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Ankle Replacement Surgery: Finally

Anesthesiology drops the ball and Dan is rescheduled. Again

Well, here we are yet again. I still have not had my ankle replacement surgery. I know, it sounds like a bad joke at this point, but it’s true. The comedy of errors that has resulted in four postponements of my procedure is quite a tale. I will share a bit of it with you now.

When we last checked in, I was writing about my impending ankle surgery and If I remember correctly it was the coming Monday that the surgery was scheduled for. Well, I showed up that Monday, prepared for the surgery to take place. It was a late procedure, happening around dinner time, so I was not going to be in recovery until well after visiting hours. This was an issue, as last time my mom and Allison were not allowed to see me up to my room because visiting hours had passed. This time, though, I made sure to speak to someone beforehand, and I was assured that my family would be allowed to see me after the procedure.

So, I was eventually called into the surgery waiting area, and I changed into the lovely gown they provided. The nurse then came in to insert the IV. Now, because I have been punctured so many times by various needles and other sharp objects, my veins are in a sorry state. There are virtually no vessels left in my arms that are capable of supporting an IV. I always relate this sad fact to the nurse who is assigned to put an IV in my arm, and every, single, time, without fail, no matter what, the nurse says the same thing – “well they weren’t me, I’m good at putting in IVs!” So, each time, I say “OK,” like an idiot, and volunteer my arm for poking. Every time, also without fail, the nurses must stick me at least twice, and the first time they stick me they always dig around with the needle as if they are stringing up popcorn for Christmas. Needless to say, it hurts. It usually takes between two and five sticks to get the IV in, which is why I always start any hospital trip with pain.

So there I am, waiting for the operation to begin, with an IV finally stuck in my left hand. After five o’clock comes and goes, I am still sitting there, alone, waiting for someone to tell me just what the hell is going on. Finally, the anesthesiologist comes in and tells me that they are waiting for someone to come from Boston Scientific, the company that makes my implanted defibrillator. The Boston Scientific rep needs to disable the ICD device so that It doesn’t shock me by accident during the surgery. Apparently, this rep, whose only job is to be available to hospitals, is not returning any phone calls.

Long story short, by the time seven o’clock hit, the doctors were all ready to call it quits and postpone the surgery yet again, and that’s exactly what happened. The surgery was pushed back two days until Wednesday. My family waited while I reluctantly got dressed and we made our way out of the hospital. Of course, no one even offered to pay for our parking or reduce the co-pays that I was going to incur for the non-surgery. Heh, as if. Just as a fun little side-note, remember that the last time I had eaten anything was almost 24 hours before. I was just about ready to pass out.

So, we made our way home, stopping for some fast food along the way. When I eventually made it to my recliner and checked my e-mail, I was shocked to discover my cardiologist had visited the hospital looking for me, and when he didn’t find me, he e-mailed me at midnight that same night with some troubling news. It seems that I didn’t need someone from Boston Scientific to shut off my defibrillator. In fact, just as my cardiologist made clear in his pre-surgical notes to the anesthesia department, all that needed to be done was that a small magnet needed to be placed over the device in order to disable it. Wonderful,-- the surgery could have happened after all, and again it was anesthesiology that dropped the ball. I began to notice a pattern.

The next evening, Tuesday night, rolled around and somehow I was not feeling as well as I should have been. I was suffering from chest congestion and running a slight fever. I took medicine and hoped it would go away by the time the next morning came, since the surgery was scheduled for that very same morning. Around 2 am, though, I realized it wasn’t going to happen. So, I emailed my surgeon and told him we’d have to postpone the surgery yet again due to the fact that I wasn’t feeling 100% ready. Surgery while your body isn’t ready to go is a slight problem for normal people – for me it could be a death sentence.

The procedure was again rescheduled, and I recuperated. Now, though, here I am again, the night before surgery, getting myself mentally and physically prepared to go under the knife for the fourth time. I’ve promised myself that short of my head falling off, this surgery is going to happen. I can’t foresee every eventuality, of course, but I’ve made sure that every loose end has been tied down, and that every fly in the ointment has been swatted.

So here I am now, writing about my upcoming surgery for the fourth time. You all must be getting tired of this running joke by now, so I’ll make sure it happens tomorrow. Trust me folks, you aren’t the only ones who want to be done with this subject already. Wish me luck for real this time, and I’ll see you all on the other side, ready to moonwalk and do the twist.

CreakyJoints wishes our brave friend Dan a speedy recovery.

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