Another Doctor

Resting – two weeks of doing nothing – was great for the pain level in my shoulder.  I even considered cancelling my appointment with the surgeon.  Alas, it didn’t take much time at home to realize that although I was feeling better, keeping that appointment might be the better part of discretion.

I’d thought that scheduling on the second day of the week would avoid all the Monday madness of everything that goes wrong over the weekend.  Maybe so, but this particular orthopedic practice has ten surgeons on staff and for some weird reason, none of them do surgery on Tuesday; all ten see clinical patients on Tuesday, which leads to a huge number of patients running (sometimes hobbling) through the office.  It was crazy!

When I checked in I handed the receptionist a small pile (photo id, insurance card, check for co-pay, disk with x-rays and MRI).  She said, “I love patients who are organized.”  I loved her right back when she told me that they communicate with patients via email!

The doctor was very nice.  Like me, he has a fifteen-year-old daughter learning to drive.  And I’ve been reflecting on the fact that I learned this little piece of trivia.  This is no surprise to my regular readers, but I tend to be a very task-oriented person.  Not that relationships aren’t important – they are – but a visit to a doctor is for a specific medical purpose and I’ve tended to view small-talk as being off task.  It wasn’t until I started reading medblogs that I discovered that there are doctors who enjoy visiting with patients, and that there’s a little bit of social time built into office visits.  Pre-medblog reading, I answered questions directly and to the point, cutting off any side issues.  I didn’t realize that sometimes the doctor was just trying to put me at ease and get a little social history.  As a cool bonus, I’ve discovered is that it’s easier to trust a doctor if I know something about the person; not that it should matter over their credentials, but it does make me more comfortable (which is kinda weird).

We chatted, and he noticed my notebook and the form on which I take my notes.  Never before has a doctor observed aloud that I appear to be type-A.  Who?  Me?

About the shoulder:  at the appointment, my range of motion was better, and I had much less pain than a couple months ago.  A look at the films and an exam yielded a cortisone shot and a referral for more PT.  That might provide some relief for now and put off the need for surgery – but that I’ll probably need to have the shoulder fixed within a year.  My job, he told me, is to do the PT exercises and cheat him out of an operation.  When I asked which kind of cortisone, he smiled and gestured at my form while answering my question, knowing that I’d write it down.

Note: my range of motion was better, and I had less pain at the appointment.  Last night when I sat down to check my email and catch up on my reading, I tried to lift my arm to reach the computer mouse.  It didn’t work.  I could use my left hand to maneuver my right arm, but it was both cumbersome and painful; I quickly gave up.  Getting ready for bed was a challenge, but I finally collapsed onto the bed – and found that laying down hurt even worse.

After trying every possible sleeping position, I grabbed a couple polar fleece blankets (light-weight, easily portable) and headed back downstairs where I spent the night in a recliner.  Around 1:00 even managed to fall asleep for a couple hours.  This does not bode well.  As much as this hurts now, I am not looking forward to seeing the physical terrorist for repeated torture sessions.  I’m wondering if all this pain is just from the doctor manipulating my shoulder to see what it would do, or if this is one of those rare complications of a cortisone injection.  Things were fine until I tried to extend my arm, and now… oh!my!word! it hurts.

I’m headed out of town for the weekend, and will be back next week.  Have a great weekend!