Monday, August 13, 2012

Official Diagnosis: "Wha...?"

One would hope that spending half a day in the ER would result in some sort of treatment for what brought you in in the first place. Failing that, at least some kind of a diagnosis. At the very least, something better than, "Wow, I've never seen anything like that before."

Steve has never had the results he wanted from his second replacement of his left knee. The first, short implant was loose. The second was longer and was an actual prosthesis, doing away with frayed and painful tendons.

At least that was how it was sold to him.

It's never gotten even as good as the first implant, with all its faults, had been. And pain- free? It'd be laughable if it weren't so -pardon - painful.

A year later, and things changed. For the worse! Suddenly there was something poking outward, pushing against the skin from the inside. It's about a half inch across, smooth and flat and about 1/16" wide. My best guess, having never seen the implant or a picture, and only guessing at its construction, is some piece of it that's supposed to be tucked in under a main piece has sprung loose and is trying to push out in its preferred position. Whether it is or no, one thing sure is it's extremely painful.

I tried to get Steve to call my orthopedic guy, or anybody in the clinic. For sure he wasn't going to work with the surgeon who put it in: trust has been lost. Besides, Hutchinson is a long drive from here. When he finally called my clinic, all he got was a request to have his info faxed over to them, and they'd get back to him. Two days later, no-one had gotten back to him. He called again. This time he was advised to go to the ER, and once there, they'd bring the ortho guy in to consult. Otherwise, well, appointments are a month out.

Paul drove him in. They both were warned to bring a good book. One of the first things to happen was, finally, some really good pain meds. Enough to last a week, since ultimately, that's how long he got pushed off to. And my ortho guy never poked his head in, so Steve wound up with a visit scheduled with the hospital's ortho guy. A week out. Nobody could figure out what's poking out. Nothing showed up on X-rays, though a nurse speculated the protruberance might be a calcium deposit. (Sure, one grew overnight with a sudden burst of pain, and calcium suddenly doesn't show on X-rays? Stick to your specialty, honey.)

Till Thursday Steve is enjoying the momentary bits of relief Percoset can give, trying not to get too discouraged about ever getting a useful knee, relatively pain free. Maybe then somebody can explain what's going on and come up with a solution.

Yeah, I'm an optimist.

Meanwhile I have yet one more reason to stick with my originals, however worn out they may be.

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