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Scared and Questioning after Dr. visit


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Old 12-08-2008, 03:10 PM   #1
limpingone
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Scared and Questioning after Dr. visit

I'm scheduled for surgery on January 7--a Ludloff Osteotomy to fix my bunion, a Weil Osteotomy to shorten the 2nd metatarsal, and a distal soft tissue release between the 1st and 2nd mets. I went to the Rothman Institute in Philadelphia because of their good reputation but the doctor I'm seeing is not inspiring confidence. (He is an orthopedic foot and ankle specialist) I went to see him today because the other side of my foot is hurting more than the bunion side. He doesn't have an explanation for that, says you can't tell with feet, I asked if it could be because I'm favoring the bunion. He will shave the bunionette but i feel like I had to beg him to do it. He keeps telling me everything that can go wrong with surgery and it certainly doesn't inspire confidence. I have to pull information out of him. Finally I got him to say that approx. 40% of these surgeries result in no pain and 95% in improvement. Then he talks about the other 5%. He certainly doesn't seem encouraging.

If it wasn't for these boards I would have no idea what to expect after surgery. He answers questions but doesn't volunteer anything. I'm guessing that this is just poor bedside manner but sometimes he almost seems to be talking me out of doing this. I certainly wouldn't be signing on if it didn't hurt to walk.

I'm hoping that in a year I will be able to walk 2 miles with my dogs and return to spinning class. Is that unrealistic for a 58 year old?

 
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Old 12-08-2008, 09:07 PM   #2
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Re: Scared and Questioning afted Dr. visit

Do you have time to get a second opinion? Sometimes you can get one in the same group and it may be someone you have a better rapport with. While I didn't have your surgery, my surgeon was careful, on my first visit, to tell me how difficult my PTTD surgery recovery would be. I appreciated that as I didn't have unrealistic expectations. That being said, I do think it is important to have a comfort level with your doctor since, unfortunately, foot problems can be long term as one thing often leads to another. So you may have a loooong relationship with this doctor.

I'll give you a brief history which supports my statement: I had PTTD surgery 11/05 with a one year recovery. During rehab I tore my peroneals. Peroneal repair 12/06. During rehab sustained a stress fracture - 9 weeks to heal. Anterior ankle impingement due to scar tissue - debridement surgery 2/08. ANOTHER stress fracture two weeks into recovery - TWELVE weeks to heal. Now my other foot's arch is slowly collapsing. So, I'm now into three years with my doctor and looking at at who knows how many more. It would have made a bad situation much worse if I didn't totally trust and like my doctor.

Best of luck to you. Facing foot surgery is a scary thing under the best of circumstances. Let us know how you are doing.

emmie

 
Old 12-09-2008, 04:07 AM   #3
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Re: Scared and Questioning afted Dr. visit

I would consider a second opinion if I were you. I think it is important to have confidence in your surgeon, especially during the post-op period when you will have far more concerns and questions. I had a bunion and bunionette repaired on my right foot 7 months ago. The bunionette side needed more time to heal. I had ostotomies on either side with pins. If you search this site you will see that bunionette repair and recovery can be tricky, even though the term "bunionette" sounds minor. I have made a great recovery and have been taking Zumba classes (I'm forty-eight).
Good luck!

 
Old 12-09-2008, 04:17 PM   #4
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Re: Scared and Questioning afted Dr. visit

you have to get a 2nd opinion. it sounds like he does not want to do surgery. you need to find answers.

 
Old 12-20-2008, 01:06 PM   #5
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Re: Scared and Questioning afted Dr. visit

Hello limpingone, I am actually going to the rothman institute tomorrow to see a foot and ankle specialist there. I had two previous bunion surgery that did nt go so well and I am still in extreme pain.

Who are you seeing there, I am wondering if it is the same doctor?

Thanks. I hope things get better for you. Good luck.

 
Old 12-21-2008, 08:07 AM   #6
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Re: Scared and Questioning afted Dr. visit

BunionPain,

I am seeing Dr. Ahmad. After a lot of discussion, research, and thought I have decided to trust him. The Rothman doctors are the best, they only hire those who are excellent, and Dr. Ahmad did a fellowship with them and was then hired as a full time doc.

I am favoring the outside of my foot and putting too much strain on it--I have to trust that it will calm down after my gait eventually evens out.

Two and a half weeks until surgery, I am certainly glad that I have the holidays to occupy my mind up until then. Thank heavens for this board. Otherwise I would have no idea what I will be up against. I am using my new laptop (!!!) and planning on buying a child size bean bag chair. I've got a pile of books and my son has shown me how to watch tv shows and movies on the laptop. My husband will be home with me for the first 5 days and I have a lot of friends who have offered support services. I am very frightened but I'm sure that I can survive. After all the hustle and bustle of getting ready for Christmas laying around for a month or two doesn't sound so bad (at least now while I'm not doing it).

Please let me know how your appointment works out and tell me who you are seeing.

