Thursday, March 15, 2012

Meet the Surgeon Day

Nothing really exciting in here
Once again, I found myself in an medical exam room. This time it was for my mother. After a year of trying to rehab a herniated disk, she has exhausted all possible methods of treatment and is left with surgery as a last option.

My mother was nervous about meeting this surgeon. Why? I don't know. For months, she has been diligently doing her physical therapy exercises which have been unsuccessful in relieving pain. Her quality of life has suffered. She has not been able to travel, garden, or even sit long enough to watch an episode of Modern Family. Currently, she is moving thanks to strong narcotics and she hates them. It is obvious to our family and Doc H surgery is absolutely necessary.

This was not our first trip into the exam room together. It was just me and my mom when I was diagnosed with a tumor (many years ago). It was just me and my mom when she was diagnosed with colon cancer.  And, today, it was just me and my mom again. So, I guess this answers the "why" question in the previous paragraph.

We had a fifteen minute wait in the exam room, but we're okay with that. We understand what's going on and what's at stake. If you don't, click here.

The surgeon came in and was very skilled at putting patients at ease. He took his time discussing my mother's medical history, symptoms, and reviewing her studies with us. We (well, really, I - my mother was a bundle of nerves) listened intently on his suggested course of actions. I probed this young surgeon to be a little more specific by sharing my mother had recently retired from the hospital he slices and dices in for over 40 years.

I asked questions, why this and not that? Prep? Recovery? Re-hab? Why not take care of these other potential future issues while you're in there? What are the risks, how many of these procedures did he perform a month? Will he be working with residents? (The answer was no. Good. Not that having residents involved in a case is a bad thing. It just would have led to another whole line of questioning and I was already pressed for time myself.)

Grandma's got issues
By the end of the appointment, our questions had all been answered. My mother was at ease and felt comfortable to go ahead and schedule surgery with this Doc. The doc turned to me one last time and asked if he had answered all my questions. I assured him he had.

Then he asked me one last question...

SPINE-DOC:  You work in medicine, too?
ME: Oh, god, no! One person in a household tethered to a pager is enough! My husband's a surgeon.
SPINE-DOC: Ah! (smile) Got it!

I guess he figured I know enough to be dangerous or a pain in his a**. Either way is fine with long as he knows I'm there and I've got Doc H right behind me.

In case you were wondering, Grandma got to keep her clothes on, but I did remind her to wear appropriate panties...just in case.


  1. Sorry that your mother has to have surgery and that she has been in pain that long. Hope this will give her some relief.

    About waiting on doctors, it always amazes me when people whine and complain about that. I was at my surgeon's office one afternoon when I was still bald from chemo and the women there were gripping about the wait. I told them "Be glad you are healthy enough to wait." The receptionist nearly fell out of her chair. I was the next one called back.

    1. Sorry about chemo. That's no fun. But I have to tell you that I just love you! I love that you told grippy lady to be grateful! You get know what's going on and at stake!

      Hope you are done with chemo and feeling better!

  2. Sorry to hear about your mom having to go with surgery, but it's good she tried all the other options first! And I just LOVED that post you mentioned about why doctors are late. I've never complained about that stuff because I can only imagine what they're up against 90% of the time. I would rather they tend to someone else who's more urgent or needs reassurance before they see me with something less urgent. I praise doctors and am thankful I have an awesome one. The best doctors are the ones who don't rush you and take the time to explain things....those are the best :)

  3. Ha! I'm one of those dangerous peeps too (I'm a nurse). Hope your mom's surgery goes well! Found you on Cyber connect, nice blog!

    1. Thanks for checking me out! I will be heading over to your blog later today! Yay! I always love hearing from the medical world!

    2. For the moment I only have a blog about music, or photos, so I hope you like that:) I'm thinking of opening a less niched blog again though. i probably need a place to vent my frustrations from work, lol!

  4. When my son had to see an orthropod, my husband informed me he was the surgeons lawyer...a good thing the dr didn't ever have an occasion to meet him! My husband represents doctors!!

    1. Oh wow!!! That would've been...interesting. I think all doctor's wives should always know who is the foremost malpractice defense attorney in their area (especially if you're husband is a surgeon). We all know it just a matter of time until you need, at the least, a very strongly worded letter from an attorney. And let's be honest, the hospital provided lawyers, who are paid by the hospital, are really there to save the hospital and not the doc. They'll throw the doc under the bus, if it means it'll save the hospital a buck.

      You should make a list of the top doc defenders in the nation by region! I would post a permanent link to that post! Important stuff to know.


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