February 11, 2014

A Few Miracles in the Land of Surgery

I'm typing this just 14 hours after my latest surgery, the fourth in a series following the accident that took place three years ago and shattered my femur.  This time, the focus was on repairing the inside of the knee, which, after getting the leg bones all lined back up, just wasn't doing the job it should have been.  Turns out there was a bit of damage hiding inside the knee, masked for a while by the other complications.

We weren't looking forward to this because several things made preparation difficult.  Well, who really looks forward to surgery, anyway, right?  Except this one seemed like it may be the one to get me back to as close to 100% as possible--back to jogging, to walking up and down stairs like a normal person, to going through a normal day's worth of walking without having to prop the leg up and "deal with it" by afternoon.  So in a way, I was looking forward to it.

Then the a/c in our car died.  That was a must-fix before making the trip, which took us a bit over 6 hours getting here, all in well-over 100 degree heat.  Yep, gotta have a/c.

Then I ran over something and we had to buy a new tire, as I mentioned in that last post.

Then I found out insurance didn't want to cover this surgery.  Their words?  "We have to keep our expenses down.  We can't just pay for every surgery that comes along."  I asked why they chose a very specific type of knee surgery and left all others out.  "Well, like we said, to keep our costs down."  So you randomly picked THIS one, then?  Yes, they told me.  I was a bit frustrated.  I called the surgeon, and he said there was no way he could call the surgery a meniscus repair--the random one the insurance DOES cover--because in his professional opinion, it didn't behave like that.  So we made the decision to go ahead with surgery anyway.

The doctor said I'd stay overnight in the hospital, then a few days in town, then see him one more time before leaving for the weekend. If I was lucky, I'd get in just in time to change clothes and get to my Friday afternoon class, which I really couldn't miss this time.

Because it's high tourist season (vacation + the huge festival of Carnaval in our town), it wasn't safe to leave our apartment unattended, nor could we find someone free to take care of our dog for those days we'd need to be gone.  In the end, we reluctantly made the difficult decision to leave Camille there in our apartment with a couple of older gals from church, a deadbolt lock, and some pretty firm instructions, so that they could babysit the place and the dog. Not easy for this self-proclaimed over-protective mom to do, even if Camille just turned 17.

So the car got out of the shop the day before we left for our big trip, and the mission guest house that was full got an opening just in time for us to stay here.  That saved us a fortune and put us in a safe, walled complex full of other missionaries, which meant that Caroline was able to spend the day there rather than accompany us to the hospital just before 5 AM.

I went for my pretests and found a way to also have a lot of other tests (those that folks at my age should be doing yearly anyway but never quite get done) all the same day.  It was quite the tour of exam rooms, needles, and specialized medical equipment, but it felt great to knock those things of my to-do list.

Getting wheeled to the OR in the wee hours
Then came time for the surgery, and I actually stayed awake for most of it--dozing in and out from how great it felt to have half of my body numbed and not be in pain for a change.  And I was awake when the doctor looked up over that sheet that blocks the view of the surgery, and said, "Guess what?  Your meniscus DOES have a tear or two.  Looks like insurance will be paying for this after all!"  It was hard to do much celebrating with my arms strapped to the table, but I threw out some praises anyway!  WOO HOO!

After a couple hours of napping back in the room, the doctor came by to tell me that the type of repairs he did meant that I can put as much weight on my leg as I can tolerate.  I was already planning on dangling that thing in the air for a month or so, and came prepped with crutches.  Now I only use them when I need, which is a HUGE relief to everyone in the family!  WOO HOO again!

Since I got right up and walked around the room a bit after lunch, the doctor said I was doing well enough to leave.  So rather than spend the night in the hospital, I came back to the guest house, where Caroline was waiting for us.  The doctor said I'd need to come back (giant hassle) next week to get the stitches out, but I told him I'd take those out myself, since I'd done that for the previous three surgeries without any problem.  "Okay," he conceded, "but in two weeks you have to come back for an injection, and it goes in the joint, so I have to do that one!"  Deal.

Tomorrow I head back to our Paraguayan home and to our very responsible but worried over daughter, days earlier than expected and with a whole lot more time to rest up before class Friday.  WOO HOO all over again!

To say that I'm thrilled with how this has turned out is a huge understatement, but I know that there are people all over the world praying for me.  Thank you all for your thoughtfulness in taking our needs to the Father, and please rejoice with us for the extra special ways He's met those needs today.

1 comment:

  1. praying for you and that this is the absolute last surgery in your whole entire life!!!!!!


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