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This topic contains 18 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  anita 1 month, 1 week ago.

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  • #271355

    Lara
    Participant

    Hello,

    first off I understand no one can (or should) give me medical advise on the forum,  I rather need some encouragement/advise on how to proceed.

    Some two years ago I fell on my knees hard. It hurt but I didn’t go to a doctor for various reasons, my old doctor had moved and I didn’t know where back then, I just started a new job and wasn’t  sure if/how to take time off, after a few days it didn’t feel like an “emergency” I had just fallen on my knees right? And very early on there was a feeling of “now its too late, no doctor can do anything now”. And there was also shame that I didn’t go right away.  Climbing stairs hurt a bit even months later, but by now the shame was worse,” what is any doctor supposed to do now”?

    This summer I made a wrong move while swimming, I think my legs were tired. It felt like a small crash inside my knee. It really hurt after that and I took time off the next day and went to see a doctor. He poked around on the knee but there wasn’t much to see, it wasn’t even swollen. He asked twice if I was afraid (sure I was, some basic swimming move had led to my knee hurting!) so I think he figured me a hypochonder and prescribed a kind of elastic bandage for a week and send me on my way. I ended up crying outside of the street feeling like I didn’t get any diagnose and ashamed that I hadn’t stood up for myself more, explained better. Though really he did try, but maybe that doctor doesn’t have a specialization on knees.

    Nevertheless the bandage helped, but some one month or so later I had another problem with the knee. This time I made an appointment with my old doctor, but the appointment was three weeks later and due to a cold I had hardly moved in that time. Thus the knee was as good as it could get when I finally met the doctor and that doctor couldn’t find anything either, though he examined the knee in more detail (moving it this way and that).

    The thing is after the appointment there were problems with the knee again and again so I now made another appointment for next year. I would like the doctor to really check this knee maybe even with an MRI and tell me what is wrong. I haven’t mentioned last time that I fell on my knees two year again, I had hoped to somehow get around it. I am afraid of a reaction like “well you brought that on yourself”,  which would be true but I am afraid I might start crying then and there, totally embarrassing myself. Or “well that knee is garbage now, can’t do anything, will only get worse”. But then I think maybe there is something the doctor can do, so I will go anyway. How can I stay calm during the appointment?

    Sorry this got so long but I wanted to tell all the facts.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    #271363

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lara:

    Welcome back. What  you described is a knee problem and a shame problem. I do hope you receive a thorough and complete examination of your knees,  including MRI, this coming  year, very soon, and  that your knees are okay. It is possible that they are  okay even though you fell on your knees twice. And if there is some damage, I hope it is corrected.

    The shame  problem expressed  in this thread and based on your previous thread, that  is the Voice in your head, that inner critic  (we  all have one) saying to you something like this (I will be using aggressive language because this is how I believe your inner critic talks to you):

    -Now you want  to go to the doctor? Too late! You,  &^%, why didn’t you go earlier? Now what will a doctor do for you?! What a *&#^$^ you are!

    (“‘now its too late, no doctor can do anything  now… shame that I didn’t go right away.. shame  was  worse, ‘what is any  doctor supposed to do now?'”)

    Later that same  voice told you something like this: You are a hypochondriac, that’s what you are! This doctor didn’t take you seriously, this is why he didn’t give you a diagnosis and sent you with only an elastic bandage! No  one takes you seriously, no one should! And you don’t stand up for yourself, shame on you! Maybe if you explained better, your fault, what is wrong with you???

    (“he  figured  me a hypochondriac and prescribed a kind  of elastic bandage… I ended up crying  outside of the street feeling like I didn’t  get any diagnosis and ashamed I hadn’t stood up for myself more, explained better”)

    Regarding the planned medical visit of the coming new year, the  voice says something like this:

    -You brought it on yourself!  Your knees are garbage, garbage I say! And it is your fault, once again, you bring trouble upon yourself, shame on you!

    (“‘well you brought that on yourself’… ‘well that knee is garbage now. can’t do anything, will only get  worse”).

    In summary: the good news is that your inner critic is not a medical doctor. You wrote about a doctor you saw, “maybe that doctor doesn’t have a specialization on knees”- neither does  your inner critic, it doesn’t  specialize on knees and  has no medical degree at all. It doesn’t  even make sense!

