When life throws you a gem

Because of the Thanksgiving holiday out here in the states I’m posting this a little early. Close your eyes and pretend its Friday. For my good friends all over the world….never mind. 🙂

doctor 5

Before I start I want to direct my attention to those who are male doctors or have close connections to male doctors. My opinions in this post are connected to my own personal experience. In no way do I feel my experience is directed to everyone. Just me.

Now that I have your attention – Here we go.  


My Dang knee

Doctor 1

One of the earliest posts I wrote was a piece about my right knee. I broke it many, many moons ago and I feared its life was coming to an end. But it didn’t. It gave me years of walking and slipping and sliding and all the goodies life has to offer.

Sadly it didn’t last. A failed operation in December of 2017 led to constant pain.

But as the pain lessoned on my right knee pain increased in my left ankle.

Yes, it’s been one of those years.

In my house we have labeled 2018 as the year of the pain. I have popped more pain pills and made friends with more ice packs than I care to admit.

For a while I was using my office chair as a makeshift wheelchair. It was kind of fun until I ran into the wall and over the cats tail.

By August the ankle improved. Turns out it all had to do with the way I was walking to protect the knee.

Think domino effect.


My Male Doctors

doctors 2

But the knee got worse. This time it was different. I could feel something was wrong and it was going to stay wrong.

I had two male surgeons helping me since the beginning of the year and by summer they pretty much waved the white flag. Before I knew what was happening I was being sent to Portland, Oregon to see another surgeon.

Most of my life my doctors have been men. It was never a choice, it just sort of happened. By having male doctors I grew use to my checkups being quick. The answers arrived before the questions. Listening was non-existent and before I knew if I was out the door.

I grew use to this sort of treatment, figuring all doctors were the same. What do I know, right? They went to med school, I didn’t.

But all of that changed with my visit to Portland.


Strange Happenings in Portland

doctors 3

I knew she had a solid reputation before we met. I researched her patient’s write-ups and all of them were positive. Fellow doctors spoke highly of her.

Our drive from Eugene to Portland is about two hours. My wife and I joked it would be a five minutes visit. That would give us time to check out Portland’s giant bookstore.

Let’s just say we were a tad off.

As you know I am big on listening. I was a poor listener growing up which led to tons of mistakes. Listening is a powerful tool which explains why my five minute prediction was off by roughly 55 minutes.

In the time we spent talking my first woman surgeon did most of the listening. When my story was complete she did the most unusual thing: She sent me home without an answer.

I was told to keep a diary of my knees performance. While doing so she would consult her team.

Her team?


Three weeks later we headed back. This time it was her turn to talk. She read my daily reports and combined them with her own. She analyzed other procedures before a conclusion was made.

And her conclusion? Total knee replacement.


We mean no harm

Men mean well. We really do. We do serve a purpose and at times we can be a lot of fun. We can solve problems in minutes. Sometimes seconds. Some of us listen but most of us don’t and when it comes to analyzing – Please. It’s not our thing.

We’re just way too busy for such nonsense. 

So there you have it. My first experience with a woman surgeon and because of that I will never have a male surgeon again.

I must admit, I do feel a tad bit of guilt. It’s as if I just shoved a knife through the heart of my own species. Sorry guys.

Listening is power. I tell my daughters that all the time. Now if only I could teach that to my male friends we might actually climb that hill to the valley of success.

On November 30th I place my knee in the hands of a talented surgeon. For the first time I’m not worried. Huge thanks to Dr. Schabel. 

doctor 4


44 thoughts on “When life throws you a gem

  1. I am very pleased to read you are getting the right help, Bryan. I must say though that all male surgeons are not born equal. My son had a male surgeon who helped find out what the problem was with him and why we were getting horrible side effects from his operations. Dr Graeme Pitcher is a great man and he also was a listener. The trick is in finding a listener regardless of sex.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Great big Garfield hugs for you Bryan 🤗🤗🤗I have every confidence that you will make a full recovery and dancing soon!🤗🤗🤗😀


  2. My friend had it done and returned to 90 percent of the mobility she had – said she felt like a kid again. But Bryan – do listen when your doc says rest. Don’t push it. Be patient. Listening really is a wonderful skill. Glad you found the right doc for you! =) ♥.


    1. *90 percent of the mobility she had before her injury* meant to write. I think she’s back to 100 percent now. You’ll have some metal and plastic parts after the 30th — “Bionic Bryan”? ^_^

      Liked by 1 person

    2. You are right. Pushing to hard is a bad thing and that is one thing I will be tempted to do. I’m meeting with physical therapists four days after the surgery. They will set me up on a schedule. I hope I hit 90 percent. That’s a nice goal to shoot for.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Sounds like you’ll be in good hands, Bryan 😊. It’s always great when you find a good Doctor. Here’s to a successful surgery and recovery 🍻.


    1. My wife and kids probably have their own list of things they’d like replaced. But I’m not sure one could surgically replace lounging around watching football. If that’s possible please keep it to yourself. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Best of luck and prayers for your surgery.
    Having been raised with doctors (per my metabolic disorder), I prefer male doctors, myself.
    All are different.


  5. For me it all came down to being unlucky and suddenly being lucky. On the plus side the male doctor who waved the white flag did point me in her direction. I’ll give him that.

    Thank you for the kind words. They mean a lot.


  6. I saw a woman driving a bus the other day. I hear that some are playing soccer now as well. 🙂 What next? Best wishes for the op Bryan. I’m sure life will be better for you once the rehab’s done.


  7. I’m so glad you’re feeling confident about your knee surgery and I hope you continue to experience a very good recovery that lasts a long, long time. It sounds like you found an especially gifted doctor. I’ve never had any doctor ask me to keep a diary for three weeks–and then analyze it. That’s amazing!


  8. Bryan, after you visited my blog and left a comment on my post about “The Secret Handshake” I just had to come see your blog. I am glad I did! This post was great! Though I do find it generally true that men like to solve problems, quickly and efficiently, and spend little time actually listening to the finer details of things; and that women also generally tend to be better listeners and take their time to make decisions, what I would like for you to keep in mind is that there are exceptions to every rule.

    I have preferred female doctors as a rule for this very reason. But not all my women doctors have listened, or been comapassionate, or spent time with me. Sometimes they have rushed me in, gave me the minimal time, and rushed me out again. I was only a number. Some of my male doctors have been real gems! They have taken the time to really listen, evaluate the problem, try something new, or even take into consideration something I came to the table with. So, the lesson here is: do not dismiss all male doctors or embrace all female doctors.

    I am glad you are getting the treatment and care you need. May your surgery go well, your recovery go fast, and your health improve maximally!


  9. Thank you for such a detailed comment. I sure appreciate it.

    You are correct, there are exceptions. I think what stood out to me the most was my history with doctors. This was such a welcoming change.

    I was raised in a family of strong minded, independent women who listened before they made a decision. The embarrassment of being wrong was their motivator. In many ways my doctor reminded me of those amazing ladies I grew up around. She didn’t rush to judgement. She listened, she gathered information and finally she made a decision.

    This is how I grew up and her style gave me a huge sense of comfort.

    Thank you for your well wishes. That means a lot.


  10. Glad to hear you are now moving forward with your healing. It can be so frustrating to not be listened to. Medical issues should never be rushed or brushed over like do many doctors and surgeons do. Though often thst can be due to extreme workloads. Good luck


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