Jean

 
Old 12-22-2008, 12:35 PM   #7
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Re: Scared and Questioning after Dr. visit

Hello, I am actually seeing Dr. Raikin (he is also a foot and ankle specialist). I am not sure how my appointment went. He wants to do a big toe fusion and I am not sure how I feel about that. He would give me no "real" advice. I asked him if I would walk normal, he said he can't predict that. I ask if I would be able to wear other shoes besides sneakers, he said he can't predict that. All the questions I asked he said he could not predict that. I was sort of frustrating and now I don't know what to do. This is all overwhelming. I was suppose to have a simple bunion surgery and now two surgeries later I am way worse than I started out. I am not sure I trust anyone anymore. Please let me know how you make out, good luck.
Nicole

 
Old 12-22-2008, 08:17 PM   #8
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Re: Scared and Questioning after Dr. visit

Nicole,

It seems that the doctors at the Rothman Institute (at least the foot and ankle ones) are making certain that they are not going to get sued for making promises that they can't keep. It sounds like Dr. Raikin is the same as Dr. Ahmad--no guarantees, no promises. Perhaps someone else can tell us of positive experiences at the Rothman Institute?

I was referred also to a Dr. Michael Downey from Penn Presyterian. He has a number of offices, one is in Doylestown. He is a world famous Podiatric Surgeon and apparently very nice. I could not see him because my insurance will not let me choose a podiatrist.

Let me know what you decide.

Jean

 
Old 12-23-2008, 06:53 PM   #9
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Re: Scared and Questioning after Dr. visit

limpingone nice is a key word for me with doctors.
( removed )
I choose my doctors for competence but decent human being too!
It has been my observation that if one runs into complications, egos that are not people friendly do not handle that well.
It is a huge factor with me.

Last edited by moderator2; 12-23-2008 at 07:03 PM. Reason: disallowed use - please read the posting rules

 
Old 12-23-2008, 08:32 PM   #10
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Re: Scared and Questioning after Dr. visit

I would much prefer my surgeon explain all that can go wrong and be honest with me rather than paint a rosy picture that may not realistic. I would be very wary of any doctor that gave me "guarantees or promises" because there is absolutely no way they can know that you will heal 100% and have no complications. That is just impossible.

My doctor told me right up front how difficult my recovery could be and I very much appreciated that. It turns out it was exactly as he said it would be. If they tell you the worst case scenario and it happens then you aren't shocked or can't say you haven't been warned. If they tell you worst case scenario and you exceed expectations and heal wonderfully then everyone, you and your doctor, have a pleasant surprise.

I don't want my doctor to tell me what I want to hear. I want him or her to be skilled, honest, forthright, detailed, compassionate, and someone I can communicate with. And most of all, there needs to be trust involved. This can turn into a long term relationship and it's important that you have a good rapport.

Best of luck to you. Facing surgery can be very scary. Know that there are lots of people here who have been through the same things and if you need support you can find it here. As well as lots of great information.

emmie

PTT surgery w/tendon transfer and sliding calcaneal osteotomy 11/05
Peroneals repaired 12/06
Arthroscopy/debridement 2/08

 
Old 01-09-2009, 05:19 PM   #11
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Re: Scared and Questioning after Dr. visit

My surgery was 2 days ago and my doctor couldn't have been nicer. In fact, the entire staff at the Rothman Institute was professional, caring, and friendly. As Emmie said, Dr. Ahmad told me all the things that could go wrong and did not paint a pretty picture about the recovery. Having said that, the procedure went well and, as expected, today(3rd day after surgery) is a very painful one. Thanks to all of your tips I am coping quite well so far. I am staying in bed and have my foot propped up on a child sized bean bag chair. The ice bags nestle very well in the nest of the bean bag, and my new laptop is saving my sanity (what little of it that I strill possess).

MonsterBunioin, give the Rothman Institute another look. Their doctors are experienced and some of the best in the North East.

Jean

 
Old 01-09-2009, 10:01 PM   #12
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Re: Scared and Questioning after Dr. visit

Welcome to "the other side"! Glad things went well. I'm sure you will have some up and downs but you should continue to do better each day that goes by. Each day is a day closer to the day you reach full recovery!

 
Old 01-10-2009, 02:10 PM   #13
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Re: Scared and Questioning after Dr. visit

congratulations! just keep following the drs orders and recovery should be fine.

 
Old 01-10-2009, 04:45 PM   #14
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Re: Scared and Questioning after Dr. visit

Congrats limpingone one your surgery. I have not made my final decision on what I am going to do. I still have so many questions and concerns, please keep us posted on your recovery. I hope all goes well for you.

 
Old 01-13-2009, 08:01 PM   #15
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Re: Scared and Questioning after Dr. visit

I thought I'd give an update on my recovery. The pain was pretty bad on days 3 and 4, but by yesterday (day 5) I was able to get off the percocet and begin taking Lorcet. I have my brains back, if not my foot. I am settling quite well into my little nest in our bedroom, having a friend come over at some point in the day to fetch what I need and provide some company. Poor hubby gets most of the work in the evening.

I've had 2 problems:
1. Icing. My bandage is very thick and it's hard to feel the cold beneath all the wrapping. We,ve been maneuvering ice bags and propping them around the 3 incisions but it is messy and time consuming. A friend brought ma a Polar Care 300 today and I don't seem to fell any cold at all through it. Plus, it wraps on the bottom of my foot instead on on the top incisions. I'm pretty sure that I will figure it out, but it is a lot stress and bumping on my very sore foot. I would love some input if anyone has any experience .
2. Crutches vs. walker. I fell with my crutches yesterday while hurrying to the bathroom. I only hit the heel of my foot but it was scary. My friends are pressuring me to use a walker and they brought one over, but it has wheels on the front and looks more dangerous than the crutches. Also, how does one handle the stairs with a walker?

I am pretty much keeping with one day at a time for now. The big picture of weeks and months is much too depressing. Thanks for all of your support.

 
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