Saturday, February 4, 2012

Coming Up For Air.....Finally!

I am finally able to see light at the end of this insane tunnel I've been traveling. That means that I have some long awaited answers to my medical questions.  The latest tests show that the lumbar spine is intact with no hardware or vertebrae damage and best of all, no nerve damage!  I do, however have a couple of cracked thoracic vertebrae so I need to do PT or at least strengthening exercises for that.  Those, we assume happened during "The Fall" as they are recent and I haven't fallen off of too many roofs since September 5!!!

Squeamish Alert: The following may cause you to grind your back teeth and make your hands sweat. If you're one of those people who can't stand the sight of the blood and guts that we call the Human Body, you are welcome to skip over this next section! (But, it's not that bad so try really hard.)

BUT (there's always a "but", isn't there?) my hip, she isn't doing so good... This picture is the closest I could find that resembles my fracture.  Mine is a bit more vertical so the angle isn't quite so wide.  It completely broke the bone and part of it flipped up into my abdomen. He managed to get everything in alignment and secured with a rod down my femur and some screws on the top part of the fracture. After 5 months this was declared a disaster area (in Medical-speak the term in "non-union") and it has to be fixed.  Since I'm "too young" (doc's words, not mine!) to have a total hip replacement he's going to try to pack the fractured area with a bone graft from my pelvis and some other stuff--styrofoam peanuts, 2 for 1 glue offer from TV or play dough--or possibly some other kind of bone growth stimulator and hope that it all stays together.  He will inspect the bone and hardware to see what may have caused the non-union but he also said that this area often has trouble healing and I fell on the hip causing a lot of trauma and blood loss. If he finds that he can't repair the area, he will then do a total hip replacement. He will, at any rate, remove all the initial hardware and put different hardware in. They aren't designed to last more than a few months. After that, the bone should be healed and grown around the hardware making everything nice and secure. The reason they don't like to do this on kids my age is that I'm still fairly active and the more active one is with a replacement, the quicker it "wears out" and would have to be repeated.  The fracture is also so low below the joint that he would have to cut back on the bone quite a bit. So, he'll avoid that if possible.

OK, it's over now.  So to get down to the nitty gritty.....
 As a regular reader of this blog may remember, we have spent the last six weeks or so on a mission to better understand what's been happening with all this. We visited five other docs from varying specialties and were fascinated by all the political #!*@ we had to wade through.  Private vs Teaching, Surgical vs Medical, Conservative vs "Do it now!", helpful vs don't ask me!  Even though we both are in the health care field we found it pretty frustrating at times to go through all this.  Then the waiting! We figured that during the six week consultation period, we spent at least 3/4 of that time just waiting to hear from doctor offices for appointments, imaging centers for appointments, someone to go over all the ordered tests, approval to see a doc out of our insurance plan for a 2nd opinion (our HMO covered that, BTW).  The upside of that is that we feel comfortable with the final diagnosis and we feel like we're totally in the loop.  The surgeon who will be doing my surgery (FCH- February 14--Happy Valentine's Day!!) is the one who initially saw me in the ER right after the fall.  He spent a lot of time going over each X-ray I've had at his office carefully explaining what his approach will be during surgery.  

So, one might ask, how does one go about staying positive while going through all this?  Right here is the answer.  Prayer changes how I feel about myself and others.  It takes the focus away from ME and all MY troubles.  Feeling angry or negative about all this would just make everything worse. Not
all the prayers said are said by myself.  Sometimes
they have to be uttered by friends who know what's
going on well enough to pray for me.  Sometimes I'm either too whacked out on my pain meds or just plain tired or in too much pain that the pain meds haven't caught and I can't pray.  Nothing comes forth. I know that I have friends who step in for me.  That's another way I can cope: FRIENDS and FAMILY.  I'm so lucky to have a family who understands.  I'm so lucky to have two sisters, while they are far away, I know they have my back.  They'll say the right aaawww's and ooohhh's at just the right time.  My 96 year old mom has come through for me as she listens to what is happening and promises to keep praying for me.  It is just such a comfort to talk to "my people". 

I must quit here because I could go on and on about my hunk of a man husband who's been there for me all the times I've needed him and is just the best...Here I go again.  I must quit  because the laptop is burning a hole in my legs and the furnace is on so I'm getting well toasted!  Thanks for listening!!


  1. You are loved anbd you are being prayed for by Dave & I!!

  2. Hooray for the good news! I'll be praying for you now, on the 14th, and in-between :)

  3. Thanks for the prayers. I'm not looking forward to the surgery but so it's good to know I won't be alone!!

  4. BTW: I just realized that my picture didn't get into the first edition of this entry. It was such a good visual that it HAS to go in. So, now my entry is complete. I would have liked to put more blood and guts into it, but I know some of my readers don't like that as much as I do. My nurse friends know what I mean, right?