Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Confounded and vexed

That's what the doc said when I saw him for my 6-week post-op checkup. He also used the phrase "at a loss." Not encouraging words from a surgeon trying to understand why I'm still having so much pain.

What was more disturbing than his confoundment was his suggestion that the problem could be with my hip - haven't we seen this movie? Or the sacro-iliac joint -- wasn't that what sent me into the useless, pointless exercise in x-ray guided injections?

I left there with vague instructions: see how it is in a month and start rehab in the meantime. If there's no improvement, schedule all-new MRI's. This time -- 3 of them (hip, spine, SI) and at HSS, because they are apparently the best at the trickier SI one.

So here we are, in a place I never anticipated, where my docs are flummoxed. Calling Dr. House! One thing I never thought I had was a medical mystery. The docs seemed quite sure at the time they pronounced a diagnosis. It's your hip, says the hip guy. It's your sacroiliac joint, says the pain guy. It's your spine, says the spine guy.

Reminds me of the old story of the blind men and the elephant.

So now what we're thinking about is a meeting, where we'd gather the two main docs, the two of us and all the relevant films in the same room at the same time to talk this through and hammer it out. That's precisely how I'd address a problem like this at work: a focused discussion with all the stakeholders and evidence where we don't adjourn until we have a plan.

So I set wheels in motion -- maybe. I called Jose (hip guy) and left a message. Of all the actors in my playlet he seems the most empathetic and approachable, so I'll float this idea with him. He's traveling, so I don't expect a conversation (let alone a resolution) till next week.

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