Who’s job was it?

Who was supposed to tell me this? Or was I supposed to know? The credit goes to the woman working at Walgreens a couple weeks ago. Thankfully, I have this blog, I could flip back the pages and see what day it was that I made that last withdrawal from my Chime card.

I have walked in front of at least four different PT therapists, two doctors and at least a dozen or so nurses in and out of my appointments over the last year that I’ve been back on my feet. I point to my knee, my hip and my ankle asking for their help.

She had noticed my limping gait and I was quick to fill in the story – except she caught me right at the beginning with “Oh yeah, I know- I’m so glad you’re doing so well now”.

It’s been to long now to truly know, yet I likely returned that with a big smile, it almost always feels good when someone remembers me. Even if it does make me slightly self conscious if I don’t also remember them, I’ve had to get used to the fact that more people know me than I know them.

She watched me walk twenty steps past her register to the end of the line. Then moving forward until my turn, when she had to remind me that withdrawals are made from the automatic teller machine. The conversation continuing as I moved past her to the machine next to the door. “Yeah,” she agreed, “It must be hard to learn how to walk again with one leg shorter.”

My eyebrows raise now as I think of those words, so they probably did then too, though I can’t really remember what I said. They conversation finished as I completed my task at the machine, I said goodbye and I left.

For months now at home I’ve been using the standup desk I built (and again, this blog will tell me the exact days that I worked on that.) Under the desk I keep several blocks of wood. I stand, I try to squat, I gyrate my hips around. The more I stand the more I force all those stabilization muscles to grow- or at least that is what I thought was the right thing to do.

Keep working hard and wait. Wait for my muscles to grow. They have, it’s gotten better, my gosh, or has it? It’s almost the same as the question they always ask “What is your pain level?” to which I reply “I don’t want drugs.” They need a number to put on the form, and I’ll tell them I’m just making one up. The scale they use for pain is meaningless, I’ve talked about this before. It should really be a logarithmic scale.

Ten numbers does not account for the full range of pain that I know exists. At best the current number scale only asks “How much pain are you in compared to what you’ve been used to the last few weeks.”

All I have to do is read this article and remember what it felt like to scream Hail Mary’s and remembering each time that I wasn’t dead. If that was a ten, my current level of pain every day is about a zero point five two.

If I don’t add that context and answer in the moment (as I was led to the last time I was asked that, just a week or so ago at my doctors office.) Then maybe a two or a three. Once it gets to a four or five, I know my day is over. Find my comfy chair and my laptop and find some new topic to think about until I am as equally mentally exhausted as I am physically, then I go off to sleep until I’m ready to begin a new day.

I’m not sure if I told my doctor about the lady at Walgreens, yet I did tell him I thought I had some issues- as I had begun experimenting by duct taping pads of post it notes to the bottom of my shoes. About an eighth inch, maybe three sixteenths. Two pads, one on the heel and one one the toe. It would feel good at first, then after an hour it would start to make my muscles hurt, so I stopped.

Doctor says, “Yeah, one leg could be shorter. Try some shoe inserts.”

In June of 2023, my doctor agreed with the lady from Walgreens. Look at see what an intent (and untrained,) observer might notice. Why didn’t he?  Why didn’t the PT techs notice?

Why can I sit in front of a PT tech for an evaluation (my third over a year by the same tech,) and have him tell me “Oh no, you don’t need to take off your shoe.” Really, why not? How will you see the problem I’m having with my ankle?

Remember now, the ankle was not diagnosed until November, when X-rays then showed the previous then-healed break. His paperwork didn’t mention it, or the hip being out of socket either.

Anyone that read my doctor notes from last December knows his lines of defense: 1) I’m not a specialist. 2) Your course of treatment will be determined by PT.  What do you mean? At every evaluation (including two or three others at the Henry Ford PT place downtown,) they just test how much pain I can endure and decide that yes I need PT and set a schedule for me to return.

What is their professional responsibility? To evaluate if I’m able to receive their services? To evaluate if I have insurance for them to bill? Or is the job to evaluate my body and see if it is physically working correctly.

Putting in the left shoe insert (again, I could check this blog,) just less that week or so ago (remember, when I got the massage,) has made a tremendous difference. It did change and move my pain around- much more in my legs, less in my knees, ankle, and hip.

It doesn’t change the spastic reaction or the clenching and inward pull of my left foot, yet in between the spasms (which usually the baclofen and thc/cbd are controlling well,) it feels like I’m starting to take real steps and new muscles are starting to grow.

I still can’t get a full natural swing on that side and I think it’s just stuck at the hip. I have two six inch bolts inserted through each S/I joint, now bolted to my sacrum. I’m sure they were intended to be symmetric, yet the drill bit broke and that safe passage way was full. The next hole in that side had to be a quarter inch off that first mark. I am hoping, this will correct when I get the bolts out.

So who was supposed to tell me? Who was supposed to know?

Maybe the PT tech that put me on a treadmill for ten minutes?  Oh wait, he didn’t observe me. Not enough time for that, instead a camera put there with a screen for me to see. “Make you lift your knee and point it straight”.

Self serve PT.  Is that what my insurance was paying for? What is his professional responsibility?

Real questions! Please help me figure this out.

Woke up early, only seven fifty seven now…

Time to keep going.

Leave a Reply