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Chapter 10 – How To Prepare For Your Initial Orthopedic Visit

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Chapter 10 – How To Prepare For Your Initial Orthopedic Visit

Hip Replacement Book

Hip Replacement Book

“I believe in looking reality straight in the eye and denying it.”
Garrison Keillor

I finally got past the idea that my never-ending ‘groin pull’ was something more serious than that (yeah, slow learner). I didn’t know what it was.

Getting Past The Gatekeeper – Coming to the conclusion that self diagnosis and self treatment was futile I finally decide to inject myself into my HMO system. I first had to see my primary care physician and he had hip x-rays taken and said I needed a consult with an orthopedic physician. I was in constantly daily pain, I was slow getting up and my hip continued to worsen. My doctor confirmed I needed to see an orthopod ASAP.

“Time (and tide) waits for no man.”
Geoffrey Chaucer

Hip Tip – See Your Primary Care Physician As Soon As You Can: Insurance companies use primary care doctors as gatekeepers so they can control costs. After you see your family physician you can sometimes wait up to 90 days to receive your orthopedic referral.

Compliance(Of course my wife made sure I showed up to the first visit.)

Checklist: What To Bring To The Initial Orthopedic Visit

What Is The Most Important Thing To Bring? Your Spouse – My wife went with me to our first visit. The doctor was on time, but looked a bit harried. I introduced myself and then pointed to my wife, without real intent of subterfuge, and said, “This is Linda. She will be my surgery surrogate. I found her on Craigslist and she is only charging me $5,000 to have the hip surgery on my behalf.” Without missing a beat the doctor replied, “That has to be a lot cheaper than paying your wife to take your spot.”

Be Prepared, Be Very Prepared – Not surprisingly, most orthopedic surgeons are very busy, and with the general aging of America coupled with governmental health care acts, they are likely to get busier. It is in your best interest to be very prepared for your visit. Next is a pain assessment chart followed by a checklist of the various items you need for your first visit.

Your Pain Condition And History – You might want to write down the chronological history of your pain and how the symptoms have progressed at the various intervals. This will make for a more accurate history for you to share with your doctor. You will have x-rays taken if your images are not current. You will also need your medical record history.

Insurance Coverage Verification – You will need to make sure your medical care coverage plan is current and that you have the appropriate identification to proceed.

Pain By Numbers – Everyone wants to paint an emotional picture of just how bad their hip pain is now. A pain scale has been created to allow a common denominator when discussing the degree of your pain. The Pain Scale follows:

Pain Scale Chart

Pain Scale Chart

0 – Pain free.

Mild Pain – Nagging, annoying, but doesn’t really interfere with daily living activities. This is what I call the day your mother-in-law calls and informs you she wants to visit and stay for more than an hour or two.

1 – Pain is very mild, barely noticeable. You rarely think about the pain.

2 – Minor pain. Annoying and you may have occasional stronger episodes without concentrating on the injury.

3 – Pain is noticeable and distracting, but you can adjust to the pain and adapt.

Moderate Pain – Interferes significantly with daily living activities. This is what I call the first week after your mother-in-law moves in with you.

4 – Moderate pain. If you are deeply involved in an activity, it can be ignored for a period of time, but is still frequent and distracting.

5 – Moderately strong pain. It can’t be ignored for more than a few minutes, but with effort you still can work or participate in social activities if the activity isn’t too intense. If you haven’t seen an orthopod by now, you should.

6 – Moderately strong pain that interferes with normal daily activities. Difficulty concentrating on even simple tasks.


Mother-In-Law Pain (on a slow day…)

Severe Pain – Disabling; unable to perform daily living activities. This is what I call the second week after your mother-in-law moves in with you.

7 – Severe pain that dominates your senses and significantly limits your ability to perform normal daily activities or maintain social relationships. Interferes with sleep.

8 – Intense pain. Physical activity is severely limited. Conversing requires great effort.

9 – Excruciating pain. Unable to converse. Crying out and/or moaning uncontrollably.

10 – Unspeakable pain. Bedridden and possibly delirious. Thankfully, very few people will ever experience this level of pain. You probably won’t unless my mother-in-law has lived with you for more than a month.

Alrighty… that concludes Chapter 10.

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