Friday, March 7, 2014

SURGERY... with a twist!

What. A. Day! Before I go into the details of my epic knee adventure, I will cut to the chase: I am having ACL repair surgery on Tuesday, March 18th. I am exceptionally happy that it is so soon. But BOY was it a trial getting to that point today! Buckle up, because as with everything in my life, this was not a straight forward day.

In theory, my day was going to go like this:

A. 7:45 - leave for daycare/school drop off
B. 8:30 - head for Huggins Hospital to pick up MRI disk
C. 9:00 - pick up MRI disk and find a way to amuse self in Wolfeboro until PT appt
D. 9:45 - PT appointment
E. 10:30 - Quick trip to PO and home to change laundry around and make a 'to go' lunch
F. 11:20 - Back to Wolfeboro for chiropractor app't
G. 12:00 - Head 'around the lake' (about 45 minutes) for ortho second opinion
H. 2:00 - head back to school
I. 3:15 - pick up boys and Gabe
J. 3:30 - grocery shopping
K. 5:00 - drop of Elliott at pool birthday party
L. 6:00 - home (at last!) b/c Scott agreed to pick up Elliott from party

That schedule was enough to make me shudder, but given that a huge chunk of it involved traveling a significant distance between points A - L, there was a huge amount of opportunity for error. In a way, I guess I was lucky that there was really only one major error. Unfortunately it kept repeating itself! I will explain....

I had no trouble with points A-D. I arrived early to PT and, on whim, decided to bring in the CD-ROM that had the MRI on it. I was curious about it and I thought that Kevin might be interested, too. He was. So as I was spinning on the bike he brought his laptop over so we could look at it together. Something was weird and it wouldn't open on his computer. He went into the reception area and tried the computer there. Nope. There was a problem with the disk. The receptionist called the hospital and was told I could stop by and get a new disk. "We've been having some problems with the disks," she was told.

OH. MY. MONKEYS! What if I had gone all the way to my appointment with the new orthopedic surgeon - and frost-heave filled 45 or 50 minute drive from Huggins - and the MRI disk was no good? I would have been FURIOUS. As it was, I was annoyed as heck, but I was feeling grateful that I could get a 'good' copy before the appointment.

This complication meant that I did not have time for item "E" - trip to post office and home. Especially bummer about this is that Tommy is starting trumpet lessons next week at school and my mom sent him a 'legacy' trumpet that my brother once played. It arrived today and we were very excited to get our hands on it! Plus, no getting the laundry factory through one more cycle. PLUS-PLUS no lunch for me. Grumble grumble grumble.

So, item "E" became a quick trip back over to Huggins to get the new CD. EXCEPT... when I walked into ortho they had no idea what I was talking about. "We didn't get a call. We are the only 2 people here and no one from your PT office called." So I called PT and asked who she had talked to... turns out SHE TALKED TO RADIOLOGY. GAH! Never fear. They made me another copy right there in ortho and, after I pleaded with them to check the CD they were giving me to make sure it was functioning, I was on my way. Again. (I don't think I made a lot of friends there on that trip...)

I zoomed over to the chiropractor and thought, "Well, heck, maybe SHE'LL wanna see the MRI" and I brought it in. THANK GOD! It, too, was a bad file. I was on the flipping ceiling at this point. The chiropractor said that she was not terribly surprised, as she had gotten quite a few bad CDs from the hospital lately. Greaaaaaaat. Her receptionist called over. Again. And AGAIN, I was told to come back for a new copy. This time, to RADIOLOGY.

I had no more items I could cut out of my schedule at this point so I just had to hope that from here on, things would go smoothly. I retrieved Disk #3 from radiology, looked the man who handed me the disk in the eye and said, 'You HAVE TO promise me this is going to work. I CANNOT go all the way to Gilford for this appointment and have it not work.' He failed to find this charming but did say he knew it would work, the problem was in the ortho office, and if they needed to call him directly to get it figured out, they could.

