Friday, September 12, 2008

On the road to recovery...again

It's been some time since I have written. I was busy for awhile making arrangements for another operation. This time it wasn't as serious as in the past but something that needed to be done. I had a split peroneus brevis tendon in my foot and ankle. How it happened, who knows. I have sprained my ankle a couple times in the past, and could have gotten a little tear and then over time of the tendon rubbing and rubbing it tore more and more till it totally split. I have been having a hard time walking for any length of time, especially on store floors. And driving always made it hurt bad, even just driving up to town and back.

I have been complaining about this to doctors for a long, long time. I mentioned it to several doctors during my hospital ordeal in Aug./Sept. 2007. They said it was gout in my ankle. But from what I researched online, it didn't look anything like gout. I know from having several gout attacks what gout looks like. It's hot, red, swollen and the skin is shiny. And it hurts like nothing else. My ankle just ached a lot with use. Then when I didn't use it, it felt better. I showed it to several doctors since last year, including two rheumatologists, and my family doctor who also blew it off as gout ankle. Exhasperated with the ankle pain when walking or driving, I kept complaining to my current rheumatologist. She sent me for an MRI to check for RA degeneration in the foot and ankle. Well, while I do have some degeneration in the toe joints and some in the ankles, the MRI showed an obvious tear in the ligament that was causing all my ankle pain.

So, I went to a surgeon who specializes in foot and leg joints looked at the MRI films in the office and said it would have to be repaired. If I chose not to, it would never get better on its own. So, I said let's do this thing. He got in contact with my rheumatologist and family doctor and started planning for surgery.

Now, you would think that something so clear would be easy to set up and get it over with, wouldn't you? This was Thursday and they said they would call me on Tuesday after Labor Day with the schedule date. Well, he has a real ditz working in his office to schedule these things. First of all, she didn't read my medical history form before scheduling it the first time and scheduled it at a place where they do not have the experts to handle difficult intubation and patients who have problems. So, she had to reschedule.

SO, she called me back and said that it was then going to be scheduled at the same hospital we always go to. I thought, ok...this will work out then. They have my history on file, and we are familiar with them. It was all scheduled and then I get a call that says it is the same name as our hospital but the surgical center, which I thought was weird because it was a different address. They assured me they were part of the same hospital. I was planning for that date, Jon took his vacation for that week, and then a couple days before the surgery the surgical center called and told me "Just want to make sure you know what your portion of the bill will be" and told me it would be $2,000!! I asked why we had to pay that much when I have met my deductible for the year and she said that when we choose to go out of network, that is our cost! I told her why would I want to go out of network when we have perfectly good insurance??? I told her I could not believe I was going to have to reschedule AGAIN. I phoned the doctor's office and was quite upset. I told her I want to get this done so I can recover before the holidays and said I can't believe I would have to reschedule it again! So, she told me she would try to get me in to a hospital on our plan that was 25 miles away. Sheesh!

So, I checked with our insurance and did her job for her and made sure that this hospital was on the plan. They were. It was rush-scheduled for the day that had been planned at the other place. The anesthesia staff was great and they were very careful. I had the whole anesthesia team in there before the operation. They convinced me that a spinal anesthesia was safest for me even though I was afraid of problems since I have had terrible experience with spinals with my three c-sections and have had back surgery and back problems the past decade or so. But it went well this time. They have new methods and new equipment and the needle is very thin like a strand of hair.

I was taken into the operating room, and they gave me something to relax me, and my whole lower half of my body was totally numb. They turned me on my side, put an oxygen mask on me and then started an IV drip of something and I fell asleep. Didn't wake up till after they were done.

The thing about a spinal which is nice is that you don't feel any pain when you go to recovery and the pain of the operation comes on gradually as the anesthesia wears off. They give gradual amounts of pain medicine as the pain increases. It's much more manageable. It took a long time to wear off though. They had to move me to a regular room to wait, gave me dinner and then finally went home in time to go to bed. I woke up in the night in big pain though. The first night and the day after wasn't too fun, but things are getting better each day...though the stitches inside the cast are driving me nuts. And if I move my foot a certain way I go through the roof!

Hopping around on crutches is making my joints sore. But maybe I will get my muscles built up. I am a weakling.

I get the stitches out and this bigass cast off on the 19th, and then a walking cast. Will still have to use crutches again while I am getting used to walking on the foot again. I wonder what kind of therapy I will have to do. Hopefully stuff I can do at home. That would be great.

So...second year in a row I am laid up for my birthday. It was a year ago today that I came home from the hospital after my gallbladder/Lupus fiasco.

I say this after every operation..I hope there will be no more surgeries in the future and will try not to have anymore.

No comments: