Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Let's Talk Personal Stuff

I've had a busy year or so health-wise. Nothing of crisis or life threatening proportions. Just stuff that needed attention. Do you love the disclosures we are required to read, initial and then remember when we go to the doctors for special testing procedures or surgeries? I read them all, initial and then think, "Oh yeah, I'd better disclose the truth about me."

I grab an ear and come right out and say it: "If anything can go wrong, anything at all, it will go wrong with me." Then I continue on to say I'm not worried about anything going wrong, I'm just giving them a heads up. In the last two years I've given three 'heads up'. In all three instances, guess what?

It's been just two years since I had three teeth extracted to then have dental implants to replace them and another tooth that was part of a bridge. It's been over $28000.00 in medical bills since. But, ha! I have two implants in my jaw, one up, one down and a very empty space where one implant would have gone, but the space is too narrow, and another empty spot where one would be placed to repair/replace the bridge.

To say it's been a long haul is an understatement. There were four surgeries to repair the gigantic hole in my jaw and my sinus, created when the first dentist extracted a tooth and lost the root tip in my sinus. So many antibiotics. So many tummy aches ... The residual effects are daily annoyances. One side of my nose 'blows' just fine into the tissue. The other? Not so much. There is a puffiness in my cheek (and while you might not notice it with all the other puffiness, I do)the space between gum and cheek is, ah, different. There is numbness on my face and a pressure change (much like an airline cabin) when I say certain words, sneeze, cough, laugh. I am unable to use the nasal spray for my allergies and I am now the proud owner of one-sided sinus headaches. I often feel as though water is running out of my nose. Where there should be teeth now, I have two missing and two metal posts. I'm almost terrified to let the dentist build the crowns to cover the posts, but promised myself that after the first of January that is what I will do. I'm nervous about the localized jaw pain at one site and what that will mean later. Down the road.

There was a growth in my left thumb that had been there for many years. When it started to grow larger, hurt and get in the way of typing, writing, etc. I decided it was time to take care of it. Off I went to Doctor P. for a consult and a surgical booking. I arrived early one morning and settled in to the Day Surgery Suite. He came in and spoke with me about the surgery and I repeated my usual disclosure, "If anything can go wrong, anything at all, it will go wrong with me."

Let me just say he didn't laugh, but I saw the amusement in his eyes.

I went through the surgery with flying colors. The wonderful thing about conscious sedation is that you don't have to take as long to come out of it. No vomiting, no headache, no sore throat. The weird thing about it is hearing the doctor speak during the procedure, in English, but have your brain unable to translate to whatever language your brain is currently thinking in. Strange.

Returning for a follow up appointment and to get the results of the lab tests on the neuro-type tumor that had been housed in my thumb, I was happy to note that I had feeling in the thumb and that the incision had healed so well. Dr. P walked in and asked a few questions about how I was feeling, explained how the surgery was completed and then went on to tell me that the results from the lab were in. He said, "but the lab didn't have the tumor to check, it only had a tiny piece of nerve." What? "The nerve tested fine but there's nothing we can do about the tumor. It's not here and it's not there." See?

Jump forward to today. I was scheduled for an early morning colonoscopy (don't shudder) and arrived at my duly appointed time. Hooked up to IV and BP and O2 monitors, weighed and questions answered, I was wheeled down the hall to the procedure room. In walks Dr. L, another very nice man, and he comes over to chat. He explains what he'll be doing and how if there are polyps found they'll be excised and sent to the lab for testing (rolling my eyes here ... I've heard that before) and he'll give me enough Vercett and Demerol that I won't feel a thing. He likes his patients to be comfortable. I don't bother to read the authorization and disclosure ... they all pretty much say the same thing. I sign it and say, "Well, now I have to make a disclosure to you. If anything can go wrong, anything at all, it will go wrong with me." He nods in acknowledgement that I've told him, but I don't think he believes me. Silly him.

I woke some time later in the recovery cubicle ... monitors beeping, confused as heck, vision blurred. The nurse (thank you all nurses -- you really are wonderful people) tells me to take my time waking and she'll be back with a snack. Crackers and cranberry juice after twenty-four hours of not eating! I felt as though I were in a fine dining establishment. It tasted so very good. We chatted and I dressed and she reminded me I would have to call Dr. L's secretary for an appointment in two to three months.

What? "You have to come back." "Dr. L couldn't finish the procedure." What? "You were in discomfort and your O2 was too low. " What? Really? I didn't remember any discomfort. I had no clue what-so-ever. See?

"Yes, Dr. L came in to speak with you." When I was asleep? "Well, you were awake, but probably still too under the influence that's why we tell you not to make important financial decisions or drive for twenty-four hours." "It's also why Dr. L writes everything down while he's speaking with you, so you can read it at home tomorrow."

That is if I can find it. And gee, I get to look forward to all that prep work again. :::sigh:::


Lisa :-] said...

If I were you, I'd go live in some third world country where they don't rely upon the wonders of modern medicine... ;)

FrankandMary said...

I think I would have put Dr. L into discomfort by then.
I'm so very sorry you had to go thru all that. ~Mary

ADB said...

Well, you've certainly been put through it by the esteemed docs. Money seems to come before patients with your lot.

Lori said...

Thank goodness for happy gas! Are you addicted yet :) Seriously though, oh my gosh, I feel so bad you've had to go through all this. I cannot even imagine. You are quite the trooper!