A few months ago my Husband was skiing and made a sharp turn and hurt his leg- not a break but a pull/tear. As he was out west and it was his second to last day of the trip, he decided to wait till he got home before he considered seeing a Doctor.

So a week goes by and he’s still in pain, and decides to figure out a Doctor’s appointment.

He starts by calling our health care insurer, who tells him to see an orthopedist, and gives a list of in network providers. He asks me to take the lead on this.

I call one of the orthos who is on the list, in our neighborhood and associated with the hospital system that gets us a discount with insurance. The ortho office says that he doesn’t need an ortho, that there office is for surgeries, he needs a “physical physician”- a term I’d never heard of, and as it sounded like she was saying “podiatrist” I had to ask the scheduler to spell it. She then gives me the number of a physical physician.

So I call the physical physician, It’s a ski injury? she asks….and proceeds to tell me that I need a sports medicine specialist. Gives me a number.

I call the sports medicine office. It’s a leg injury? she asks…This particular office only does arms. They give me a number.

I call the next office, It’s a calf injury? he asks and this office tells me they only do thighs.

The office only does thighs… Twelve Doctors in the practice and they specialize in thighs.


Of course they provided me with a number. And finally I reach someone who does calves…


Then she asks me if it’s the right calf or the left…

And all I could think was- Are you going to tell me that certain Doctor’s only do the right or the left calf and I need to call another office?

But no- it appears that they just need to fill out an X-ray form and need to indicate which calf will be x-rayed, and from what angles, because in this office of a physical physician, sports medicine, calf specialist you do the X-ray before you see the Doctor to save time.


In the end, my husband did have a tear that required the use of a boot for a few weeks and some physical therapy. But all is well now.

I marvel at the sub and sub sub specialties that abound in a city like mine…and think about how much more specialized we can get. And what the organizational chart look like for something like that?

61 thoughts on “The Doctor

  1. “Only does thighs”. What…..? The differences between there and here… I can’t fathom an office being so obnoxiously specific. I mean, a keg injury is an injury. It shouldn’t matter if it was a skiing accident or if you fell off a ladder. I don’t understand the point of being so super specific like that.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s ridiculous. I don’t understand this either, but I guess as Doctors get fellowships, they tend to become super specialized. I was flabbergasted that the place only did thighs….I guess those doctors really study the specific muscles more…but I don’t know if it makes things better or worse. Maybe doctoring has become publish or perish as well

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This story makes me want to spew a bunch of bad words at the American medical system which appears to be run by the insurance companies.

    Who ever heard of calling insurance first when you need medical care?

    Sigh sigh sigh

    But glad you got it sorted. You deserve a medal for going through this ordeal.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I really thought I was being punked…to be fair…the insurance company is a good place to start, because how do you even begin to find a doctor for something you’ve never experienced before? My husbands primary may or may not be helpful

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I understand that this is how it’s set up in 🇺🇸.

        I’m just saying never in the 2 countries I lived in my life (🇨🇦 and ) have I ever had to call an insurance company first, or ever, to get medical attention for an injury. 🤷‍♀️

        Liked by 2 people

  3. The entire healthcare system needs to be revamped. I’m glad the doctor he was able to go to took his specific health insurance! Nothing like finally finding the right doctor for your specific issue and then being told, “Sorry, we don’t take that insurance!” Been there, done that…and it sucks the big one! 😕

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow on only doing thighs, that just boggles me, especially 12 Drs in the practice! We have a practice here with 6 Drs. Some do shoulders, some do knees and hips, but none do just thighs! There is a point where things just get ridiculous and our medical world has become that way. Think of decades ago, back when Drs used to do house calls for every ailment in the book!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. When I tore my meniscus and ACL skiing I ran into the same thing. I initially got an appointment with a highly recommended doctor who was a knee specialist. I actually got into his office because I was referred by a doctor friend. The “knee specialist” told me he did knee replacements and I needed to see Matt who only did ACLs.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This scenario is so crazy! 1st World medicine gone awry. My advice–don’t put this anecdote in a work of fiction as many would think it over-the-top and not believable. I’m glad you both survived the ordeal.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t believe it and I experienced it. I really felt like I was being punked. I realize I live in a major city, with a bunch of teaching hospitals…but really…this was over the top

