The Horse Forum

The Horse Forum (
-   Rider Wellness (/rider-wellness/)
-   -   Body is breaking down and doctor isn't helping the matter any. *Vent* (

Incitatus32 10-17-2013 11:24 AM

Body is breaking down and doctor isn't helping the matter any. *Vent*
I just need somewhere to vent because everything has just compiled into one big mess and it seems that the people who are around me for this (which don't get me wrong, I'm entirely grateful to) are just desensitized to it, if that makes any sense at all.

I went and saw my knee surgeon about my knee and had a not so pleasant conversation with him. When I first broke it he said riding might be out of the question, then I had surgery and he said that I could definitely return to riding around the same time as I returned to driving. Well, yesterday he seemingly had a revelation about riding. I asked him when I could attempt riding again (as I'm going to be attempting driving soon) and assured him that I wasn't going to go all out for a while but just work on getting on and off, just being given a pony ride on my horse that I know won't do anything and work at getting my body back into its routine. He got very silent and told me "Wait a little longer". So I was game, and was trusting his judgement because after all- he's the surgeon. Then we got to talking about how long I was standing on it (per his instructions) and moving on it as exercise (keeping in mind that I'd asked him about grooming my horse and he'd given me the go ahead because it would get my body and mind back into it's normal routine of exercise). He asked if I was still grooming my horse and I said yes, and then the guy had a little bit of a heart attack on me.

He went into this lecture on how I shouldn't be doing anything with horses, because "I won't be able to ride/work like I used to". I asked him what he meant (trying to stay calm) and assured him that I knew it would take time, effort, and adapting because it's not going to be the same again, but I was prepared for it (then reminded him in his words that the bone had been without blood supply for three weeks, and we wouldn't even know for two years whether or not it was alive until I actually put it through my regular exercise). Well, he went off on his tangent because my knee shouldn't have broken like it had (with his deduction it was a 1/100 chance it happened like that) and that it probably will dislocate and/or re-break when I ride or do anything with the horses for the rest of my life. He said that one tug of a horse on the lead rope in ten years could damage it again. Then he said I should take up a different sport like (and I kid you not): "Rock climbing, or soccer, maybe dance". These sports suggestions are coming from a guy who doesn't ride and told me that any running, or climbing, or joint heavy exercise would be out of the question.

I lost it then. I know I shouldn't have but I told him that I supposed we'd be seeing a lot of each other until he retired then, because I was not giving up my horses, my career and my passion. My mom chimed in and asked about me being a large animal vet.

In ten seconds he managed to make me doubt my capabilities of being an equine vet. He said I should switch my major and find a different school, if I was smart enough for vet school then I was probably smart enough for med school and really "what's the difference?". I honestly think what upsets me the most was that all these negative situations and don'ts were things that he assured us AFTER the surgery we're in the past and no worries. Everything looked better then he could have imagined considering how it went. Being a vet, was no problem, and neither was working the horses again in time. That's why I went with him instead of another surgeon, he was recommended at being very good at getting people's knees (especially young adults 18 to 30) who did very physical work back to near 100%. Now all of a sudden all the things that he assured me were fine aren't? I get prepare for the worst, but when it's a month or two later, you have no current xrays I consider your opinions a little sketchy, especially when you only see me once a month and refuse to tell me what will happen scientifically (and calmly) and what to do should this happen again (so I don't make the same mistakes that I did)

I think what hurt me the most was my mom trying to assure me that it was alright if I wanted to drop horses. She wouldn't sell ours and we could still go see them, and don't worry about the 10,000 I sunk into vet school already this year because it was still early and I could switch when I went back. I exploded. Needless to say I'm sure that the receptionist was surprised that someone with a broken/fixed leg and a bad back as well as being SEVERELY difficeint in vitamin D, E, and C and lethargic because of it could raise such a fuss.

Anyhow, the physical therapy place called (and I chose one locally because I wanted the surgeon to be able to see it quickly should something go wrong) and as we were talking and scheduling they asked about my riding. I told them that regardless of what the doctor had passed on I was going to be returning and they were surprised. The woman said that they would recommend the mounting and dismounting to help them loosen the muscles and scar tissue. That just confused me even more. Why would the surgeon be adamantly against riding/working and the P.T all for it? The P.T was brought in around the same time as my surgery because how it broke was odd and the surgeon wanted her in on it from the beginning to give input and be prepared.

