A few weeks ago I wrote, “Ouch! It Hurts When I Walk!” and now finally we are at the point of a diagnosis and treatment. (You can click on the link to read that past blog). I had endured a total of 12 physical therapy sessions, which made slight progress, but the pain was still there and my left leg was showing increased weakness. My physical therapist suggested I reconnect with “Dr. Lily” and have her decide the next steps.
Dr. Lily was very concerned about the weakness of my leg. She decided I needed a nerve study to see if there was a problem emanating from my back, or if this was all hip related. She also wanted me to return to Dr. Fandango, the orthopedist. Her office set up both appointments for me, and got me in within a couple days, because, once again, I was leaving for three weeks to set up the Arizona home.
Dr. Fandango x-rayed my back and showed me the x-ray, that my back was in great condition with plenty of room between the vertebrae. Since I was seeing the neurologist the next day for the nerve study, he wanted to hear the results before sending me to either a back or hip surgeon. The following day, the nerve study revealed that everything was good with the nerves, and it was definitely not my back. Dr. Fandango proceeded to get an appointment with a hip surgeon as soon as I returned from Arizona.
This week I visited with the orthopedic surgeon to discuss my left hip. Once again, I had more x-rays. “Dr. Andrews” came in and showed me the results. I am bone on bone in the left hip socket. He said that all the symptoms I have are classic for a hip that has mechanically failed. It will not get better on its own. He suggested that I have hip replacement surgery.
Now all during this time of physical therapy and other treatments, people were noticing my limp as I was walking. Many told me they had a friend who had to have hip replacement, and their friend said it was the best thing they have ever done. They are back moving like they did before they had hip problems.
Okay, I am ready. I am stoked. Dr. Andrews said that in about six weeks post surgery I should be good to go, and able to start hiking the mountain behind my Arizona home. I think it will be wise to start with the easy trails, and work my way to more difficult ones. I’m good—let’s go. Then a young lady came in the examining room and said I was scheduled for surgery on November 21. November 21? No, I need to be good by the end of the year. I need to go to Arizona for five months. I need to be able to travel there.
November 21? That is just before Thanksgiving. That stinks. I do Thanksgiving big. I looked at her and my voice cracked, and I held back the tears, and asked if there was any way to move the date sooner. I am on a cancellation list, in case someone cancels. Why would they cancel if they need their hip replaced? Who knows? Well, actually I do know. A couple weeks before the operation, the patient must have laboratory tests, and meet with an internist who will approve if the patient is physically able to have the surgery. I suppose some folks are too ill to have it done. So, I go the third week of November, or maybe sooner.
As I think about it, I really do need time to get some things done before I am limited to walking with help and recovering from a major surgery. I have more things to pack up to take with us to Arizona—books for my bookcase, artwork for the walls, and other items. I want to finish a quilt top I started a couple years ago and then set aside. It would be perfect for our guest room at the new house. I want to connect with friends in mid Missouri and in St. Louis and have lunch and dinner dates to see them before we leave for the winter. Oh no, am I too busy to get this surgery done? Absolutely not, I want to become pain free again.
I got thinking about my many surgeries in my life. I was six years old when I had my first surgery. It was the day after Labor Day, September 6, 1955. My husband wonders how on earth I remember that kind of thing. I remember things around events. My dad had started building new homes in Sunset Hills, MO. It was the same neighborhood he eventually built the home I lived in from age 6 to 21. On Labor Day that year, we spent the day in one of the homes he built. It was the clean up day so the new owners could move in. My mom, dad, sisters and I were cleaning the house top to bottom. Of course, being only 6, I was probably more in the way than helpful. Mom packed a picnic lunch and Whistle Orange soda. The next day I woke up with a terrible tummy ache. I couldn’t start my first day of school. It hurt too bad. My mother used all the remedies she used for tummy aches, but nothing helped. She thought I drank too many of those Whistle Orange sodas. Not so. I refused eating, and I got feeling worse and worse. By afternoon my mom knew to call the doctor. Our doctor, Preston Hall, M.D., was on vacation, so a Dr. Winkler was taking his calls. He told my mom to bring me in to the office.
I don’t remember what time it was but I know while I was there my dad was home from work. My mom called him and told him that I was going to the hospital. I wish I had someone to ask for the details. We had only one car, but maybe my dad had a work truck, because he showed up at the hospital. I wouldn’t let the nurses or whomever those folks were stick me with any needles or do anything until my daddy got there—not necessarily because I wanted my daddy there for reassurance (that was my mom’s expertise), but it was a way to delay what I was frightened about—the unknown, a hospital that smelled funny and was eerily quiet. That night I had surgery to remove my appendix. I was on the pediatric wing. My sisters, ages 12 and 10, were not allowed to visit me. I was not happy that they were outside and I had to wave at them through the window. In fact, I was so unhappy about that, I refused to go to the window, as in my 6 year old thinking that the nurses would allow them in that way. My mother finally coaxed me to the window and I waved at Marilyn and Judy from a distance.
I stayed in the hospital September 6th through the 10th. How do I know? I have the hospital bill. Yes, I have the hospital bill from Missouri Baptist Hospital. The entire bill for room & board, operating room, anesthesia, drugs, and lab work totaled a walloping $166.90! I checked on a website that gives the equivalent value. That hospital bill in today’s money was $1,541.01. Really? What has happened with medicine today? The doctor’s bill was $150, or in today’s money, $1,384.97. I am thinking Dr. Winkler overcharged! The following year I had my tonsils removed, and the hospital bill was $60, an equivalent today of $553.99. I don’t know what the doctor charged—I don’t have that bill.
I am curious what the bill is going to look like for a hip replacement surgery. I am grateful that I have Medicare with my small deductible covered this year, and a supplemental plan that will pick up the rest. So, financially, there is no worries.
Actually, there is no worries. I am an optimist. I am trusting that all will go well no matter what day I have this surgery. I think of Jesus, the great healer. I believe in God given wisdom of the doctors. I have faith it will all work out well. I will even accomplish whatever I need to accomplish before I am unable to do any physical work for a while. I guess I better get to work! There is a lot to accomplish!