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve never heard the term physical physician. I would have started with our primary to get the referral but we have Kaiser and that’s the way that works. Still ruled by the insurance company but would probably have saved the runaround to all those different subs. Craziness.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. That is pretty crazy! My Orthopaedic doc does it all. I went to him when I tore my hamstring off the bone. I went back to him several years later about a shoulder injury and my sister went to him for an issue with a foot fracture. In an adjacent area he has a place to do physical therapy. He treats all kinds of injuries. AND he works with several local sports teams. I am guessing this new trend of so many specialties will be the future of medicine. Less chance of being sued is my guess. I miss good old Marcus Welby MD who did it all! Sounds crazy to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I have often read of long waiting lists in Canada. In the UAE, the doctors always tried to prescribe more things. For example: one doctor wanted to operate on my nasal passages as he told me they were too narrow and I would have too many problems. Well, I take allergy tablets and bypassed the very expensive operation.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. That’s okay I go to a gym that is part of a hospital. I was over billed and was told I would get a refund. After not getting it, I contacted hospital billing, that billing department tells me they don’t handle the fitness center because it’s not part of the hospital. Hum, the fitness center is in a building called Health and Wellness on the Lehigh Valley Health Network Muhlenberg Campus, ya know a building that is actually part of the hospital. It’s not a stand alone facility. It’s like pulling teeth to get this damn refund.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. A physiatrist is a Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation doctor. They are my go-to, preferred specialist for any ortho-related injuries because they try to do all they can to avoid surgery. If you go to a surgeon, they want to do surgery. When a physiatrist refers you for surgery you know it is absolutely necessary.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s the right word!! I could not make that word out, which is when the scheduler told me physical physician!! Thank you!! That’s I think the thinking here…see another doctor, and then ascertain if surgery is best course of action

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s funny but since I wrote this post, I’ve been over thinking the topic a bit and I have a different perspective…I’m going to wrote a follow up in august after I’ve thoroughly overthought it

        Liked by 1 person

  12. I read your story (and listen to my sister’s experiences of medical care in the US) and I dread the day the UK adopts the same system. Even putting the costs aside – and the absurdity of all 12 doctors specialising in thighs – the complexity of finding the right person to help you with your issue when it’s not a clear cut one, would tip all but the most resilient over the edge.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My thought is I live in a city with an abundance of teaching hospitals, and lots of athletes. My guess is other parts of America have a saner attitude towards this. But in cities…this will be the experience. Now that being said…if I was injured, would I want to go to a Doctor that treats all body injuries, or would I want someone who has done a fellowship in a particular thing?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. When I had breast cancer a friend checked out my Surgeon and called to let me know he was very good (rated third in the country) and that his oncology team were highly rated too. It hadn’t occurred to me to check, but it did add a layer of additional reassurance. So yes…

        Liked by 1 person

  13. I knew specialties were the thing now, but I had no idea just how bad it has become! Just thighs, seriously? When you got to the part about right or left calf, I actually thought that the whole post was a joke. It turns out, the joke is on all of us patients!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s funny…I wrote this with sarcasm in mind, but after discussing with people, I e come to the conclusion that we’ve put this in ourselves…we’ve become consumed with “experts “….I’m going to eventually blog about my new thoughts in this

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s funny, cause when I wrote this I obviously had a sarcastic tone. But when I thought about it…I’m not surprised. We want experts now…I mean, if you hurt your calf, are you going to want a doctor who works on the whole leg, or are you going to want the fellow in your specific injury? I’m going to follow up on this

      Liked by 2 people

    1. 😉alas…the doctor would say “ I’m the (pretentious name) fellow in sports medicine at (top rate hospital). I recently treated a major (insert sport) athlete with the injury, literally saving their career.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s