    The bad news is that you live with that senseless voice in your brain, and that voice is hurting you repeatedly. It is of no help to you, only harm.

    (I still have that voice myself, that  harmful inner critic, but way weaker and less frequent  that  it  used to be).

    anita

     

    #271493

    L
    Participant

    Dear Lara,

    Anita’s response is absolutely spot-on about your inner critic.  But there is more to your situation than meets the eye —  I went through the exact same thought process as you did after my fall, and I have since learned a lot about how physical pain, even if not severe, can put fear in the driver’s seat.  After I fell, I got up and thought I was OK.  I pampered and rested and bought myself a brace for several months and then started gentle exercise to improve my strength.  I had nagging pain at times, but convinced myself that it would resolve.  And maybe it would have with enough time, but then I fell again.  With enough pain limiting my daily activities, I finally made an appointment with an orthopedic specialist who told me that I probably had age related issues in my knee that were not fixable and that I would have to modify my activities.  Which really means modify my life and who I am — quite a terrifying thought!  He offered me steroid shots to relieve the pain, which he then ridiculed me for refusing!  If I wasn’t willing to take the shot in my knee, I must not be in that much pain (obviously I am a hypochondriac).  But I was scared to start any treatment without knowing what was wrong.  I understand the emotional rollercoaster!

    At that moment, I finally realized that my fears, swinging wildly from fear of being a hypochondriac to fear of being permanently disabled by my own stupidity, prevented me from getting good information about my knee.  So I swallowed hard, worried I would piss off the doctor (who already thought I was a hypochondriac), and asked for an MRI.  When the MRI came back, that same doctor had to call me and tell me that I had blown my knee so badly that he wasn’t willing to do surgery!  It’s important to recognize that not all doctors are knee experts and not even all knee experts are going to get it right.  That uncertainty makes the process even more challenging, but in our complex health care system where doctors see a different patient every 20 minutes, you have to be your own health care advocate if you want to make decisions based on knowledge instead of fear.

    I had to face my fear of permanent disability (at least I was down to only one, more rational fear based on the MRI), and I was finally able to move forward by gathering a lot of information on surgical options and probable outcomes.  Ironically, the surgeon who did take my case reported that during surgery he found that part of the MRI interpretation was incorrect!  Uncertainty is guaranteed in this life, even with the best data, and every person’s decision will be different, but my decision to ask for that MRI was based on needing knowledge instead of fear.  Fear is always there, even now after my surgery, but I stopped letting it drive my decisions about my knee.   Take a deep breath, take a hard look at your fears, and try to move forward bravely with whatever path you choose to take in the New Year.  Hang in there!

    #271957

    Lara
    Participant

    Hello, I am back from the doctors. It was the same one I saw last time I went. I told him how the knee had hurt again and again and he examined the knee again, this time there was an angle that hurt and he said since this had gone on for so long it was time for an MRI without me even bringing it up myself. I didn’t mention the fall this time either, there was no good time to bring it up exept maybe right at the start, it all went so fast after that. So I have a bit of a bad conscience but I am also very glad that things are moving forward, even if only to get a diagnosis. Maybe in the future it will still be necessary to come clean and I can say something like “yeah I fell at some point in the past, but I thought it wasn’t so bad” ?

    Anita, thank you for your reply here. It may sound strange but your new years wishes really moved me. I had felt a bit arrogant to say “I want an MRI” and there you are, wishing that for me. And as I turned out, I didn’t even have to fight for it, all I had to do was show up. You are right, my critic was in the way here.

    I think its also a reluctance to be a bother to people. I am not a shy person who never asks for stuff (not at all) but somehow going to a doctor or other authority figure and say “I need X” and keep nagging until I get “X” is difficult for me. And in some cases I also look down on others who don’t have any problems in that aspect, e.g. customers that I work with. I know I shouldn’t but something about it just really gets to me, maybe its because I don’t have the guts to do the same thing.

     

     

    #271959

    Lara
    Participant

    And Anita, you are right, my inner critic doesn’t have a medical degree! Thats a good point, but somehow he also got backup from outside sources. My mother at one point (and don’t remeber when) said “well your father (doctor) allways said knees never heal”. Even back then I tried not too give this too much credit, but it rhymed in my language, so it sticked. And then there was a doctor that I saw about a cold after the swimming incident and asked for advice and she said “well those orthopedic doctors usually don’t help much”. I tried not to google knee topics too much to not get more input like this.

