Monday, March 16, 2009

The Countdown Begins

Well, I pissed off my surgeon. Who knew that would happen?

Last Wednesday I visited all my doctors so they could put a face with the hip they're operating on. Or something like that.

After signing my pre-nuptial agreement, relinquishing all rights to my bodily functions for the surgery, I was off for blood and other tests and a chat with an anesthesiologist. The good news about the tests was that I could prove I'd already had a bunch done just last month, including an "excellent" bone scan, so they only needed to poke me once.

However, during my conversation with the anesthesiologist, who assured me that the most dangerous part of surgery was afterward, I learned that my hip implant was going to be glued in place.

I reacted with my usual restraint, "Glued, whaddya mean glued? He [my surgeon] said I wouldn't need to have it glued!!" At this point I'm sure the gas doc made a mental note to up the load of knock out juice they were going to give me. And keep the morphine coming afterward. Anything to shut me up.

To save his ass, he backtracked a little about the implant glue, saying he wasn't the surgeon, so he couldn't be sure. Then he added, "Don't tell him I said anything."

After the bloodletting by the nurses and my happy talk with the anesthesiologist ["You're right, we have no way of telling whether you're all the way under or not."], I made my way to another building in the vast medical center for a visit with my orthopod. But before going in, I was told I had to have x-rays.

Huh? I had just had a whole bunch of x-rays last month and sent them over, so I didn't understand why more were needed. My pelvis was going to start glowing in the dark. Plus I would have to pay for anything I didn't need, So, to be sure they weren't duplicating the ones they had, I asked if the receptionist could find out if these x-rays would be redundant.

Based on the look I got, I don't think she had a clue what "redundant" meant. Or her look may have been a "Die bitch" expression on her face. But she went hunting for a nurse anyway. She came back with the message that I needed x-rays. Do they have the other ones I sent over, I asked? She didn't know. So I decided to wait and ask the docs first before adding to my radioactivity.

Since I'm being operated on at a teaching hospital, I spent time with a resident first, going over the surgery and concerns I had, after first giving him yet another medical history. Despite all the computers, none of the departments seems to talk to one another. We discussed a lot of things, including why I needed more x-rays and whether the implant would be glued. Frankly, the resident didn't know why I needed more x-rays and he assured me that glue would probably not be necessary except for an unusual circumstance. I also learned something else. I already know that the surgery I've chosen, anterior [minimally invasive], is much easier on the patient. With anterior surgery, you don't have movement restrictions afterward [like not raising your knee more than 90 degrees, to name just one]. Also recovery is faster because muscles aren't cut, they're separated. That's why I tracked down doctors who do it. What I didn't know is that anterior surgery is more difficult than the other techniques -- lateral and posterior. No wonder more docs don't do it.

So after our talk, the resident left me to relay our conversation to my orthopod -- in particular, the x-rays and the glue.

Next thing I know my orthopod pulls a Dr. House on me. He marches in and practically shouts,"You want to know why you need x-rays? Two reasons -- first, so I can design the best way to do the surgery and second, in case something has changed in your hips."

"So the x-rays I paid to have sent over at your request don't do it for you?" I asked rhetorically.

Beyotch that I am, I threw even more gasoline on the fire, "Come on, I'm sure nothing's happened to my hips in a month."

"You're probably right," he acquiesced. Then he ordered me on the table ["Okay, get on the table!"] so he could show the resident how bad my hips are. He made them move in directions they hadn't gone in years. Gee, I wonder why.

He also demonstarted on me how the x-ray he wanted needed to be taken, but I was only half listening since I assumed he was talking to the other doc. I vaguely remembered something about how the technician would place some positioners under my legs to hold them up at an awkward angle.

Turns out he was looking at the resident, but talking to me, something I didn't pick up on. The technician didn't have any positioners for my legs and I couldn't hold them up high enough or long enough, so she left to find the doc. He ended up getting mad at me for not listening to what he had said. Like it was my fault.

And I chose him for his bedside manner.

Then there was the matter of the glue. "We talked about this last time," he said. Last time he said no glue. But I didn't remind him. I also didn't rat out the anesthesiologist and tell my orthopod that two hours ago, I'd heard differently.

"I don't expect to use glue, but you're a female," he went on.

"I know, but I got an "excellent" on my bone scan," I retorted, "why would it be an issue?"

"You're still a female," he reiterated, as if that explained everything.

He left and I said to the resident, "He's acting like Dr. House."

He smiled and said, "You should see how he treats us. But don't tell him I said that."

I don't know about you, but I'm having fun.


cw2smom said...

I've never watched Dr. House, but I do know he's addicted to vicodin, like my oldest, which may explain some of his behavior. But, I think you showed remarkable restraint Mrs. L. I am not so sure I'd like him operating on me if I'd inadvertently pissed him off. What a jerk! I think some of those people just expect that we willing put all our faith and trust in them! Not me. Especially when my late father's doctor, who had treated him for 20 years, and a bunch of his HMO collegues couldn't figure out he had Hep C until 6 months before it killed him! Despite him having all the symptoms and working in a prison, which is a GREAT place to contract it! Arggggh! Best wishes for a successful surgery! Lisa

Myra said...

I'd certainly make some type of amend before the surgery...granted you're entitled to ask questions and receive answers that placate you. You're the patient...but since when did the patient have any rights??!! My mom's orthopod doc was a jerk too...maybe its just the specific field, a job requirement.

Chris said...

Imagine how fun socialized medicine will be;)

Dr. House would probably be more fun, at least he's high.

Remo said...

I... um... sorry, I got sidetracked when you started talking about them putting your legs in positions they hadn't been in years.

You were saying?

I bet the anterior surgery is just a way to get you shaved.

Judith HeartSong said...

oh boy...... they'd best treat our Dear One well or there'll be hell to pay.

Donna said...

I almost hate doctors. If I didn't need them so much.

And I DO hate dentists, no matter how much I need them.

robingrg2 said...

My husband had hip replacement surgery in Dec. '04. Anterior, which at the time was a "new" procedure. They had him up & walking a few hours after surgery. He used a walker for about two weeks. He occasionally has pain in his thigh, but his hip has never hurt. I wish you were here in Houston. His doc was great & had the best bedside manner! I know you'll do great!

Robin in Texas

Mrs. L said...

Anterior surgery was first done by the Germans and French in the forties. It was brought to the US over 25 years ago. It's called NEW by some orthopods because it's new to them.The American medical establishment has been very reluctant to embrace the procedure becuase it's harder to do. Better for the patient, harder for the docs.

I have no doubt that my doc is good. I'm just a pain in the ass patient.