Z’s still going on a bit

Very aware, the young consultant. He came out to greet me and walked back to his room – I slowed down and didn’t try to keep up with him. When we went in and I’d shut the door, he said that I felt I’d thrown in the towel, but that I was making the right choice. That was exactly it, I hadn’t put it in the right words. I replied that I do feel I’m throwing in the towel, but that it’s the necessary decision, so I’m accepting the situation.

Then he said that the manufacturer has, in the last few weeks, withdrawn the hip resurfacing technique that they have, in Norwich, tried and found wanting. That gave me the opportunity to say that I hadn’t realised, until I read his letter to my doctor, that he was left with the impression that I wanted to pursue that option – he’d convinced me that it wasn’t right for me – in fact, had I been going to ask for a second opinion I’d have told him so. I explained that the main reason I was interested in it was because I knew I couldn’t hold out much longer. However, I’d hoped to last another year without a full hip replacement but, fortnight by fortnight, my hip has deteriorated a lot in the last three months .

Later on, he said that a year was worth waiting but a few months isn’t. That was exactly what I’ve been saying and my self-justification for going for it now.

Also, he used his dictaphone to say what we’d agreed, and also for his secretary to type a letter to my GP. Interestingly, he did it in front of me whereas, when he thought I might not agree with his point of view, he did it later, whilst sending me a copy. Also interestingly, he mentioned that I had walked carefully so as to minimise my limp – I knew that, but intended to disguise it. I had chosen not to use a stick, although I would have if it would have meant I’d limped less, but had walked slowly and carefully. He’s perceptive and makes the effort to empathise, which I appreciate. I thanked him, at one point, for not resenting my pointed questions (he could have taken offence, I didn’t hold back) but answering them fully without justifying himself. Good chap. I like him and am predisposed to trust him. He might well have been surprised by how easy I was to deal with, compared to how I was before – but if you know me well enough (it’d have to be very well or in specific circumstances) you’d understand that. I challenge if I disagree and it matters enough, or if I think there’s any point to it.

Put it this way, if you came to me for a high-up job and you thought you’d had an easy interview, you’d probably not get the job. If I gave you a hard time, it’d be because I thought you might be worth it. And if you disagreed with me completely but argued your case convincingly, I wouldn’t have to be convinced of the argument to appreciate the strength of your ability to make your case.

I asked about the anaesthetic, angling it rather from the hope of a spinal one (which I mistakenly called an epidural – they’re both in the spine but different apparently). He said his preferred option is a spinal anaesthetic as patients recover so much quicker, but a full one can be chosen if the patient doesn’t care for the idea or is very nervous. I assured him I’m very relaxed. The operation should take about an hour, which is less than I’d thought, and I will have a horizontal incision across my hip, going from the side backwards. He said I should be largely, and probably completely, recovered, in 6 to 12 weeks.

I am, as LZM says, tough (in an awfully girly and gentle way, natch). Focusing on the operation as an interesting and very clever thing will help me to ignore the bloody and creepy part. I don’t want to carry on as I am, getting worse. However, I can cope. I managed perfectly well in the shop today, but carried things a few at a time instead of a whole bag or boxful. I could have, but that wouldn’t be sensible. I don’t want to hurt myself unnecessarily just to prove I’m man enough.

I had a lovely email today, and something lovely in the post. Tell you tomorrow. It’s well after midnight now and I’m going to have to backdate to make it Friday’s post as it is.

16 comments on “Z’s still going on a bit

  1. Pamela

    When I tried to put off having my op the surgeon said it wasn’t even worth waiting a year given the pain I was in and the amount of disability. In fact waiting too long can make things worth both physically and psychologically.
    I’m now 9 weeks post-op, back at work, playing on my wii and on no pain relief though I do get the odd ache.
    Only thing I can’t do yet is carry anything heavy
    Best of luck

  2. allotmentqueen

    Go for it, girl! Glad to see you feel you can trust him, that’ll make it easier for you as you’ll be more relaxed about it and I’m sure that will also make recovery quicker.
    If it’s anything like a C-section they put a screen across your body so you can’t see what’s going on.

  3. Rog

    Consultants being described as “young” is slightly worrying.

