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The Knee Bone’s Connected to the Leg Bone

My almost-fifteen-year-old daughter, Savannah had surgery on her knee last May. She has a fairly rare joint disorder called osteochondritis dissecans. Basically, a piece of her femur was peeling away. The doctor went in, drilled up into her bone so it would bleed down into this piece that had peeled away because of a loss of bloodflow, and he put some screws in it. It took a long time to heal, but she finally got the green light for sports in October, at which point the xray showed that the fragment of bone had adhered and was healing well.

For the past couple months, however, she’s been having pain again. Her knee sometimes just gives out on her while she’s walking. I have not-so-wonderful state insurance, but I called to make an appointment with this doctor who doesn’t take not-so-wonderful state insurance. But I had to make the appointment with him because I really like him and because he’s the one who did her surgery and knows what’s going on. I told the office staff that I’d just self-pay. So, we saw him today. After listening to Savannah’s complaints and examining her knee, he told us she’d need an MRI, but in the meantime, he got an xray of her knee just to see what that showed.

The bone is peeling away again. This means another surgery to hopefully reattached this fragment. If that’s not a possibility (and he won’t know until he gets in there and sees how bad it is), he’ll remove the piece altogether. That will do away with her pain, however, she’ll need another surgery in the future to replace some cartilage. The doctor explained that sometimes they take tiny bits of cartilage from another area of the knee and sometimes they use cadaver cartilage. Savannah took that well. “Dead people cartilage?! I have to have dead people cartilage in my knee?!!!”

I freaked out a little myself and explained my situation a bit (state insurance, moving to FL, ex who doesn’t feel the need to work and pay court ordered child support). I said that I couldn’t afford to pay for the surgery on my own and I wouldn’t have insurance until August at which point I’d be in FL. I was going to ask him if Savannah could wait that long to get her knee fixed and if he knew of a good orthopedic surgeon in Orlando, or if she needed it fixed now. I figured I’d have to work out some sort of payment plan and with any luck, she’d own her new knee free and clear by the time she was my age.

Instead, this doctor said, “You have enough on your plate. My next meal is not coming from this surgery. I’ve got you covered. Let’s take care of Savannah and do not worry about insurance. I don’t take new patients with AllKids, but you’re not a new patient. That’s the last thing you need to worry about, okay?”

I cried.

I loved this doctor before. With six kids, he’s taken care of many broken bones in this family. He did Savannah’s surgery and took care of Brooklyn when the pediatrician thought she had hip dysplasia. He took care of Lexi’s and Jackson’s broken arms. He’s seen Lexi for her intoeing. He’s great! He’s the kind of doctor who takes the time to talk to you, jokes around with the kids, listens to your concerns, explains things thoroughly in terms you can understand, and is just likeable. But now I totally LOVE him!

Soooo, poor Savannah has to have more surgery. And she’s going to miss softball and volleyball for a second year. She cried last year when she found out she was going to miss softball season. This time, she took it really well. I was very proud of her. She looked bummed out, but said, “I guess I’ll be the scorekeeper again this year.”

I feel horrible that Savannah has to go through another surgery and I worry that she’ll always have problems with that knee.  But let’s face it, the real concern here is that I’ve lost one of my best movers!

Want to read more from Dawn? Whether you’re thinking about having kids, you’re pregnant now, or you’ve ever been pregnant, you’ll love her popular, You’ll Lose the Baby Weight (and Other Lies About Pregnancy and Childbirth)!

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