January 24, 2014

Choosing the person who will cut into my body and saw a part off and put in something mechanical...



Pursuant to my last post regarding a full hip replacement, here's a little diagram of what they're going to do to me:


I decided I want to "shop around" a little for surgeons...as much as my health plan will accommodate, anyway. I ended up having a semi-terse email exchange with the local hospital's Head of Orthopedics after informing him that I wanted to do this. He kept coming back at me with "what do you want to know?" and "Dr. A and Dr. B do it the exact same way. Dr. C does it this other way. Same number of risks, same percentage of complications." Seriously, back and forth 3 times. Then he said, "Well, if it's a matter of picking who you like better..." as if I were attempting to create some sort of popularity contest.

All I want is the best surgeon for ME. AM I BEING A PRINCESS? Maybe I am, but Twitter assured me that this is an appropriate time to be princess-y. So I sent him the following:
Yes, I suppose I want to meet the different people who might possibly cut my body open with the intention of making it work better. I've spent 14 years trying to make sense of my hip. Being a physically active person is a large part of who I am. And I'm a people person. How I connect with a care provider will make a difference. I want to hear and see each doctor explain his view and role in the procedure. What gets cut? What gets split? How is it reattached? How is it repaired? How does he see it? Why does he do it? Why does he do it that way? How many has he done? This surgery is going to have a MAJOR effect on my life, both short and long term. Who will treat me the most like a person and not just a femoral head to saw off and acetabulum to hollow out, all to be replaced by something...different? And what will he be putting in there? What's its track record? I have faith in all of your technical abilities. It's not about "liking" really. Am I being annoying? Am I wasting your time?

His reply was:
I understand. I'll set up the consultations for you.
I have two consultations early next month and then the surgery will be another 3-4 months after that. It's a long wait, but I think it'll go a lot faster than the last 14 years.

Until then, I'll be trying to get myself in some sort of shape because the better shape you're in, the better time you have with recovery. If you're friends with me on dailymile then you know I've begun that HORRIFIC and humbling process. What's it like to do NOTHING for a year and gain 20 fucking pounds in 6 months and then try to work out again? It is absolutely whine-fest worthy. Get in shape and lose weight...two things I've never worried about before. #woeisme. HOW DO PEOPLE LIVE LIKE THIS????



I'm preparing my list of questions for the potential surgeons. One question is: will they video the event on my iPhone for me so I can put it on YouTube and the blog? If they don't have an extra person to hold the phone for the duration of the surgery, would they have someone who could periodically snap some photos at key moments? Like when they reach in the cut-open leg and pop the femoral head out. And when they saw it off. And a pic of the inside of the acetabulum before they ream it out. And then Instagram it for me? I want my people to have live-streaming.

I wonder if they'd let me keep the sawed-off femur head? It might make an excellent paperweight/conversation starter!


Ever keep anything strange from a medical procedure you had done?
–Prior to this, only my wisdom teeth. I didn't even get to see the blebs from my lung surgery, the rotten appendix from my appendectomy or the fallopian tube from my salpingectomy. Such a ripoff. I paid good money to have this shit done and I want to see the fruits of their labor!

42 comments:

  1. When I worked in transplant I had a patient whose surgeon graciously snapped pictures (ok maybe it was probably the scrub nurse) throughout his transplant so he could see afterwards and share with family and friends. so when a surgeon looks at you like you're crazy you can say "a cardiothoracic surgeon did it during LUNG transplant!" and shame them into compliance.

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  2. Each hospital is different about pictures. If I was there I'd go with you and take them. I asked for my gall bladder but it was a no go. I wish I had my uterus out and slap that baby right above the fireplace for my kids to see. Maybe draw a smiley face on it.

    I usually ask nurses who is the best and then meet them. Luckily I know a lot of medical people and can find good ones that way. Use your gestalt and really listen to them, are they just blah blah blah or really talking to you. Although the best trauma pelvic surgeon at our hospital is very kind to his patients but awkward. He is rumored to be quite eloquent with the residents in the OR. I.e. "I'll rip your head off and shit down your neck" ::shrug:: He's very expressive! Good luck and please let me know if you have any questions.
    Kathee

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    1. That's partly why I'd LOVE a video of the procedure...to hear the surgeon berating everyone...and hopefully someone say something back under their breath.

