Friday, June 27, 2008

Diagnosis ??x??

My vacation has been lovely. Although I only spent 2 1/2 days in Philadelphia, I got to catch up with L, can't believe it'd been a year since I last saw her; went out with G, interesting developments there; got to spend 2 fabulous days with R &J; and now I'm back in NYC trying to tie up all sorts of loose ends. And by loose ends I mean dealing with my inured hip.

About 2 weeks ago, I finished a 13 miler. It was great. I felt strong, my splits were right on target, and I was really looking forward to my week off to get in some long outdoor runs. NOT SO MUCH. My left groin was a little sore after I finished the run, but I had one of my trainers stretch me out and I iced it when I got home. I was bummed when I couldn't run the next day, still sore, but I figured I just overworked it and I'd give it a few days.

After a week of seeing no improvement, actually the pain was worse at times, I decided to go check get acupuncture. I know, I know...I'm a nurse, I'm supposed to put all my eggs in the Western Medicine basket, but I swear, acupuncture works. I used it when I inured my knee 4 years ago, and again last year when I hurt my foot. Okay, after treatment #1, minor relief, still not enough to run. Then I left for Philly. Pain was getting worse. Maybe I shouldn’t have run around on the playground, but what fun is that? In a rather frantic panic, I managed to find a sports medicine orthopedist that specializes in running injuries. I called and said that I was a new patient. They said, "How about July 7th?." I laughed, said, "how about for an acute injury?", and they said, "How's tomorrow 3:30, be here at 2:30." I took it! I told the lady she could have told me I needed to be there at noon and I would have taken the appointment. I guess she didn't find that funny, but I was relieved. I've got a post coming about my fun times in PA, but for the sake of this post, we'll flash forward to me taking the 6:50 train home. After hauling my luggage on the subway and then to my apartment, it was hard to walk by the time I made it to my apartment.

The following day I went to the orthopod. My stomach was all fluttery, I was nervous....feeling of impending doom. Before the doctor even saw me, they sent me to x-ray. The kid who took my x-rays blushed when he asked me if I was pregnant. He must be new...working in the medical field you quickly grow accustomed to naming body parts and talking about their functions (or malfunctions) like second nature. Case in point, I held a candid discussion with a 50 year old patient of mine about if he didn't get out of bed and move, he would continue to remain constipated, the swelling in his scrotum wouldn't go away, and one of his last options was an enema with possible manual disimpaction....clearly the reason I became a nurse.. Oh yeah, so after my x-rays I went back to the waiting room and they called my name. I was led into a bright exam room with an entire wall of articles written by Dr. M on sports injuries. I knew I felt doom for a reason, I picked up the article on hip/groin pain.

I wasn't even 1/2 way through the article when Dr. M, and crew of residents, waltzed in. I gave him the history, told him a bit about my background (I have low bone density related to amenorrhea), and he pursed his lips. He asked me to take off my flip flops (which he then told me I shouldn't be wearing) and hop on each foot. Mission failed!

"From what you are describing and what I'm seeing, I'm 99% sure you have a stress fracture on the neck of your femur.

Even though you cant see anything on the x-ray, that's common with a stress fracture." He explained the mechanics and occurrence of stress fractures: increase in physical activity (apparently 55 miles a week qualifies), bone density (get on board that calcium boat), and body mechanics (hello grandma orthodics!).

WTF, I'm 23 years old! Broken hips are for old ladies, not marathon training nurses.
"I want to send you for an MRI. I'm away next week, so hopefully we can get this done before I go. I'm going to fir your for orthodics, but until we have a definite diagnosis, no running, take it easy. Turn around time with these kind of injuries is about 4-6 weeks. Are you in a calcium supplement? "
"Yes, with Vitamin D."
"Good. Okay. Here's my card, email me with any questions. Great to meet you Kel" (Love how we are already BFF's, right? haha)

I thanked him and sat there, baffled. This sucks ass. I dressed and made my way out to the reception area. The secretary told me that they had to call my insurance to get approval for the MRI, but they'd call me to schedule an appointment.

Later that day my phone rang and it was the MRI suite calling to book my appointment. I managed to snag an appointment for 7pm Thursday. I went and got acupuncture again Wednesday night and spent a lovely night out with friends at a house party. Thursday rolled around and I was a mess. I didn't sleep at all Wednesday night and it showed.

One issue complicating my need for an MRI was my belly button ring. I've had it over 7 years, but never changed it and consequently couldn't get it out. So I searched online and found this tattoo/piercing place in the East Village that seemed decent and had great reviews. Usually my trips to either side of the village involve a taxi ride because they involve dinners and drinks, lots of drinks (some of the best bars around!) but seeing as I was sober as a soldier, I thought I'd take the bus right down 2nd avenue.....big mistake. One hour and 15 minutes later, I arrived at 3rd and 2nd. I I weren't on "activity restriction" I certainly would have walked, you all know my thoughts on public transportation....

