There’s good news and bad news from today’s visit to the new orthopedist. Good news: very prompt, almost no waiting. Bad news: he is a joint replacement specialist.
Good news: He didn’t dismiss me or my problem as being caused by obesity. I was worried about that, actually, and did volunteer that I knew the excess weight was not helping. Which he agreed. But he didn’t say that surgery was impossible until I lost weight, and he didn’t yell at me for being so heavy when my joints were suffering. Clearly he’s been here before with other patients. And he understands that it’s hard to exercise when every step, every rotation causes pain. He also approved of my current meds, including the infrequent Percoset for pain.
Bad news: I need a knee replacement. There’s really no other solution given the bone-on-bone nature of my joints, especially the right one, which is the biggest problem right now. I’m not a candidate for Synvisc, which I’ve had several times before. My only real temporary alternative will be cortisone injections every 3-4 months until I’m ready for the surgery.
More bad news: Losing weight between now and surgery will undoubtedly help. If I am considering WLS, I should probably schedule that before a knee replacement, since it will make knee recovery easier. And the longer I can postpone the knee surgery, the greater the possibility (but only the possibility) that it wouldn’t need a revision (i.e., “do over”) in my lifetime.
Contributing factor: I’m still in my first year of my new job and my saved up vacation and sick time is minimal because, well, I haven’t been here long enough to earn much (*thinks wistfully of the 130 days of sick leave I had to leave behind*). Knee replacement surgery will require a minimum of six weeks out of work because you can’t drive for 6 weeks and I have no other way to get to work. If I have WLS, too, I have to factor in the time needed for that surgery. It would be a lot better if I could just get my act together and lose weight on my own.
Good news: I don’t have to do anything right now. I am the one who will decide when it’s time. I got a cortisone shot and that will help short-term. I also got a pedicure which did nothing for my knee but gave my spirits (and my toes) a lift.