Doug Rutherford

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Got Me a Hot Date

May 2011
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Woo hoo! I got me a hot date. Don’t tell my wife…

Actually, my hot date is with the knee surgeon. I’m going back for another scope and debridement (no, this has nothing to do with divorce) on June 7th. My last one was 3 years ago and probably represented about a year of no knee pain at all for the first time since about 1970. No, it’s not the replacement I was told I needed in 1985. Instead, it’s the 6th repair job on the same knee and, while I’m happy I’m getting something, I’d much rather be getting a new knee than a duct tape and baling wire job.

That, sady, is not going to happen soon, though. It’s not that I don’t need a replacement, but rather the lifespan of a replacement and the cost to the medical system of having it done. See, right now, a replacement knee lasts between 10 and 15 years. Apparently, as my surgeon tells me, they last even less time if you use it as a knee. (By the way, that is my plan. No, I’m going back to downhill skiing or anything along those lines, but I would like to go back to biking again.) As things presently sit, replacements done again do not last as long as the earlier ones too. Therfore, if they replace my knee now, they will probably have to replace it two more times afterwards. Yes, it also costs the territory about $15,000 each time.

One would think that wouldn’t be an issue. However, we recently made national news with the story of a man waiting two years for a hip replacement. The reason given is that the territory only does six hip replacements a year because of cost.

Even if I do end up on the waiting list, it will be about tw0 years before I actually get my knee replaced. Considering a first appointment with the orthopoedic surgeon took 14 months and can take up to 24, needing joint surgery here is a lengthy process. Of course, a lot has to do with the problem that the surgeon has to come up from BC to do clinics since we don’t have one here. And, this is the part I don’t really grasp. When I first wrecked my knee, Sydney, NS had a population of less than Whitehorse does now. Sydney had a greater outer area population, but we also have the rest of the territory as potential clients too. At the time I was injured, we had three orthopedic surgeons living and practising in Sydney. Sadly, the territorial government doesn’t seem to understand why we don’t have one here, although expecting the current government to have a clue (hey, our premier is a convicted heroin dealer, after all) is apparently more than one could hope…


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