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Friday, May 22, 2009

Some of my Worst Things

are: being assertive; being decisive; and making phone calls.

These faults are particularily a nuisance when my children are having problems. Like say, when a daughter gets hit by a car and has chronic back pain that MPIC seems to have stopped believing; the physiotherapist doesn't seem to be alleviating; the chiropractor didn't seem to help either; and running, jumping, and falling seem to exacerbate. Which is why I felt rather frustrated yesterday when daughter came home from school early, short of breath, and in pain from attempting to run the 1600 meter race. The frustration only spawned into anxiety after spending two hours at the Pan Am Sports Medicine Clinic and having another professional give some more conflicting advice. Keep active. Run. Make it hurt. Keep it limber.

If I were decisive and assertive, I would have remembered at that point to remind the Doc that this was the very reason we had gone to great lengths to get his opinion on this day. That she has indeed been keeping active, and receiving treatment since that fateful February day. That the activeness was now causing her to feel short of breath. Pained in her back, ribs, and neck.

Here's a sampling of advice:
(please pardon me if I indulge in slight exaggerations or cynicism)
Chiro: "Please take these products that MPIC will pay for. A special pillow. A back brace. An obus form- a huge, unsightly chair pad to carry from class to class with you in school." (At the age of 14. In Junior High. Right.)
Then, please drive to my office roughly three times a week for eternity or until MPIC stops paying for it. I will tell you have you have scoliosis, although no one has ever noted this before. I will tell you how much you are improving because of all the hard work that I am doing. Then I will order you some more products for MPIC to pay for."

(hmmm. oppurtunist? Or am I wildly suspicious and untrusting?)

Come back when you feel the need.

"You are going to physio too sporadically. We question whether you are following their advice. We think you are trying to "take us for a ride". We are putting on our resentful voices now and reminding you that it has been over a year and chiro and physio don't seem to be working. Maybe its our fault? Maybe we're not following their advice?"

Sports Medicine:
"Make it hurt. Ice it. Stretch it. Move it."

Okay, so we've definitely got the "make it hurt" part down. However, it doesn't seem to be leading to an alleviation of the symptoms.

The child's neck crackles and cracks like popcorn. She has dull pain from head to butt. She has headaches most days. Her neck is sore.

What would a decisive, assertive, phone-calling mama do?


Anonymous said...

I have been dealing with chronic pain for 5ish years. I have seen almost every specialist/doctor in the book looking for a diagnosis or cause. Especially after two rounds of total body spasms that made me immobile and no medication other than a HUGE dose of iv steroids seemed to help. I was the squeaky wheel. I phoned. My gp told me that she would love to send me to the Mayo Clinic. Chiro and physio only keep the pain at bay - it is still there, always knocking. I am now woefully out of shape and recently had a rehab specialist tell me I needed to get in shape to feel better. I turned around and told her that her that this started out of the blue when I was in the best shape of my life. I went from being a gym rat to a couch potatoe in a matter of days. No response. Just get active.

If I were you I would be howling at any doctor/medical professional who would listen. Your active, fit, teenager was short of breath - that should have warrented major investigation. Shortness of breath in adults is investigated thoroughly - her age should not be an excuse.

The next time your daughter is short of breath or in severe pain - take her to Children's immediately. Skip Pan Am. They are so busy with the clearly defined cases they don't give a s**t to the diagnostic question marks. I know. Been there. Done that. Left as disappointed as ever.

In fact, I would call Children's today for guidance appointments. Explain the situation clearly and concisely and include your disappointment. Then, if required, be loud. Be annoying. Be a pain in their a***s. In short be their worst nightmare. After all, this is your baby.

This is how my life has changed: I can no longer walk down the stairs normally. I can no longer downhill ski. I can no longer hoist my keister up on a horse. Climbing stairs is still do-able, but very difficult. It hurts to walk long distances. It hurts to bike. Some days it hurts to get out of bed and off the toilet. I can't mow lawn anymore or move furniture. I can't anything involving my arms my head and weight or pressure. I could go on...

Your daughter has so much ahead of her in this life. Make sure it doesn't have a list of "can't"s like my life now has.


PS - I still have no cause or diagnosis.

Judy said...

Don't mess around with shortness of breath.

Whenever I felt like I was getting the run-around, I'd have THE DAD call. Although it bothers me to admit it, he could get things done that I could not.

Karla said...

Fight like hell. Is your family doc not advocating for you?? I wonder if there isn't a "patient's advocate" or something like it to help figure this yucky stuff out.

EPrairiegrrl said...

I'd try a second physio. I had really good results after a car accident with one who did some acupuncture, some manipulation and some stretching and regular physio stuff and sent exercises home with me. Not always without some discomfort but definitely saw improvement and progress.

I also think going through Children's might be a good idea. They may be able to refer you to someone like above that they specifically have heard good things about...

Anonymous said...

i have a fabulous physio who works part time in private practice and part time at childrens hospital. she is the best i have ever had work on me. email me... i'll see what connections i have that can help.


tanya said...

I totally agree with EPrairieGrrl. I had a hip injury that wasn't getting any better despite specialists and bone scans. A Pan Am doc said there was nothing wrong with me when he saw me lying on his exam table, so he sent me to a physio who had the brains to examine me standing and saw that I had spent months walking around with one hip several inches higher than the other. If your physio is saying come back when you feel the need when it's obvious there's an ongoing need, you need a new physio.

PS. I arrived home from a crappy day at work yesterday to find a lovely package waiting for me. It's beautiful! Thanks, and I hope I didn't cause too much trouble.

Anonymous said...

Hi Joyce,
An amazing physiotherapist helped me recover after a bad fall down some stairs [I was in great pain when I began & she helped me enormously when no one else could]. She is "really good" with young people. Just super,check her out on line at:
Her first name begins with T.
Good Luck

Anonymous said...

I have an amazing chiropractor. Not so much into the stereotypical "crack the neck" kind of thing - really good at brutal stretching. I was in a 3 car collision last week (results not as bad as what your daughter is going through), and I called him first. If you are interested and willing to try another chiro, I'll send over his name and number.
p.s. go for it, whatever you decide. You are your family's best advocate!