January started into fast forward on the 3rd when I kept an appointment with my primary/family medicine doctor. There were a few reasons for the visit; chief among them was the follow up on the spot they found on my liver last summer. To say that it has been at the back of my mind would be putting it mildly. I needed to see him to order a cat scan (according to the specialist I had seen and fired), however, I had had a great deal of radioactive tests last summer and Dr. Z thought it would be better to do an ultra-sound and that it would give the same information needed.
With that decided we moved to the next problem on my list, my diabetes. I hate to admit that I have not been taking my numbers on a daily basis for some time. I have been keeping my calories under 1500 daily, enjoying weight loss, and I was sure, in all that, keeping my numbers down. However, when I last went to see him, I was keeping my numbers and they weren’t good. At that time, three or four months ago, he increased one of my diabetes medications, so I didn’t worry. No one asked what was on my diet and they seemed content with it being less than 1500 calories. When he increased it he said we needed to wait at least three months and then do a blood test known as HbA1C. It is an overall picture or average of your glucose numbers. He wrote the order to that. I normally have one twice a year and up until now they have been great.
I told him the lovely insurance company had called to complain to me about some of my preventative care. They informed me I hadn’t been to see and eye doctor in over two years. No, duh! It will cost $40 minimum. I know I need new glasses as the cheapo reading ones I bought are 250 and the bottom of my bifocals are 150. I just haven’t budgeted it in and it won’t be in the next couple of months. They were upset that I haven’t had a mammogram in two years and a bone density in several. I told them the gynecologist wrote the script, I made the appointment but got bronchitis and cancelled it (last summer), and didn’t make a new appointment for both. I will. They said my cholesterol was high, but I have never had it taken. Based on all that he added the metabolic panel to the HbA1C and told me to get myself to the eye doctor and have the tests done. I will.
Finally the emergent reason I had to come. I have a replacement knee that will be 10 years old in June. I was a cheerleader and a klutz to boot. I was on crutches at least once a year in high school, sometimes more. When we lived in South Carolina the twins were both sick at the same time. Their rooms were a maze of toys. At one point, Will called for me and I ran into his room, I stepped on something and started to fall, but I was falling on Castle Grayskull. That was a $20 toy, I couldn’t land on Castle Grayskull, Will would be crushed, not to mention Castle Grayskull. So I turned. When I did I turned that knee and tore the meniscus. Four weeks later, I had arthroscopic surgery on the knee and they removed the torn piece. For around $2000 I saved a $20 toy from destruction and kept a little boy smiling.
In 2001, I was finishing up my Bachelor’s degree (having gone back to school at 41). One day in April, just weeks before graduation, I was getting ready to go catch the bus and my knee went out from under me. I couldn’t stand on it. I called my advisor and told her I needed to get to class but had no crutches and couldn’t get to the corner to catch the bus. She told me if I could get someone to bring me she would meet me out front with a wheelchair. So mother gave me a ride and Jane met me with a wheel chair.
I got into the orthopedic doctor the next day. I had my classes set up each semester so I had Tuesdays and Thursdays off as my kids were in high school. The doctor put me on a cane as the knee was now supporting my weight with help and put me in physical therapy but showed me on the x-ray that the knee was bone-on-bone and eaten by arthritis, it was more than likely that a knee replacement would be in order. He would normally hesitate to put a knee in someone my age; however it was a drastic situation in my case. After four weeks of therapy, the decision was made for the surgery and a date in June was set. I hobbled across the stage to get my diploma with a cane. My therapy continued up until the surgery and really helped the recovery process move along. That and my “young” age.
In the past couple of years, my knee had been catching on occasion. Since September when I began doing so much sewing, I would have my leg in the position where the knee was flexed back all the way. When I would go to straighten out my knee, it would catch. I could make it straighten out but it was painful and popped. On Christmas Day, when I was playing games with Tara and Jen, it did it several times and I decided it was time to have it looked at again. I couldn’t go straight to the orthopedic doctor this time; my insurance now requires a referral from my main doctor. I couldn’t make it catch for Dr. Z., but he was busy writing the referral for Dr. A. anyway.
The nurse that does the scheduling had me scheduled for the ultra-sound the very next morning at 8:00 a.m. I could have nothing after midnight, not even my meds the next morning so I had the ultra-sound and the blood work all done at the hospital same time. The good news, so far this month, was that the spot on my liver has not changed since it was discovered in August; it is not really a spot but a hemangioma – benign whatever it is. The rotten news is that my HbA1C told the doctor that I may be keeping the calories down but the glucose numbers are sky high.
The nurse that called to give me the news to add another one to my medication also asked me what exactly I was eating. Turns out I was eating mostly carbohydrates which is apparently worse than sugar. I was advised to add some juice to my breakfast, to add protein to the fresh fruit I have for lunch, and to add vegetables to my evening meal. I also started taking my supplements again. I had quit taking them last summer when I had bronchitis and was on antibiotics. I must say just making the changes they asked in my diet and adding the supplements back, I do feel better. And, sorry to disappoint the insurance company but my cholesterol is fine.
The journey to the orthopedic surgeon took another ten days. He takes x-rays in his office before he sees you. They do it all with computer now, it is so cool. They send the x-rays straight from the x-ray machine to the viewer in the examination room. Now if they would just get rid of the heavy thing I have to hold in front of my knees in a prone, knees-up position.
My knee looked fine to me. My doctor is so funny, he was going on about how great it looked, looked at my chart and said, “WOW, 10 years and it looks brand new!!” He sat down next to me and had me describe what was happening. At the same time, in trying to make it lock up for him, I was swinging it back and forth while he had his hand on it.
He said it usually occurs one or two years after the replacement surgery and I have noticed a lump there for several years but didn’t tell him that. He said that I have patella clunk. He will go in arthroscopically and what he will find is scar tissue behind the knee cap that he will have to scrape out. Sounds lovely. The next day I was having pre-surgical blood testing, EKG, and meeting with my anesthesiologist at the hospital.
I was afraid they were going to try to make me have an epidural like they do with athletes having arthroscopic surgery these days. He assured me I am going to be asleep. He said that though this is arthroscopic surgery, because there is a knee replacement it could take longer than it normally would.
So, I would appreciate all prayers and love thrown my way at 10:00 a.m. this Wednesday morning, January 26th. My surgery is scheduled for ten but I have to be at the hospital at eight. My younger daughter is taking me but she has to work at three. So let’s also pray/wish that the surgery is over and I am ready for release by 1:30. I am thinking I may have to make back-up arrangements for my daughter. She will be so mad if I make her late for work, I think.
I also have some heavy matters on my mind that I am not ready to put anywhere but in my handwritten journal. A few of you have been in contact with me in PM and know what is heavy on my mind. I have been made very uncomfortable about posting anything to do with ED.
Dr. A.'s office called last week to tell me to take my walker to the hospital. Tomorrow I will bring it out of the basement and clean it off. It has only been down there almost 10 years. I don’t know how long I will be restricted to the walker, but my stitches don’t come out until February 8th. I will probably hang out online a great deal while I recover from the surgery.
All comments and suggestions are welcome. Reserve the ED stuff for PM.