Orthotics and Prosthetics

Try saying that three times really fast.  In fact, try saying it once.

The place I am presently chained to…Tallahassee Orthopedic Clinic…is larger than some hospitals, and has several departments.  MRI, Surgery, Physical Therapy, and of course, O and P.

I am for sure getting better.  I can tell by the number of devices I need in order to walk.  I went from this:

ghost cast
To this:

Bledsoe boot 2

To this:

Gameday Ankle brace

The second photo is a pneumatic boot.  Your next step after a cast. Its advantage is, you can (theoretically) take it on and off, which you can’t do with a cast.  I’m joking about theoretically.  It just isn’t easy.  When you put it on, you have all these straps, miles of Velcro which sticks to itself.  Which strap goes where?  Once you get it on, there is a little port where you inject air to stiffen the rigid sidc supports.  Or as one of my friends said, it’s a medieval instrument of torture.  And the longer you wear it, the worse it gets.  It’s heavy.  I started to feel like Frankenstein’s assistant Igor, dragging his leg around.

Two days ago, I graduated to the third photo:  an ankle brace.  Specifically a Gameday ankle brace.  I had to laugh when I looked them up.  They claim it’s very easy to wear and adjust.  Really?  It has a sort of mesh on top, and a lace-up tie that you have to do first.  Step One. Then there are two side straps that you have to weave under your foot in a figure 8 pattern and then secure to the top.  And finally, a third strap which goes around the top to secure the laces and the other two straps.  And I thought the boot was complicated?

The boot was serious Velcro,  and when I say Velcro, I mean nuclear Velcro.  Not only did it stick to everything, it attracted stuff like it was magnetized. I wore it day and night. It was black.  I have a totally white cat, and a red and white dog.  I had ditched one of the straps, and another was missing its little plastic thingy that you were supposed to feed the strap through I was embarassed when I saw the O and P guy.  He said, it’s okay.  It just means you were using it.

Kind of a nice thing to say.  Especially since he was trying to get a break to eat his lunch when I walked in.

Nice is not a word I would normally use about TOC.  It has a reputation for being like a factory, and the more I’m there, the more I understand that.  I have mostly seen a Physican’s Assistant that I love, but he is supervised by a physician I think is an idiot. This physician refused to renew my prescription for pain medication.  The PA said, Dr. Borom says he will not prescribe pain medication for more than a month after a fracture.

Seriously?  There is a time limit?  Every other thing I’ve had a problem with, they asked you to characterize your pain on a scale of 1 to 10 and treated you accordingly.

But the main thing is….I’m better.  I can still remember now how awful and desperate and frightening it was in the beginning.






7 responses to “Orthotics and Prosthetics

  1. If you need pain medication, see your primary care physician. or better yet, Rush’s doctor…lol!

    That must have been one heck of a fracture! I’ve never seen so many different devices. Or maybe, TOP is just milking the insurance….

    When I broke (not fractured) my wrist as a kid, I had one of those old time casts for maybe a month and that was it.

  2. Lol sc, maybe I should call up Rush and ask for a referral. It’s different to break your wrist or arm as opposed to your leg or ankle or foot. Your leg/ankle/foot supports the entire weight of your body. It has less of a blood supply and heals more slowly. And finally, it’s one thing to break something as a kid, and quite another to break something at 63 years old.

  3. And, while I have much to accuse them of, milking the insurance is not one of them. Each of these devices was necessary at the time and I was glad to get them. And glad to decelerate,so to speak, from the most restrictive (the cast) to the least restrictive (the ankle brace). Plus I learned on Thursday that “durable medical equipment” is handled differently by insurance companies, so I had to outright buy both the boot ($357) and the brace ($110). If I want to really get mad, I’ll save that for the insurance industry. You pay your premiums or else, and they use that money to hire people whose job it is to deny your claim. I don’t even want to get started 🙂

  4. Well as you say the main thing is that you are getting better. I am happy for that.

    My experience with Bone Docs and staff is a mixed bag. All things being done, “I’d rather be in Philadelphia.”

    My wife has chronic and irreversible back pain, there is no hope she won’t have it as long as she is above ground. After 3 major spine surgeries and years of “therapy” she has a spinal simulator implant which helps trick her brain by masking pain that is still there, and she takes Oxycontin like M & M’s. She has to! The State of Florida is now the lightening rod for the FDA because of all the quack docs that steal and abuse pain meds. Getting that monthly scrip filled is an adventure and it isn’t a pleasant one. It’s getting worse not better, as the all seeing all knowing bureaucrats make new regulations to regulate the bad behavior of a few with absolutely no regard for the unintended consequences of those who need the meds.

    Its not the doctors, pharmacists, or even the insurance companies it’s the FDA. Everyone is afraid of the punitive authority of the FDA on their own professional status so the patients get screwed over big time.

    And that is why you had difficulty getting a refill, it’s getting worse each year not better..

    oh and I had a knee scoped in your clinic in the 1990’s:experience was ok but the doc told me after the surgery not to jog anymore, which I ignored for the next 10 years of good health. Overall I give good marks to the clinic, I just don’t like the arrogance of bone surgeons. I have found it to be the norm.

    Anyway congrats on almost being over it.

  5. pt, I agree with everything you said. Except, maybe, is it the FDA? My anesthesiologist friend in Miami says it’s the FL Board of Medicine. But I see the Attorney General and the Legislature harping on this issue. So is it the State rather than the FDA? Frankly, I don’t know. I can even see some rationale for it. Prescription drug abuse is indeed a problem, but is it as big a problem as it’s made out to be? I’m shocked and distressed about the unintended consequences for people who truly need these medications. I feel horrible for your wife and can’t imagine the suffering she must have to endure. I’m so sorry.
    I haven’t even been here for 3 weeks, because it’s been all I could do to maintain my sanity. But now, I’m really, really better. At least I can say that, while your wife can’t.

  6. Last week, I got a private message on Facebook from a Facebook “friend” (definition: someone I don’t actually know in person). Apparently he is a recovering addict and accused me of all sorts of things, such as drug-seeking. Well that would be right, unlike any of the other things he said. I needed pain medication for maybe 2 or 3 more weeks and have had to suffer unnecessarily without it. Making it hard to concentrate, sleep, or go to work. FB friend and his ilk can kiss my ass. He sees dragons around every corner.

  7. You can tell I’m angry when I start cursing.

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