Thursday, April 16, 2009

Who Can You Trust?

I relate the following tale to encourage you to think about your life and decisions you make. Those times when you aren't sure who to trust, who to believe...whether dealing with medical professionals, your kids, your spouse/significant other, friends, co-workers. How many opinions do you seek, how much research do you do before believing, before making a decision? When do you simply trust your instincts?

And if after information gathering you've been caught between opposing options, made a choice that seemed right but didn't turn out to be, or have been misled or even misinformed, how do you recoup?

Faithful readers may recall that back in September I had foot surgery (for hallux rigidus, arthritis in the big toe).

I chose the doctor, believed and trusted him because he'd been written up in the Chicago Tribune for just this procedure and he paraded several dancing patients in front of me as proof of his successes. He seemed confident that I was a great candidate, promised great results, and said that in a few weeks I'd be so happy I'd be kissing his feet.

Well, almost 7 months and thousands of dollars later (despite insurance), I am not happy. My "new" foot hurts more than the "old" one (which has the same condition). I can't wear any of my cute shoes, only certain sneakers or orthopedic-looking old lady shoes.

I thought I'd done my due diligence, taken enough time and thought to come up with a good plan. Yet the results aren't at all what I'd hoped and been told I'd receive. Which put me in the unenviable position of making reparations. So I followed up with Doctor #1 several times, receiving injections (in the toe), taking anti-inflammatories, etc. No change.

I just saw Doctor #2, an orthopedist who has worked with the Joffrey Ballet. He should know toes, right? He said he's not a fan of the implant. I could do nothing, or remove the implant, take bone from my hip (!), and fuse the toe. Fusing---arthrodesis--is a common procedure for this condition and is supposed to eliminate pain, but the toe will never bend. I might be able to wear up to a 1" heel. Despite research I've done about limitations after fusion, he said he's had good results...people have run marathons.

Doctor #1 then said I could have a fusion with no bone needed from my hip. Or try a pain specialist. Or wait longer, because it can take a year to heal.

So who to believe? How many more doctors should I consult? What to do? For now, I've decided to see a pain specialist...stay tuned.

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