I had another CT scan of my back. This time, I had the results read by a physician with experience in evaluating muscle and ligament problems in the back.
I am very glad that I consulted with my insurance company to identify the correct professional to evaluate the results because…
…this new-to-me doc said, “doesn’t look like a ligament tear to me. See this… and this… and this…,” pointing out the various signs he was reading that showed the difference between a strain (pulled ligament) and a tear.
I do have a few fibers of one ligament that are indeed torn. But not enough, at least by this doctor’s evaluation based on 25 years of experience, that surgery will be required to repair the ligament.
My previous scan (an MRI) of the injured area of my back was read by whatever medical guy was at the doc-in-the-box center that my insurance company sent me to for the MRI. Being typically cheap, my insurance company was reluctant to authorize an MRI, but when they did, they insisted that it had to be done at the least expensive facility available — and definitely not at a hospital. When you go to a cheaper-than-a-hospital facility, then you get WhatEverMedGuy with questionable and less years of experience. So WhatEverMedGuy said that “oh, you definitely have a torn ligament. When the swelling goes down, schedule surgery.”
I was not so sure about his authoritative stand, especially after hearing from so many others that initial MRI results are often inconclusive. Even my personal physician was questioning the initial analysis since the changes to my symptoms (less pain) did not align with what I should have been feeling if my ligament were actually torn.
I sought out a professional with experience in reading these results, and was very happy that I did.
This experienced doc told me yesterday, “you can resume usual activity to the degree you can tolerate it with one exception: you shouldn’t lift anything heavier than about 10 pounds for at least two months. You should also get physical therapy.” Okay, I can handle that.
When the doctor spoke, this is what this biker heard in his head: “you can resume usual activity, so as long as you don’t drop your Harley, you can ride!”
Spouse isn’t all that thrilled about that. He is concerned that I will re-injure my back. But I gave him my very sad puppy-dog frown often enough that he gave up and said, “well, be careful.” I can hear him muttering to himself that he isn’t happy, but he will be less happy with a non-riding spouse during peak riding season.
So today, Saturday, my cousin is coming over and we are going for a gentle ride together to get me reacquainted with riding again. And if I get tired or the back isn’t up to it, my non-judgmental cousin will be cool with me if I tell him that I have to come home early.
Life is short: resume normal activity (and wear boots whilst doing it!)