FWD: Marlo’s Facebook

“IV is in, second try’s a charm. Now it’s HUAW for the doc. Word is, it’s about a 4-hour surgery. Should be done around noon-ish.”

Thanks for th thoughts and prayers!

Surgery Tomorrow

It’s been confirmed, I’m having my colostomy “take-down” surgery tomorrow at 7:30am at Maricopa.  Jon & I will need to be there for check-in at 5:30 am.  Jon doesn’t know this yet.  He still thinks it’s 6:30.  He’s downtown Scottsdale right now, entertaining our stranded houseguests while I do my surgery “prep.”  I am certain I’ll have all sorts of funny things to say about today, later.  After it’s over.  For now, I’ll just suggest you hang a warm water balloon from your belly button and you may get an idea of how part of my day has been going.  As for our stranded houseguests, I’m very certain to have hilarious things to say about that, later, too, after they leave and cannot hit me for making fun of them.

Our plan for tomorrow is for Jon to take me to the hospital and hang out with me ’till they give me my sleepy-nite-nite juice, then he’s just gonna go home and wait for me to call him.  Neither of us sees a point in him wasting his day in a hospital.  When I’m conscious, I’ll call him and he can post a quick note here, then come visit me and bring me the bag I packed for myself that will include my computer.  When I feel up to it, I’ll do a longer post.

So, for now, everyone’s prayers and good wishes are all we need and we will most definately let you know when/if we need anything else.  Thanks to all for your concern, support, and love!

Back Under the Knife

I have to say, this was all very interesting 8 months ago, but that I’m completely bored with this whole process at this point.

I’m unemployed, but I had to get up at 6:15am this morning.  Worse yet, I had to wake my sleeping husband at 6:30am.  Worse yet, we were getting up for a doctor’s appointment.  Worse yet, not one doctor’s appointment, but two.  Worse yet, both at County.

We arrived on time, as usual, gave our names, then sat for half an hour until they called us to the desk to sign the admission paperwork I have now signed at least 27 times.  Then we sit for another half hour until they call me to take my vitals for the six-hundred-eighty-ninth time, and ask me how much I weigh again and when my last period was.  The weight, I can understand, ’cause that changes, but seriously, when I come to this facility every 6 or 8 days, can’t YOU keep track of when my last period was?

They took x-rays again, despite that I seriously don’t think they were supposed to, then put us in an exam room to wait for the doctor to look at the x-rays, then come in to see me.  All of this is for what I expect to be my discharge appointment, too.  (This was the elbow guy.)

After Jon & I did a work-related task that took about an hour, in the exam room, the physician’s assistant came in and was genuinely glad to see us.  This was Mark, a guy who had worked with me off and on since the very beginning.  That part of the appointment, all 3 1/2 minutes of it, was fun.  He agreed I should be discharged and wanted Dr. Grant to get a chance to say “Hi” and “Bye,” if he was free.

Dr. Grant sees 70 patients on his ‘clinic’ day, so I was certain we’d be waiting for hours for his Hi/Bye visit, but I admit I wanted the chance to thank him once again and say a proper goodbye, so we waited.  After about another 20 minutes, a nurse came in with my discharge orders and asked us if Dr. Grant was still coming in.  We told her we thought so and continued to wait, but then we weren’t sure he was gonna come.

About another 10 minutes and I had to go to the bathroom.  Should I stay or should I go?  Dr. Grant is gonna pop his head in for 3 seconds and if I go to the bathroom, I might miss him, making all our waiting pointless to begin with, but saying goodbye to your surgeon after you’ve wet your pants doesn’t seem hardly worth the bother, either, though, so I made a break for it and was there and back before he came in.

He did pop in for a few moments and, again, those moments were well worth much of the wait.  He seemed genuinely glad to get to see someone who was so mangled up look so decent and not be complaining about anything to him.  The people at that clinic are also acutely interested in staying on the “mailing list” for the recovery party.  We assured them, repeatedly, that they would not be left off the invitation list.

It felt seriously good to walk past the appointment window, where one poor employee is always stationed, taking appointments over the phone and from people leaving the clinic, without having to stop and make an appointment with her.  I have often stood at her window so long while she took phone appointments that I actually just called her once to get an appointment while I was standing there.  (That is SO a “my dad” sort of thing to do, but even Jon had gotten so disgusted by that point, he let me do it.)

