Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Final Run Down

OK. I have to be at the hospital at 6am. Surgery is from 7:30 -
11:30 am. That's right people, 4 hours and they're only doing one
hip! I'm in the hospital until Sunday so I won't be posting for
awhile. I've asked Josh to update here, but he's a lot less
concerned with this blog than I am. So, he might be a bit
preoccupied. Thanks for everyones support and good thoughts!

Incidentally, the crutches...

So, I forgot to tell you about my crutches! I'll be sporting the Millenial Medical Crutches available from Triad Healthcare. I have no grace or balance, so I feel I can give you a true review of this product!
I'll let you know how they go!

Still waiting for the phone call from the hospital telling me minor things like when my surgery is, where I have to go and what I have to do. Ah, the waiting is the hardest part.

Tomorrow is the day...

...and I just got a call from financial services at the hospital reminding me that IN ADDITION to the 250$ they already told me to bring, that I also need to bring an extra 300$ dollars. Why, you may ask? Well, apparently, the first 250$ is for my surgeon and the 300$ is for the hospital.


At least this all goes toward my insurances yearly out of pocket maximum. So that's some consolation.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Tester 1

Hi. This is a test to see if Josh can post to my blog via e-mail
while I am under the knife.
Hope this works.

2 Days To Go

Well Surgery is in 2 days and I am strangely calm. I started listening to Health Journeys, "A Meditation To Promote Successful Surgery" and I have found it quite calming. I've only listened to it twice but I do feel calmer and more ready. Its a bit new agey, but hey, I'm getting my hip chopped open, I'll take what I can get. Try it. This is what the cover looks like. I think I'm ready.
Although on the day, Thursday, I am sure I'll be freaked. I hope to post tomorrow with all of the details. After that, Josh should be updating on how the surgery went, etc.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

One Week To Go

Okay, we're down to the last week.

It was suggested to me last night that I might want to consider renting a recliner to recover in for the first week or two. You see, my living room is curiously devoid of chairs. We own a sofa. It's a rather large sofa. As there are only two of us, it seems to do the trick. However, I must agree that recovery on the sofa would not be pleasant. It is squishy and deep and really comfortable, provided you haven't just had your pelvis rearranged.

Here's my prepatory tidbit for you. If you need to rent a recliner, Rent A Center does offer a "lift chair" which you might recognize from that great old commercial where it literally lifts the old lady completely from a sitting position into a standing position in only 14 hours! However, I just learned that, in my neck of the woods, Rent A Center requires 3 weeks notice before they have them in stock. I would only need the chair for 2 weeks. You can do the math.
Also, all other recliners for rent are rockers. I can't imagine that being good for recovery.

So, the question is what do I do now? Hmmmmm.........

Thursday, May 18, 2006

2 weeks and counting

2 WEEKS AND COUNTING!! Holy Crap people! OK, freak out over. On to more useful topics.

I just received a call from the hospital reminding me to bring 250$ with me as my hospital co-pay. That's it though. There's been no talk of pre-surgical testing. I asked about pre-surgical testing and was informed that we did all of that already at my last appointment with the good doctor. Now, I always imagined pre-surgical testing involved drawing blood or something.

I am not to donate blood. I asked if I could, and I was told NO - believe it or not. The explanation given me was: There are just as many errors when you are supplying your own blood as when you use blood bank blood, therefore, there is no need to weaken yourself. Also, people tend to require more blood after they have donated blood. Hmmm......Logically, I can certainly follow the argument but I would sure feel a lot better if I could just donate the blood already.

The other weird thing is the incision. All of the PAO's I've heard about and read about had the scar running down the hip, parallel to the line of the leg. I have been told that my incision will run across the hip, perpendicular to the leg. Has anyone else had this or heard of this??

Now I know, I am hyper-educated about this surgery and what to expect. That comes from me being crazy and my incessant reading of the HipWomen posts. I would just feel better if this surgery followed the others I've read about. Maybe it's just nerves.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Insurance Update

Well, when there was that whole pre-authorization snafu last week I asked if my doctors office could send me some sort of verification that everything was all worked out. Thank you MUSC Bone and Joint Center! I just received a confirmation fax proving that I am pre-authorized for both hospitalization and surgery on the same date - 6/1/06! I have to say, that aside from that one error which I previously posted about, it has been a snap to get approval for this thing. BCBS of SC and MUSC have really been great so far.

