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Doctors tortured me but not like my HMO - long

Posted by SKULL on 11/04/04 at 22:00 (162991)

I have had problems with my foot for nearly 7 years now. It started when I had a bad sprain. I could not walk- they wheeled me into ER but the xray was ok so they made me walk out. Just a sprain. No air cast, nothing.

3 days later my foot was black - I went to another doctor, an orthapedist who said it was a bad sprain and gave me an air cast. Nothing else.

A year later walking (I used to be very active and thin, no more!) I experienced the first shooting pain, aching and swelling. It got more and more severe with each episode but I had long breaks in being sympomatic. Then it got terrible. I was without insurance at that time so dealt with it by just not walking and taking tons of tylenol and alieve. Miraculously, it got better for a while- about 5 months - long enough for me to get regular and not contract employment and health insurance.

Anyway, to make a long long story short, once I got insurance I could not seem to get anyone to believe me about the pain. Once it was so bad I went to ER, thinking maybe THEY would xray my ankle - I was sure if I could just get an xray they would see something. My bp, normally just right, was 140/110 that night I hurt so bad. The doc looked at me, asked me if I hurt it recently and said there was nothing he could do about it.

Finally I got a GP that sent me to a specialist after 3 visits. My doctor- I could kiss him - took x-rays and saw right away that I had a cyst and a lot of scarring. I had a positive tinel's sign - very positive. He sent me for an MRI and it showed that I had an osteochondral defect and severe vericose veins in and around the tarsal tunnel.

I am waiting on the HMO to approve my nerve conduction test. The neurologist did a tinel's test with my foot dependant, and hit it much harder than my foot doc did. I have been in severe paid for the last 3 days. I am so mad I can't see straight because I am starting a new job Friday night and wonder if I will make it.

Before I saw the neurologist I was contolled pretty well with neurotin, tylenol, motrin and an occasional ultracet. The last 3 days have been awful. I can't hardly stand the pain and nothing is contolling it. JEEZ! I never thought a simple tinel's test could throw me into complete nerve chaos!

My neurologist says I have 2 branches involved and he thinks I have scarring from the original accident that has never heeled.

I am just happy to have 2 good docs on my side now that believe me. Jeez! I have suffered with this for too long already!

What is with the HMO's thinking that if I go to PT and pick up marbles with my toes that this will just go away? That's almost comical. I think HMO's think maybe if they make people take forever to get surgery that if it takes a year half will quit, die, or get fired. Another 10% will give up and become alcoholics or drug addicts, and another 10% WILL KILL themselves out of pain. That's how they conive to make a profit.

I had to gripe and thought you guys might understand. Most people DO NOt UNDERSTAND HOW BAD FOOT PAIN CAN AFFECT YOU. Its ruining my life, it just keeps getting worse, and I'm at the mercy of a HMO from hades.

Re: Doctors tortured me but not like my HMO - long

SKULL on 11/04/04 at 22:09 (162993)

I do want to add something that does help a lot - hot wax baths. My doctor told me to get one - they were expensive but I found one for 10 bucks with the wax on ebay -when it came it was obvious that it was brand new. It really does help. I don't even start to understand why but they sooth the nerve down better than anything.

I can't stand socks of any kind. I can't stand shoes really - being barefoot is the happiest my foot is, or any shoe like a moccasin. Ankle supports make mine worse- I spent a fortune on the expensive tennis shoes and ended up giving them all to my sister. The trick for me is to keep anything I can off my ankle.

All my pain is in my ankle - It feels deep - no pins and needles here unless someone taps the nerve. Its more like some stabbing pains and a lot of deep aches. It feels a lot like when I broke my hand in several places. My pain is not like most descriptions I read. I never had numbness, just an occasional stabbing pain that will sometimes literally knock me down, then the aching.

Re: Doctors tortured me but not like my HMO - long

Zane Ullman on 11/05/04 at 08:21 (163006)

Sorry to hear about all your trouble. We sympathize with you about the pain and understand the dramatic decrease in quality of life. When I tell almost anyone outside the family it just goes whooosh, right over their head. If they haven't lived through it they just don't get it. Hang in there and good luck. I find that exercise, medicine and high quality shoes help me with my bilateral chronic heel pain.


Re: Doctors tortured me but not like my HMO - long

Ed Davis, DPM on 11/05/04 at 18:31 (163052)

I assume that none of this happened at work? The reason that I am asking is that most Workers Comp. systems let you choose your doc so you can break away from the HMO constaints.

What are the plans to get you to a surgeon? Pain specialist?

Unfortunately, with many HMO's you are your own advocate and just have to yell very loud to get things done.

Re: Doctors tortured me but not like my HMO - long

SKULL on 11/06/04 at 21:29 (163122)

No, this didn't happen at work. The initial injury was 7 years ago.

My HMO is crazy. My sister advised me to call them and complain.

I was in awful pain last night. The pain went all the way up to my knee and I could not walk. I never made it to start the job I was supposed to start. I cried all night. The job was not all that important, it was just a fill in position - it wasn't going to be regular income - I am ok but I do miss nursing and had looked forward to getting to nurse some. With this foot though I just can't.

The way I understand it I am waiting on a year's conservative treatment. Right now I am waiting on pre-certification for the nerve conduction tests. So I guess I am just waiting.

I will NEVER let another person do the tinel test with my leg hanging down or with a tuning fork. I don't know why but that threw me into severe pain all week when I'd been doing ok before that.

Re: update

skull on 11/09/04 at 07:30 (163307)

Its over a week after I saw the neurologist and my ankled got ticked at me for it. The ankle is very symptomatic and about 40-50 steps is my max with severe limping and a walking stick. Usually the pain would go away over night but not this time - I woke 2-3 times last night with shooting pain into my big toe. My foot is having crazy electrical purring continuously.

I'm just going to stay home and keep it up today. I went to work yesterday and it seemed like a mistake. My job is over Monday - I'm going to try to work from home doing my own thing so I can work my schedule around my ankle.

Luckily I have 2 small online businesses that I think I can grow and hubby has insurance too - in fact - his is better than mine so I will be better off insurance wise when I quit my job. (We can't change but once a year where I work.)

Re: update

Mike on 11/10/04 at 09:18 (163432)

You are dead on with your insurance thoughts! I was in a similar situation but went ahead and financed the surgery myself. That was in January and we're still fighting the HMO. We havent even got down to the actual reasons for the surgery - they have stalled and stalled with 'mistakes' and 'lost paperwork' - read HMO Standard Proceedure!

They are in business to make money, not hand it out. Thier goal is to wear you down so you'll give up - and about 90% do! Thats why they do it. Its a sucessful business strategy.

Well Im still fighting and not gonna give up. I think I would have put a bullet in my head by now if I was still waiting on thier approval. They are gonna wish (or already do :-) that they never heard my name!

Keep at'em