Ron Piggott

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Most Recent Blog Entry
A Helpful Appointment With My Family Doctor
[ March 14th 2018  10:43 am ]

I had an appointment with my family doctor yesterday. The patient before me didn't show up. We spent about 40 minutes together.

I am not feeling frustrated now. This is the probably the first time in about 8 months. The specialists notes were extremely detailed. Although I was I was concerned while I was having this assessment in late February the specialist did get the taste of me and was able to understand me.

Ultimately my family doctor asked me what I want and why. I stopped using the pool each day at the advice of my friend who is a physiotherapist in his capacity as a physiotherapist. From everything that has been said to me over the span of 12 years is that it is easier for me to moderate the pain I experience by taking steps at home throughout the day than 1 hour in a pool leading to 2½ days worth of debilitating pain. I haven't been able to stay on top of my household chores. The pain from using the pool has very much limited what I can do as an adult in effectively what becomes enrichment activities when you are in the position I am presently experiencing. At this point I am far more interested in living my life over a recovery since 36 months have passed since my 2nd hip joint has been replaced.

One of my natural abilities is pattern recognition. I notice when I've been physically overexerting myself the pain I experience takes on a life of it's own. You could think of this similar to a self oxidizing fire. Prior to my 2nd hip replacement surgery I was spending a week at a cottage or with friends staying at their home each year and returning home refreshed. I haven't done this during the past 3 years because it was more important to try to recover. I've decided to take it easier on my body while trying to do some walking spread throughout the day. Then this only leaves me needing exercise for my lower spine arthritis. I can do this without causing debilitating pain in my knees.

My family doctor extending my Disability Tax Certificate with 'Canada Revenue Agency' for another 3 years. There is a disability version of 'RRSP" where the Federal Government acts as the employer and matches contributions you make. With my dad's recent death and a pending inheritance presently in Probate Court this is my best retirement planning option.

My family doctor also completed the medical travel form so the expense of taking me to the assessment is paid for by my disability. He renewed my pain medications for another 2 months.

I had about a 2.5 hour wait for the para-transit vehicle to bring me home. My family doctor is in the community next to Belleville. I had to wait for a vehicle to get me back home. I always bring something to keep myself busy while I wait. This gave me some time to think.

The specialist clearly communicated that I had exhausted the physiotherapy option. When I think back over the past 3 years there are only (2) suggestions I haven't pursued. For the risks of surgery I think both are worthy of an effort when I am not feeling worn down from the marathon of the past 3 years.

The first is using heat to loosen up my knee joints prior to exercise. It would be easy enough for me to make a functional abilities summary (how many steps I can take, how long can I stand in 1 place for, etc.), use heat and a recumbent exercise bike starting at 1 minute and increasing by a minute over the span of 10 weeks. A similar approach to this was used in 2006 when I suddenly lost the use of my left hip joint. For the risks of surgery this certainly is worth it.

The other suggestion which was given to me I am not happy with. But again with the risks involved in surgery also seems worthy of a try. One of the surgeons who knows me (in his capacity as a surgeon) has questioned if I had pushed through the pain would I have recovered. I have mixed feelings about this. I have been dealing with chronic pain for 12 years now. I have a fairly good sense of what is healing pain sensations verses what is warning pain sensations from exceeding my bodies tissue limits verses of what damaging pain sensations. During the appointment with my family doctor we talked about this some. He didn't feel there was any great benefit to me attending a physiotherapy clinic 5 days a week; With my mental acuity attending twice a week would be sufficient. With changes to the Ontario Government all I've had for physiotherapy coverage is the same as you would engage in life coaching. That is talking about the exercises, how it is going and then being assigned a home exercise program. With how complicated my specific case is (because of the conservative treatment method used in the 1970's - early 1980's) the traditional physiotherapy just doesn't bring the typical results. Last night I mail ordered a pair of knee joint models which are anatomically correct and used as a teaching aid. I am going to label one "LEFT" and the other "RIGHT" and bring these to my next appointment. I am going to ask my family doctor to use a permanent marker to draw on them the deterioration the MRI imaging from 2017 identified. If I can look at these models I am going to be able to easily determine if my knee joints are just in pain from lack of exercise and the surgeon was right that I should push through it or if the pain is propagating from the identified arthritis. The difference between now and the past 3 years is when money is released from Probate Court I will need to pay around $2,500 for the physiotherapy oversight. I have my doubts that this would work. But the risks of surgery seem worth trying.

Otherwise the specialists suggestion was the same as my friend who is a physiotherapist: To have a scope of my knee joint performed and have a good look around and actually see what the MRI imaging missed. An MRI is only a representative sample of the knee joint. My hip joints did not image well. There was only approximately a 40% accuracy in the imaging reports. But when I had the various surgeries what I was describing was found.

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