It’s official: I am a ping pong ball in this game called “health.”
Went to the orthopedist’s office today, hoping not to hear the word “surgery,” but since my mind tends to loom large that’s all I could think about. Not wanting surgery, but thinking surgery may happen.
My appointment started about 40 minutes late, and after repeating my whole saga, the orthopedist said, “Well… I don’t think you have compartment syndrome. I think it’s more of a vascular issue.”
My face, it seemed, remained frozen – half happy, half sad. Tragi-comedy at its finest.
We talked about running, and I told him I started last November, but other than shin splints there wasn’t much of an issue. I told him that the majority of my problems started while I was training for the marathon.
“But did you finish?” he asked.
“Yup. Took me 6 hours and 22 minutes, but I finished.”
“Even with the leg pain?”
“Well, now you can scratch that off your bucket list,” he said. “Most people don’t run marathons. At least you can say you have now. But I don’t know if I’d recommend doing that again. I mean… is that something you’d want to do again?”
“I’m not too sure,” I said. The possibility of giving it all up hadn’t occurred to me. And you always want what you can’t have…
“Well, all I can tell you right now is that this is just weird. Your primary care doctor says it’s lymphedema, but there’s pain with it. And you’ve had the swelling for five years, which isn’t normal in and of itself. And normally when there’s swelling in one limb and not the other, we think it’s a blood clot or a blockage of some kind. You’ve been checked for blood clots twice now, and nothing has shown up so I’m not going to go down that route again. It wouldn’t be compartment syndrome because your compartments actually feel pretty symmetrical, and I’m not going to cut you open just to find out.”
He took some x-rays and my bones were normal. He had his nurse set up an MRI for me, and told me that if the MRI didn’t show anything, he’d send me back to the vascular specialist for a blood flow analysis. And if that didn’t show anything, he’d check for lymphatic tissue – maybe a blockage there. If that was the case, then I better get used to compression and PT for the rest of my days. (And I thought I was rid of it…)
He then recorded his notes right in front of me, which I know doctors do but I’ve never seen before. I thought it was cool, like I got a part in a story that really was my own story: “She ran the marathon in 6 hours and 22 minutes with leg pain…” “Well, I ran it that slowly because I’m a slow runner.” “She ran the marathon in 6 hours and 22 minutes because she’s a slow runner…”
I was awaiting a call back from the MRI center and was told that if I didn’t hear anything by 3pm today, I should call them. I did, only to find out that they didn’t have the injector I needed to do the MRI. They told me to call my insurance company and find out which hospital was in network to do the test.
I called Northwestern first, and the lady on the phone was a total bitch. I told her I was calling to set up an MRI, and that – yes, I did have my doctor’s orders in front of me. So I read them to her.
“I need an MRI with and without contrast on my left leg, due to unilateral left leg swelling and calf pain.”
“That doesn’t tell me anything. What part of your leg?”
“Um, lower extremity? Leg?”
“Are you reading this from the doctor’s orders?”
No, I make this shit up in my brain all day. “Yes, would you like the clinical indications? Or can I fax it to you? … so you can read what I am reading…” She gave me the fax number.
“Ok,” I said. “Can you hold on? I’m going to fax it right now.”
“No,” she said. “It doesn’t get directly faxed to me. It goes to a fax server. You need to call back and check to see if I received it in about 45 minutes to an hour.”
“Oh, ok. Thanks.”
Needless to say, I didn’t fax that bitch a goddamn fucking thing.
I called another hospital and got an appointment for next Tuesday without incident. I called the orthopedist’s office to explain what happened, who said that they’d call my insurance to get it pre-approved. They then called me back to tell me that they found another place which was still in network, and that I wouldn’t have to pay so much out of pocket if I went with that place instead of the hospital.
Of course, I cancelled my hospital visit, and scheduled my MRI. It’s happening on Thursday. Hopefully, hopefully? I get somewhere this time. Instead of a headache.
Have a good night, everyone.