Sometimes you need to celebrate a good person doing a good job. Kim had an appointment with the orthopedic surgeon recommended by a friend to try to get her painful knees, legs and feet diagnosed and treated. The problem was that she would have to wait to mid-September for an appointment.
She called the doctor’s office to see if she could get in earlier in the event of a cancellation. The woman answering the phone was sympathetic, and Kim was put on the list. At the suggestion from Genne’, with her physical therapy expertise, we called back to try to identify the specific site in Kim’s knees where the cortisone was injected by the Physician’s Assistant, and whether an anesthetic was injected along with the cortisone. Kim had me make the call because, in her experience, doctors don’t listen to women as well as they listen to men. Whatever. With Kim at my side we established a human connection with Sonny, who went above and beyond to get us help. He listened patiently to Kim’s pain chronology. We were lucky to have Sonny on our team. He answered our questions the best he could from the PA’s notes, and he listened to our description of the history of the pain, which went back to March. He said he would try to work out a solution.
Sonny suggested checking with another surgeon at the practice, but found an equally long waiting period for an appointment. He then suggested a third doctor, one trained in sports medicine who he could recommend from personal experience as he treated his wife’s broken leg, to her great satisfaction. He also mentioned that his wife also is a cancer survivor, and that this doctor knew to check on possible cancer issues. Sonny said that he was not supposed to give medical advice, but he suggested that Kim consult with her oncologist about the possible role of cancer in her pain. We told him that we already had that appointment scheduled in a few weeks. We asked him if we might go to an Emergency Room or Urgent Care, just so we could get a CT scan of Kim’s knees so a doctor would have more information to help make a diagnosis. Sonny said that as a retired EMS driver he recommended against it as a misuse of the ER.
Sonny said he was late for his lunch break but promised to call back later in the afternoon with news about the third doctor. He called an hour later with an appointment next Monday. We were very thankful. We appreciated having a human connection rather than a reader of a script.
Kim’s pain has persisted over the weekend, but as I write this draft one day before Kim’s appointment, I at least feel that we are taking a step toward diagnosis and, hopefully, treatment. We’ll see. We are discussing our housing options in the event that Kim’s pain, fatigue and mobility issues don’t improve, but simply taking a step is so encouraging.
I have made it a goal to be more like Sonny. Listen with an open heart, and let people know you are listening. Collaborate in working toward a solution to whatever issue or problem is on the table. We can do this.
Meanwhile, Kim was able to hobble into our yard in pursuit of a butterfly. Here’s what she got:
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As it turned out, Sonny sent us to the wrong doctor. He was unable or unwilling to attempt a diagnosis, insisting that he was a surgeon who only does surgery. Kim and I left his office frustrated and disappointed, which in no way lessens our appreciation for Sonny’s efforts in our behalf.