It’s been about 36 hours since meeting with my new hip surgeon. The day before the appointment I talked to a friend of mine I’ve known for year and years and knows my emotional state of mind where pain is related. He said “good or bad, whatever the surgeon says, you’re going to feel awful.”
He was right.
I awoke to snow at 5 in the morning. SNOW? Of all days, snow? My apartment complex isn’t usually proactive on treating the sidewalks and such. My building it the only one of the three that has steps in the back from the parking lot into the building. My choice was to try and make it down the handicap ramp or thee stairs. A lot more thought went into the short trip from the building to my car than should have been. In the end I (rather smartly imho) used my old lady cart to push so I’d have some stability. Not like it would be much but it would be something. And if I fell, I could use it to get up with. Hahaha.
Fortunately it was a powdery snow and once I left the complex the roads were pretty clear (overnight, a different story as the melted stuff iced over but that’s what you can expect). This particular ortho clinic is partnered with a nearby hospital – so much so they have their own elevator. Literally. They have their own conference room and research center in the hospital. Weird. Anyway this is a relatively new thing; the hospital is now the largest joint replacement center in the Mid-Atlantic States and does something like 2100 hip replacements a year. It seems remarkable.
Got to my appointment pretty early, which turned out to be good because it took me forever to walk from the parking lot to the hospital entrance. Not because it was particularly long but because I was terrified of slipping on the well-salted sidewalk. I’d been told exactly where to go…the special elevator, which big imposing looking door to go through…it was weird.
Anyway there was not a single person in the waiting room. Strange. It was 8:40. I checked in at the desk, handed in my 6,249 pieces of paper previously filled out then took a seat where I made the mistake of checking my blackberry. BIG mistake. Crap I couldn’t really handle via blackberry so I had to beg one of my co-worker friends to help me out then then replied to a bunch of messages in time to be called back for x-rays.
I walk in the x-ray room and immediately apologize for having my phone out, clearly in defiance of the signs saying no cell phones.
There were 2 x-rays techs. The first one looks at me: Do you have any shorts?
Me: Uh no. On account of the snowing outside. Was I supposed to bring shorts?”
Tech1: We can’t x-ray you with your pants on.
Me: Uh I have panties on, does that count?
Tech1: Is there metal on your panties?
Me: What kind of patients do you see here?
Sidenote: boy am I super glad I wore normal panties and not a thong or my ruffle butt panties, or even my picnic table panties.
Sidenote2: more medical professionals have seen my panties in the last year than actual men who I wanted to see them. All that money on sexy panties…wasted and merely the knowledge that some medical professional went home and over beers told their partner or friends ‘this chick with an ass the size of Houston was wearing a thong with ruffles on the little triangle ass part’
A painful set of xrays with me in my panties, jeans pulled down to my knees and shoes still on. I felt like some kind of teenager trying to makeout quickly before being caught with my pants literally around my knees.
After the x-rays I was taken to the exam room and told to wait. More making love to my blackberry, texting one of my friends, staring outside at my car and looking at the single magazine in the office ‘Sports Illustrated’ and remembering reading something about how you should never, ever, ever touch doctor office magazines because they’re riddled with germs (despite being at an ortho and not a gp).
Finally a knock on the door, I throw my phones back in my fabulous handbag (seriously, fuschia patent leather…gorgeous) in time to see not the doctor. I’d seen a picture of the doctor on their website but this was I think his PA? I lost track on account of him being gorgeous and nerdy and well dressed. We discussed my history; he had me walk across the room. He tested my hands, arms, ankles, feet. He slid his hands up my pant legs and I told him I hadn’t shaved since I didn’t know I’d be man handled, He assured me he was just checking my pulse. Hahah. He bent and twisted each of my legs and caused me all kinds of pain. He looked at the xray and pointed out a thing or two here and there and said ‘well that’s a nasty set of hips on you’
Thank you Dr. Obvious. He told me he was going to go chat with the doctor who would be in shortly. Well, I wisely used my time to snap a picture of my x-ray and post to facebook because I am the queen of overshare.
First…the Dr. comes in and I literally had to bite my tongue from saying ‘holy jesus you’re huge’. Really, he is like 6’6. Later I read his bio that he played on the Harvard Basketball team. Shocker.
I think what I require from a doctor is a warm fuzzy. I didn’t get that from him. He asked if I was recommended to see him, I told him yes and the circumstance. He looked at my x-ray and said
Dr: Did you limp as a child?”
Dr: Is there a family history of hip issues?
Dr: And you were normal as a child?”
