I’ve got a bad case of
lovin’ misdiagnosin’ you.
Stephanie: My foot is hurting so much more than usual.
Rheumatologist: Let’s up your meds and throw a new one into the mix.
Stephanie: This feels different, though. Could we maybe do an x-ray?
Rheumatologist: No need for an x-ray. Increase the usual meds and start taking this new one, too. But stop by the lab on the way out so I can check your vitamin B-12 level.
Stephanie: What are you looking for with that test?
Rheumatologist: Your B-12 levels.
Stephanie: Could I get an x-ray, just in case?
Rheumatologist: No need. Stop by the labs on the way out. *squeezes shoulder* It’s not like you’re dying, honey.
Stephanie mumbles to self: Dickhead. Dickhead. I fucking hate you.
Stephanie: I am experiencing severe pain in my left foot.
Urgent Care Doctor: Are you currently under the care of any other doctors?
Stephanie: Just a general practitioner and…and…*drops head and mumbles* a rheumatologist.
Urgent Care Doctor: You’ll need to see your rheumatologist.
Stephanie: *actually started crying here…silently* please help me. Please.
Urgent Care Doctor: *squeezes the shit out of foot and pokes around* You just have a deep callus in this foot, and it’s pushing on your bone.
Stephanie: Really? I haven’t felt anything! But this is great news! What do I do?
Urgent Care Doctor: Soak in epsom salt and grind it with pumice.
Stephanie: Could we please take an x-ray? Just in case?
Urgent Care Doctor: It’s a callus.
Stephanie: I have severe pain in my left foot. I need an x-ray.
Podiatrist: *pokes around* Does that hurt?
Stephanie: Yes. Yes, it hurts. And I’m having difficulties walking. I’m limping at work, and I need help. Can you do an x-ray?
Podiatrist: You don’t need an x-ray. It isn’t that swollen. Besides, you probably just have a pulled tendon. That won’t show on an x-ray.
Stephanie: Okay. I understand soft tissue problems won’t show…and maybe it’s my tendon. But can we please do an x-ray? I do pay my doctor bills. (Yeah, I was pretty upset and insistent this time. I must have said “I’ll pay whatever. Please. Please x-ray my foot” three or four times.)
Podiatrist: Nah. *runs his mouth incessantly talking about what a wonderful next-coming-of-Christ president Trump would be while trying to find the codes to fill out on my forms* I’m gonna give you this magic pill. (I swear to peanuts he said, “MAGIC.”)
Stephanie: *sighs and wipes tear off of face* What’s this magic pill?
Podiatrist: Oh it’s a prescription strength NSAID.
Stephanie: What for? I should tell you I take enough NSAID every day to kill entire villages.
Podiatrist: No problem. This is going to dissolve your problem.
Stephanie: It’s gonna dissolve my tendon??!?!!
Podiatrist: Just take this as prescribed and you’ll be kicking a football by tomorrow.
Stephanie: *whispers* I don’t think you understand how bad this is.
Podiatrist: There’s nothing wrong with your foot. (Yes, he said that.) Oh, hey! Don’t forget to support Trump! (That, too.)
Stephanie mumbles to self: Dickhead. Dickhead. I fucking hate you.
Stephanie: Do I need a follow-up for once the scrip is finished?
Podiatrist: Nope. I’m telling you, this pill is magic.
Stephanie rages in her head: I hope your clothes fall off and you trip, naked, and land dick-first in an ant bed. Filled with bullet ants. Douchepickle Asscanoe.
Stephanie: I have severe pain in my left foot. I’ve been to three doctors and have been unsatisfied with all of them. Can you help me? (I finally took ownership of my healthcare. Finally.)
Podiatrist #2: Tell me all of the details, start to finish.
Stephanie: *tells him all of the details, start to finish* I also added: Please do whatever you need to do and take whatever tests need to be taken. This pain has gotten unbearable, and nobody believes me.
Lots of poking and prodding commences. Bending my foot. Jabbing my foot. Scrunching my toes. All the while gauging the level of discomfort in my reactions.
Podiatrist #2: In everything you told me, you never mentioned an x-ray. Has anyone x-rayed this foot?
