Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Read All About It!

Read all about it!!

The latest news is.....more waiting,more tests, more referrals, more doctors. We saw Neurosurgeon #2 yesterday and in so many words he agreed that there was no back involvement with the fall.  He wants to have another MRI and CT scan "Just to be certain" translated as "to cover my buttttt".  Then when those tests show that my back is clear I'll be referred, finally, to a hip specialist to fix my hip.  Now, I'm going to be OK with this because this is the reality.  Also, we're getting lots of opinions so that when we do make a decision as to which way to go, we will know that we covered all the bases.  This means more time but that's the way it has to be. 

These doctors are interesting.  What is happening is we're caught in the politics of medicine called:

Private Practice vs Teaching Institutions

Just like on Scrubs (if you know us, you know that we're Scrubs officiantos) when Elliot decides to go into Private Practice and the rest of the doctors stay at Sacred Heart, a teaching hospital where they were all trained through their internships and residencies.  The docs that stay with Sacred Heart shun poor little Elliot because they feel she has sold out to the big guys.  But, she makes more money, gets to go home at 5 pm and is now one of the "Elites". Elliot accuses the hospital docs of being jealous.  They accuse her of being ungrateful.  They all admit that there's some truth in all the accusations and learn to play nicely with each other.

This stuff happens in real life, too as we're finding out. (We're not sure if they're reached the "play nice" phase yet, though!) The Private Practice docs put the Teaching Hospital docs down and vice versa.  We can almost predict these reactions.  It's good that we've seen both sides because we can see past this and try to get to the truth--somewhere in there--deep, deep down!

Another trend we're seeing is:

I don't know nothing about.....

(With hands opened out in front of them the various specialists say, "I know nothing about_____ (hips, nerves, spines, spinal nerves, bones, birthin' no babies) Fill in the blank depending on which doc we're talking to at the moment. (The last possibility about "birthin' no babies" was stolen right out of Gone With The Wind but seemed to fit nicely into the scenario) They are so super-specialized that they will over-emphasize and literally throw their hands up and back up a step or two when we ask a question "out of their field".  That's why this is taking so long.  We have to see a different physician for everything.  They won't even speculate.  The good thing is that we're getting good at deciphering their protests and things they don't say.  We've gotten a ton of information this way!

One more thing to say:  I'd like to give a shout out to Anthem Blue Cross HMO--yes you heard me--my insurance company called me yesterday and said they will pay for the 2nd opinion we got last week.  The one we paid $300 out of pocket because we were told it wouldn't be covered.  Whoo-hoo!

So folks, this is to say that we're still waiting, we're doing fine, we have no answers, thanks for faithfully waiting with us and thanks for listening.

Beep da da Beep da da Beep 
That's all Folks!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Well, The Nerve.....

Yesterday was a good day.  We had a consultation with a different doctor who is a specialist in spinal surgery.  Dave thinks I'm jumping the gun because we're not done consulting on this, but this guy is the best in his field and according to this fine dude there is no damage to my back hardware or to my back in general.   However, according to surgeon #1 I don't need spinal surgery.  We'll see another neurosurgeon (Surgeon #2) on Tuesday so we'll see what he has to say. We're getting answers but at the same time it's getting a bit more complicated.  It seems that the experts in the areas I need help in are not on our insurance (i.e. Surgeon #1, above and Surgeon #3, below)  There is, however precedence where insurance companies have "jumped the fence" if they cannot provide the level of care that the patient needs within their plan.  So, while I'm happy, I'm still a bit confused because if we estalish that I do NOT need spine surgery, we still have the hip that is not healing.  There is a non-union of the bones so it's quite important that I get someone who's very good at dealing with this kind of problem.  There's an expert "Hip Man"(Surgeon #3) in town but "Guess What?"  He's not on our insurance plan!  Continued prayers would be truly welcome as we may be needing to deal with our HMO and they've been known to eat people, spit them out and then eat them again--eewww!.  One the other hand (I'm running out of hands) our HMO has never given us any problems and has always come through when we needed them so we're starting out on a positive note.

The diagram above is the hip--not mine but some healthy person.  My fracture pretty much yanked the bone apart almost pulling the "ball" out of the "socket". It is either a sub-trochanteric or inter-trochanteric fracture; my doctors have differing opinions about that.  Anyway, it's the top part of the femur.  Without going into gory details, there was a lot of soft tissue damage and bleeding under the skin and one part of the bone ended up somewhere in my abdomen--I really wasn't paying too much attention.  As a result of all the trauma and other damage, it is having trouble healing.  It's referred to as a "non-union" which is just what it sounds like,  While everything is in alignment, there appears to be a bit of "gaposis" (not a medical term).  What might have to happen is that they need to surgically remove that area and put in a new hip joint.   I can try to see if they'll put in a small one so I can go down a size or two in my jeans, but I'm scared to ask because I don't think it works that way--tee hee.

