Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Learning to walk again

Saw the orthopaedic specialist this week. He was very pleased now as I have 120 degrees flexion in my right knee and says the other 5 degrees will come with time. Can also get the knee flat to the surface when lying down. Both kneecaps from the two knee operations have been saved and are in position and sliding like normal.

Only problem is that I have this severe arthritis in my right foot and right large toe which is severely limiting my ability to get around. He does not want to do any surgery 'cos he says that foot surgery has poor results and can create more problems than it solves. So he recommended I wear orthopaedic shoes, specifically "MTB's", and he referred me to a local distributor of these.

Wow! Around $350 a pair! That was a shock!

I ended up with a pair of black leather shoes (conservative and more 'dressy') "Shugli Black GTX" and a casual pair of white with tan trim - "Tembea Birch". Not much change out of $700. Now I've got to learn to wear them and if you look at the MTB website you'll see why that's so! The don't have a flat sole and have a more 'banana' shaped sole. The two pair I purchased are on that site.

Tembea Birch

Shugli GTX - black

They are awkward to adjust to and I've been wearing them round the home to get more used to them - tho' had one trip out to do the grocery shopping this week and wore the black ones then. They certainly take the pain away when they are on but it soon comes back when I take them off and put on more conventional footwear, like shoes for gardening or my slippers. Also found at first that I was getting some leg muscle soreness after wearing them but I had been warned this would happen as you start using your leg, thigh and lower back muscles in a different way. That's easing now, anyway.

Best benefit so far, apart from less pain when wearing them, is that I am certainly using less 'pain killer' medication. I see my GP on Friday and between her and the orthopaedic surgeon I am going to be referred to a 'Pain Management Clinic' in Canberra to review my whole pain management needs and to get me established on a controlled regime of pain relief and anti-inflammatory medication. I really want this 'cos I'm sick of fighting Medicare (through my GP) everytime I rock up to the GP and need a new prescription 'Authority' for the restricted pain medications through the PBS system (Pharmaceutical Benefit Services) and have some bureaucrat deciding how much the GP can order for me  (frequently the least amount, meaning I have to come back for more at more frequent intervals - which also raises questions like"Why is he coming for this medication so soon?", as you never get the same person at PBS twice and my GP has to explain the need all over again.  Grrr!) At present this is a monthly occurrence and is costing me a fortune in GP fees and Prescription dispensing charges.

Hopefully, between myself, my lovely GP and the specialist at the PMC, we'll get all this shit together and be able to tell PBS what it is that they WILL approve and why. I understand that the PMC specialist may even be able to order restricted medications without going through PBS for an 'Authority'.


LindaG said...

I hope it all works out, too, John.
And it's really good to hear your knees are doing so well, too!

My hubby has foot pain. He sees an orthopaedic specialist, too. Something they give him to help with pain is a gel. The commercial name here is Voltaren, but it's a topical gel. diclofenac sodium topical gel. I rub it on his foot and it helps with pain so that he doesn't need so much pain medicine. Perhaps you have something like that there that might help you?

JohnD said...

I'm not allowed Voltarin, Linda, even as a Gel, 'cos it gets into my 'system' and i have duodenal ulcers - can cause a gut bleed!

LindaG said...

Ouch. I didn't realize that, John. I wondered about that because I can't take aspirin, either.
But I always wash my hands after I put it on his foot for him.

I do hope they can help you when you see them, John.