This entry is part 7 in an ongoing series of semi-irregular posts detailing my frustration with Workers Compensation and the wonderful world of rotator cuff surgery. In case you haven't been keeping up: Part 1
| Part 2
| Part 3
| Part 4
| Part 5
| Part 6
| Part 7
(YOU ARE HERE) | Part 8
| Part 9
| Part 10
| Part 11
When last we heard from Our Intrepid Hero™ (me), on January 27th, 2014, I had gone to the orthopedist and had my first appointment, where we . . .
Wait. Let's review a couple of tiny things. From Part 1:
About 45 minutes later, I made it to my doctor. He had me put the arm through some moves that hurt, and he manipulated it.
No broken bones. No torn muscles. No broken, torn, or detached tendons. No rotator cuff injury (which is what I truly feared).
Emphasis added for irony purposes.
And from Part 2:
The doctor at the time told me that it was not broken, nor did I have any sort of rotator cuff injury, which were the two things I was most concerned about.
Emphasis once again added for irony purposes.
Why am I mentioning how my original doctor told me there were no tendon or rotator cuff injuries? [This right here is called "suspense," dear reader. Watch how it works.]
The day after my first visit to the orthopedist, we had what we here in the south like to call Icemageddon. It snowed about 2 inches, but because it was juuuuuust warm enough, that snow melted and instantly formed an inch or more of ice on our roads. And because Reasons, Atlanta shut down for two days. Most businesses in affected areas were shut down for three days.
Because of that, I decided to give Some Woman at Some Company the benefit of the doubt, and I didn't disturb either her or the doctor. I assumed that since my doctor's office had spoken directly with her, that Gears Were Set In Motion and that Things Would Be Happening.
I heard that. You laughed. No, don't bother to deny it, I heard you distinctly.
Then, about two weeks later, we had Icemageddon II: The Return of Solid Precipitation. This time, rather than snowing in a nice, pretty, picturesque way, ol' Mother Nature decided to just get it out of the way and sleet1
for two straight days. Atlanta was shut down once more for three days.
The following week when I returned to work, I called the doctor's office, and found out that — can you guess? — they had never heard from Some Woman. In fact, they had been — can you guess?
— unable to get through to her.
I called Some Woman, expecting to get her voice mail, as per usual. Imagine my shock
when she answered the phone
. I asked her — politely — if she had called the doctor's office. Keep in mind that this was the third week after my visit, and the doctor's office calling, because all they needed was an approval for an MRI, and information on where to send me for said MRI
. She was very polite. Bright and sunny. And she said, "I tried to call them last week, but their office was closed because of the snow. And I haven't contacted them yet this
week because I'm giving them time to get caught up."
I'm pretty sure I must have had a small stroke at this point, because I cannot trust the fact that Some Woman actually spoke
these words to me. Honestly. Has anyone in history ever been less aware of how stupid they sound? So, maybe we had this conversation, and maybe I hallucinated the entire thing. I'd almost rather believe the latter.
In my most chipper, friendly tone, I thanked her(!) and hung up. I then penned a very carefully worded email to my HR department explaining the problem. Unlike every other time I had done this, I got no response. None. Nada. Zilch. Crickets chirping.
I spoke to Some Woman again that Wednesday, and she said she had faxed them the information. I called my doctor and they had no record of any fax. I asked them to get in touch with her and handle it.
Then, finally, on Friday, the 28th of February, I got a call from my doctor's office, saying that they had finally managed to get the information from Some Woman.
I will stress, here, that the only thing my doctor's office needed, at this point, was a "Yes, send the patient to Facility X for an MRI." That's it. But it took Some Woman thirty-three days
to do that.
Thirty. Fucking. Three.
From that point, I got rapid-fire calls from Facility X's HQ in New Jersey, and we set up the MRI for the next week, at one of their facilities near me, on Wednesday. It was so unbelievably
refreshing to deal with someone who not only proactively dealt with getting me what I needed, but seemed to actually care.
I had the MRI. I then scheduled a visit with the doctor to tell me what the images meant.
The astute reader will recall the element of suspense that I (subtly) created earlier by highlighting excerpts from prior posts in this series in which I specifically stated that my original doctor said there was nothing broken, no tendon damage, and no rotator cuff damage.
You already know that the x-ray showed a healed compression fracture, i.e., a broken bone.
When I stood behind the doctor as he looked at the MRI results, he pointed at a bright blob and said, "See this tendon? The insertion is supposed to be —" he pointed several centimeters to the left "— over here. And see this?" He pointed at another bright blob. "That's your rotator cuff, which is pretty badly torn." The blob, which should be in the shape of a cup around the ball of the humerus bone was . . . a blob, crumpled in the back of the socket joint.
No wonder my shoulder hurts. No wonder the PT didn't help. So as much as I hate to admit it . . . the PT was, indeed, medically unnecessary. Just not for the bullshit reason I was given ("returned to full duty at work").
He recommended surgery. He then said, "Sometimes, I go in and it turns out there's too much damage, and there's nothing I can do. About once out of every 50 surgeries, that happens."
That's pretty good odds, from my point of view.
So, where are we, now? We're waiting on Some Woman at Some Company to 'approve' my surgery, so we can go ahead and schedule it. I lobbed the ball of Your Responsibility for doing that over the net to my doctor's office yesterday (March 12, 2014).
Anyone have any bets how long I'll have to wait?
- I made a really cool, short video of it and posted it to my YouTube channel, if you're interested in seeing what it looked and sounded like. It was quite pretty, actually. It's about 15 seconds.