Thursday, July 24, 2008

Not What I Wanted to Hear

A whiny post with no quilt content to show for itself, but does contain a cute kitty pic. Feel free to skip.

So yesterday I went to the orthopedist to see about my problematic left knee (which has a rare joint disease). I was hoping he'd just say, increase the anti-inflammatories, this will all be okay. No, instead he said things like "irreparable damage if you don't take care of this now." So I'm supposed to get MRIs and x-rays not just of the bad knee, but the other one too, which is also showing too much swelling. Waaah.

I'm going to take a break in the whining to show you my sweetie Pokey:

I feel like an idiot. I knew I was losing cartilage in the right knee, but didn't realize that meant I had arthritis in it. So that's what's going on with the "good knee" which isn't actually all that good.

So now I have to find out how much an MRI and x-rays costs here and do I have to pay upfront, which I suspect I do. That's how it works with the doctors - at the end of the visit you hand them the cash, none of that billing stuff.

Yes, my American insurance company will pay me back for some of it (after the paperwork and a wait, of course) but it could cost a lot. And of course it's not the MRI so much that worries me as the bit that comes after if it turns out I have to have surgery NOW or the whole irreparable damage thing happens.

I'm having a minor freakout. I do this a lot. Worry and procrastinate and put off doing things, which sometimes turn out to be not that big a deal after all and I could have saved myself a lot of that worry if I'd just taken care of it in the first place. sigh.

I have however been enjoying the sunshine, hand quilting, and the Tour de France (go CSC!) - often all at the same time.

21 comments:

Kathie said...

sorry to hear this...maybe a trip back to Florida and have it all taken care of there would be in order?
cheaper...
would it be better to have the surgery here in the states than in Paris?
glad your hand quilting while resting ...
Kathie

Dianne said...

Well, Ton, seems to me you're entitled to whine a bit. This is a situation that is NOT fun at all. I'm with Kathie...what about a little trip to the U.S. to have this all taken care of, let your parents spoil you rotten while you recuperate, then home to sweetie and the kitties. I'm holding a good thought!

nicolette said...

Take care Tonya! i’m sorry to hear about your knees.

I hope you will be able to do lots of handquilting and cuddling kitty-bellies.

Amanda said...

Whine away! We're all entitled to a bit of a moan once in a while - especially if you've got something to moan about. Really tough luck about your knees. My advice - do whatever it takes to get them sorted now, before you get any older and the problem gets any worse, as well as your ability to deal with it. Happy hand quilting though.

distelfliege said...

Hello there,

I've got bad knees as well, but in my case, it's inherited. The ligaments were always too lose and the kneecap is not moving correctly... I'm in my early 30ies and my knees are, judging from xray and MRI, about 60 years old ;)

I would recommend to connect through the internet with other people who have knee problems and think twice before you have surgery. I had myself talked into surgery on one knee, it took 1/2 year to recover from it, and I have now decided to NOT have surgery on the second knee. :)

The whole cartilage surgery thing is in major development at the moment. There is a lot of research going on. You might be able to wait 5 years and then get a treatment that is just being tested and developped right now.

I found out two things that work for me (and my cartilage behind the kneecaps is kind of gone):
- build up thigh muscles. Every bit of muscle in your legs eases the weight on the knees.
- do knee-friendly sports like biking and going swimming. But about both, have someone teaching you what swimming is good and how you should ride, in Germany this is calles "physiotherapy" where a trainer shows you exercises you can do at home and counsel you on how to do sports and so on.

And don't despair! Really, a lot of people have bad knees and it might take you one or two years to find out what works for you (sports, acupuncture, surgery..), but you will find a way. And then you will be walking around free of pain most of the time :-)

But I totally understand you. Orthopedist talk is always very disturbing. Very much!
Do something but don't panic. It's going to be ok!

Jacquie said...

so sorry to hear the news about your knees. take care of yourself!

EMBELLISHER said...

So awful. Maybe you would consider India or Thailand where treatment and surgery are cheaper and better from what I've heard.Medical Tourism are very big in both countries.

Sassenach said...

I'm so sorry to read that your troubles are more than temporary.

I had always thought that the health care for state department employees and their families were covered under a local contract. Ugh. The paperwork is often worse than dealing with the medical issues.....

jovaliquilts said...

You are not whining, you are dealing with a real problem. So sorry! Sounds like it's worth looking into all sorts of options and definitely getting a second opinion, as much a pain as all that is to do. I don't know about knees, so have no good advice to give you. I'll keep you in my thoughts. Enjoy the sunshine!

KnitOneQuiltTooKristin said...

So sorry to hear this Ton. My mom is going through the same thing and contemplating surgery. It's a scary thought. I wish you all the best as you work it out.

Clare said...

Oh you poor love. Before you go any further is there someone you can talk to at the Embassy about medical stuff? I now it is a lot different in the US to the UK (the UK picks up 75% of our costs as Rex is retired), but what do people in your situation do? There must be an arrangement. After all, the state Dept employees can't keep running back to the US every 5 minutes if they are ill (that was supposed to make you laugh).

Take things slowly and get your sweetie to make enquiries before jumping on the next plane back to the US (another visit to CdG might put you off though!!!!!).

Another thing - the French are excellent at this sort of thing. Friend had a hip op. She was up and walking within 48 hours. Rex has got to have a knee op soon - he's not at all frightened which is very unlike him.

Courage chére amie.

Quiltdivajulie said...

Whine away ~ we understand.

That marvelous photo of Pokey has been "borrowed" and is serving as my desktop background here at work today.... makes me smile each time it appears out from under the endless flow of documents.

Take care ~ ask lots of questions and be persistent... we're all thinking good thoughts for you!!

jude said...

hi pokey!
so sorry about this but we all get ourselves into these things, just get it out of the way....it is an excuse for me to make you a get well soon thing. everything's gonna be all right.

carolyn said...

I'm sorry about your knees...I think we all find something like that as we age...hands, feet, back, knees. And without getting on my soap box if our health insurance system wasn't in such bad shape and our insurance companies actually let us take care of ourselves and not worry about the costs and wether this becomes a "pre-exsisting" condition--then we'd actually get the tests and find out how to age gracefully as the saying goes. So get those test don't so no further damage occurs and don't forget to vote!

Laurie Ann said...

Are you taking glucosamine? My Roogrr has bad knees and the glucosmine/chonroditin are helping. Wish I could get my DH to take it!!! Have you seen "The Guild" on youtube? It's great and has the girl from Dr. Horrible.

Cascade Lily said...

What a bugger. But they're your knees. You need them. Go get them seen to!

Katie said...

I got extra time from hydrotherapy - exercising in water. Also costisone shots and a brace helped. Also had complications after surgery so long recovery here but when you can't live with it you have to do something. There is help out there somewhere. Whine, yell or complain any other way. Get it out. Oh, by the way at one time both my knees were equally bad but one stayed about the same and other got worse. Who knows. Oh, again - Love those kitty pics!

Tanya said...

I'm sorry to hear about your knees. Yes, the different medical systems give headaches!

Looking forward to your book! No, things that you've shown on your blogs are great just because even though I've copied off everything I lose papers, the printing isn't very good quality. And sometimes I want to show people and I have to raffle through all my pages or try to find things on your blog. A book of all your previous stuff is just what I'm yearning for!

andsewitis Holly said...

Sorry about your knees, Tonya. Are the doctors talking knee replacement? My mom had her hip replaced this year and what a difference it has made. She can run circles around me now. She seems young whereas years leading up to the surgery she was like an ooooold lady in so much pain. Whine away. Actually, I don't consider it whining but just sharing what's going on. That's not whining.

Karen said...

I've heard people talking about their knee replacements and how relieved they were to have had it done; is this what your surgery would be? Hope you can get the situation improved and get those kneesies feeling strong.

jmbmommy said...

Where have I been?? I am so sorry to hear about your knee issues. It all sucks and I can't think of anything to say but, taking care of it is probably the best plan, if not the scariest. Isn't denial, the idea of it anyway, nice? It will work out.
:)