15/16 days and counting. I forgot if I am counting today as a day or not.....sigh, I miss my mind.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

A Word About Insurance

This is just something to consider for your upcoming surgery. I have Blue Cross Blue Shield. My insurance requires "pre-authorization" or "pre-certification" (I've heard it called both) before hospitalization or surgery. My advice for you is to DOUBLE CHECK with both your insurance company and your doctor's office for this pre-authorization and get a confirmation number. Your doctor's office should have a "pre-certification nurse" who deals with all pre-certifications/authorizations.

I say double check b/c with my surgery fast approaching, it's a damn good thing I did! On Tuesday, (5/9/06) I was told that I was all approved and all set up. I asked for a confirmation number and I asked to go over the details just to make sure everything was all set up. I was all set up for 5/11/06. My surgery is on 6/1/06. That's not good. The nurse was a bit surprised too. She sent through the paperwork to correct the dates. On Saturday, I checked with my insurance company. My hospital stay was pre-approved for 6/1/06 - 6/4/06 (only 3 days) and my surgery was approved for 5/11/06. Obviously, this won't work either. So, after contacting my insurance company, everything is now corrected. I am still waiting for confirmation of that, but hopefully, I'll get that next week.

So, heads up. Odds are no one would've caught this error until I checked into the hospital, and that is soooooo not the time to have to worry about insurance.

17 Days and Counting....

Holy crap, its only 17 days away. It's really starting to sink in now. Friends were marveling at how well I was taking this up-coming surgery. I was a real trooper. Now, my mind is racing and I am starting to get scared. A wise woman once gave me a very important phrase/mantra which applies in this situation. It is to be repeated as often as necessary. "In _________, this will all be over." In 17 days, this will all be over. In 17 days, this will all be over. In 17 days, this will all be over.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

What is a Hip Arthrogram MRI?

So, you're been diagnosed with hip dysplasia and they send you off to get a "Hip Arthrogram MRI". This recently happened to me. No one told me what to expect. Here's the deal.

I was sent to a hospital for this procedure. The arthrogram comes first, the MRI second. If you're claustrophobic, you might want to consider a sedative for the MRI portion of this event.

First, the arthrogram.

Basically, in a hip arthrogram, they will stick a needle in your hip and inject dye. First, I was stripped and put in a hospital gown. Then I had to lie down on a big table with an x-ray machine lookin' thing above it. Then, my joint was marked with a marker and the whole area was liberally painted with betadine. Your knickers will be destroyed ladies, betadine stains.
Then, an anesthetic was injected into my hip area. This just pinches a little. While the anesthetic takes effect, they will mix up a little dye/lidocaine cocktail to inject into the hip joint. This injection has to be perfectly lined up with your hip socket because the needle has to actually get into the hip joint. My guy had to do this about 3 times to get it right. I would recommend not looking at the needle. Yes, it is big. Also, Yes, this does hurt. It's not agony but is sure as hell isn't comfortable. Once the needle is in the right spot, the injection can start. This is good b/c there's another anesthetic mixed with the dye. This kills the pain you feel from having a 20 gauge needle in your hip joint.

Next, the MRI.

From the arthrogram room you will be wheeled to the big MRI machine. I have had 2 hip MRIs in 2 different machines. I am 5'8" and in the first machine I was ENTIRELY INSIDE the MRI machine. The MRI machine is a big tube which you lay on a shelf inside. The ceiling of the tube is about 3-4 inches from your face and you can not move. This was very uncomfortable for me. My most recent MRI was soooo much nicer. In this machine, My whole head and neck was outside of the MRI machine. I had no problem with this at all.
The first MRI I had was for both hips and it took about 90 minutes. This last MRI was only for my right hip and took about 35-40 minutes.

After effects.

The MRI has no after effects. I was very sore for about 2 days after my arthrogram, though. I had my hip arthrogram on a Friday and I was fully recovered by Sunday afternoon. My hip was just really, really sore. It also felt kind of bloated. weird.

There you go! That's what I know. Let me know if you have any questions.

