"Let me know if this hurts," said the doctor as he approached my foot.
"OUCH!" I yelped, and jerked away before he could touch it.
I was at the orthopaedic practice recommended by the E.R. I had opted for convenience instead of the fancy doctor recommended by my athletic friend Kirsten. Her doctor practiced downtown DC and repaired injured hockey players; my doctor was five minutes from my house and seemed to repair little old ladies, judging from the waiting room.
"Hmmmm," said the doctor. "This looks like it could be a Lisfranc fracture."
"Blah, blah, eight weeks in a cast and on crutches, no weight on it, blah, blah---um, are you okay?"
At his mention of eight weeks on crutches, I started bawling. Just fell right apart on the crispy-paper-lined table. It took both of us by surprise. He called down the hall for Kleenex--apparently, orthopaedic doctors' offices aren't equipped for mental breakdowns (although by this point, I probably should have started toting my own box).
I tried to explain: "I have a toddler. It's Christmas. I cannot be on crutches for eight weeks." He said not to worry until we got the MRI results back. Easy for him to say.
A few days later, I got good news. "It's not Lisfranc," said the doctor, as he scanned the paperwork from the MRI center. "You fractured your calcaneus [heel] bone, sprained your ankle and have a lot of bone bruising throughout the foot."
He glanced at me, then at the box of Kleenex that now sat on his desk. "Now, I'm not going to cast you, but you need to wear this boot and start PT. Come back in four weeks."
Four weeks later, still on crutches, still swollen, still purple, I returned. "That's strange," said the doctor, who obviously failed his doctor-patient communications class in medical school. "It's not looking any better. Maybe I should cast you. Hmmm." He started paging through my chart. "I know I read that MRI report, and they didn't see Lisfranc, but the report's gone missing. I know I read it, though."
"Yep, you read it," I confirmed. "You looked at the actual MRI itself, too, though--right?" I half-jokingly questioned.
He looked up. "Um, no. I didn't. I'm not really comfortable reading foot MRIs. I'm actually more of a hip guy."
Excuse me? You've been treating my foot for five weeks but you don't feel comfortable reading the MRI of the appendage in question? My long-dormant lawyer-kill-mode kicked in. "No disrespect intended, but would there be anyone here who IS comfortable reading the MRI of my foot?"
"Yeah, you know, you should probably see my colleague Dr. Blah, Blah, Blah." He scribbled another doctor's name down for me. "Okay, well, good bye." And he left the room.
I gathered my crutches and got angrier--both at the doctor and myself. Instead of making an appointment with his colleague, I requested a copy of my file and films. Lesson learned: I shouldn't have compromised my health care for convenience. A hockey player who can't skate has nothing on a mommy on crutches.