Sunday, December 7, 2008

Thank you, Dr. Tennant

I re-read my very first couple of posts here today. Yes, I'm talking about those shocked and angry posts that I wrote post diagnosis. At the time I was pissed off about how the orthopedist, Dr. Tennant, gave me the bad news. I was particularly peeved that he had told me I had to quit skating, as if he were telling a diabetic to lay off the candy. I was angry that he assumed skating was a trivial part of my life. I was angry that he thought swimming or elliptical training could take the place of skating for me since they all were "exercise." I was angry that he didn't react with any empathy to my distress over this catastrophic new state of affairs in my life. I was angry at his monotone delivery. I was angry that he had no other answers for me.

Well, I am still skating of course (shhhh, don't tell). I am not jumping and never will again, but my primary focus has been ice dancing, not freestyle, so really it's no great loss. The fact that I took up jumping again on a whim a few weeks before my diagnosis tells me that flirting with freestyle probably exacerbated my condition. But that realization isn't what's prompting me to post today.

I have read so many accounts of people with hip dysplasia being misdiagnosed. This seems odd to me since even I can now look at x-rays and diagnose hip dysplasia. OK, I'll admit that I'm no expert, but it seems pretty obvious to me. As poor as his bedside manner was, I have to thank Dr. Tennant for correctly diagnosing me, for knowing about PAO (it amazes me how many orthopedists have never heard of PAO) and for referring me to one of the best specialists in the country for hip dysplasia and PAO. I realize now that I could have been misdiagnosed, given bad advice, subjected to surgeries which would not have done any good, or perhaps told that nothing at all could be done.

Had I been told nothing could be done, I may have waited years until my arthritis progressed to the point that nothing really could have been done. As it is, my dysplasia is severe but my arthritis is mild. I am the kind of person that PAO is most likely to help.

Dr. Tennant, I didn't like you very much in August. I guess I wanted to shoot the messenger, and I will say your delivery leaves something to be desired. I have to thank you though for pointing me in the right direction. The alternatives would have been far worse.

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