Stephanie: No one has taken an x-ray of my foot.
Podiatrist #2: *cocks head* Really?
Stephanie: No one.
Podiatrist #2: I want to take an x-ray. I don’t think the bones in your feet are straight.
Stephanie: *blinks. blinks then laughs* Seriously?
X-ray is taken, and I wait a whopping five minutes for him to come in and go over it with me.
Podiatrist #2: You have a stress fracture.
Stephanie: Are you serious?
Podiatrist #2: *points* See? You have what looks like an old break in the same spot. Is that right?
Stephanie: Yeah, but it was about eight years ago.
Podiatrist #2: This break looks like it happened at least several weeks ago and is already working on healing. See? *points and explains his reasoning* Had you recently changed your routines or footwear? Any high intensity workouts or anything that you felt stressed your joints?
Stephanie: You mean…you mean like spin classes where I stand on the pedal with improper footwear, causing my feet to wrap around the pedals?
Podiatrist #2: That’s exactly the kind of thing I mean.
Stephanie: And cardio kickboxing? And mountain hiking? (Y’all, I swear I’m not some superfit person. It’s the opposite – all of that was a brand new effort to get myself fit after a lifetime of living fat and out of shape. My body punished me for it. Bitch.)
Podiatrist #2: *laughs and laughs* Yeah. Okay. So what kind of footwear do you wear to work?
Stephanie: *points at shoes*
Podiatrist #2: That’s not what you’ve been wearing.
Podiatrist #2: Those aren’t great, but they’re not bad. And they’re also not old. What did you usually wear prior to these?
Stephanie: Converse. Every day. For years.
Podiatrist #2: They let you wear those? Nevermind. Look, I love Converse. I’d wear them exclusively if I could. But I can’t anymore. And neither can you.
Podiatrist #2: You see the way your metatarsals are deeply curved? *points at x-ray* That’s a birth defect, and it’s likely that your right foot is the same. If it had been caught when you were a baby, it could have possibly been corrected. But now, the best course of action is to wear proper inserts in proper shoes.
He goes through everything with me, in slow and careful detail. He waits patiently as I whip out my phone and make a bunch of notes so I won’t forget anything he’s told me.
Podiatrist #2: Look, I know this is going to be expensive – getting proper footwear and the inserts and the follow-up appointment. I know. But *points at x-ray again and points out all of the inflammation and thinning bones* you’re due for another break at any time. If you can afford it, fixing your footwear needs to take priority to try to prevent this from getting worse.
He talked me into a cortisone shot directly into my foot and OHMYEVERLOVINGFUCKTHATHURT. And he also told me that I may need surgery down the line because of a bonespur happening at that old/new break. But he said, “You do NOT want that surgery. So I’m beseeching you to work on your footwear. That may be all you need.”
He was fucking awesome. I thanked him profusely and was all smiles when I left. Yeah, I didn’t get great news. But you know what? He listened to me. He believed me. He poked and prodded until he had all of the information and answers he needed. And he identified the problem. He also said this could worsen my arthritis and connective tissue disease – and vice versa – but that we need to take one step at a time. (He only told me that because I asked him if and how this current problem could be related to my diagnoses.)
He wants to see me again in two weeks. A follow-up to see how the medicine and shot and shoes help. He also switched my scrip. He said, “I know Podiatrist #1 swears by this…..but (as nicely as possible) I want to give you something that I think is more effective.” He explained why and had me swear I wouldn’t take the two medications simultaneously. Seriously liked this doc.
Anyway. I have two main reasons for spilling all of this here:
- I needed to rant like a motherfucker
- To remind myself – AND you – to NOT give up on your health. Take care of yourself and whenever at all possible, get a second opinion. And a third. And a fourth. And don’t stop until you run out of money. And then, start a GoFundMe page or some shit. You only get one life, Stephanie. And you bloggers. You only get one body, Stephanie. And you bloggers. Take ownership of it.
P.S. I’m a fucking badass. Yeah, I said it. No broken foot gonna keep me down. I’ve been hobbling around for a couple months now, but I kept going.