The bad: My knee is toast.
The good: My insurance will pay 100% for a knee replacement. And I have a better understanding of why my knee hurts as it does.
The longer version:
I went to see an arthroscopic surgeon, that is, someone who specialized in arthroscopic surgery, rather than someone whose specialty is joint replacement. I had figured that maybe since that was their specialty, they would wouldn’t just tell me that I needed to replace my knee. Plus, a torn meniscus is generally addressed with arthroscopic surgery.
Turns out I was incorrect. While the meniscus is a problem, it isn’t the worst of the issues.
Evidently, I have NO cartilage left on the inside of my knee joint. In fact, the bones have been grinding together so hard that I have a bone bruise. You can see it on the MRI. It’s about the size of a quarter. (I have pictures of the MRI on my phone.)
There is some amount of cartilage on the outside of the knee joint, but in places, there’s none on that side as well.
He recommended that I see one of his “joint guys” for the knee replacement. Gave me a name.
I looked that person up on my insurance plan, because he was at a different location than the first one. It appeared to me that he wasn’t on my plan.
It said on the website that really, I should call customer service for knee and hip replacement services. I pulled out my insurance card, and it actually says the same on the back of it.
So I called customer service. That was a really good idea.
Turns out that the place where I’d transferred my medical records is NOT one of the places that they cover for knee replacements.
Which means I’m going to have to get my records transferred. Again.
The good news is that they weren’t kidding about covering a knee replacement 100%. They will waive my (VERY HEFTY) deductible. They will pay for pre-surgery X-rays, for the surgery and the stay in the hospital, for the therapy afterward as well as equipment like a cane or walker (not sure if it’ll cover crutches).
I have a “care specialist” who’s been assigned to my case, who is supposed to call me in 2-4 business days. At that point, I’ll verify everything. I have to get pre-approved for the surgery, which I suppose is what will happen after I get my records transferred and I see the new doctor.
In the meanwhile, I’m going to get a PRP injection with the hope that it will help with the side of my knee that still has a little cartilage. There’s a chance that I’ll only need a partial knee replacement, which would be better, particularly if the PRP shot works. We’ll see what the next doctor says.
The arthroscopic surgeon was concerned about the amount of swelling that I have in my knee, and he wanted me to start icing it regularly. So I’m borrowing a knee-icing machine from a friend and will start icing my knee every 2-3 hours. I figure that will help with the pain as well.
Due to everything else that’s going on, I probably won’t get surgery done until fall. I’ll will let y’all know what’s up when I know.