Friday, November 21, 2008

You're Going to Do Fine!

I was unable to take the xrays that had been taken of my hip to my first appointment with the orthopedist, because of a computer problem. I was promised they would be faxed. They weren't. When my husband and I had been led back to a room at the Orthopedic Clinic by Dr. P's nurse, Baron Niece, she said I would have to have another xray, or Dr. P would not see me. I was very distressed. Not the foot I wanted to start out on.

Dr. P presented (I watch both 'Grays' and 'ER') as a white haired Julius Caesar. Instead of a white toga and crown of leaves, every time I saw him, except in the operating room, he was dressed in brown loafers, white socks, chinos, a brown belt and a light blue shirt with long sleeves rolled up and a button down collar. He usually wore a 'I am trying to smile' or a 'I am trying to understand' look on his face.

He shook hands with me and my husband then explained what he had just seen in my xray. I asked him,

"What are my options?"

We will never forget his answer,

"It is like a flat tire. You either fix it, drive on it anyway or park it."

I had learned as much as I could about hip replacement surgery options on the net, and I knew he did the "anterior approach" that I understood to be less invasive. He misunderstood me when, just to show him I knew a thing or two, I said I wanted the less invasive approach, which he took to mean a new experimental one. I think he thought that his subsequent explanation of his successful surgery method had changed my mind and convinced me to have the surgery. Several times during the visit and as he left the room he told me,

" You're going to do fine."

Actually, I was still trying to adjust to the reality of having to have the surgery much sooner than I had expected to. Dr. P's nurse, Baron Niece came in with instructions, paperwork and brochures. We set a date, August 5, 2008 at 7:30am.

As soon as my husband and I walked out of the clinic doors I started to sob. My husband folded me in his arms and rubbed my convulsing back. We got into my car and I continued to let out a bunch of nasty toxins through my tears. Eventually I stopped, and from then on I was resigned and courageous:D Tah! Dah!

When H and the others heard the news of my upcoming surgery at my next PT appointment, their attitude towards me seemed to change. It was as if I had graduated "summa cum laude". Now I think it was more like they were missing me already as I now do them. My last PT would be just before my scheduled trip to Virginia that I already wrote about. It was a sad day for me. PT had become one of my few pleasurable contacts with the outside world.

I returned from Virginia around 11pm July 24th. Twelve days until my total hip replacement. There was so much to do that I didn't have much time to get nervous. I had a pre-op physical with my primary care physician on the 28th. The next day I had a Barium swallow that my ENT ordered to find out if I have a hiatal hernia. (Turns out I have something called a presby esophagus with esophageal dismotility because it is so dry in Nevada.) I was also scheduled that day for a pap, but it dawned on me the day before that it would be impossible for me to get my legs in the stirrups with the severe osteoarthritis in my hip! And I cancelled that.

The following day my husband took me to the hospital to do the paperwork and tests required before surgery. I filled out a gazillion forms and answered as many questions. Then, while my husband went to our dentist to have a crown put in, I had blood taken, gave urine, had a chest x-ray and an electrocardiogram. My husband picked me up and rewarded me with all the crabs legs I could eat. Yum!

Two days later, on August 1st, I went to see the ENT. In between all this I was trying to get the house cleaned and the laundry done, in preparation. Monday, the day before my surgery, I went to see Dr. P. He drew a wide line about five inches long on my right hip with a huge permanant marker. And told me,

"You're going to do fine."

The next morning, at five o'dark thirty, we parked in the practically deserted parking garage at the hospital. The hospital itself felt "other worldly". My surgery was scheduled for 7:30am. A nurse prepared me for surgery while my husband read his book in the corner of the room. Dr. P came by and assured me for the umteenth time that,

"You are going to do fine."

He said the surgery should take about 45 minutes. The anesthesiologist came by. I told her about being sensitive to anesthesia. She assured me that I would be waking up right about the time I went into recovery. So, I kissed my husband and was wheeled into the operating room soon after 7, where Dr P waited with his 'I amtrying to smile' expression. He asked me,

"Where is your blue stripe ?"

I pointed to it and that is the last thing I remembered until I woke up alone, in my room about 10:30am. It makes me want to cry even now, remembering what waking up felt like. Then a male nurse came in calling me by the wrong name.


  1. Oh, no. You can't leave us there! What happened next?

    (In case you don't know, that's the question you ALWAYS want readers to be asking.)

  2. tell me they did the correct hip.

  3. Jerri-Thanks. Your opinion means so much to me.

    meno-Oh, my, did I forget to mention which hip?

  4. Yes, you will bring us up to date, won't you?

  5. z-eventually. I wanted to share the experience, not just the facts.

  6. Ooh yes, I'm not hurrying you. Just not wanting you to stop. This is fascinating and I feel so 'with' you.

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