I'm so rough and tough that I don't go to a doc for ouchies.1 So after spraining my right ham last September in an ill-advised dismount from a sailboard, I skipped medical advice. Couldn't sit down for more than a week, mind you, but I figured I could deal with it myself.
Six months later, it still hurt. My doc sent me to a physiatrist.2
I walked in thinking, "I'm such a wimp!" And the physiatrist said, "Let's start with two visits a week for four weeks."
I was stunned. I'd expected something just short of ridicule. I said, "How about one visit a week for two weeks?"
Later, I phoned my doctor and said, "I'm looking for a reality check. Could I really need that much therapy? Are they just looking for business?" He said I could get a second opinion.
Then I thought, "What am I complaining about?" I say it hurts, and they agree!
I went in to the physical therapist today. She had me lie down and put the leg in the air so she could find the scar tissue. Then she leaned on my calf, peered around my ankle, and said, "What did you decide about how often you're going to come in?"
Instead of saying "Owwww! Let go of my leg!" (because I'm so rough and tough, remember?), I gasped, "I decided to follow your recommendation."
She made a fist, drew one elbow back toward her waist, and said "Yes!" Next came ultrasound, ice, and electrical stimulation with electrodes taped to what the beauty-pageant people might call the "fanny overhang." I've got two visits next week.
Toto, I've a feeling we're not at Kaiser Permanente any more. Then again, I'm now part of the great American health care cost crisis.
My witto weg hurts. Maybe there's a Thumbsuckers Anonymous out there--when the leg's back to normal, I may need to join.
1Thanks to my early training in the Kaiser Permanente Health Care system, which wouldn't hold your hand back then unless it was broken. They're better now. Still, I have a niece in the Kaiser system who's had a strain in her Achilles tendon for a couple of years now. If you ask me, a healthy twenty-something who can't walk more than a half-hour at a time is not getting enough treatment.
2That's a doctor who's an orthopedic nonsurgeon. A sports doctor, pretty much.