    Edit: Also I just reread my last post “I am not a shy person who never asks for stuff” is maybe not true, it can be difficult in many cases, to the point that I usually widdle my way around asking. I guess what I wanted to say instead was that I and not an innocent wallflower.

    • This reply was modified 4 months, 2 weeks ago by  Lara.
    #271963

    Lara
    Participant

    Dear L,

    I noticed that this was your first post here, so welcome to the forum and thank you for taking the time to register and post here!

    Your post resonnated a lot with me, I am sorry that you had to go through this but it was good to hear someone else also knows what it feels like to be in this situation, and that its sometimes not as easy as “just going to the doctor”. I totally see where you are coming from when you wrote ” Which really means modify my life and who I am — quite a terrifying thought! “. I thought something similar “some time ago I could still go jogging and suddenly I can’t even run to catch the train? Where does that leave me? No sports anymore?” And that reaction of your doctor on refusing the steriods – totally strange. Yes even if the pain wasn’t as bad yet that you would take drugs, doesn’t mean that it isn’t bad or a problem. Asking for an MRI from that same doctor who ridiculed you (or any doctor) must have taken some guts!

    Your way of dealing with this afterwards, gathering information, looking for other doctors who would do the surgery – that is a inspiration. I hope I can do the same once I have more info through the MRI.

    • This reply was modified 4 months, 2 weeks ago by  Lara.
    • This reply was modified 4 months, 2 weeks ago by  Lara.
    #271973

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lara:

    I am combining your previous thread with this one in regard to this post. This is what I understand, and please correct me where I am wrong: you went to the  doctor, afraid the doctor will blame  you for not seeing a doctor right after the  fall. You were also afraid that he will blame you for asking for an MRI.

    You wrote to  me: “I just reread my  last post ‘I am not a shy person who never asks for stuff‘ is maybe not  true, it  can be difficult in many cases, too the point that I  usually wiggle my way around asking. I guess what  I  want to say instead was that I am not an innocent wallflower“.

    As if asking  for something makes you guilty, and not asking makes you innocent; as if you are a bad person if you ask, not a bad person if you don’t ask.

    I think that  you believe that you are a bad person. When your mother told you that other people have bad intentions, suggesting that people are bad (an example you gave in your other thread, you tell her “there was this lady  and she said ‘x’ where ‘x’ for me was  something strange but funny. My mother would automatically be  angry and say ‘how could she say something like that to you!’ always assuming  the worst of people”), she also assumed the worst about her daughter. I don’t think she made an exception for  you.

    “And  then there were the times I would  say something  she disagreed with, I don’t have an example there but I certainly remember the  disgusted look she gave  me”- that disgusted  look communicated: you are a bad person for thinking  that way, for feeling that way.

    Back to the doctor, I think you were afraid that he will tell you or  suggest to you that you are a bad person for  not going  to the doctor immediately after falling and for asking for an  MRI.

    Of course, a person is  not bad  for these things, but the  reason you feel that you are bad for these things is  that your mother was unreasonable,  seeing bad where there was none, so you got confused, thinking there is badness where there  is none, not being able to detect in advance what would be  bad to say or do, and  ruminating retroactively, thinking a lot about what you did that was  bad (but wasn’t).

    anita

     

    #279895

    Lara
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    I think you are right, but even knowing that this might have its source in my mothers behavior its difficult to change my behavior, my fear of beeing seen or is a sense being proven as bad.

    Right now I came back from the doctors and I feel stupid. Last month I had a problem with the other knee (not the one that was supposed to get an MRT). It hurt a lot, but I failed at getting an appointment. I overthought the whole thing so much, made mistakes at making an appointment and in the end only went today. One of the things I had debated was “should I get an appointment for discussing the MRT or to get the other knee looked at”. But when I finally managed to make an appointment the office lady said “don’t worry, you can just discuss both”. When I went to the reception the receptionist asked “are you here to discuss the MRT” and I said “no to discuss a problem with the other knee”. And then I met the doctor, he immediately discussed the MRT with me briefly and send me on my way. I feel stupid for not voicing what I really wanted and kind of second class, I think he would have handled a client with private insurance different. I mean I get it, if he didn’t work like this he could see a lot less patients, and get less money but also help less people. Appointments at another doctors  have much longer waiting times. But I am wondering if it wouldn’t be better. Or maybe one doctor for each knee? Sounds a bit crazy.

