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Old 09-19-2011, 12:42 PM   #1
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How to talk so the surgeon will listen?

Last month, I was scheduled to have microfracture on my ankle. It turns out, I don't need microfracture - I need ligament surgery.

Two weeks ago, I fell getting out of the shower and twisted my ankle badly. The ER said it is not broken.

Last week, I saw the " backup " surgeon. He said things like " I hope your surgeon has tricks up her sleeve " and " Has she talked to you about fusion? No? oh. " He gave me an aircast to wear for stability, since I've fallen down the stairs, etc.

How do I talk to MY surgeon on thursday so that she listens? I cannot live like this. I can barely take care of my children. I cannot drive. I cannot walk the dog. I cannot sew ( my side business is a children's clothing boutique - no sewing = no extra income ).

And then we come to the issue of pain & swelling. I have pain from my ankle practically to my knee.... which aches from the extra strain. I am getting twice weekly Chiro adjustments to deal with the hip & back problems caused by limping around. By the end of the evening, my ankle is hugely swollen.

Even walking around in my kitchen causes me to twist it funny! ARGH!

Any tips for getting the surgeon to understand that i am NOT a wimp? I have an incredible pain tolerance. Having three c sections was NOTHING compared to this. If i cannot have my ankle fixed and soon, I will be forced to quit my job.

 
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Old 09-19-2011, 01:06 PM   #2
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Re: How to talk so the surgeon will listen?

Allow me to say I feel very much identified with you!

I've had several sprains throughout the years, to the point where my last two (one on each ankle) were just from walking (the ankles didn't twist or anything).

At first many people (specially my mother) thought I was a wimp. Even I started to think it was all in my head. I'm usually reckless and irresponsible with my own safety, but I thought that maybe this time I WAS being a wimp.

However forcing my ankels only resulted in they hurting more, getting much more swollen and me being able to get less work done. Now I haven't been to clases in 3 weeks, and I risk losing the semester! But ever since I stopped walking and going to university my ankles have improved slightly. I think that if I had really taken good care of my ankles when they weren't THAT weak and vulnerable (when I could still walk), I'd be better off now.

And one of the things that's making it so difficult to get any doctor to understand the seriousness of this is that the MRIs say there's "no considerable damage"! So, I guess that more often than one would think, it's not that easy to get the doctor to REALLY listen to you.
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Old 09-19-2011, 04:13 PM   #3
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Re: How to talk so the surgeon will listen?

My advice would be to do your research and have a list of written questions to ask. Also, get more than one opinion if you can. Remember he/she works for you! You not only need someone who knows their stuff, but someone you can talk to/understand. Don't be afraid to ask questions to clarify what they mean. Sometimes they may not realize they are throwing in jargon, going to fast or saying unfamiliar terms at you. Call them on it! Make them explain everything if you need it. Don't make any decisions until you feel like you thoroughly understand.

Also, give them the best feedback you can about how and where it hurts you. Maybe compare what you could do before your injury to what you are limited to now. Don't be dramatic but be factual and clear in your delivery.

Best of luck to you!
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Last edited by lightstepper; 09-19-2011 at 04:15 PM. Reason: More thoughts to add

 
Old 09-19-2011, 04:28 PM   #4
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Re: How to talk so the surgeon will listen?

HeeHee, I do sound very dramatic!

I am sure I am making a mountain out of a molehill. The surgeon already told me I need surgery - I guess I'm nervous because I don't know what kind, or when, or the recovery.

( I am in Canada - a second opinion for something like this is not going to happen. It took me 18 months to get a surgeon! )

 
Old 09-19-2011, 04:36 PM   #5
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Re: How to talk so the surgeon will listen?

Oh dear! That's a long time to wait!! I don't blame you for not wanting to bother with the 2nd opinion! I'd make them write down the name of your procedure(s) so you can do research on them. There's a ton of great info on this site and others on the web.
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