Me: yes, I was active, I rode my bike, I went on walks, I played on the playground, climbed trees, I did all kinds of things. I didn’t notice any problems until about 5 years ago when at that point I just thought it was back related.
He went on to discuss that frequently hip issues are misdiagnosed but my constant groin complaints should have been a clue for my pain doctor. YES I AGREE.
My weight came up. I told him I’d lost 40 pounds in the last year but there was only so little amount of food I can eat in a day. I literally barely eat (this last week…exception but I blame pms). However I’m back to having no real appetite. He said I could *try* to lose more weight before surgery or not.
And then the crying started. I was teary eyed and he was fumbling around for tissues, I told him I wouldn’t cry. Men hate crying ladies and don’t know how to deal with them so I’d be fine. He left and got some tissues anyway which was good because I used half a dozen of the damn things.
He showed me what the new joint would look like. He validated my pain…which felt great. I knew I had a legitimate reason to hurt but it felt better to be validated. He showed me that both need to be replaced, that my hip sockets were never formed correctly and that this essentially wasn’t my fault, that it would eventually happen and that he was shocked it took this long for me to get to this point. So, I’ve got jacked up hips, born like this. And my right leg is shorter than the other. I never actually had proof of that but both he and the PA asked me that and I said I thought my right leg was shorter because when standing on a flat surface I felt like my leg was different. I have all these cysts, my pelvis is all tilted weird. It’s just a perfect storm of cripple.
He asked which leg I wanted done first. I said right; which he agreed with. We talked (well, by this point I was sobbing) about the need to do them both and I told him I can’t take off 6 weeks here, 6 weeks there for work. He said by the 3 week point I might be able to work or at least telework for a bit. He wants the right implant to really settle in properly because of how bad it is. Then he’ll do the left. He did emphasize doing them closely together. Man, so much to take in.
Anyway he shook my hand and said he’d see me soon, and then sent his nurse in. She was very pleasant. I apologized for the crying and she said there was a lot of information coming in and surgery is very traumatic even if elective. Soonest date: February 20. 11:30am. She gave me prescriptions for pre-surgical items…blood thinner and an anti-mrsa ointment. I have to call next week then I’ll have half a day of appointments with a nurse, blood work, I’ll have a physical, I’ll have a meeting with a physical therapist and a case manager. Long day. Sounds exhausting actually.
She gave me a printed book about surgery…exercises to do beforehand, to do after. Supplies I *may* need but not to buy anything yet until after I meet with my PT/case managers. Honestly, and as humiliating as this is…I really need a walker now I can’t walk more than a few steps. We talked about managing my pain, and how my right hip will feel literally 100% better. I will have surgical pain but she said even that will be nothing compared to what I’d been feeling just from my hip.
Additionally, there’s a whole team who will work with me so I can go home but she recommended I stay with someone for the first week just because of the pain getting in and out of bed is difficult. But there’s a team that will be at my place every day or so, nurses, Physical therapists and so on to check on me, take my blood so my blood thinner can be adjusted, my exercises can be managed and since there’s a gym here, I can probably use a stationary bike once I’ve been given the OK. Although that will still be an issue with the left hip. Oh and she said there is a Rehab place next to the hospital but under no circumstance did they want me there…too many issues, plus they shoot you up full of blood thinners and its way worse than the pills. And that people get sick there! Yikes!
I left with a lot of papers, a book, prescriptions, and so on. And a lot of emotion. Got into my car and cried all the way home. It’s not that I didn’t know it was going to need to be done. But it’s basically the idea that I need to get a lot done beforehand. That I need to be mentally prepared.
I also feel the need to go into starvation mode and lose as much weight as possible between now and the 20th (I’m fully aware that isn’t healthy).
So that’s that. Since yesterday’s appointment I’ve been so exhausted…physically and emotionally exhausted to the point I feel as though I can barely function. And I’m in crazy amounts of pain. Not sure if my left side is punishing me for getting the short end of the stick. But starting tomorrow morning I’ll be doing the exercises on the bed in the book. I won’t do any floor exercises on account of having the fear of not being able to get off of the floor. Maybe at a later time. But for now…strengthen up my thigh muscles, my groin, and as much as I can.
My mom very sweetly called to tell me with the bad weather, the amount of work I have to do and so on (i.e. my horrible sad mood) that I shouldn’t feel obligated to come down. I feel bad having my dad take her to dance, the only benefit is some of the mommies dress like tramps and he might see some cleavage.
This is way long and I’m way drained and my bed beckons. I’m crossing my fingers for a good 10 hours of sleep. Sweet dreams wherever you are.