Tuesday, October 26, 2010


I saw the lovely and talented Dr. Murphy this morning. Board Certified orthopedic surgeon, and always in a bit of a hurry. Not as bad as some doctors, but still....so much of medicine has become the equivalent of a drive-thru restaurant. I like my Family Nurse Practitioner. We have this whole HMO (or is it PPO) insurance so I have to have a Primary Provider. She spends way more time with me, and she listens. I never finished college, but it seems to me a large portion of good medicine involves listening. But I digress.

Today's visit was to talk about the injection he gave me a month ago, whether it helped, etc. He told me then that if the injection did help, I'd be a good candidate for surgery. He was also supposed to look at my MRI films. They had sent the narrative, but not the films.

I don't think he remembers me. Now, normally, I am a memorable patient. I make sure of it. But in this case, with this doctor, he is only in this particular office a couple Tuesdays a month, and only in the morning. Last month the appointment was at 8:30. Today it was at 9:00. I don't fully wake up till about noon. I mean, I can get up and walk around and form sentences any time before noon. But my gears are not fully turning till after 12:00, give or take. I am doing good to get myself to the office. Being memorable is pretty much impossible.

So, I tell him the injection helped a great deal. I was waiting for him to say, "Cool, let's schedule surgery." Not that I want surgery, but if surgery will make the pain go away, I'm more than ready. He didn't say the S-word though. Instead he told me I didn't have a rotator cuff tear, and read from some piece of paper in my chart which talked about inflammation and thickening. I don't know if this paper was his dictated notes after looking at my films, or if he was reading from the radiologist's report. I said "did you look at my films?" He said he did. I'm not sure I believe him.

I have spent the past four years trying to find out if I have a tear or not. Some docs who read the MRI films say I do. Some say I don't. But these are radiologists, not ortho docs. The ortho docs (two of them now) have said no tear. Yet the pain continues, along with the loss of range of motion, muscle spasms, and on and on. Dr. Murphy is sending me back to physical therapy. This will be the third or fourth round of PT. It gets old. I get cranky.

And....get this.....two minutes after saying there wasn't a tear, he says, "If there is a tear, it isn't large enough to warrant surgery." I just sat there, in shock. I should have questioned him. It's the morning thing. I swear I cannot function. I'm amazed I didn't start crying. When I told my husband about the visit, he said "Why did he tell you if the shot worked, you'd be a good candidate for surgery then?"

I know my shoulder didn't hurt before Bennie's car landed on top of mine. I know I have to go back to my primary care FNP, and we have to keep working on this. It's not like they are trying to diagnose some rare viral disease acquired in a tropical country far, far away. I also know I'm not undergoing chemotherapy. This has always been my mother's analogy, and she's right. It's one shoulder. I do have a spare. I need to "woman up" and deal with it. And I will.

1 comment:

Tracy said...

Awww so sorry to hear about this. Sure we don't have to deal with the whole health insurance thing here, but our health care isn't the best either. I have been misdiagnosed before, and it is frustrating.