Well, okay.

So, I headed south around the lake, stopping for 3 minutes on the way for a convenience store egg salad sandwich and Starbucks mocha energy drink. I know, I know. I am WEAK, but both of these sounded delicious at the time. I have not regrets. OH SHUT UP. It's my stomach, not yours!

Sorry. I get cranky when I am hungry. Or thinking about a time when I was hungry.

This part of the day went really smoothly, thank heavens, and I made it to my appointment with almost 15 minutes to spare. In other words, the right amount of time for the requisite paper work. One of the people at reception had an Ithaca College (my alma mater) calendar and I chatted him up about that. He went there as a music major in the 80s. He studied opera. He traveled around the country after that doing mostly very not-opera lounge singing. ("Red ships of Spain...!") We chuckled about that and I was put back into my good humor.

Soon enough I was in the exam room and Dr. Hennig came in. I immediately felt like I was in very good hands. He DID manage to get the CD to run on his computer (HALLLLAAAALLLUUUUJAH!) and he showed me what was what. I saw the place where my ACL should  be but isn't. I saw the area where lots of fluid is hanging out but shouldn't be. I saw a somewhat nebulous zone where my MCL should be but isn't. And, happily, I saw the place where meniscus should be and IS! Phew!

He did the usual clinical manipulation of my legs. Talked about surgery options (cadaver v. taking a piece of my hamstring). Talked about my MCL needing to heal. Talked about my leg possibly being 'forever' too stiff if certain stars didn't align during all of this....

Of course, meanwhile, I am thinking loudly "WHEN CAN I HAVE SURGERY? WHEN CAN I HAVE SURGERY? WHEN. CAN. I. HAVE. SURGERY???"

At last it seemed like a socially acceptable time for me to ask, so I did. "So, any chance I can have surgery, like, next week?" I almost fell off the exam table when he said, "Well, sure, if I have any openings."

WHAT!?! I was sure he was going to say 6 -8 weeks of PT and MCL healing. I was sure I was looking at May or maybe June. But NO! At this point I literally was tearing up. I asked him, "Do your patients frequently hug and kiss you? Because I want to do that right now!" Ummm... no. Yes. He is a very capable doctor but he is not susceptible to my charm. He was decidedly NOT going to entertain the thought of me hugging him. Okey doke. Message received.

Next, Terry came in. She is his scheduler. She is VERY friendly and let me emote to my hearts content about how happy I was to be on the schedule. We set a date of March 13 and I immediately texted my husband and my mom (who has agreed to come help out whenever the date was set). I sat and answered the standard pre-op questions and then my phone rang. It was Scott. Apologizing, I told her I should take it. Here's, pretty much, how the conversation went:

"Hi. I'm still in the doctor's office. Can I call you back?"
"Uhhhh. Not really. If you can get back to the scheduler that would be good."
"I know, honey, it's soon and your show is going up but my mom is coming and...."
"No. It's not that. And I can't believe I have to do this but I guess I have to tell you.... (Painful pause. I mean, literally, he sounds like he's in pain!)... Your sisters are coming on March 14th to surprise you and take you away for your birthday. You can't have surgery on the 13th!
"OH! That's amazing! I am REALLY surprised..."

Yadda yadda yadda.

I managed to completely screw up my sisters' surprise visit, which I feel bad about. But I'm trying to think of it like this: surprises are great (and, boy, am I surprised!) but what's also great is anticipating future fun and nonsense. So, now I get to have both the surprise PLUS a week of anticipating fun and nonsense with my sisters and mom.

Wa hoo!

So much more to say about the surgery and recovery and how I will deal with things at work and at home... PLUS a couple of Pay it 40ward projects that have been reported to me.. but for now, just this selfie I took as I sat on the exam table before the scheduler came it. I was SO HAPPY that when I saw my own grin in the mirror, I was startled. I feel like I haven't felt this happy since my last run... which was 27 days ago, in case you are keeping score.

Happy Happy Happy

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