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  3. Yes, please do be "princess-y." If there's ever been a time to pull total diva behavior, it's over this and not, like, having to wait seven minutes for your spirulina-and-agave smoothie.

    Good luck with the consultations. I hope you find a surgeon you feel confident will take the best possible care of you.

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    1. Surgery and not having my fave Lululemon shorts in MY size and the NEW color in stock, right?

      Thanks!

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  4. I love your note to the doctor and I also really like his reply back. I suspect it's as close to an apology as you'll get. And as I said on twitter, this IS a time to be fussy. If and when I have heart surgery, I'll definitely be making sure the surgeon GETS me!! I'm excited for you, if that's the right word.

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  5. Make sure you ask each of your potential candidates to bring examples of their woodworking projects. Orthopaedics is so similar to carpentry (with blood and muscles and nerves and stuff to make it more fun) that they should be master craftsmen seeing as working with wood is so much easier. And absolutely they should live-stream your operation so you can review it later and rate his performance. Plus I love all that gory stuff. Good luck finding your McDreamy.

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    1. You've just inspired a brilliant idea! I'm going to hire actors and put them through several months of intensive training...

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  6. I had an abscessed tooth pulled last year and the dentist asked if I wanted to keep it. Heck, I wouldn't even LOOK at the thing when he wanted to show it to me. Other than wisdom teeth, I haven't had any other surgical procedures.

    Maybe you could turn your femoral head into a Christmas ornament. Add that to your list of questions for the surgeons..."Would you mind drilling a hole into it that I can loop a string through so I can hang it on my Christmas tree?"

    In all honesty, I hope you find someone that you feel comfortable with and confident in. Good luck!

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    1. And then I could roll it in GLITTER!!!!!

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  7. Nothing wrong with going with the surgeon you feel most appropriate. Maaaaaybe basing your choice off who will instagram the most is not the best decision but you are a blogger after all. ;) Wishing you all the best!!

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    1. You're right...that's such a superficial way to choose. I'm going to pick whoever is the hottest looking.

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  8. As a policy, our pediatricians office schedules a free consultation visit so you can meet your potential doctor. I don't know why a hip replacement or heart surgery would be any different. It's something that's (WITH HOPE) going to be with you the rest of your life. I like what somebody above said about asking the nurses. I bet they would love to answer honestly about the doctors and surgeons they work with. Good luck! I'll be picturing you naked and vulnerable...as always.

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    1. Because I'm so competitive, I've decided to have the surgery done without anesthesia and at home...like your c-section. But I'm going to do it MYSELF and unattended. I want to do it the same day that you give birth so that we can post our stories on the same day and see who gets the most comments. Please let me know when you're planning to have that baby so I can make sure to have my saw sharpened in time.

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  9. I have pictures of the inside of my husband's whole right arm from when they did the nerve graft surgery. I almost included those in my post about him :)

    I know two people who got new hips and they both said post surgery was awesome because their hips finally didn't hurt anymore.

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    1. Yeah, the whole "not hurting anymore" thing is going to be HUGE. I seriously do not remember what it was like. I remember what life was like but not what it felt like. I would have loved to have seen that set of pics. Next time!

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  10. the ornament idea made me laugh out loud! Cool and unique idea.... imagine the look on family and friends faces as they compliment the one of a kind ornament and you explain where it came from! LOL

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    1. Most of my family would probably guess what it was and roll their eyes. They are such fuddyduddies.

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  11. I will start the #tooyoungforthissurgery hashtag today in your honor

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  12. Dammit I thought you said wine fest.
    I don't blame you one bit for wanting consults with the potential surgery executors...you know what I mean. Make sure they can stream the procedure live so you can have a webinar or at least a Google hangout.
    I will be so jelly when you do your sawed off femur head giveaway on Rafflecopter. #ultrafreeshit

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    1. YOU MIGHT WIN IT!!!!

      Maybe I'll make a plaster cast of it and give away MULTIPLE COPIES!!!! Rolled in glitter. #sparkle

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  13. fuck yeh you HAVE to demand that THEY do what YOU want. Bozos. I hope you make some cool bone carvings and raffle em off. BEST #freeshitever. Then again...you might want to sell em and make some $$$$$. I'd consider buying a piece of you....

