After 18 months of making the rounds to every conceivable medical answer, the doctor-go-round is grinding to a halt. But its not over yet.
It started in the spring of 2011, with a visit to my primary care physician, PCP, for a pain that shot through my left hip and left leg. She sent me to get an x-ray, which showed some scoliosis, so she first sent me to a physical therapist, who made the problem worse. That summer, after an MRI showed that I had what is commonly known as sciatica, the next stop was a visit to an orthopedic specialist Ill call Doctor 1. Over a period of three months, I received 3 steroid injections, which seemed to help. I got off the doctor-go-round for a few months, foolishly thinking the ride was over. Then in May of this year, it started up again. 3 times, I went back for more of those painful injections, but this time, they did nothing. I learned from her that the exercises the physical therapist had me doing were all wrong, but she couldnt tell me what would be all right. After 2 more MRIs, Doctor 1 began to shake her head in frustration. The injections should have worked. She prescribed a very low dose of Gabapenton, which did nothing but make me sleepy. she suggested Cymbalta, which also did nothing but empty my wallet. Would I consider acupuncture? You bet. By this time, I was ready to try anything. After 2 visits to the acupuncturist, I realized that I was just throwing away even more money. It was an interesting experience, and I wrote about it here on this blog, but the only thing it did for me was to suppress my sweet tooth. That was nice, but not the point. So back to Dr. 1 I went, plunked down more money for my co-pay, and she thought it might be a good idea for me to have a Doppler test, to make sure it wasnt a circulatory problem. I had a feeling this was just another ride on the go-round of some sort, certainly not merry, but I went along with it. Again, it was fascinating to hear my blood swishing through my veins via the speakers, but it was another expensive way to find out that this was not the problem. Back to Dr. 1 I went, to plunk down another $40 to have her say she was out of ideas. Thats when I decided to by-pass Dr. 1 on this doctor-go-round and hop off at the chiropractors office, so I could plunk down another 5 or 6 hundred dollars, only to have the pain increase. So back I went to my PCP for a referral to a surgeon. I was ready for the knife. It was obvious to me that surgery was the only recourse. But oh no, she told me, I couldnt just go see a surgeon. I had to first consult with another orthopedic specialist for a second opinion. She set up the referral and off I went to see Dr. 2. When I arrived for my appointment, I was told that the referral had not been made. I sat in the waiting room for an hour while the office manager of Dr. 2 tried to reach the office manager of the PCP to straighten out the referral problem. I did not get to see Dr. 2 that day at all, because the insurance company had to have some sort of authorizing number, so I wasted a trip and 3 hours of my day. That was a Monday. We rescheduled for the Friday of that week, hoping that it would get straightened out, but on Friday, it was still not resolved, so I had to cancel the appointment and my transportation. Meanwhile, the pain in my leg was getting to the unbearable point. On Tuesday, I got myself to the ER, because the pain was so bad, and Dr. 2 simply could not work me into her busy schedule until my new appointment on Friday. The people at the hospital were great, but all they did was give me a prescription for a pain killer. I took one that afternoon and was nauseated for the rest of the day. When Dr. 2 finally saw me on Friday, it took her about 30 seconds to tell me that it was obvious from my MRIs that I needed surgery. So, now I climb back onto another horse, and off I go again.