I went to an orthopedic ankle doctor/surgeon at the University of Minnesota today whom I have seen once before (1.5 years ago for the same problem). He actually referred me to the doctor who performed my ankle surgery a year ago. My appointment was at the Riverside Orthopedic Clinic and I have to say the place was hectic and an unorganized mess. Despite that I had called them multiple times before my scheduled appointment to make sure that they had received my records, there were no records to be found today. More than one woman who works there assured me the records had been faxed and received (note to self: next time write down the woman’s name who says such things). So, despite having to wait extra long because the doctor was running behind, I had to wait an additional amount of time while the nurse got my records re-faxed over to the clinic. What is the point of me even calling to assure that my IMPORTANT records and information are there in time for my appointment if I’m not being told the truth anyway and they are NOT THERE? Frustrating.

Even more frustrating was that the doctor basically told me he can’t think of anything else to do to help me. He does not want to fuse the bones of my ankle joint together (this is permanent, of course) because contrary to my pain and swelling, the MRI scans show a “normal” joint. This is good. But he also didn’t think I should have another synovectomy procedure done on it, since it didn’t seem to help much in the first place. He suggested the only thing to do is to live with my ankles the way they are and to monitor the pain by using pain medications. I do NOT want to do this, of course. I can’t handle heavy pain meds and anyway, I want this problem FIXED! I don’t want to just mask the problem with drugs. I sat there trying to hold back tears of worry and frustration and asked what else can we do? The only other thing he suggested was to get another MRI scan done and then see if that shows anything different and to go from there. So, not a lot to hope for, but I agreed. I’m having yet another MRI scan tomorrow afternoon at CDI (I think I’ve had 5 now on these ankles?). I’m trying to not have a panic attack about this and to take it step by step, but I admit it’s really hard sometimes to “keep it together.” I do believe in medical miracles (all miracles really), and I still have hope that things can and will improve. It sucks though. It really does.

I waited for the nurse to come back into the room to give me the MRI scheduling info. As I waited, I stood by the open door and noticed a man sitting in a room across from mine. He had grayish hair and his body was slumped over as he held his face in his hands, crying. I was taken aback to see such a display of emotion from anyone, especially a man (it’s not often you see a man crying in an examining room). Tears immediately pricked my own eyes and I looked at him again and noticed that he was missing a leg. In its place was a robotic-looking prosthetic that reached all the way to his hip. He must have just gotten some bad news, I guessed.

The nurse returned and I walked out of the examining area thinking about this poor man sitting there alone and crying. For a second I said to myself, things could be worse, you could be like him. But that’s no comfort, of course. Why can’t we both be well and whole? Why all of this pain and suffering in the world? It’s so unfair.

I wish I would have offered him a hug or something.

4 thoughts on “Pain

  1. Has the Dr. not suggested a brace that keeps the ankle completely still and therefore keeps it from hurting? I did this once and there was no pain for the first time in my life in that ankle–heavenly!

  2. I have tried many different braces and they actually make my ankle hurt worse. Even wearing socks makes my ankle hurt sometimes. Thanks for the comment though! :)

  3. I agree with not fusing an ankle. My mom has RA too and she has not had any success with fusing bones/joints that are meant to move. She had her toes all fused and eventually they all came apart because she walked on her feet and loosened the fusion up.

    Sorry that is of no help to your suffering ankle. My mom uses athletic tape to tape her ankles and wrists, it works better than fabric braces – but if socks hurt that won’t work either.

  4. With regard to that brace, were any of the braces constructed from an actual cast of your ankle?
    This makes a huge difference, and my patients have experienced great relief from these braces.

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