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  14. I wished I had shopped around when I had my ACL surgery - I would've tried my hardest to strengthen my hamstring pre-surgery in order to use that as the donor tissue rather than from my patella, because that created serious rehab issues. I didn't even know the hamstring was an option, because my surgeon never said anything! (Or he did, but didn't explain to me the ramifications.) I had crazy amounts of scar tissue in my knee and it took 9 months to get my full range of motion back, compared to 2 others I knew who went the hamstring route and were running within 3 months.

    As for remnants of my surgeries -- I really, really wanted to see my appendix, but didn't get to (BOO). The only thing I have is the X-ray from my ankle, when I went bionic and had a plate and 8 screws inserted. It's pretty badass. Good luck finding a surgeon!

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    1. Will you always have the plate and screws? Do they ever hurt?

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    2. Yes, the hardware is permanent because neither the doctor nor I want to have another surgery just to remove the metal. It doesn't hurt, set off the metal detector at airport security, or sense when it's about to rain, so it does me NO GOOD WHATSOEVER. Sometimes I can feel the screw heads under my skin and that feels creepy, but that's the extent of it.

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  15. wowza. Good for you putting it into perspective for that twat. Of course you have to shop around. i want you to twist the knife real good like "I have to be careful, I'm the mother of 10 helpless babes and if something where to happen to me I'd have to leave them to YOU to take care of"

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  16. Replies
    1. Not as scary as being awake and aware while someone LASERS YOUR EYES!

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  17. The comments to this post are all almost as good as the post itself!

    I've written that I have bad knees and the biggest surgery I've had is an high tibial osteotomy. My surgeon cracked my tibia, broke it apart, injected the open space with dead people and then screwed it back together, basically.

    With that said, the surgeon is very important and I applaud you for finding the best fit for you. The other thing is, the surgery is just the first step. To me, it's actually the easiest because of drugs and many people taking care of you.

    To me, almost equally as important as a good surgeon, is a good physical therapist. Oh lord, I could write a book about good ones and bad ones. I've been to many and about the best advice I have is find a practice that has lots of staff, with lots of PT assistants, and a good amount of space for you to do your therapy in. The exercises are pretty standardized but a good therapist knows their stuff and will give helpful feedback on your progress. They also tend to be athletes themselves so are full of good advice on getting back into training. I could go on about what to look for in PT's, feel free to email if you like....although I think you've done some therapy already so you may already know all of this.

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    1. Yes, I've got tons of experience with some excellent PT's. I know just where to go :) Thanks!

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  18. When my grandfather had his knees replaced, he asked to stay awake so he could watch. Maybe you could do that AND video. Talk about badass.

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    1. You always have the best ideas. I'm totally going to give you my cane when I'm done with it.

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  19. My wife only looked at one surgeon, but he had operated on her achillies and she likes him. Now while she only had a BHR being fit did help with recovery, but 3 weeks after the op (On Friday the 13th) she had a pulmonary embolism!!! scary!!! Now we think it is more likely to happen to a fit person be there is no proof, so be careful.

    it's amazing and will give you a new life very exciting as I know you will give up the full rundown of all that happenes.

    I write about it back then: http://coachdion.blogspot.com/2012/07/under-knife.html

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  20. I am happy you are meeting several people about this! I am surprised they didn't get why you wanted to do that, at first!

    Ha ha, you need someone to come watch the procedure, like that episode of Seinfeld where they accidentally fling candy in to the patient. Ha haha.

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    1. OMG. I forgot about that episode. I hope no one drops any random shit into MY body!

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  21. Don't even get me started on the complete and utter lack of "customer service" and "professionalism" that is allowed on a regular basis in the medical service provider world. I have been repeatedly shocked at what they think is acceptable -- my clients would fire me and any other law firm in a heartbeat for much of what they do and I'm only dealing with contracts, *NOT* people's bodies... You really do have to go to battle to get what you deserve out of the U.S. medical world. Keep up the good fight.

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  22. Oh wow.

    First, of COURSE you should shop around..this is a big deal! And I kind of want to break that guys knee caps..then chose for him who gets to fix them. I would pick a cat or Eva Braun.

    Good luck to you...

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  23. We're only on this planet a very short time. It's your life and you're doing what's right for you. I hope nothing but a very successful surgery - I want you to live life to its fullest!

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Say it. But if you can't own your shit, don't dump it on me.

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