Upper Peninsula

Dr. Visit

I saw Dr.Dixon today at Advanced Orthopedics in Marquette. Deb drove me over there and parked right in front of the door. My heart sank when I saw what a huge building it was in, but they had some loaner wheelchairs right by the door, yay! Everyone there was very nice; the Dr. was a young guy and I really liked him. They gave me some classy paper shorts to put on (as the nurse said, “one size fits none”) and I got wheeled off to x-ray. I’ve got some really big bone spurs in there, the kneecap has been pushed to one side by one of them and of course the knee is bone-on-bone; I knew that 10 years ago. He thought it’d be worth it to try a cortisone shot first, so that’s what we did. The next step, he thought, would be to try the synthetic joint fluid SynVisc. Everything I had done today was “covered” by Medicare (a relative term; I’ll probably have to pay about $300 out of pocket) and the SynVisc injections would also be covered; I’d have to pay 20% which would be around $800 or so for the series of  3 injections.  So I hope this cortisone fixes me up!

He couldn’t tell if the meniscus was torn but felt it was a non-issue, as he’d just read the newest study on that and they don’t recommend arthroscopic meniscus surgery for anyone any more. They don’t go in there and actually FIX anything, they cut off the ragged edges of the tear.  He was very positive about continuing to use the infrared light though, and also suggested cold laser therapy as another option. He says the only ones using cold laser up here are veterinarians but they’re having GREAT success with it.  Duh???  If it works for dogs, why aren’t we using it more for people??  Same with stem cell therapy, veterinarians are having huge successes with it but the human medical community is still fearful. I didn’t have to pay anything today, they said they’d bill me. So I’d better put some money in Savings, as I know I’m gonna need it in a couple months. Hope I can hold onto it.

After the Dr. appointment we went to our third Main Street Pizza, this time in Marquette. We each got two huge pieces of pizza for $2.75, and it was really good. We took it to a nice park right on Lake Superior to eat and there was even a big garbage can there so Deb could throw away the big box she got from Amazon! That’s one of the hardest things while boondocking, finding legal places to throw the trash.

Deb went to the casino last night and bought some food and dropped some cash on the slots so she is helping to justify our existence here.  This is a pretty small casino so there’s no restaurant, but they have a snack bar. She said the smoke was pretty bad. I guess the indians can do anything they want, the laws don’t apply?  My only complaint is about the flies here, there are a lot of them. They don’t bite (right now) but they like to land on me and I imagine them licking me or something awful. Ewww, fly tongues!

And then we went to my bank and to a smallish IGA store for groceries. Their prices were horrible! And they didn’t have any electric carts but they did have a wheelchair…without a shopping basket. I had to go along with Deb and use her shopping cart. Boy you’re really SHORT in a wheelchair! Thank goodness I am able to stand up; some people can’t. I wonder if they just buy stuff from the lower shelves, or do they have to ask for help? I wanted an item on a top shelf and I thought Deb was right behind me….I said “Hey hand me that” and some nice lady on the other side of me got it for me! I was very embarrassed & told her I hadn’t meant to be ordering HER around!!  The wheelchair was non-painful but it took a little while to get used to it. I’d just get going good and it would veer off to one side or the other.

Sorry I still don’t have any photos of our campsite. I’ll try to get Deb to take some soon.

So anyway, we don’t have to hang around here unless we want to; I have no follow-up appointments or anything. I’m SO glad I didn’t have to get an MRI! The lady I talked to on the phone said they would require it but I’m glad she was wrong.


9 replies on “Dr. Visit”

Hi Janis,
I forgot to say that when I heard my knee, I also got a few cortisone shots in there…they sure help with the pain! But I was still supposed to treat it extremely gingerly. I didn’t get that synthetic joint fluid, but it sounds like a great idea. I hope today you are feeling better. 🙂


Thanks Parker…I plan to treat is VERY gingerly!! I actually haven’t found anyone who got the SynVisc and it was successful, so if it comes to that I’ll have to think long and hard about getting it, if it’s very expensive.


I went to a chiropractor who does the cold laser therapy. Also when I took my dog, fudge, in for therapy at the vets office my tech also did me.
Glad to know the synovisc is covered by insurance as I have been thinking of trying it. Also my orthopedist says the cost of stem cell has come down about $1000. But it only lasts about three years. That’s better than surgery tho. I hope the shots help until you can do better.


Wow! Does your orthopedist do stem cell? For $1000 I’d do it in a heartbeat!! If not, can you get some names of Dr.’s that do it? From what I read it’s supposed to last as long as knee replacement, like 10-15 years. Mine is still pretty good after 4 yrs.


I just sawthis. Dr. Wheeler said he went to a seminar in it. I don’t know if he does it. There is a Doctor there who does. In fact he was involved in a study a year or so ago and had I known in time I would have tried to join it. Dr. Wheeler told me it only lasts about three years.

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I sure know about knee pain. I need knee replacements but am not a surgery candidate. I have muscular dystrophy and could not do rehab. Without rehab he said I would actually be in worse shape with the surgery. He tried the cortisone shots but they did not work. Medicare requires that approach before you can try the SynVisc shots. I have had those every 6 months now for about five years. They really work well for me. My father who turns 90 next month also takes them as he is too old for knee replacements. We both have a supplement for Medicare that is the F plan. It picks up the 20 % that medicare does not pay so ours have no additional costs. I am told that the series costs $ 3,000 per knee so I am thankful I do not have to pay any additional and it works. I use to hold on to the walls and cry with every step I could take. Now I am in wheel chair 95 % of the time due to progression of MD but I am pretty well pain free except for some the month before I can get another round of shots. You can get the series every four months but Medicare will not pay unless it is six months after shot number three. I would encourage you to try them.


Oh I’m so glad to hear the SynVisc shots work for someone! I lived in Ecuador during my Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period and I had no intention of ever moving back to the States, so I didn’t get one. I applied recently and got turned down for coverage. They don’t tell you why. If you apply during that first 6 mos. after you turn 65, they don’t take past medical history into account. So I’m stuck with paying the 20% Medicare co-pay for everything. Ugh.


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