The diagram on the right is the spinal cord with all it's tiny little nerves coming out.  Seven years ago I had fusion of my L5-S1 vertebrae and then there was damage to the nerve that's supposed to go through that area so I had to have another surgery to fix that and then another one to try to fix the damage caused by that resulting in 3 back surgeries in 6 weeks.  "In for a penny, in for a pound"--I don't know what that means but I think it fits here. That left me a gimp who walks with a cane and a chronic painer because the surgery didnt really help the back pain that was what I went in for anyway.  If you can understand all that you either are in the medical field, should be in the medical field or you are as loopy as I am and we should get together for coffee sometime!  Can you see why I'm not too keen to be having back surgery any time soon????????????

 So I will now leave you with a bit of miscellanea that I picked up on my computer search for this post that shows just how closely related to the animal kingdom we are:
Trochanter, femur, tibia and tarsus of an earth-boring dung beetle

4th Trochanter, a shared characteristic common to archosaurs.                                                    

Friday, January 13, 2012

It All Comes Down to Kicks and Giggles

I'm thankful for laughter, 
except when milk comes out of my nose~Woody Allen

Abbey wasn't really into modeling Alice's Christmas dress.  

"It's itchy". she complained, "and you guys know that I like soft and cuddly 

stuff.  I'm so misunderstood around here.  Why doesn't anyone consider 

MY  needs?"  With that Abbey stomped of to her crate.

When Eddie heard all the ruckus he immediately ran over to see what 

was going on.  His little spirit was crushed.His self-esteem took a huge hit.  

Mommy held a pretty shiny thing with a white bow and Eddie smelled trouble!  Before he knew what

had happened, the red monstrosity was placed on HIM!  Eddie was not pleased.  This was the

most humiliating thing that ever happened!

"Aw, come on!" he managed to squeak out,"I'm a guy for Pete's Sake!

Whose 'great' idea was this? Get this stupid thing off of me at once or I'll

rip it off myself!"   Mommy and Emilie were laughing so hard that they

could barely do the job, but finally Eddie was in the buff again. With

his tail tucked between his legs he slunk back into his crate and cowered

in the back corner.  Maybe it wasn't the nicest thing to do to them but we did get some adorable pics!

 And VOILA! That's when it hit me.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

It's My Party and I'll Cry . . . ., this is how I feel right now.  Maybe it's not a good time to log in but "a joy shared is twice the joy, a sorrow shared is half the sorrow" or so they say.  I had another appointment this am with my neurologist.  He had told me to call if the pain patches weren't working so,  RINGEY, DINGEY went I!    I got an appointment right away which was encouraging.  Again, this doc walked into the exam room, rx pad in hand.  He shook our hands and  asked how I felt and listened to what I said.  So the new plan is to double the Fentynal patches.  He's also scheduling me for an epidural that may or may not control the pain and the neurologist texted the neurosurgeon to see if he could see me sooner--that original appointment is set for January 17.  That's 2 more weeks.  I knew I couldn't wait that long.  Dr. Bhatia, the neurologist is one of the kindest, most caring docs I have had during this whole thing.

So the problem here is that I have been working around the schedules of my Orthopedic Surgeon, Primary MD, Neurologist, Neurosurgeon, Imaging Center, Dave (for rides to and from all of these places).  Thank goodness I don't have a schedule to work around.  The only place I go is to see those aforementioned medical personnel.  If I only had one doc to go through things would be so much quicker.  Nice Neurologist  understands this but can't do a whole lot about it.

I really have about had it.  There are times when I look like this pic, or at least I think I look like that.  Who wants to look in the mirror when they look like that?!?!  I get mad at anyone who happens to be within firing range.  Going through all of this makes me incredibly sad.  I feel like I'm the poster child for "there but for the grace of God go I".  But then on the other hand I see other people going through things and am thankful that I only have this to deal with.  Right now I'm in the "I want to get out!!!" mode.  But I can't run away from myself.  I know I have to go through this.  I have all these emotions running through me and then I take a look at myself and see the changes that have occurred since "The Fall".  I was going to list them but what would that accomplish?  I'm dealing with the body and the circumstances that I have now.  I try hard not to belly ache but this pain is wearing me down.  I just wanted to get this post done today because I feel I'm at a crossroads.  It's all REAL now.  It's not a novelty anymore.  Nothing is new anymore.  Too much has happened and now it's scary.  I've lost my vision of being well. I don't feel like I'm on a sick leave anymore.  It's here and its REAL.

The nerve pain is taking on a life of its own and I keep forgetting that I also have a hip that isn't healing.  This is a great time for denial!!

Thanks to everyone who cares about me.  Whether we see each other or not, I know you're there.  I feel better after unloading.  Maybe it's the increased pain meds but I am feeling a bit more human.  Earlier today I told Dave that I was ready to go into my cocoon--cut myself off from everyone and everything.  I thought I would just hunker down in my bed and sleep the days away.  Now I'm thinking that I know better than that.  I know that to keep my sanity and health I need to be around people.  So if y'all will hang in there with me, I'll hang with you!  So I'll end this on a better note.  Doesn't that piggy look happy?  That's me.