A Torn Meniscus Made Lisa's Horrible Situation Worse

Right after she hurt her knee, Lisa learned her mother had died – making her frantic to get treatment fast so she could travel to attend the funeral.

Person wearing athletic shoes walking in a parkGoing into Labor Day weekend Lisa was enjoying a powerwalk on Friday and all of a sudden she just felt her knee go out. She knew she needed professional help.

Lisa set up an appointment to see her primary care physician that morning. He told her that she needed to see an orthopedic specialist for her injury and to her dismay referred her to a physician that was not on her insurance.

“I did not know what to do,” says Lisa. “I was running out of time to find a doctor to help me since most offices were closing for an extra day due to the holiday weekend.”

After an extensive search, Lisa was not able to get an appointment with an orthopedic specialist on Friday. Instead of enjoying the long weekend, Lisa was stuck in bed. Now she had to wait until Tuesday before she could see an orthopedic surgeon.

Terrible news overshadows torn meniscus woe

To make matters even worse – much, much worse – Lisa’s mother, who lived in another state, was admitted to the hospital the night before. While unable to move, Lisa learned that her mother had passed away Monday morning.

Stuck in bed and distraught with helplessness facing her mother’s death, Lisa knew she needed to get help for her knee. She had to get up and travel to her mother’s funeral.

Not knowing what orthopedic specialist to see, Lisa sent out an e-mail to friends asking if anyone had a doctor they would recommend. She also called the office she was originally recommended to go to and they referred her to Muir Orthopaedic Specialists, a practice they thought highly of. On Tuesday morning she called first thing and was lucky enough to get an appointment with Dr. Charles Preston right away.

“They had an appointment available right then and said that I needed to come right away, so I did,” says Lisa. “I went to Walnut Creek. I was so impressed, immediately I could tell Dr. Preston knew what he was doing.”

Dr. Preston told Lisa that it looked like she had a torn meniscus but needed to confirm that diagnosis with imaging.

A torn meniscus is a very common knee injury that can cause pain, stiffness and swelling in the knee. Many people also experience problems with knee motion and the ability to fully expand the knee. Depending on the severity of the torn meniscus, treatment options include rest or surgery.

Lisa was not able to put any pressure on her foot since it was so painful.

In the Walnut Creek office, the team completed an x-ray of Lisa’s knee, but she also needed to get an MRI scheduled at another practice. MOS did not have the needed equipment available but they recommended another office that could perform the imaging on the torn meniscus.

“I was in a pickle, it was an emotional time for me,” says Lisa.

Staff steps up to help Lisa get out by Friday

After letting Dr. Preston and his team know about how she had to leave on Friday for her mother’s funeral in another state, the whole team stepped up to help.

The other doctor’s office that performed the MRI stayed late on Tuesday after the MOS team called to alert them of Lisa’s special need.

“The staff really went above and beyond to help me. They had empathy, they were kind, they put extra work into my case to make my timeline work,” says Lisa. “Normally it is the patient’s responsibility to call to set up additional appointments, but they helped out. They called multiple places to find a location that would fit me in and made it all happen.”

By Wednesday, Dr. Preston had all the needed imaging and determined that a knee arthroscopy would be Lisa’s best option for her torn meniscus. The surgery was then scheduled for Thursday morning.

A knee arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgery in which Dr. Preston views the knee joint without making a large incision in the knee. The surgery is performed with special instruments inserted through a small opening, with a camera positioned into the operating area to provide a video view to the surgeon.

“Dr. Preston knew what needed to be done,” she says. “He was knowledgeable and kind, and I felt like I was going to get the best care during my surgery.”

Lisa was able to travel the next day to be in time for her mother’s funeral.

“What took place, and how it took place was all one big miracle,” says Lisa. “I felt very fortunate to be able to be seen by Dr. Preston right away. He let his office staff know the difficult position I was in and they all worked together to give me the best medical care.”

Once she returned from her trip, Lisa came back to see Dr. Preston for the post-surgery follow-up care. She started physical therapy and is on her road to recovery. Physical therapy for a torn meniscus generally takes between four and six months before you can return to the prior level of movement in your knee.

“I felt valued from the beginning,” says Lisa. “I am so thankful for the entire staff and for Dr. Preston understanding my situation and helping me be able to make it to my mother’s funeral. I can’t thank him enough.”