    Sorry I just needed to write this somewhere.

    #279897

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lara:

    What you experience with doctors is not uncommon. I heard a talk once about the recommendation that a person who needs to see a doctor, because being emotionally affected, should have another person join them when seeing a doctor, an “advocate” it is called, someone to ask the doctors questions, to be able to be calm enough to remember questions that need to be asked and to be calm enough to listen to answers.

    It  would  have been helpful if you could have an advocate helping you to make appointments with doctors and most importantly, be present with you when you see a doctor, advocating for you.

    anita

    #279901

    Lara
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    thank you for getting back to me. I am not sure if I can find such a person, maybe my sister but we aren’t close right now. But its certainly something to think about and something I hadn’t considered at all until now, thank you. I hope you are doing well!

    #279915

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lara:

    You are welcome. You wrote that you hope I am doing well, interestingly, two days after I posted to you Jan 2, I hurt my own foot/ankle/leg badly, dropped a part of a tree on my foot, fell and twisted my ankle. It has been over five weeks ago and it still hurts at times. I still limp at times during the day. My foot was significantly bruised and twisted, swollen and the swelling and bruising is not gone completely yet. Didn’t see a doctor, no broken bones I figured, but my goodness, the healing is so slow. This is one more reminder that better be mindful, pay attention daily, throughout the day to what we are doing so to prevent injuries.

    anita

    #280239

    L
    Participant

    Hi Lara,

    What you experienced is unfortunately normal in our health care system today, regardless of what type of insurance you have.  A health care advocate is what you need, and it can be really tough if you don’t have a friend or relative able to do that for you.  I am a health care advocate for my husband, 2 friends and myself!   So here’s how you handle being an advocate for  yourself:  First, write down a list of your questions.  Second, knowing that the doctor is scheduled for just a few minutes with you, you need to work hard on your list to get it down to 3, no more than 5 of the most important questions.  The questions need to be simple and direct.  It always takes me a couple of days to work on getting the final 3 or 5 questions figured out to be sure they don’t overlap and that I haven’t missed anything important.  Have the questions written on a piece of paper when you go in, and have a copy that you leave at home.   Then, tell your doctor that you have written questions and that you want them to help you understand the answers.  Give them the written questions and ask the doctor to answer the questions in a way that will become an official part of your medical record.  A few doctors will still write separate letters that they send to their patients that become part of their official medical file, but most doctors offices now have laptops where the doctor can talk and type type and then print out the record of the visit right then and there.  Your medical record legally belongs to you, so by presenting the questions in writing and requesting that the answers be made part of your medical record, you will always have access to the answers.  And you can read and understand the answers better when you get home after the visit, which may help you understand future questions that may arise.  If the office has a patient email system, that is another great way to get your carefully written, top priority questions answered in writing, ultimately establishing a strong dialog between you and the doctor.

    It can be so terribly stressful to go to the doctor to begin with, especially when you are riding the emotional rollercoaster fueled by fear and pain, but to be so very rushed through the visit in our health care system today makes it extra hard.  Don’t give up – get the information you need in writing!   L

    #287523

    Lara
    Participant

    Dear anita, how is your foot doing? I am a bit worried that you didn’t go to a doctor (due to experience) but I also totally understand that you know your body best and if you think this will heal on its own then maybe best just give the foot some rest. Take care!

    #287525

    Lara
    Participant

    Dear L,

    you post helped me a lot! The last time I went to the doctor (different doctor this time) I wrote down notes on a piece of paper and took that with me to not forget anything. I didn’t need to look at it when I was there but I had my thoughts all alligned to ask all the important questions.

    #287527

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lara:

    It is exactly three months since I hurt my foot, it is fine now. I didn’t go to the doctor and looking back it was a good choice. It was ligaments and tendons that got damaged and it took over two months to recover.

    How are your knees and your mind these days?

    anita

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