THE IMPORTANCE OF A 2ND OPINION
We have all been given the advice “Get a second opinion.” I am a big believer in second opinions.
I learned my lesson when I was pregnant with Taylor. The first doctor I went to was a well-respected Beverly Hills guy, known for being rather matinee idol handsome. Looks never a good reason to pick your docs.
I was supposedly four weeks along and he couldn’t find a heartbeat or some sign that she was viable. So he told me in a very matter of fact way, “not to count on this. “ In fact he was so sure he told me to toss the pre-natal vitamins.
After I cried all the way home, I made up my mind not to trust this guy and I would get a second opinion. I called a lawyer friend, known for being as thorough as I am, and she led to me the amazing Ed Liu.
He looked at me and said I probably wasn’t as far along as they thought, that I was to not think about it, take my vitamins and come back in four weeks. He was sure we would then find a heartbeat.
Now that heartbeat is graduating from college in three months, thus, my lifelong commitment to always going with a few opinions.
Often times when you hear stories, some not so great, people have not gone with second opinions. Doctors are like partners, you don’t always marry the first person date. Nor do you always believe everything every one says. So why should you with doctors?
Recently, we went through a little second opinion episode around here.
Glenn has a torn meniscus, not a huge deal but a deal nonetheless. He found an orthopedist without my intervention, something that does not often happen in our house.
Granted when he went to see him he was in pain. They did an MRI that revealed it was torn. The doctor said he needed surgery. He booked it for after China. He got a cortisone shot to get him up the Great Wall and it did a good job.
Me being me, I kept asking him questions about this doctor I did not know.
He told me the doctor said the operation was as complicated as a root canal. Go online and it says otherwise.
The guy also said Glenn would walk out of the surgery feeling better than when he walked in. Really? No crutches or canes either. The Internet disagreed. He also said no physical therapy. He said he could go to work that day, right from the operating table. That very day. And then, without any physical therapy, he could be back on the exercycle in a week.
I didn’t buy any of it. I would love to say I shut up for a change. Though I did fight my nature and I didn’t overtly interfere. I would just say things like “Are you sure about all this? Maybe you want to see someone else, like a second opinion.
So, the week of the surgery comes, actually it was the week before, actually it was five days before and I found him taking a baby aspirin. I said “you can’t do that, everyone knows you cut out all baby aspirin and blood thinners 7 -10 days before any surgery, even those you walk out of feeling better than when you walked in.”
He said the nurse had not called to tell him. I yanked the aspirin away and said he needed to call her. I also had been asking him about pre-op work ups, as anyone knows you need blood work and an EKG done before any surgery. He said they said it wasn’t necessary with this.
So I sat down and wrote up a list of ten questions to ask the nurse and said call her this morning. They questions ranged from baby aspirin to crutches, and everything in between.
It turns out, she was going to call and he should stop taking it. But if she had called that day, it would have been like four days off it and not 7-10. Oh, and right, he did need crutches. Guess the doctor got confused. And what about blood work? No, that was not required. She then added “someone has been online.” Yeah well, lucky for that, as I think she had been on Facebook when she should have been doing her job.
At that point I said this is a sloppy shop, you sure you want them cutting you open.
Yes, he liked them it would be fine
Then the next day when they called (it was Wed) he was to be operated on on Monday, and what do you know, they needed blood work and an EKG. He was furious. He didn’t have time. He was packing in as much as he could as I was making him take two full days off. And they were not sure unless he traipsed uptown that the results would even be there in time and speaking of time he still didn’t have one for the surgery.
I said that’s it. I’m stepping in. OK, I had stepped a little already. We made an appointment with our GP and went up to see him that day.
He looked at Glenn and asked if he was in pain. Glenn said no. He said “why do this now if you’re not in pain?” That made sense to me.
He then sent US to someone else. And this doctor said many things the other one did not. Like…..He should have in fact been off the baby aspirin seven to ten days before surgery. One for the home team!
He would also not walk out feeling better than when he walked in. While it was not open heart surgery, it was surgery and he would need a good four days before he would feel like going to work. He would need Physical Therapy – this guy was a big believer in PT starting four days after the operation, in order to build the muscles back properly. And he might need a cane for two days, but no crutches.
But more importantly, he did not think it important to have the operation now. He said, “Most likely you will need it. It is torn. But, I have patients who walk around like this for six months to forever.” Let’s see where you fall in that spectrum. The other guy was rushing him in and full of misinformation.
So, that was that. He has been fairly pain free since and feels no immediate need for surgery. He is working out every day. He made me add that.
The moral of the story, always get a second opinion.
Posted in Tracey Talks