Surgery Update, Ortho Nightmare & Oh So Much More

Surgery2There are so many times in our life when we have to make choices. They aren’t choices that we want to make, they aren’t choices that we don’t want to make. The reason for this is because we don’t want to have to admit later if we were wrong. I faced one of these very choices this last Wednesday, as I headed back in to surgery for my right foot. I really truly thought that I had made an educated decision. I consulted with friends and family and even made a point to go back to the doctor’s office on Friday afternoon (before the Wednesday surgery). On January 22, 2012, I was in a severe accident, that left my ankle (and more) shattered. The previous appointment with my orthopedic surgeon revealed that I needed another surgery on my right ankle. There was no healing on the one area and it wasn’t going to happen.

Pre-Surgery X-Ray Right Ankle, broken ankle, broken right ankle, shattered ankle

This is the x-ray that I was shown at the appointment when the orthopedic doctor and surgeon broke the news that I was going to need another surgery. You can see the bracket on the side was holding the bone in place, but the space in the area shows that there was no bone growth in that area. There was no option to leave this as it was. It wouldn’t have been stable and further down the line I could have ended up with a much worse off problem then I originally had. We had to fix it. The doctor’s first thought was to use bone from my heel. That would be the best benefit because it was my own bone. It however, wasn’t the best benefit for the situation. I really wanted to use donor bone because I didn’t want to risk him taking bone from some place else and ending up in further pain or have problems with another part of my body.

Pre-Surgery X-Ray Right Ankle, broken ankle, broken right ankle, shattered ankle

My knee has been a source of pain for me since I had the rod placed in my leg for the Tibia. That fracture, along with the fracture of my Fibula have healed. There is an option of removing the rod, but at this point I don’t want to mess with the knee any further. The pain is not constant, therefor let’s leave well enough alone. I am upset that the first time, 3 weeks ago, when the surgeon noticed it that he didn’t have the surgery done then. This would have ment that I would have had the surgery and been healed by now. He didn’t, he waited for the 3 weeks to pass “hoping” it would heal on it’s own, knowing that there was probably zero percent chance that it would heal up. Instead he gave me full independence. I was taking my kids to school and getting some routine in place. It wasn’t my usual routine, but it was better then nothing and better then the sleep/wake/veg state that I was in. Furthermore, I am upset that I spoke to the doctor on multiple occasions and made clear that I didn’t want any more surgeries and I further wanted the end of May at the VERY longest to be the deadline for being 100% on my foot. I realize that things take time to heal, but we were at a place where I was putting 40-50% weight on my foot. I was walking comfortably with little to no pain and was taking pain medication only minimally, sometimes days with none. He lead me to believe that my end of May expectation was completely within the realm of things. He even stated that coming out of surgery he felt that I would be walking at 40-50% weight bearing and that I would be fine doing the minor driving I was getting my kids back and forth to school and moving about.

Wednesday comes and I head to the hospital for surgery. He was also very aware that I was in no way staying over night at the hospital (Aurora Baycare Medical Center) given the situation and problems I had the first time. This was an outpatient surgery and I was not staying over night. In the event something happened that required an over night stay, I was to be transferred to my choice of hospital, which is my usual choice, Bellin Memorial. We check in and get ready for surgery, which the doctor was 1 hour behind, so that already frustrated me. It’s bad enough that at every appointment he’s running at least 30-60 minutes behind but for surgery too? Alas, I head in to surgery. It’s all done and the doctor comes out to speak to my husband. He shows him a series of pictures.

Post-Surgery X-Ray Right Ankle, broken ankle, broken right ankle, shattered ankle

He proceeds to explain to my husband that this area (which he drew in pen and I highlighted in pink) is all missing bone that really needs to be there. It’s not and that is causing me the little pain I do have, but is also risky for me to re-injure the foot later. If that happens I could shatter the ankle to a point that I may not be able to get it fixed again. So I understand, I get it.. I wasn’t apposed to getting it fixed. My problem was the time he waited to do it AND NOW the way he DID fix it. There’s other photos, but ultimately they all show the same thing, from different angles. Here’s what he did:

Post-Surgery X-Ray Right Ankle, broken ankle, broken right ankle, shattered ankle

He added in quite a bit of bone, which I ultimately decided would come from my hip. I chose this because it was the best of the choices and the quickest healing time. I was told that hip bone is pliable, but hard, so it would be a 1-2 week healing time. Taking bone marrow from my hip was 2-3 weeks healing and donor bone and the heel bone would be 3-4 weeks healing, sometimes longer. So I have an area on my hip with a small incision that he took bone from. The area is a little tender, but it’s not too painful. It’s more like a long lasting side ache. But alas, I was happy with this choice because it ment that I would be healed faster and back on my feet.

I come out of surgery and the doctor does stop and speak to me. Generally when they have talked to your family, they skip talking to you. I was surprised that he did, but I think he knew better and he knew I was going to get some information that was going to take my frustration with him to a whole new level! He tells me that it looks good and went well. He said the follow up appointment is on May 10th and that he would talk to me then about “toe touching”. No weight for right now. EXCUSE ME?!?! This was part of the pre-surgery discussion that we had. This was part of the decision process of using the hip bone versus another bone, marrow or donor bone. We’d also discussed how he was pretty sure that he would be able to remove almost all hardware, just leaving a small plate and maybe 1 screw, possibly two. I was okay with that. I told him I was okay with that. Before surgery he said he went back and looked through x-rays and he was sure he would need the plate. Again, it’s fine, we had discussed this potentially happening. What we did not discuss was the amount of hardware that he DID use and the possibility of needing ANOTHER surgery to remove that hardware.  The doctor told my husband that the hardware that is in there, other then the rod, has to come out because it’s not a material that can be left in there forever. So now that means I need ANOTHER surgery to remove hardware. He told my husband that this is a minor procedure and really it’s a few small puncture wounds and everything will come out.

Again.. EXCUSE ME?!?! I said I didn’t want anymore surgery. I wanted as little hardware as possible. The surgeon and I spoke MANY times about it and my feelings on things were crystal clear.. there was no grey area and he understood that. He even spoke to me about different situations that could happen and how we should deal with those situations. It was very out in the open. It was all very clear and we had discussed all the options. On Monday, I plan to get a copy of all the medical records from this orthopedic doctor/surgeon and taking them to a new doctor. I will get a second opinion and yes, while I can’t undo what this doctor has done and the healing that I need now as a result of that, I won’t let this doctor make ANY more choices when it comes to MY health. He clearly is jaded by the big dollar amount on his pay check and NOT the fact that I am a patient, a person with feelings, a woman with a family, someone that wants to be independent and not have to deal with all this day in and day out.

Oh and the kicker.. he found more grass, which he went ahead and removed. How is there still grass in my leg when he has went in to the foot over 12 times for pressure washing, scrubbing and surgeries? How do you over look something like that after all the times you’ve been in my foot? There is no way this doctor will make ANY choices regarding my future care. He’s right up there with the trauma surgeon, who told me he was much wiser then I was and that I didn’t know what was best for my health.

I’m over it.. Aurora, you lose! My health, my choice.. not yours and I am DONE with your shitty service, doctors and hospital.

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