Friday, March 6, 2009

it's just all about the knee

After completing 6 weeks of physical therapy post right knee arthroscopy with bilateral release, I'm still in pain and have a great deal of pain lifting my leg straight up (with knee straight/locked). I saw my orthopedist again a few weeks ago and he said that usually this operation alleviates pain and it doesn't seem to be working so I was referred to a Sports Medicine Ortho. On Wednesday, I had a consult. He said that because there is pain right on the knee that I can't get passed, the physical therapy is not doing it's job of strengthening/developing the quads (thigh muscles). This is important to keep the knee cap where it's supposed to stay. There is definitely more surgery that could be done, but the Sports Medicine Ortho said it's a lot more invasive and more downtime and something that should really be put off after trying other measures.

After x-ray of both knees, he said that the cartilage under both my knee caps are thin, especially the right one. He gave me a cortisone shot on the knee to take the pain away in order for give physical therapy a chance to do it's magic. I agreed that this was the best course of action. I don't really want to have another surgery (cartilage replacement from a cadaver) with our financial future in limbo. The words "knee replacement" were thrown in the discussion, and hopefully I'm many many any years away from that.

I must confess that I never really knew how much pain/discomfort my knee was in until the pain was gone. Halleluiah! Now, I still can't lift my leg straight up because there is still pain and my thigh is very weak. But at least now, the pain is not as intense and I can do more exercise.

I will be doing physical therapy until April at which time, both the doctor and I can discuss whether the physical therapy has done it's magic. If there is improvement, we will continue with the shot and go for more therapy. And if there is no improvement...well. Who knows.

I've been in physical therapy for a total of 6 weeks for both knees pre-surgery and 6 weeks on the right knee post surgery and an additional 4 weeks. Now, with this new course of action, I will have another 4-6 weeks. I tell you, my physical therapist and I are pretty chummy, but apparently, we're going to be even closer.

On to a possibly bad news - my husband and I have decided to elect COBRA coverage. We submitted the application a few days ago, and when that kicks in, we will have the same exact health insurance coverage that is effective the day after his termination of Feb. 6th. I stopped going to PT a week after that because didn't know which route to take with the health insurance. But once we've decided, I kept on seeing other doctors. Yesterday, my husband tells me that should the company (who has already filed for Ch. 11) file for Ch. 7 bankruptcy, there will no longer be COBRA coverage. If that happens, this means that I've been seeing doctors without health insurance. I estimated that we'll already be about $1,500 in the whole, and it's just going to be bigger if I keep going 2x a week for physical therapy.

Do I keep going to therapy even though there is a possibility that we'll have to pay for the treatment out of our own pocket? Or I do I stop now and proceed only when we're certain of the future? Questions, questions. My wonderful hubby thinks I should keep going. I'm pretty much useless if my knee doesn't improve. And the Sports Medicine ortho already said it won't improve on it's own if I don't do anything.

Oh my. And to think I used to think I was as healthy as a horse.

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