-----------added 12/15/09-------------
Also - be sure to read the comments section. Apparently Hip MRI/Arthrograms are different everywhere and we've gotten a lot of really great descriptions of different experiences in the comments section of this post. Bottom line - its not great, but its not awful (unless you have a tech who takes 3 tries to get the needle in place) - you can do it!!! xoH

Friday, May 05, 2006

Maybe I Should Tell You My Story....

It took me 10 months and 3 doctors to get the proper diagnosis. In 2002 I was living and working in Philadelphia, PA. I walked 2 miles to work every morning. I didn't own a car so I walked or biked everywhere. I thought SEPTA (the transit system in Philly) was a total rip off. I was taking Vinyasa Power Yoga for about 3-5 hours/week. I felt good. I was never slim. Even as a child I was borderline obese, but for the first time in my life I was fit, healthy and my weight was under control.

I was walking to work one morning in the Fall of 2002 when, in mid-stride, I felt excruciating pain. So much so, that I almost fell over and had to balance myself against a building. My right hip felt ripped open. I hobbled to the corner, really confused and surprised at what was happening and hailed a cab to work. I had to get into the cab, arse first, and actually lift my right leg with my arms to get it in! Well, 10 minutes later I got to work and to my surprise, I was able to get out of the cab, no problem and continue on with my day. WEIRD!

Well, similar instances started to pop up. First, very infrequently and always solved by sitting down for a minute or two, then more and more regularly. I went to my doctor. My first doctor was Dr. Lizerbram. Having just become eligible for health insurance, I picked her out of my "preferred provider" manual as my new general physician. I explained to her that it actually felt like the pain was INSIDE my hip joint. I could feel it clicking and popping and the pain felt like something was torn. She immediately told me that it was impossible to feel pain inside a joint (my first red flag) and that I had most likely pulled a groin muscle in my sleep (my second red flag).

Well, I foolishly returned to her a few more times. The last time I was running/hobbling to catch a bus to her office, as I could no longer walk long distances, and I tripped and sprained my ankle. I did catch the bus and hopped on it. When I got to her office, my knees were skinned and bleeding and my ankle was the size of a football. She asked me, "what seems to be the trouble" (another red flag). She sent me home with nothing. No crutches, no prescription. Her office didn't even call me a cab. I never went back.

My new doctor was wonderful. Her name was Dr. Regina Baime. If you live in center city Philadelphia, LOOK HER UP! She took a thorough case history of my hip problems and immediately ordered x-rays which showed possible hip dysplasia. I eventually had MRIs done and was sent to Dr. Charles Nelson who informed me I had Bi-Lateral Congenital Hip Dysplasia.

He said I had 2 options. One, Have an incredible complicated and difficult surgery called an osteotomy (which Dr. Nelson did not recommend) or two, take the more conservative approach. Dr. Nelson recommended conservative so I opted conservative. He told me to "Lose as much weight as HUMANLY possible" (no, I am not kidding. That lined is burned into my brain.), "take glucosamine and chrondroitin and Aleve" (ok.) and "try not to walk much".

and that's it. that was his conservative treatment. every year or two we would have xrays and MRIs again. wow. I was 26 and I shouldn't walk anymore. Technically, I was able to...but every step I took hastened me to an early crippling. awesome.

Then we moved away from Philly and started our own business. That means I lost my health insurance and couldn't get it back. I just got it back in November of 2005. The interim found me losing weight but limping more, walking less and realizing that Aleve doesn't do anything. My new friend became Tylenol Arthritis (V. Good, by the way). No doctors of any sort for almost 2 years.

Now, I'm in South Carolina. I am properly diagnosed and I am less than 3 weeks away from surgery. I tried the conservative approach. I lost more weight. I only got worse. After consulting with Dr. Hartsock I was told that surgery was necessary. He said that in another year I might miss my window for the surgery. There is a window to have this surgery done. You have to be in enough pain for it to really ruin your life but your joint still has to be in decent shape. That's a fine line to walk. So here I am. And there you go.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Adult Hip Dysplasia

I am starting this blog as a reference and resource for people like me. I was diagnosed with Bi-lateral Congenital Hip Dysplasia when I was 26 years old. I wanted to use this blog to post all of the resources I have found over the years and to track my progress as I undergo and recover from a Peri-Acetabular Osteotomy to treat my right hip.

My surgery is scheduled for 6/1/06. I will post full reports on the surgery, doctors, hospital, recovery, etc.