Posts Tagged ‘injury’

Diary of the injured coach?

September 8, 2008

Really? Is that what it’s going to turn into? Well, yeah, if things keep moving along like this.
I would say that I was hmmm, “not very impressed” by my last two “sports injury” doctors.
Neither of them took time to listen to the history of the joint, digest the information, and properly diagnose what was going on.
For example, the last “doctor” thoroughly wasted my visit, by ruling out one the thing that it OBVIOUSLY wasn’t — a broken bone. I told him that I was having A LOT of pain since re-injuring the ankle three weeks ago, and that since I have a high tolerance for pain, it’s a BIG warning sign that something is wrong (at least it has been in the past). I told him it wasn’t a broken bone, and that THIS felt like tendon or ligament, but he wanted to be sure about the bone thing, so he took an x-ray and, NO surprise, no broken bones.
So, RIGHT THEN he tells me his OFFICIAL diagnosis. That’s right; no MRI, no further testing of the joint, no further questions about the history of injuries related to that joint. Yep, he figured it out all by himself. His official diagnosis was “soft tissue injury of the lower right extremity”. wow. That is one truly underwhelming diagnosis. I COULD NOT BELIEVE HE ACTUALLY WROTE THAT ON THE SCRIPT FOR PHYSICAL THERAPY. But still, giving him the benefit of the doubt, I thought that maybe he would elaborate with me, so that I could direct the Physical Therapist in some coherent way. So I asked him to elaborate, at which point he made it abundantly clear that really did not know how to elaborate, if the answer was not “a broken bone”. Let’s just say that, for an orthopedic surgeon to make an official diagnosis of “soft tissue damage of the lower right extremity” with NO other specifics is, well, about as stupid and useless as saying, “It’s not a broken bone, so it’s DEFINITELY something else. Would you like me to be less specific?”

As soon as I got home from that appt, I scheduled the appt for today, with another doctor, but within the same group. The doctor I saw today seemed to listen, and gave me his preliminary analysis of what was going on, but an MRI is needed to really know. Well done.
Then again, what would you do with a properly annoyed patient, who shoves a colleague’s diagnosis under your nose and says, “a nine-year-old could have made a more specific diagnosis. I think it’s fair to say that, at this point I should have an MRI.” Oh, yes I did. I was pissed off, and if someone in that medical group could brush off me and my ankle, and MY JOB, then, the next doctor was going to here EVERYTHING, with notes. No, I wasn’t so intimidating as to have papers, the were in my iphone, along with pics of my x-rays if I needed them.
So now I have an MRI scheduled for Wednesday, and on Monday I find out what’s going on.
But I have to ask, What is it with these doctors in Los Angeles? I admit that, having come from NYC, I’m used to good doctors, but MY GOSH, the incompetence I’ve both witnessed and heard about, since moving to LA has been truly extraordinary. And it’s in EVERY field of medicine here, which is creepy and scary, all at once.
Is it just me?

I have the same kind of problem with hairdressers that are anywhere close to me, but that’s a different blog…


July 1, 2008

It’s certainly not the first injury I’ve ever had, and likely it won’t be the last (because, I plan the to active for as long as I live).
What happened
Danskin Sprint Triathlon was taking place in Disneyland!
WAY back in the days when I was a triathlete, most of the tris were olympic distances, to half Ironmans, so that’s what I did. Those tris ranged from “epic!” to “too fucking long”. I was totally psyched for doing my first tri in over fifteen years as a sprint, which means that it would be done in under two hours. Now, I’m a cyclist first, at this point, but I convinced myself that:
I could add in a swim at the gym easily, right?
Oh, and then there’s that run bit. Well, since my snowboarding accident ~five years ago, my ankle turns whenever I run, but I can correct that with shoes, right?
And it’s only, like, 2 and a half miles, so if I want to, I can walk it, right?
(OK, anyone who’s been in a triathlon knows that, if you do well in the first two legs, you’re not likely to just say, okay, here’s where I just stroll along as if I’m no longer competing, while all the people that you’ve just past, now pass you).
And I know gals that will be there, some of which I’ve coached, so it will be a good environment, no matter what, right?
So, I enter.
I’d been walking in vibrams five fingers on trail, and loving it. I’d heard that some people had success with “barefoot running” in vibrams, so I figured I’d give it a try. I started with one to two mile walk-run-walks, on trail, and progressed slowly over the course of the month, with a bit more run and less walk. My times were substantially down from running with regular shoes, but trail in these shoes meant exceedingly careful footfall, so I didn’t mind.
Move on to Bricks. I did a quick ten miler bike by the beach, with a plan to change into my vibrams, and do a one slow-run, on pavement. I stretched in between, but apparently it was not enough. About a half mile into the jog, I felt something***. It felt like a hot electrical pulse that started at the head of the Gastrocnemius, where it connects to the Achilles tendon. After that, the leg became inoperable. I had to limp the rest of the way back. Two days later, after elevation, analgesics, massage, and a bit of stretching and exercise, it felt like I was walking a bit more normal. But I figured I’d wait a while before I try another run, and just concentrate on the bike and swim.
I attended AIDS Lifecycle as a Bike Tech /Store Manager, which meant long hours hauling stuff, fixing bikes, and generally on my feet, so it was NOT getting rest. A short jog on a cork track sealed the deal for me that I was not going to do the Danskin Triathlon. After hearing somebody refer to my gait as somewhere between a saunter and a swagger, I knew something was wrong. A doctor confirmed a calf strain.
So instead, my husband and I had a great time going down to Disneyland, experiencing the Danskin Triathlon as spectators, and cheering on and supporting the gals I knew. So yep, I still had fun.

But now, I’m stuck on the sofa,
not allowed to bike ride for a week, with four weeks of physical therapy ahead, and no coaching for the first few weeks. I know that patience is a virtue, but it is just NOT my best asset. SO, as part of a plan to keep me from going stir crazy, we’ve decided to move up the dates that we get puppies. We were going to wait until mid-august, but now that I have the time to concentrate on them, why not? So now I’ve got puppy fever, which is a heck of a lot better than cabin fever. I’ve, in fact, just spoken with a lady that’s fostering a puppy that sounds perfect for us. I’m getting so excited!!! (no, I didn’t just pee myself; really).

What’s Next: Women’s 7 week Clinic – “Conquer the Santa Monica Mountains”
July 19th through Sept 14
Details very soon…

About me “feeling something”.
I have VERY high tolerance for pain in some circumstances, usually internal trauma injuries. What might be hours of searing pain for others, might register as a “hot electrical pulse” to me, or maybe mild discomfort, along with difficulty with motion. I seem to adapt to new pain quickly, which can lead to serious injuries going unnoticed until it gets worse, and inhibits motion, and for example, I start to walk with a limp without realizing it. For me, a small limp has meant torn ligaments, tendons, and worse. That’s why, when someone I know asks me why I’m limping, I usually see a doctor to find out the answer.

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