Speaking of Stories… (a leg update)

join_gehealthcare_2It took months to get my health insurance worked out so that I could see an orthopedist to determine whether or not my leg is healing. Once my “married” insurance was cancelled, I had to settle for a less-than-helpful insurance plan that gave me no choice in doctor. I got the insurance and waited until 2 months for referrals to be approved and doctors to be chosen. FINALLY just before Thanksgiving I had an appointment with a new doctor, Dr. Busy.
I waited 30 minutes in the waiting room, 10 minutes for x-rays, and 45 minutes in the waiting room before Dr. Busy walked in and spent NEARLY 7 MINUTES with me. During this 7 minutes in heaven, he determined that my bone had not fused, this is a big problem, and I would need to have the ENTIRE titanium rod surgery done over again. Snap. Just like that.
“But…what? You have to do the whole surgery over again?” I asked with tears in my eyes.
“I wouldn’t worry about it too much,” was his response. Seriously. Don’t worry about us opening you back up, removing three screws and a titanium rod, re-boring through your bone, and then adding a new, larger titanium rod. Just…don’t worry about it.
Dr. Busy ordered a CT scan and an MRI to get “all the facts” and ordered me back in 2 weeks. And he was gone.

I. Was. Hysterical.

I called Bear from the parking lot and immediately he rejected the diagnosis. “Why on EARTH would he not learn more about your injury and your experience healing? Why is he jumping right into a major surgery? There’s got to be another answer.” Of course, the idea that there could be ANY other option available to me was so far from my scope of thought that it took me a few days to really hear what Bear had said to me. And once I did, he suggested, “What if we just go pay out of pocket for a second opinion from Dr. Fabulous?”

Dr. Fabulous did my surgery in the ER 8 months ago and also provided my follow-up care for 4 months. He’s amazing. Fabulous, even.

But in the time between Dr. Busy diagnosing me with “Everything’s Wrong but Don’t Worry” disease and getting to sit in a room with Dr. Fabulous…I’ll admit it. I told stories.

Story #1- I will be unable to participate in the Yoga Teacher Training I signed up for because I will be going through the ENTIRE surgery over again.
Story #2- I will not be able to be with my son for Christmas because this Dr. Busy has told me that I will be needing this surgery and that I’ll be needing it soon. I have decided “soon” means before Christmas, which means Christmas will be ruined and I will be alone. Probably forever.
Story #3- I will never be able to exercise properly again. And I’m going to get fat.
Story #4 – Even after this next surgery, my bone might not heal and I will have to do this whole thing again and again and be in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the most titanium rod replacements in one lifetime.
Story #5- No one likes me. (This isn’t totally related to the leg bit. Just a sort of general story that floats by whenever I’m telling other stories.)

So I had my “second opinion” appointment last night, stories in my back pocket. Dr. Fabulous had my CT and my MRI (but not my x-rays before Dr. Busy was too “busy” to get those to me in time), except he didn’t look at any of the scans before he walked in. He just sat down and asked, “So it’s not healing?”
“I guess not,” I said. Bear was sitting next to me.
“Alright. Well. I don’t think you have to take the rod out.”
“You might. It’s possible. But first, I think it’s easiest to take the screw holding the rod in place out of your knee. It will force the bones together and then they’ll probably just fuse after that. Let me go look at the scans, but that’s probably all we need to do and then wait a few months.”

Dr. Fabulous glanced at my scans in the office room next to my room and promptly told me they were kind of worthless as they pertained to my bone. All he needed was an x-ray.
“I don’t have the x-rays. Dr. Busy couldn’t get them to me in time.”
“Well, then we need to take some,” he said, in his always-matter-of-fact way.
“I…” I cringed. “I can’t afford to do that today. You aren’t covered by my insurance.”
“Then we won’t charge you. Whatever. Go get x-rays,” and he shooed me off.

I mean. Free x-rays. Seriously? HOW FABULOUS IS DR. FABULOUS?

When we reconvened in the office area, he confirmed his initial suggestion. “I think it’s as simple as taking out that screw and allowing the rod to retract a little bit so the bones touch when you walk. Just tell Dr. Busy that. Tell him you googled it or something…”
“And what about my knee? How are all my tears and rips around my knee?”
Dr. Fabulous pulled up my MRI on the screen. “Honestly…everything is fine.” Bear squeezed my hand and whispered Yes! “It’s all going to hurt for another year or so because these kinds of injuries take a very long time to heal. But your knee in general…well, it’s a pretty good-looking knee. No surgeries or anything there unless radiology can see something I can’t.”

He shook my hand and chuckled at me, because for whatever reason he always chuckles at me, and sent me to the front desk for payment.
“Ok, so you’re self-pay, right?”
“Yes,” I cringed again. I had called ahead to learn my appointment would be anywhere from $60-$240, depending on what went down. I was ready for the worst.
“So you’re total after the discount is $27.”

The discount.


I took a deep breath. “Holy cow. That’s…that’s amazing you guys.” The two women at the payment desk smiled. They knew what Dr. Fabulous had just done for me, but no one would say it out loud. And all I could say was, “Thank you.”

I go to see Dr. Busy next week to find out if he can just take the screw out of my knee without much of a fight so I can move on with my life. Let’s toss up some good thoughts that Dr. Busy will be too busy to argue. 🙂

Have a beautiful weekend.

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