Shoulder To Shoulder

  • Wednesday / April 14, 2010
Shoulder To Shoulder 1

Shoulder To Shoulder

Shoulder To ShoulderThe sun is shining and glistening on the clear blue water of the swimming pool. Birds are chirping and spring in certainly in the air. The balcony door is open and the cats are soaking the warmth of the rays like the furry solar panels they are. It’s a good day for good news. But not just yet …

About a month ago I went for an MRI on my left shoulder. The news wasn’t too promising. It appeared I had a torn rotator cuff, a Type II SLAP tear, and bicep tendonosis. Certainly not a death sentence, but a pain in the shoulder indeed! With that info in hand, Dr Hellen Cho, who is no longer with, Seattle Spine & Sports Medicine had directed me to see an orthopedic surgeon. Now this is where I’d usually create a funny name to mask the identity of a doctor I was seeing. But in this case I think it’s important to name names.

The first doctor that was recommended to me was Dr Richard Kirby of Orthopedic Physicians Associates. I called his office and was told unequivocally, he would not even see me because my injury was the result of an auto accident. It seems that Dr Kirby would not take my case because he didn’t want to (ever) get involved with even a whiff of possible litigation. He wouldn’t even see me to evaluate my injury. First do no harm … but only if you pay me cash money! Thanks doc!

I then asked a friend who works as part of the transplant team at Swedish Medical Center to ask around for recommendations. She said that all her doctor friends recommended Dr Carl Basamania at the Polyclinic. It seems that at the Polyclinic I would have to be seen by one of their primary care physicians first, before Dr Basamania could see me. They would have to file an “internal” personal injury claim before he was allowed to see me. But wouldn’t you know … Dr B wouldn’t see me either because … wait for it … he does not take personal injury cases either. Two for two. Noticing a theme here? Oye!

By this time I’m pretty down. My physical therapy is not helping, and we decided to can it until I got someone, anyone, to see me. I called Dr Cho and let her know what’s going on. She gives me a second referral for a Dr Neil Roberts of Orthopedics International. I have to say I was feeling a little gun-shy and a bit defensive when I called to TRY to make an appointment. Long story short … they would see me and take my personal injury insurance. Fast forward to today ….

I can not say enough about Dr Roberts. He was kind, quiet spoken, and thorough. He took a lot of time talking to me about what was going on, and he LISTENED! We then walked to another room and looked at my MRI together. He walked me through everything he saw in the MRI. He showed me the different angles and spoke to each of his concerns with what he was seeing.

Once back in the exam room, we talked about my options. His first reaction, or recommendation was NOT surgery. He suggested doing a cortisone injection first, to see if that would bring down the swelling in my shoulder. He said, if that helped, I could start back with physical therapy and see if the rotator cuff “fraying” could heal itself. Bottom line here is I have more options, and hope, than I had going in.

So I elected to have him do a cortisone shot right then and there. I figured, I’m here. You’re here. Let’s get to the healing baby! So the nurse did the setup & mixed up his cortisone & lidocaine cocktail and did the deed. And that was that. I was on my way.

So now we see if in the next week or two, this treatment helps. If it does, we work on the other shoulder next. If it doesn’t, then there are two possibilities for surgery. But for now I’ll focus on the healing. And wait to see what we see. I feel much more positive about the outcome. Just taking one step, one day at a time, one shoulder at a time.

Oh yes … today … it’s a good day!

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Joe Streno

Joe Streno

artist . musician . photographer . retired apple computer consultant . residing on planet earth with his two cats rudie, & rocco & living to tell tales about it

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