ACL stands for Anterior Cruciate Ligament and is the main ligament between your knee bones that holds your leg bones and knee together. An ACL tear is one of the most common sports injuries and it so happens that I tore this ligament while playing sports.
In 2000, I went snowboarding in Angel Fire, NM. It was amazingly beautiful until I got off the lift wrong and injured my knee. Then, a couple of months later was when I had the major injury. While playing basketball, I was in the air and felt a painful pop in my left knee then heard a sound inside of me like a giant rubber band being pulled and popped. I fell on the floor immediately and screamed in pain.
I was actually fine to run and play only a month afterward. People started thinking that my screaming on the basketball court was some sort of ploy for attention. I was actually starting to wonder if I even had an injury at all.
Two years later I was hitch hiking all over the place. I had learned that after my injury I had a new found talent… I could pop my leg out of place. I figured this wasn’t normal so I went to an Orthopedic Surgeon, who determined I had torn my ACL and also my Meniscus. The Meniscus is the cartilage between the leg bones.
I had surgery and was on crutches. It just so happens that I had gotten my staples removed and in the middle of that night, I slipped on my crutches and fell straight on my freshly operated knee. As a result I split my knee wide open…blood was everywhere, but again, I had felt no pain. Perhaps it was shock…
Nothing could be done about stitching my knee back together; the skin around the wound was too weak to use stitches or staples. As a result, I had to stuff my gaping knee hole with sterilized iodine strips until the hole closed.
I only went to physical therapy for about 3 months max. I lived in a treatment center at the time and was released prior to finishing my therapy.
Fast forward about 3 years. David and I were living together and I had my own apartment. I was 17 and had Medicaid. I was also going to school in the day time and working as a cashier in the evening. My back and knee were starting to hurt so very badly and I was almost certain that my knee had never healed.
I went to another Orthopedic Surgeon in El Paso. He was very professional, had a modern office and would enter his dictations on a voice recorder for his PC. I liked this doctor and felt that he would take care of me. He sent me to another MRI and concluded that my ACL was just not there…it had disintegrated.
He scheduled me for surgery for May 19th 2004. I found out I was pregnant May 4th. I couldn’t go through with the surgery since I couldn’t undergo the surgery. DAMN. By the time I gave birth to Benjamin, I was no longer eligible for Medicaid and had to drop the idea of surgery for good.
Present Day: My knee will not allow me to work out, run, walk or play anything for more than an hour and a half. I cannot shop or go to the park for extended periods of time. Hell, I can’t even stand for very long.
I got a job with a local wireless company as a technician. The medical package the company offers is insanely great, and I decided to re-start the process of getting my knee fixed.
So far, its been a nightmare. Firstly, I made an appointment with a doctor who was recommended to me. He was apparently very popular as when I called in November, he wasn’t open for appointments till March of 2009. So I waited. I asked for the day off from work and drove to Lubbock, TX for the appointment that I had so eagerly waited for since November 2008. When I arrived, the receptionist told me that the doctor no longer accepted my insurance for the year of 2009.
I was so enraged that I stepped outside and cried.
So I called my insurance and asked them to send me a list of Orthopedic Surgeons in Lubbock, TX that are considered in-network providers. I spent 2 hours calling back and forth to offices, and finally settled on a doctor for Texas Tech Physicians. I would have my first appointment with him the following week.
I saw this doctor and felt like I was actually getting somewhere. He turned and prodded my knee, got X-rays, and sent me for an MRI. I was optimistic. I went for a follow-up and told me this:
“Your ACL is non-existent” (Yes, I already knew this…)
“I want you to wear a knee brace and see if you can live with it” (Whaaa…?)
“Since you’ve already had surgery before, a revision would require a huge abount of rehabilitation.” (OK, I know this…I’ll do whatever I need to get better.)
“Even if I wanted to do the surgery, I can’t. I’m going to a private practice in Amarillo and will no longer take your insurance.” (WTF?!?!?)
I cried again, this time in the office. He referred me to 3 other doctors that he said would do the surgery. Out of those 3 doctors, only one took my insurance. She was a female body builder and I was optimistic that she would sympathize with my situation.
My appointment with her would be nearly immediate. I asked for yet another day off from work and drove to Lubbock, TX again. My meeting with her would be painfully short. She came in and said she couldn’t do anything for me. The placement of my screws was “too perfect” and would be difficult to remove. I was flabbergasted. Couldn’t she have reviewed my file? ARGH!!
She gave me the name to a doctor in Albuquerque. I was crying again (I tend to cry easily) and I expressed to her that I didn’t want to be bounced around again, and going to Albuquerque would require me to take several days off again.
I got ALL of my medical records in regards to my knee and am in the process of making a multimedia packet to send off to Albuquerque in hopes that the doctor can determine whether or not he can help me.
Let’s see if the packets get any reception!
P.S.: Yes that is my knee up there.