I walked in and pleaded my rather obscure request...I didn't want anything pierced or inked, I just wanted help taking something out.
Of course from the second I walked in, I got "the look." Oops, sometimes my preppy, clean cut looks just doesn't work...I certainly looked out of place. Nevertheless, I took a seat and 2 minutes later this guy called my name and introduced himself, "Colby." Hmm, aside from the tattoos from his neck to finer tips, and the huge plugs in his ears, he was sort of cute, great personality too. He easily took out my ring, helped me pick out a new one and told me to come back the next day and he'd put it back in. H even wished me luck on my test before I left. You know what, never judge a person by their means of personal expression...hey, the didn't shun me for being a perky, J.Cr*w plaid wearing girl. I left and limped up a few blocks and wandered around the Union$quare farmers market. I bought some fresh NJ cherries, strawberries, and tomatoes. They may be known as the "Dirty 'Jerz, but there's something in that dirty soil that makes splendid produce, right O?)

Flash forward to that evening. The MRI suite was located in the hospital, only a 5 minute walk from my apartment (no, not my hospital, but the orthopedic specialty hospital we are attached to and affiliated with). I arrived, 15 minutes early, registered and waited. They called me at 7:05, had be changed into a gown and put on the awful hospital socks. I locked my belongings in a locker and waited. The MRI tech led me into the room and I lied down. Good God, this certainly wasn't my idea of a good time. They tape your legs together so you don't move, strap these cameras to you (you sit on one as well), he covered me with a sheet and rattled off my music choices asked me what kind of music I preferred to hear during this test. I think I nearly shocked him when I said, "The Be@tles." I guess he was thinking that someone of my age would declare some sort of rap or hip hop, but I wanted something comforting and listening to the Be@tles reminds me of jamming with my dad in the car, at the beach, working in the yard, washing the car, etc.

The MRI machine makes so much banging and clanging, glad the guy warned me, haha. 75 minutes later, I emerged from the tube and was freed. I sat up and it looked like I peed myself. I had sweated so much my entire back was wet. Gross.

I thanked the man and got dressed. He told me that the turn around time was 2 business days, but after explaining that my doctor was going away, and batting my baby blues at him, he promised that my results would be expedited and that the radiologist would have them read by noon on Friday. I left and called my mom, she was supportive, but no matter what she said, she couldn’t take away my angst and frustration. I went home, talked to M and G on the phone and went to sleep with a little help from my dear friend Ben A Dryl.

Despite the help from my the little friend Ben, I didn't sleep much. I called Dr. M's office at 9:30 Friday morning to get an appointment for later in the day. Well, well, well....the secretary certainly had something up her a$$. She was so rude and despite my calmly explaining the situation about how Dr.M had expressed that he wanted to see me before he left and how I was unsure about my activity restriction especially seeing as I am returning to work this weekend. She told me to email him and say it's urgent. I calmly told her that I already had emailed him and that he hadn't responded. She told me to do it again and that was the best she cold offer. WTF lady, would it kill you to give the man a phone message?
Don't get my wrong, I work in healthcare, I know that patients will say anything to see the doctor (oh the stories and lies I could recite to you) but even if he wouldn't see me, I really just wanted to speak to him. Instead of getting mad, that gets you no where, I calmly hung up and then burst into tears. I typed an email, request a return receipt, flagged it as urgent, put my phone number in it, and hit send. Too much? Maybe.
I ventured back down to the east village to visit my friend Colby and get my belly button ring put back in. I took the subway this time. and had to walk a few blocks, but it sure as hell beat the bus ride! To my surprise when I walked in and asked for Colby, he came out and immediately asked me how my test was. Nice guy, seriously. If you are ever in New York and find yourself in need of piercing or inking, please go visit Colby at ADORNED.
I got home and checked my email, this is what I found:

Hi Kel!
Nothing that hurts, no running, ok?

J***** ^. M**** MD
Sports Medicine
Hospital for $$
Phone (212) xxx-xxxx
Fax (212) xxx-xxxx

No Shit? You think ? So in the meantime, it's PT 3x/week, no running, no excess walking, no extra stairs, no non supportive shoes (are you kidding me? It's summer time!!)

Oh boy, time is going to crawl until July 10th.

1 comment:

O said...

Holy moley, K. That's quite an injury.
More cheese for you! And NMK chocolate milk to boot!
Sorry for any agitation from the playground...the boys still miss you! And they are loving the tractors...