    Weren’t you embarrassed when he used his dictaphone? It’s a neat trick if you can do it though.

  4. Z

    Only yesterday you were asking for pictures, Dave. Make up your mind.

    Thank you, Pamela – I’ll be interested to read your website. I looked after my mother after her operations, and I remember how quickly she recovered, so I hope I will.

    Since it will take place behind me, I won’t be able to see it unless there’s a camera, AQ. Your blog is horribly riveting, I do hope you’ve got rid of the rats now. Once I thought we had rats in the attic but it turned out to be mice wearing big boots.

    One expects them to be older than oneself and avuncular. However, this chap is young enough to be my son.

    I actually just googled dictaphone in case I’d used an embarrassingly wrong word. Really, Rog.

  5. Dave

    I didn’t ask for pictures, I asked if you would be taking any. I was then planning to avoid reading your blog that day.

    If you took the laptop in, you could write your blog during the op.

  6. Z

    I don’t think that would be very polite to the medical team. It would be like meeting you for tea and then spending the whole time chatting on my mobile to other people.

    One of the reasons for getting an iPhone is to blog in hospital though.

  7. Christopher

    I’m wondering what pain-killers you use at the moment? If any, that is: some people can overcome pain through strength of will or total concentration on something else. You sometimes complain of being unable to sleep the night through, which is doubly weakening. Being the organised person you are I’m sure you’ve got something sorted out, but I wonder what the young consultant had to say about it?

  8. Z

    I don’t normally use them. Over-the-counter ones don’t make any noticeable difference any more and I don’t feel the need for anything stronger. If it were a long-term thing, I’d talk to my doctor about something for night time, but there’s no real need – I sometimes have an afternoon nap.

    I’m not in dreadful pain and the extent to which it hurts is what I’m used to, so I don’t take any notice. It’s not like an internal pain (such as Dave’s kidney stones) or earache or something that you can’t ignore.

  9. Blue Witch

    Consultants often dictate their report while you’re present when you see them privately.

    It means they can charge for the whole time seeing you and doing their paperwork, not just the face-to-face consultation time, and it means they’re done with you as soon as you leave the consulting room.

    Blessed are the cynical because they are rarely disappointed.

  10. Z

    It had the useful effect of confirming what we’d discussed and elaborating on a few technical details too – thing was, he tactfully didn’t do it the previous time because of the resurfacing discussion.

    Last time, I was surprised how low his charge was – I was there for a shorter time this, but I doubt I’ll be charged less. I’m expecting the whole thing to cost an arm and a leg, but then at least I’ll get the leg back. It’ll be lots less than if I’d paid insurance all these years anyway – and I’d have still needed the NHS for an emergency.

  11. mago

    I am a total wimp when it comes to blood and guts. I really hope that I never have to plan something like an operation, and the idea to stay awake while they actually are doing it … wie wird mir?

  12. Z

    I’m steadily working up enthusiasm for the whole thing. While happily frolicking in the snow this afternoon, I even started to look forward to it. I’m having it done, I might as well choose to enjoy it. Having said that, I daresay I’ll have a few wobbly moments in the next couple of weeks and want to change my mind!

  13. Completely Alienne

    It is not a particularly nice thing to have to think about, but concentrating on how much better you will feel afterwards should help you through it.

    I know it isn’t remotely comparable but I had a local anaesthetic for a carpal tunnel decompression. I couldn’t bear to watch so I looked the other way and hummed nice thoughts inside my head, winnie the pooh style. A full anaesthetic will knock you back for a few days so if you don’t need one it is probably best to avoid it.

  14. Z

    I had a crown fitted on a top back tooth a few years ago – the dentist afterwards said that I’d been so still and untense that it had taken him a lot less time than he’d expected, so he’d charge less than he’d quoted. I think I’ll be okay,

  15. luckyzmom

    Sounds like your surgery will be from a different approach than mine, which will affect different muscles. My incision was down the outside of my thigh, from about six inches below my waist to about eight or so inches above my knee. I may be looking at having my other hip done, so, I will be interested in all the gory details! I will especially like to hear how the spinal goes since I am so sensitive to anesthetic.

    In any case, I see you having a speedy recovery:)


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