So, we walked out of one hospital building and over to the other, checking in about an hour and 15 minutes early for my next appointment, testing Jon’s theory that appointment times are irrelevant, they just take people in the order they come.  The theory looked like it was panning out when we were placed in an exam room a full 45 minutes before my appointment was scheduled to begin, but the theory was blown completely when Dr. Cox popped his head in, said he was dealing with another issue, and then didn’t return for like an hour.

And, to make matters weirder, the one thing he popped his head in to tell us was that he had me scheduled for surgery tomorrow.

Uh, yeah.  Tomorrow?  I wasn’t exactly expecting that.  My aunt is coming in from out of town, Easter is coming, I’ve blocked an entirely different week off of my calendar, and we have various appointments scheduled tomorrow and all next week that would need to be canceled and rescheduled, one of which being for our taxes and this is no time to be pushing that too far out.

So, Jon and I go back and forth and decide if he’s got me scheduled for tomorrow, then I guess I’ll be having surgery tomorrow.  Fine.

He comes back, like I said, about an hour later and then tells us there is no OR available tomorrow, so we can’t even do it then anyhow.  Ay yi yi.

He also has a resident with him, his new trainee.  Well, we need to spend the next 10 minutes catching the trainee up with all of our shenanegins, including Dr. Cox’s phone ringing maneuver from our last appointment.  Jon and Dr. Cox are just about pissing themselves laughing and the poor resident is wondering how on earth he’s gonna learn to practice medicine from this lunatic.  Jon & I decide that Dr. Cox will have to teach that resident to have a sense of humor.

During the ‘exam,’ which, thankfully did not even include any examination of me other than taking my vitals for the second time that day, and having the resident listen to my heart, Maggie, one of my favorite PA’s came in to get Dr. Cox, but lit up and gave me a hug when she saw me in the room with him.  Again, a moment almost worth waiting the 4 hours for.

In any event, here is the final word on the re-hooking of the rear end…

Dr. Cox is quite sure he won’t kill me on the operating table.  He plans to disconnect my intestine from my belly flesh, then shove his hand into the hole where the intestine used to stick out.  He’ll make several other incisions on my other side and shove cameras in there and try to do the whole thing without opening me all the way back up again.  However, if anything goes awry, they will have to open me back up again.

They will hook my intestines back up to my rear-end and I will stay in the hospital until I can tolerate solid foods and until I show them that the plumbing is working properly a couple of times.  They figure it’s about a week in the hospital.

He strongly guesses that with, let’s say, solid matter, I should be able to manage.  He guesses that if I were to have diarrhea, I may have some leakage.  And, he guesses that if I do have leakage of liquid matter, that’s a condition that might improve as the muscles get more use again.  For me, the good news is that I have almost never had diarrhea in my whole life, for any reason, so if I do have problems, they should be rather rare.

Then, worst-case scenario, if I have bad leakage for like a month and I just can’t stand it, he can go back in and hook me up a temporary colostomy on the other side, and give my back-end muscles more time to recover, then try re-attaching it again.

Worst-worst-case scenario, if it just won’t work at all, he just gives me a permanent colostomy and I’m about back where I started, with a few more scars on a belly that already will never need to see a bikini for as long as I live.

Actually, worst-worst-worst-case scenario is that the anesthesia or a surgical mistake kills me, but Dr. Cox did not seem worried about that at all, so that’s good.

So, on April 20th, I’ll be chugging a gallon of Draino and feasting on clear liquids for 24 hours, as well as sending in the FLEET a couple of times before my 6:30am check-in on the 21st for what could very well be the last of the operations I need for this fiasco.

At least this time, I’m particularly well-equipped for the hospital stay.  I have my own, custom-designed hospital gown, a DVD player, a laptop computer, travel-sized toiletries, slipper socks, handi-wipes, tooth pickers, a Plaza Healthcare sippy cup…..  Man, I’ll have to pack two suitcases for the week!

Jon will use the week I’m away to get some more of the remodeling done so that the office is good and finished when I heal up so he can start putting me back to work more seriously, just in time for the summer slow-down in a therapy practice.  That’s good, though, I wouldn’t want to just rush into working too much after having so much time off.  I might go into shock.

You Walk Like a Duck, and You’re Fat

Well, a joy as always, I saw my pelvis surgeon, Dr. Attais today.  Dude has some serious bedside manner issues.  One of the first things he asks me is, “Did you gain weight?”  Since I have gained about 30 pounds since the accident, I was not terribly surprised by the question and immediately copped to my weight gain.  However, as soon as the word, “yes,” was off my lips, his helpful response was, “Don’t do that.”  Uh, yeah.  No shit.  Plus, too late, buddy, I already did.  Isn’t that what we’re just discussing?  But, that’s pretty much Dr. Attais for you, so it hardly even fazed me.  He never really has examined me much at any of these appointments.  They take 3 x-rays, he looks at them, and tells me I’m healed, then answers whatever questions I might have.

