a "Dr. C. special". Apparently, there's a doctor here in my city who's devoted his life's work to studying wonky kneecaps like mine. It's a more common problem amongst women than men (lucky me), although I could have it much worse. At least my kneecap isn't disclocating, as often happens to certain women. She felt that I should see Dr. C., rather than the surgeon I had originally wanted to see (who'd come highly recommended by a health care professional I trust).

The physio also said up front that if I have the surgery done, the recovery is long and painful. I wouldn't be able to walk on the operated leg at all for two months although I would have to do a lot of non-weight bearing physiotherapy during that period, plus even more once I was given the OK to start walking again. I'm not afraid of the work involved in recovery, but I'm terrified of something going wrong during the surgery, as happened to me with my hip.

So as things stand right now, I have an appointment with the surgeon on Dec. 17. I'm thinking of getting my husband to go with me, as a second set of ears. We'll see what the surgeon has to say. He might not even think that I'm a good candidate for the surgery, but at least I'll find out.

I may have another medical issue cropping up too, but it's way too early to speculate. I'm waiting to hear from my GP on the results of a test. "Never a dull moment," as my husband says.

Gratitude statement: I'm grateful for good, universal health care in my country.


  1. I love the grateful part at the end -
    a good feature - and I love to that you added it!

  2. Big hugs! I have fibromyalgia, scleroderma and asthma. There are days, I am like you, I just want to be pain free.

  3. Wow, Newme. Hug. Hug. Hug.

    And an extra hug for the "unsaid" thing, which might be presumed shallow or off topic, but isn't. I always hate to admit it, but I can't help but think about how my weight-loss maintenance will be affected when I have a major health setback -- in the past three years I've had emergency bowel surgery twice, and one planned foot operation. The question "What will I do to maintain?" causes me as much apprehension as the surgery itself. Logically, I know it's more important to just do what the doctor says and get as well as I can, but I can't help but ponder it. If that's in the back of your mental file cabinet, trust that you will get through this. You will. You will. You will. With cyber hugs and real ones. And, YES, take your husband with you to be a second set of ears.

  4. I won't list my own ailments except to say, "Sista, keep on keepin' on." Yeah, an old hippie here. :)

    I was scheduled for joint replacement today. Then, 4 days ago, I found out my medical insurance is nonexistant because of a non-work related accident that kept the wage earner out of work beyond the time our medical coverage could continue. I need the surgery so I can have a chance to work. No surgery, no income. But with no income, no surgery.

    Why o why didn't I marry a Canadian? *sob*

    I'll say a morning prayer during my sunrise meditation for you, if that does not offend. It is my way of saying I'm wishing you the best outcome and good spirits.


  5. Oh Rebecca,

    What terrible news. I will give you all my good thoughts too. I'm a strict agnostic (lol) but I'll take anyone's prayers with many thanks.

    What with all my long-standing ailments, I realized a few years ago that living in the US (were I to want to do so) would be totally impossible since I am swimming in pre-existing conditions. Our system may not be perfect in Canada, but I wouldn't trade it for the world. Without universal health care, I would really be up the proverbial, sh*t-filled creek.

    Come up to Canada. I'm sure you have lots to contribute to our country!

    Debra, Monster and Ann: Thanks for the good wishes!

  6. well, I hope they can find a less invasive way to help your knees. Best wishes.

  7. NewMe, My grandmother was Canadian. So I missed the brass ring by one generation! Doggone it. Taking your husband to the surg consultation is an excellent idea, not only for the second ears but for a reason I wish was not common: possible gender bias. In my experience, and that of several women friends, there has been anecdotal evidence that docs tend to take the male voice more seriously, particularly when the woman is presenting with pain. I haven't looked at *real* research, but there does seem to be a pattern, at least in my neck of the woods.

    BTW, I sang my blessing for you this morning at sunrise, and have no control over the outcome, of course, but it was nice to be thinking of you and sending good thoughts. :)


  8. I think a lot of people have a poor foundation upon which their bodies are built (as you do and I do as well with a congenital spine defect), and people judge us for not being more active because they have no idea what it is like.

    I hope that your surgery goes well, should you elect to do it, but the recovery does sound difficult. Sometimes the cure is worse than the ailment. I'll be wishing you well from halfway around the world.

  9. Good physiotherapists are hard to find and worth so much - can often do as much or more than surgeons and are critical to recovery after surgery too

    Glad you found someone good with good advice

    And I too am SO GRATEFUL to live in a country where there is universal healthcare and no idiotic stuff going on like exempting McDonald's from covering the part time minimum wage earners or having families go without care because they can't afford it. Shameful.