Last week I paid a visit to a new orthopedic doctor to have my knee evaluated. Since I was 17 years old, I have had my left knee poked and prodded so you could say it's almost routine. However, I haven't needed to seek care in nearly a decade. It took me a little while to swallow my pride and say "it's time" to see someone again. Like I mentioned previously, the pain is different this time and warranted some intervention.
Last Tuesday, I sat in the waiting room nervously. In my bag was a file folder about an inch thick that was filled with medical information, surgical photos, a letter from my surgeon to my college swim coach telling him I couldn't swim, and the like. This folder would ultimately stay in my bag, untouched throughout the appointment. Soon enough, I was called back to the room where I provided an abbreviated version of the history of my knee and explained why I was seeking help.
The doctor proved to be somewhat awkward in his interaction with me, not even introducing himself when he came into the room. Strange. He seemed confused when I described my symptoms as if something I was sharing was incongruent with normal diagnoses or something like that...I'm speculating here but the interaction we had seemed off to me. He manipulated my knee a bit, watched some motions, and then cautiously asked if the sneakers I was wearing are my running shoes and how I selected them. I immediately laughed and told him I had been fitted by a running store where a gait analysis had been completed. He seemed relieved but I couldn't shake the feeling that he was skeptical of me. I'm assuming that bedside manner isn't his strong suit. After 5 to 10 minutes or so, he prescribed an anti-inflammatory and 6 weeks at physical therapy. He told me that he wasn't sure of a diagnosis but mentioned patella-femoral pain syndrome and patella-femoral arthritis as potential diagnoses. He thought a physical therapist might have an easier time getting to the bottom of my pain.
I am still not quite sure if I should be frustrated by the lack of diagnosis or that he seemed to be passing the buck to another medical provider to determine the issue. I think deep down I was hoping for a true diagnosis. I've been down this road before several times with doctors. This feels eerily similar to the first plan I received when this whole ordeal started years ago. While not having a specific diagnosis is a bit frustrating, it doesn't really matter that much I suppose. The real goal here is to get the pain under control and develop a plan so this doesn't happen again. If that's physical therapy, ongoing strengthening and flexibility exercises, or surgery, I'll comply. Generally speaking, when it comes to the health of my knee joint, I'm a good patient!
This morning I'll be heading to physical therapy for my first appointment. I'm hopeful that it will be a positive experience. Wish me luck! Physical therapy...ever been? Love it or hate it? The last time I went I loved it so I'm hoping that's the case this time.