Today I asked if I could have more PT and he had me walk around a little bit.  He informed me that I walked like a duck.  Again, no shit, Sherlock.  I pretty much already knew that.  Well, not only can I have more PT, but he’s going to order “work hardening” as well as “range of motion” and “muscle strengthening.”  He said they’d know what that meant, but that what it basically meant was that I have to work a lot harder or I’ll keep walking like a duck.  He says I need to not only do the PT, but also some exercises at home.  My primary care physician had also asked about home exercises, but my Physical Therapist thought I was doing enough in the gym.  I guess not.  Great.  Harder work.  Just what I wanted.

And, speaking of work, Dr. Attais says it’s back to work with me, but we already knew he’d say that ’cause he wanted to say that last time.  I get the idea he thinks I’m milking this.  You know, maybe I am, but I feel a little entitled to milk it for a while.  I figure I should be good for at least a year or 18 months worth of being a bit lazy.  But, I guess not.  So, back to work I go, although he agreed to only make it 1/2 time.  Now that my PT is gonna get harder, that should be fun trying to stay awake while my clients are talking.

In other news, he was at least gracious enough to extend our Handicapped Parking Permit another 6 months.  I gotta admit that comes in a little handy at times.  And, we finally got… THE CARD.  You know, the CARD everyone talks about that you’re supposed to get from the doctor so you can get through airport security with your surgical implants.  He’s the first doctor I asked who not only knew what the hell I was talking about, but actually had the cards to give out.  It’s kinda cute.  It’s this little skeleton drawing and it has various little check-boxes that show where you have your metal and on the other side, it specifies what types of metal pieces you have.  Apparently, I have Stainless Steel plates, screws, and cerclage, whatever the heck cerclage is.  It must be very common whatever it is, it was one of the 4 pre-printed words on the card.  The card also specifies the type of screwhead that you have – an x, a hexagon or a six-pointed star.  I have the hexagons.

And, I asked him, once again, about running and jumping.  Still no.  However, he did say I need to walk alot and he said I can go ‘hiking.’  Of course, Jon heard that as I’m ready to go 6 miles deep into the Superstition Wilderness with just a pack and a smile, but I don’t think I’ll be ready for our type of hiking for a while.  However, we’ve got some friends coming from out of town and now I’ll feel compelled to go with them more often than I would have prior to getting this doctor’s admonision to walk alot.

The main problem with me walking is that it freaking hurts.  It’s not that my muscles get tired from exercising, it’s just that it outright hurts to do it at all.  It’s not like you’re carrying a heavy bag and you eventually get tired of carrying it, it’s like you’re carrying a bag made out of razor blades and concrete.  However, I guess the time to be a big whiney baby is over and I have to step it up a notch or I won’t keep getting better.  Man, am I getting sick of this!

On a humorous note, I have a scar in the fold of my left leg, a huge scar down my whole belly, and a long scar on my right thigh and I have always wondered which of those incisions Dr. Attais made to get at my pelvis because none of them really seem like a good spot to use to get at a pelvis.  Turns out he didn’t make any of those incisions, I did.  He said, “You opened that all up, all I did was close it.”  Actually, I think my colon surgeon must have made the belly incision.  I could not have lived if I had done that enormous thing to myself, but in any regard, not only did Dr. Attais work a miracle of pelvis reconstruction, he did it by going in all sorts of stupid holes that weren’t even convenient for him to use.  I guess I have to forgive his ridiculous comments, given his surgical wizardry, but c’mon, “You walk like a duck, and you’re fat, but besides that, you’re healed?”  He really can’t say it any better than that?  Gimme a break.  Oh wait, I already did that.  I did the breaking, all he did was fix it up.  He actually has a subtle sense of humor if you can hear past the really obnoxious stuff he says.

Ha Ha, Just Kidding!

Well, apparently, the joke is still on me.  The physician assistant called me today and said that after consulting with another doctor, there is still some concern about hooking me back up.  My surgeon, Dr. Cox, is still out of the country and now we want to give him time to more closely review my test results before hooking me back up.  He would have just been getting off the plane and scrubbing up with an April 1st surgery date, so we’re gonna put it off a while and give him some time to see if he still wants to go ahead with the surgery or do some other tests or just wait longer.  If he decides to go ahead with the surgery anyhow, now we’re probably looking at about April 21st for a surgery date.