I returned for my nine month checkup with the surgeon in January, 2005, and left the visit totally bewildered and thinking that either I, or the rest of the world, was insane. I was expecting a pre-operative visit to get my leg fixed properly. I could still bear no weight on that leg at all and was in unbearable pain.
As usual, x-rays were obtained, and I went in to see the surgeon. He looked like the same surgeon, but had a totally different take on what to do about my leg than he had given me the previous month. He said, 'yes there was ‘some settling,’ at the fracture site, but he did not feel it was important and as usual he recommended, “staying the course.”
I confronted him with what he had told me the previous month, and he appeared to have no clue as to what I was talking about.
As I left the room sobbing, I was met in the hallway be a representative of the billing office. In her sugary sweet voice, she discussed with me “my payment” for the services I had already received, and that if I was unable to pay, which I wasn’t, I would not be seen again. It finally occurred to me that the surgeon was thinking of his bank account, not my health, when he saw me. I was not getting the proper treatment because I had been unable to obtain insurance due to pre-existing conditions. She did grant me one more visit, if I would pay out of pocket for services received. That appointment was set for March 1, 2005.
I was left with no hope, in pain, growing more angry, and depressed each day. Not knowing what to do, I contacted my doctor from the rehabilitation center. She was short on ideas, but did put me on an adequate dose of pain medication until I could figure out what to do.
I struggled through until my March 1st appointment. I again tried to tell the surgeon how bad it was, but he just mumbled something to the effect that everyone does not have a good outcome after a severe fracture. Again, he stated, “Stay the course,” and if I wasn’t feeling better, to return in a year.
I found my voice and told him I was very unhappy with his care, didn’t feel comfortable waiting when I couldn’t bear weight, and knew the hardware in my femur was broken. He did offer to contact a trauma surgeon for a second opinion. Fortunately, the trauma surgeon could see me the next day. I left the surgeons office with copies of my medical records and x-rays for my appointment the next day.
I couldn’t resist reading through his monthly progress notes noting that each month, he had recorded that I was having normal healing. There was no mention of pain, no mention of my being in tears every time I saw him, no mention of suggesting to me I would need more surgery, and no mention of anything abnormal at all. The records had clearly been sanitized and all incriminating evidence deleted. The x-rays did clearly show the broken screws with the heads floating around my knee. Tomorrow will bring another perspective altogether.