7/16/2008

On My Knees - a cautionary tale

My experience at Coney Island Hospital was pretty scary - but I was on guard. And I comforted myself that once I was out of there I would be safe - safe in my usual world of nice offices, sweet smelling bathrooms and good medicine. Little did I know

I saw the doctor today and he has changed his story on my knee.

Well, the good news is - no surgery.

The bad news - there is a tear all right - but the cause is wear and tear and osteo arthritis. So he now says, "go home and take Celebrex and see me in six weeks." Without explaining the how or why of this change in plan - except to say - "I have looked at your films." Leaving me to believe he mis-spoke in the beginning before he really knew what was going on in my knee.

It turns out this guy wearing his white coat - dispite his Ivy League credentials - is a first rate jerk - saying, " I am not a magician - I can't make you 17 again'' - to shut me up and speed things along when I asked questions about treatments for my knee

But worse he closed the exam by handing me a prescription for Celebrex - telling me to "call me if you have any trouble."
And what would that be?

When we got home I fired up the computer. First, because I knew nothing about it, I checked out celebrex. I was horrified - and a bit frightened - to read the warnings - celebrex can cause heart attack and stroke -in addition to GI bleeding. Jim in checking with his medical sources found that several of the medications I take regularly - don't mix with celebrex, creating another risk. Bottom line - I am not following the doctor's orders and taking that drug.

One thing - I noticed that all the writing about celebrex was directed toward the patient and gave suggestions about what "you" should ask your doctor before taking celebrex. Does that strike you as a bit bizarre - or is it a warning in itself - to keep your guard up?

On another site an internet "doctor" explained osteo-arthritis and laid out a list of recommended things I can do to help myself - while I look for another Orthopedist.

I don't think this doctor meant to kill me - but he surely could have - if I had not checked things out -before I filled the perscription - and started taking it as directed.

I guess like Aesop I should add a Moral to this little tale:

Now I know - even in what you think is the safe, privileged world of good medical care - you are on our own and had better watch your back.

Think about this - my husband is a doctor with his body of knwledge and I am somewhat informed about the medical world - enough to know to watch and ask questions, anyway - what happens to those who don't have the same edge? How are you getting along?

4 comments:

Granny Sue said...

Gee this sounds so familiar, Ellouise! Except for the drugs part. I take Naproxen and it does seem to help.

I am with you in your dissatisfaction with your doctor. Mine is no better, as I've told you. He sees me for 5 mintes tops, charges about $300 and really doesn't do much at all for me.

I think the bottom line is to use your common sense and do what you think is best. With a torn meniscus, there isn't much they can do anyway except surgery. You can be cautious, wear good shoes, wrap your knee when you think it's a good idea, and do some exercises to help strengthen the muscles that support the knee--if the exercise doesn't mess with the arthritis! Yours is a dual-edged sword. I wish there was better news for you, but perhaps a better doctor is the answer.

ELLOUISESTORY said...

Definitely getting a better doctor - by better, I mean someone who talks to the patient, explains things, and listens. I don't think that's asking too much.

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