Doctors Who Care

I should not have hurried getting back on my feet. Instead of feeling useless, I should have enjoyed the chance to work from the comfort of my home after my sprain. Because I hurried getting back on my feet, my right leg muscles had to compensate, making sure to protect my feet from feeling pain when I walked.

I’m getting spasms in my right leg and toes now. Last night, a sharp pain was suddenly felt on the outer part of my knee up to its back. Because it hurt every time I walked, I decided to go see my ortho doctor first before resuming my PT.

This doctor has been my sister’s doctor ever since she was a teen because of her patella alta knee problem. I was supposed to see him last week but upon stepping inside the hospital, I got a text that his clinic was cancelled because of an emergency surgery. I am hoping that whoever he had to operate on is on his way to recovery. In the meantime, let’s call him Dr. R.

In December of 2014, Dr. R performed an MPFL reconstruction surgery on my sister’s right knee. It was a nightmare because a complication with the nerve block used (not the ortho’s fault) caused non-stop spasms on my sister’s operated leg. We stayed more than a month in the hospital which pretty much drained our savings. I saw how worried Dr. R was because my sister’s case was the first in his history of countless ortho surgeries of all kinds. But, supportive he remained.

In January of 2016, he performed another MPLF reconstruction surgery on her. This time for the left knee. They did not do nerve block this time and glad to say, we did not have the same leg spasm problem like in 2014. This was a relief for him and for us.

Ironically, the right knee is stronger and this second surgery was not as successful because the ligament involved has been overstretched by now. Maybe because my sister had more time for her right knee to recover. In August of 2016, my sister moved to Hong Kong and she had to do a lot of walking (Uber is very expensive in HK) to go to work and back to her home.

But during all my sister’s check up appointments, I saw how Dr. R reacted every time he would see my sister’s records on his desk. He would get out of his clinic to see my sister right away instead of just waiting for her to get inside the room. I saw how his expression gradually transitioned from truly worried (when she was having complications) to a more relaxed one every appointment we had.

This morning, I sat where I could see inside his clinic. His secretary brought my records in and discussed how my x-ray was at the other building and that I was supposed to see him last week, blah blah blah… He probably just saw my last name and the words “sprained ankle” and “knee pain” because I heard him say “ha?!” (which translates to “what?!”) immediately. I saw him get up and was about to step out his clinic but then, he saw me. He looked at my records again and realized it wasn’t the elder sister he was seeing today. He looked so relieved and told me to enter his clinic already. I teased him, saying, “you thought it was my sister, no?”

He told me to rest my leg and was glad I could work from home. He prescribed me a muscle relaxant to deal with the spasms but he was glad that my ankle had no more swelling and looked fine. I told him there’s still a little pain when you make me point my toes but he said it will heal in time.

He asked about my sister and my mom while writing my prescription. It’s the same medicine he gave me around eight years ago when I had reversed cervical lordosis (neck) and back pain, the same time we discovered I had very mild scoliosis.

A patient-doctor relationship is a special one. You do not entrust your health with just anyone. He’s been our doctor for more than ten years now. He’s never changed. And I’m happy to know that there are doctors like him who genuinely care and does not see his patients as mere source of income. May more doctors be like Dr. R.

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