Thursday, September 10, 2009
Dr Evil and Nurse Ratched
I have a medical history of having two meniscal repairs on my left knee ..with the last surgery being March, 2004. During my post-op office visit, the doctor suggested that at some time in the future.. I may want to consider getting injections in my knee that would help alleviate pain. I also had some osteo arthritis that he scraped away during the surgery.
Well..he didn't know it... but when I heard the words injection and knee used in the same sentence... I immediately discounted that idea. Besides.. the meniscal repair was successful.
But as fate would have it... since that time I have had exacerbating knee pain and after dancing all nite at the wedding back in July... (It seems alcohol does kill pain :), I was living with awful bilateral knee pain that was seriously affecting my walking. I was getting increasingly discouraged.
I'm also stubborn. I did not want to deal with this and I did NOT want to have any needles going into my knees!
I am not at all phobic about getting needles... not really. I even like to watch them draw blood from me. I think it's neat when blood shoots into the tube and I even feel a respect for it because it represents life. Once a doc ordered the rainbow for the number of tests he wanted done..which culminated in 17 vials drawn from me. 17... wow! (All good results btw) Didn't faze me.
The only thing that bothers me is when they try to get an IV in my hand. That hurts like heck when they can't find a vein.
But for some reason... and I don't know why... I developed an instant aversion to the idea of ever getting injections in my knees. I really had this scary mental image that just unnerved me. I felt squeamish just thinking about it.
So I didn't.
I could certainly handle the kind of injection you get when the doc injects you with Lidocaine before he sutures you... been there ..done that. But... I imagined the orthopaedic doc's needle to be big and hurt.
I joke about being a wimpette with pain... and I am... but I also can put up with pain when I don't want to do something. I adapt... but of course then quality of life is compromised. I know that with the things I've written over time..you may have the impression that I go running off to doctors for anything and everything. No. I don't. My urologist had the power to reel me in because of the nature of my medical case. Ha! Then he just had me trained. Having a ureteral stent in you and wanting to be done with it all... somehow makes you a most compliant patient. :)
But..when I am home... I don't want to go to the doctor. I don't want to go to the hospital and I don't want to go for tests of any kind. I do not. And if I suspect major pain may be involved ... I will avoid, avoid and avoid. It took me living with pain for a year before I finally caved and saw the orthodoc for my knee the 1st time I injured the meniscus. By the way... he fixed me in a half hour in SDS and I walked out of the hospital without pain!)
And I thought I should go in to the ED for the rabies series because of a possible bat bite and I wrestled with that for days and went in on the very last day for the cut off for it to be effective if necessary. That 1st injection (at the site of the bite) is a biatch!
I imagined the knee injections to be worse.
I noticed that my neighbor was Twitteringr that if she wanted to walk..she had to go get her knee injections. So, I called her.
It turns out that the Cortisone didn't work for her, but that the orthovisk injections keep her pain free for 6 months. she said the orthovisk injections hurt for a couple of days. So..on the one hand this underscored my aversion to knee injections... but on the other gave me hope that I could be pain free.
So ..I caved. Literally..every third step was killing me with pain and I wished I had crutches! I'd say that my quality of life was being compromised. I had to go to see my orthodoc.
So... he discussed the x-rays and my options. He said that I should get the cortisone injections and so I agreed and thought I'd be coming back. But the way he worded it indicated he was going to do them right then.
We were sitting right opposite each other... him on the stool and me in the chair that was backed up against the wall. The fear was building in me and I felt like I was turning into liquid jello. If I could've disappeared into the wall via osmosis... I would have. If only *sigh*.... but instead I meekly inquired, "N-O-W-W-W?" He looked up at me from my chart and grinned. Then he said we would do it now.
I think he was probably amused at the abject fear on my face.
I was thinking.."Oh no! It's gonna hurt.. I'm getting needles in my knees..oh great!".. but I actually verbalized that I had the rabies series and I didn't even wimper with the first injection which REALLY hurts and so "I can do this". He smiled again.
So I got up on the exam table. He left and I was alone in the room, nervously swinging my legs (in pain) back and forth over the side of the table. Then the nurse comes in and starts setting up.
My fear was mounting. I was also regretting that I didn't have anything for pain in me because I didn't want to hinder his exam with masked pain. It probably wouldn't have mattered, but I wanted to be au natural with the pain.
Then my orthodoc walked in all cheery. (He's very nice) He sat down on the stool and turned to face the nurse.
So.. I was on the exam table facing the nice nurse and doctor. They were facing each other. And I was bracing myself. I also wondered how he could trust me not to kick him when he injected the needle? The man has a lot of faith... I thought..or likes living on the edge. I mean.. it would be a reflexive action on my part. I'm just saying.
But then I felt alarmed when I saw this needle! The nurse handed orthodoc this really big needle! She must've looked at me and saw the abject fear on my face... (did it ever leave), and said "Don't worry...that's not the needle."
I exclaimed with great relief... "Oh that's good because he was beginning to look like Dr Evil in a white coat and you were looking like nurse Ratched!!!
Orthodoc cracked up! "Dr Evil! (insert more laughter)... I like that!"
We all laughed and then he said to his nurse how one of his partners would especially like being referred to as Dr Evil. She agreed. :)
So..that was a much needed laugh and really relaxed me until the real needle came my way.
"Don't kick the doctor...don't kick the doctor..brace yourself... What ..that's it? It feels good! It feels like my pain is being surrounded with a soft cloud. he's done?"
Then I told him how it didn't hurt except for the little burn of the Lidocaine. I couldn't believe it! I wasn't the least bit afraid for him to inject the other knee. I was raving about how easy that was and I thanked them. I also said I never should've put that off. All that avoiding and pain for so long and it was no big deal...at all.
I told the receptionist how much better I felt. Then I saw one of orthodoc's partners walking by, a few weeks later when I was a patient in the ED. I asked him to please tell Dr Evil his patient was still happy with the pain relief from the cortisone injections. :)
It is difficult to explain how these injections affect me. even though I felt markedly better that afternoon... I did still have pain.. but it seemed to be encapsulated in this cloud that desensitized the pain. And I had complete flexibility. Also..if I overdo it..I will get sore... but have a lot more time before I get to that point and always have more flexibility.
However... as of last week when the weather turned cooler and especially today... I am having more knee pain again. I am hoping it is just the cooler weather... but I have a feeling it may be wearing off.
Orthodoc told me not to wait so long to come in the next time I have pain.
Oh... I won't!
Actually... the next time I go in... I am going to ask for an Orthovisk injection... even though I know he may transform into Dr Evil during the process. :)
*I know there may be some insurance protocols before they allow the more expensive Orthovisk injections. But If these injections work much better than Cortisone and I can be totally pain free for 6 months..why not? Seriously!