I just feel lost and confused now. I had called my chiropractor to see if she knew any spine doctors (other than chiropractic) who would look at my spine and give another opinion to hers, and she had given me several doctors who said they would see me to consult. She's been amazing trying to help me put my body back in order. I haven't even contacted any of them because I suppose on one level I'm afraid of the verdict and that it really will kill any and all hope of riding/being a vet. My mom and dad keep dropping hints about what the doctor said and that "it's okay to change", but this is all I've ever known. I've only ever wanted to be around horses, I've only ever wanted to be a vet and I've never wanted anything else. My mom asked about the spine doctor and I told her I was putting it off because I'm already in debt to the insurance companies due to my knee and I won't add to her financial stress. Whenever I go out to the barn (which is becoming more frequently), my mom hovers excessively and is always telling me to be careful, Do X, Y, Z and then quit, don't tack up the horse when she rides, etc. It's really getting on my nerves because while I completely understand where she's coming from, when my spine was acting up (well before now) and I was told to take it easy none of these things seemed to apply, I shouldn't let something like that "change me" and it wasn't the end of horses and my career.... there seems to be a double standard with my knee.

I feel like at 18 years old my body's falling apart. I know I didn't take the absolute best care of my body (but then again who does?), and put it through the ringer with the horses and genetics dealt a cruel blow to a degree, but I tried my best. I don't feel like my parents (and some others) understand that no matter what I'm going to return to horses and try my best to be a vet and make farm calls because doing anything else would kill me inside. I'm sorry for the venting, sometimes I just need to get things off of my chest and my family isn't being a very good support system at the moment (though I do realize the stress and all that they've done for me, I just need it a little more). I'm always so glad that it wasn't any worse and that I'm doing okay health wise (I could be doing worse) I don't want to seem spoiled or ungrateful because there's always many others who have it worse. So sorry for the venting.

franknbeans 10-17-2013 11:53 AM

Did you point blank ask him WHY he has totally done a 180 on you with regard to horses? That would be my first question. He at least owes you a reason for his thoughts. He may, after all HAVE a legitimate reason, then again, he may not. But you will not know unless you ask.

You also need to deal with your back issue with an MD. I have no idea what your issues are, but I will tell you that realistically, at your age you may well be headed for disaster if you continue to ride. It all depends on what your issues are, and how precarious your joints (back especially) are. You do not want to end up in a wheelchair. However-listen to what the MD's say, ASK questions. Ask if there is some sort of brace to support your back/knee that would help support/protect it and enable you to ride. As an Ortho nurse who rides, I know that there are WAY too many MD's over the years that have not been in favor of me riding.....especially even asked me (after a fall) if I had even heard of Christopher Reeve?:shock: I have always let them know in no uncertain terms that I will ride, period. It is their job to help me do that. However-I have stopped jumping, gone to western, and if, at any point my back gets to a point where I am endangering my mobility just by riding-it will have to stop. THere ARE other things in life.......believe me.

Incitatus32 10-17-2013 12:14 PM

I asked him but he just keeps repeating: It could or will dislocate or break again brace or no brace. No matter how calmly or bluntly I tried to put it he won't state why he thinks it and why now of all times (I know I sound far from calm but when he first told me riding was possibly out of the question and said it bluntly and factually I was okay with it.) I'm no expert, and I'm far from being the smartest person but in my mind that's not scientific enough. I want evidence and support for this one. I think I'd take it a lot better if he'd state why he thinks what he does. I get the feeling that he treats me like a child (which I understand because I'm FAR from done growing and I am being childish about some things... okay maybe a lot lol) but I've always tried to be clear with him that I prefer logical, cold scientific facts. I'd rather know and work through it than be spun around the bush and end up confused and worried because someone thought to "spare me".

I needed that slap to the face about the spine! Thank you. You're right. I need to go see that doctor. :)

Dustbunny 10-17-2013 12:36 PM

You could still become a vet, just do small animals. They need good care too.
It's an incredibly demanding job to be a large animal vet.
Driving doesn't sound so bad if that would be your safest option. And one can easily scale down the size of the horse for that if need be.
I'm sorry you are going through this at such a young age. It sounds like you just have to take it a step at a time and see how it goes.

franknbeans 10-17-2013 12:42 PM

You are absolutely right. You need a clear understanding of WHY. If he led you to believe something different prior to the surgery than what he is saying now, I would be asking him what is different? What has changed?

Something like this:
"Dr. XXX, Prior to my surgery, you told me (if he did, and it is not you hearing what you wanted to hear.....;-)) that I would be able to return to riding. Now you are telling me I can't, in fact, you are suggesting that I give up all horses, including what I have dreamed of as a profession all of my life. Why have you changed your mind? What is different now than before? I can appreciate your concern, but I really need a clear understanding of the basis of your decision. After all, I could get hurt tripping on a curb crossing the street, and cannot live my life in fear."

That is just an example-of course, I am not you, but you deserve an explanation.

