One hip mama part 3

24Jan12

In the previous post, I had been referred by Dr. K to an orthopedic surgeon, Dr. D.

On the advice of Dr. K, I stopped by the hospital to get a copy of my MRI. I had my laptop in the car, and took a quick peek before hitting the interstate. Despite the radiologist’s report, I couldn’t really tell what the tear looked like. But I could tell that I was not pregnant, but apparently I really had to pee!

I made my way to Richmond to meet with Dr. D,  the orthopedic surgeon. I had a brief freakout the morning before, as a quick perusal of the practice’s website made no mention of Dr. D doing arthroscopic surgery. Open surgery, for a torn labrum like mine, is not an option. Arthroscopic is the only way to go. And ideally, your surgeon has done hundreds of these procedures. There’s a learning curve.

And waiting in the waiting room didn’t exactly get my hopes up. There were a lot of pretty decrepit people in there, pre- and post-hip replacement. I want to repair the labrum to avoid hip replacement! I’m in my 30’s for pete’s sake!

My confidence was not bolstered by the office person doing my intake. She asked me a little bit about my injury, which I really didn’t care to discuss with the office assistant. She asked when my pain had gotten worse, and I said it hadn’t. Then she had the nerve to ask, “then why are you here?” Um, like chronic pain isn’t a good enough reason? Really? Nice. I clammed up and told her I’d discuss my diagnosis with a nurse or doctor.

I went back to the waiting room for the aged, and fidgeted. Finally, I was called back. And what a relief – the exam room was wallpapered with autographed posters of famous athletes thanking the practice for helping them. Yeah! As expected, they had not received a copy of my MRI, so I was happy to have brought my own. They also wanted an X-ray, which I hadn’t brought, but this being an ortho practice, they had an X-ray machine in office, and my eggs got another healthy dose of radiation.

And finally, the long-awaited Dr. D! He was not the dumb jock I was dreading, but very personable and well-spoken. He gave me another quick hip anatomy lesson, confirmed that I have a tear, and that surgery is the only way to fix it for good.

I asked a ton of questions – I’m sure he was not expecting such an interrogation late on a Friday afternoon, but I had one shot to check him out before trusting him with my health and well-being, and I was going to get my money’s worth out of my copay. I come from a medical family, so I was armed with lingo, jargon, and my natural distrust of orthopedic surgeons.

Long story short, the good Dr. D has done thousands of these procedures, and has had great results. His approach is not to just excise the torn part, but to actually reattach it to the underlying cartilage with little plastic anchors into my bone. Sign me up.

Only one problem – when can a busy working mom of two fit hip surgery into her schedule? And did I mention that The Supportive Husband needs to have two hernias repaired as well?

More to come…

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