A Year Without Baseball

I wanted to give an update to those who are wondering what’s going on with Cal’s knee surgery.  First, the background:

In the Fall of his freshman year, after Excel Orthopedics diagnosis him with OCD of the knee (OCD stands for big words that mean he has a dead bone behind the knee cap), must quit High School hockey team.  Waits to see if it will right itself. It doesn’t.

So we go to the head of Orthopedics at Children’s hospital who says he needs surgery. Cal had his first surgery last May 5th,2009.

Rehab and recovery over the Spring and Summer. Is unable to try out for Freshman baseball team.

Back to check progress in September–no go.  The bone did not grow.

Second surgery in October of this year. Four compression screws are placed in knee in hopes that it will stimulate growth. Hockey is out of the question. But that’s ok because it is baseball that is his true love and he is sure he will be ready by the spring.

Recovery and rehab over the winter.

Back to re-check in February 2010–an MRI shows that the bone has grown back! Cal contacts the high school baseball coach, volunteers time for his clinics and offers to be manager of the team.  Coach says he can try out when he is able.

But there is still pain– a new pain– and swelling.

The swelling starts to spread to his thigh. Back to the doctor, an emergency MRI, and back the next morning to Children’s.

They find nothing.  The OCD is healing and they can’t understand it.  They draw fluid to test for infection or Lyme Disease, and send him home.

Cal voluntarily puts the knee brace back on and walks with crutches because he is in so much pain. He is unable to help with the baseball team as the new players try out.

Two weeks later back, to doctor who throws up his hands and says the Lyme test was negative and we need to see a rheumatologist as he may have Arthritis.

Phone calls indicate that the rheumatology department will call me in 10 days to set up an appointment in June. This is unacceptable I say. Sorry Madam, they will call you.  They don’t call.  For 2 solid weeks I fight with the ortho office to get me into Rheumatology ASAP and I hear “we will do what we can, someone will call you back.”

Luckily, there is a cancellation, so they can see Cal. It is the end of March.

For four hours, three doctors probe and poke and question but they don’t understand.  So they send us for a contrast MRI.

The following Monday we go for this MRI. Cal, my rock solid 16 year old, winces in pain and lets slip a tear as they inject the fluid into his vein that will shed some light on this ridiculousness, “It hurts” he says, “I know,I’m sorry” I say.

One more week passes and the baseball team has been chosen.  Scrimmages have begun.

It is now April and back in the surgeon’s office he tells us that the new MRI indicates a tear in the meniscus on the opposite side of the knee that they must have missed in the other 2 MRI’s.  Surgery is needed but he is leaving town for 2 weeks.  We schedule surgery for May 5th.  Exactly a year from the first surgery.

I tell the doctor yesterday, before they wheel Calvin away, that he better take his time and look around inside the knee to see everything that is going on. His smile is as condescending as it could be. “Stupid lady” it screams.

Recovery room Conversation:

Doctor: Was it shown that Cal had Lyme Disease?

Me: No, it was negative.

Doctor: I’d like to start him on the medicine anyway since I can’t understand why there is so much swelling in the knee.  We fixed many small meniscal tears and smoothed it out.  Something is irritating the cartilage and I can’t figure it out.

Me: If he had Lyme it would be a little late now wouldn’t it.

Doctor: Not necessarily (complete bullshit).

Me.  Let me ask you something.  Isn’t it possible that he had an allergic reaction to the compression screws placed in the knee?

Doctor: (Look of enlightenment) It’s possible.  Yes, quite possible.  As a matter of fact we found the head of one of the screws that was still in the knee that hadn’t broken down.

The fact that he doesn’t make the correlation between the errant screw-head and the irritated cartilage baffles me. But I go along with his Lyme theory long enough to send my husband to CVS to fill the prescription.

When he handed me the prescription I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. “You must have picked up the wrong meds”, I said reading the label.

It was Doxycycline–the same medicine Cal has been on since February for his acne.  I guess it is also what they give for Lyme Disease. Since Cal has been on this drug already for 4 months,I imagine he DOESN”T have Lyme Disease. What is even more disturbing is that it is in his records all over the place that he is on this med.  They asked me 10 times at the hospital what medicine he takes.  Had I not looked at the bottle, I would be double dosing him everyday for 4 week–400 milligrams a day instead of 2oo.

This doctor has been the head of Children’s Orthopedics since 1974. I think it is time he retired.

If it was the screw causing the problems let’s hope that this is it. Hopefully, now that it is gone, he can recover and get on with his life. He has missed Freshman and Sophmore years in sports which is a huge detriment when it comes to colleges but hopefully he can pull it out for Junior and Senior years.

One thing is for sure.  I have never been more proud of my son.  Throughout this two years (as well as the 2 before, dealing with my cancer) he has remained upbeat and strong.  He has stayed away from the drugs and alcohol that is so prevalent in his circle of friends.  He has not become angry, withdrawn, or let himself wallow in self-pity. All of which he has every right to do. I am not sure I could have stayed as positive.

So that’s it.  maybe you should all say a prayer today that he heals quickly, just in case, a little insurance never hurts.  Maybe, just maybe, he can play Summer Baseball.

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About francesbarrie

Cancer survivor,mom,triathlete,writer,jewelry maker, baker. Staying happy and healthy,living life and enjoying it one moment at a time.
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4 Responses to A Year Without Baseball

  1. Lori Hill says:

    Cal and Fran, you both amaze me. Hugs to you both. I am so glad you put this post up, I was talking to Maeve yesterday and she was telling me Cal was going into surgery again and I was thinking of you both all day. I am sending prayers that Cal has a speedy recovery and that this nightmare has been put behind you all. You both are people that are near and dear to my heart. You both deserve a break from medical issues and I only wish the best for you all. Cal has certainly learned how to stay positive in a discouraging situation from the great role modeling you have done Fran! I still can’t believe the head of Children’s Orthopedics didn’t put two and two together about the screw!!! That would have sent me over the edge. Let’s all hope that was the cause of all this and from here on in it will be smooth sailing. Fingers crossed.
    xo Lori

  2. Rose says:

    And maybe, just maybe, this doctor will retire. My prayers are being sent! AGH!

  3. Marianne Martin says:

    My son is the same age as Cal. This story both broke my heart and inspired me. Cal sounds amazing — both in how he handles his own and your battles. Prayers are going out to all of you.

  4. Lesli Turock says:

    Thank god Cal had you there to advocate for him! Lucky son to have such a mom. They’ll never admit it, but often Doctors really just don’t know what to do, and horrible as it is they are so busy they just plow on thru anyways. I’ve seen it often enough myself to know. good luck to you and Cal, I wish you both a quick recovery and many seasons of sports to come!

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