Zexious 10-17-2013 12:43 PM

What a tool.

I wish you a speedy recovery, and hope that everything turns out well. Keep us posted!!

Sharpie 10-17-2013 12:54 PM

First off, you need a good sports medicine doctor. Really. Those guys "get" what drives horse people, and runners, and bicyclist, and, and, and. They understand that we are willing to go through some pain to get to where we want to be to achieve our goals, including whatever meds, physical therapy and exercises they prescribe. IME, "normal" docs, not so much. They also understand how simply quitting is just completely unrealistic. Last, they have a much better idea of what someone's real limitations might be (because their patients push them regularly), and how to get as much return to normal function and strength as possible without compromising healing or later health. They'll also get it if you overdo it and keep helping you rather than trying to tell you not to be you.

Second, your surgeon is an ass. Many of them are. Many of them are very skilled at doing the surgery part and complete nincompoops when it comes to the aftercare and client/patient interaction parts of the job, and true to the stereotype, think they are the end all, be all when it comes to knowledge. They're not. Get a new doctor. Get some second opinions, especially because he can't or won't explain things to you in a way that is easily understood. Somehow I think that you're not going to get much 'good' out of it, even if you keep going to this guy. Trust, once lost, is hard to regain.

ETA: Believe it or not, being a small animal vet is still quite hard on your knees and back. Not as hard as being a equine vet, but still not cushy. All the up/down/wrestling with patients and then standing in surgery hurts.

busysmurf 10-17-2013 01:05 PM

1.) How long ago was your injury?
2.) was it caused by a horse?

Now I will tell you this:

You are not the only one going through this, and you won't be the last. By 18, I was told I had the body of a 55 year old foundry worker. I've ignored that for 15 years. And I'm paying for it now.

My back is a mess, showmanship & halter classes are permanently out of the question (not that I'm complaining). Training horses may be out the window as well, at least starting them may be. I now have to get a nerve block to get up or function. (The chiro, reluctantly agrees that it's come to that point).

I basically blew my ankle up this spring BY WALKING!!! The surgeon, one of the highest rated in the Midwest, told me I'd be back on a horse in 10 weeks. His wife rides, so I believed him. It's 26 weeks later, and having my feet in the stirrups can still bring me to tears. And that's saying something, it takes a lot for me to recognize that much pain.

After several consults with him, my PT, and an podiatrist my choices are 1.) quit riding or 2.) re-learn how to ride to accommodate my beat up body.

Take it from someone who's been there, written the book, and picked apart at medical colleges. You can ignore them, but YOU WILL PAY FOR IT LATER. Your best bet is to find a trainer who is willing to meet with them, and discuss ways to teach you how to ride & be around horses that will minimize the risk.

Incitatus32 10-17-2013 03:41 PM

Franknbeans I did actually wonder if I was hallucinating when I talked to him (due to the pills the decided to put me on) but no my mom was there when he said it. Trust me though it'd be much more easy on me if that was the case! ;-)

I'm moving out soon and I'm told that there's a good sports medicine place five minuets from my new home and they have a branch on campus so I'm going to check them out soon.

busysmurf The back incident happened about two or three years ago. I have an exceptionally high pain tolerance (one that my doctors still don't believe exists) and didn't realize anything was wrong till on a lark I went to a chiropractor and the xrays were taken. I hadn't been to a doctor doctor because A) I'm stupid and B) I didn't have the money and figured, well, let me try chiropractic first (though I'm skeptical as to if it actually works). The knee injury happened about five months ago..... as a result of lifting a hay bale and then falling to the floor of the hay loft. :oops: we still don't know how long I've been vitamin deficient... I appreciate the encouraging story. And I really don't want to come across as ungrateful or selfish, or ignorant that others have it way worse and deal with it better than I am! :)

To everyone else thank you for the advice, and kind words I really do appreciate it. :)

Golden Horse 10-17-2013 03:56 PM

Doctors and other professionals are there to help you, but you are the decision maker in your life. You have to learn, and I know it's difficult, to ask them questions, straight out, use the How, Why, What Where starters to your questions

Why do you say I can't ride?
What are the consequences if I do
What are the precautions I can take

etc etc, very direct questions that need direct answers. Once you have information then you can make an informed decision as to your health, and your lifestyle. I would love to know why this Doc thinks that soccer is safer than riding. When I was a manager in a call centre we always had lads off because of knee issues caused by soccer playing, rarely had horse riding injuries.

When it comes to it though, you have to decide if you live a long safe and maybe boring life, if you ignore everyone and carry on as before and accept in new risks. I think most of us take the kind of middle ground, we have saner, safer horses, and do more sensible things with them.

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 01:04 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome