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My knee has never been the same since a ski accident in 2012.
It was my first time skiing in the backcountry, and I was staying at a yurt with friends high up in the Tushar Mountains of central Utah. The snow was a variety skiers call “corn snow,” with a grainy surface developed from repeated freeze and thaw cycles. It strongly resembles kernels of corn. I caught an edge on my first run of the trip, and I watched as my left ski twisted too far. I heard a pop, went down in a heap, and yelled for help. Ok, maybe it was more of a scream for help. I also might have cried a little. Though I’d never done it before, I knew immediately I’d torn my ACL.
Thus began my long journey through surgery, crutches, physical therapy, and recovery. In May 2018, I needed a second surgery on the same knee after some wear and tear—a left knee arthroscopy with debridement. Translation: my orthopedist went in with a little camera, poked around, and removed some broken, torn and weakened pieces of cartilage.
A knee scope is not a big deal, but you wouldn’t know that from the medical bills. It’s a quick procedure, taking just an hour or so in the operating room. The patient can walk right away without crutches, so physical therapy is limited or unnecessary. Unless there are unexpected complications, you can expect to feel pretty much back to normal in 3-4 weeks.
Since I joined the team at Artemis Health last year, I’ve thought more and more about how our healthcare system works. And not just from the patient perspective. There’s a whole lot happening behind the scenes, from your employer paying premiums, to your surgeon’s office asking your carrier for pre-authorization, to your primary care doc communicating with your surgeon. It’s a mystery to most of us seeking treatment, and we’re usually too sick or injured to think much about it.
I want to share some of the behind-the-scenes knowledge I gained not just from my most recent treatment, but from my time at Artemis.