Health care is a basic human right, not a privilege. For some reason, we’ve allowed ourselves as Americans to be fooled into accepting that one must be blessed with “means” to actuate appropriate health care. As a nation we have failed to realize that our health care system is a barometer of our society’s value for human life.

-Me

Monday, July 30, 2007

Surgery Central

Sandis had his tonsillectomy/adenoidectomy on July 20th. The surgery went well, and was accompanied by the normal (I assume?) fretting of a parent waiting for a child undergoing surgery. Sandis was pretty mellow the whole day of surgery and although he did have pain, it didn’t seem to be all that overwhelming. I believe he is one of the few children that actually manages to GAIN weight after this surgery. He was in some sort of hog ice cream heaven over the week recovery period. I stayed home with mister Sandis for an entire seven days, and upon my return to work, I was singing the joys of a full time job and revisiting why stay-at-home mom-ness just doesn’t work for me. Not.one.bit.

I have been recovering from my back relapse from June, or was that July, or even December 2005? Have I ever gotten any better in the back respect? It seems that every time I put my running shoes back on I am regrettably pulling them back off a few weeks later. This time around I did some serious follow up. I started with my GP (hello medication!). I moved on to the Physician’s Neck and Back Clinic, which specializes in vigorous rehabilitative physical therapy. I then meandered to a surgeon, specifically, a surgeon who operates only on the spine (at my doctor’s bequest). I ended up with a boatload of information and a difficult decision to make.

I have two herniated discs in my lumbar spine. That in and of itself is not all that big of a deal. Loads of people have herniated discs and do just fine. I managed to separate myself a tad from these loads of people by acquiring progressive weakness in my right leg. Harrumph. This weakness was first discovered with my knee injury in July of last year (how do I manage to atrophy muscles while training for two half-marathons?). It wasn’t noticeable to me before I began physical therapy for my knee and it was determined over time by my physical therapist that the weakness was more than likely a side effect of the back injury from December 2005. Now in July of 2007, after yet another flare-up of my deviant lumbar region, the weakness is noticeable enough to be causing an unfortunate limp and an even more unfortunate lack of coordination. Double Harrumph.

Getting on to my difficult decision, I am in the unfortunate position of deciding whether or not to have a microdiskectomy. Ick. My surgeon recommended it. It was hinted that it might be recommended by my back physician. And I am just beside myself. Not so much, just trying to find the fortuitiveness within myself to confidently make the decision to either have surgery or not have surgery. I am leaning towards the surgery, but there is so much fear involved with not only going under the knife, but also with taking up to FOUR FREAKING WEEKS off of work. All this with no guarantee that my leg will regain strength, coordination, or lose that funny sensation it has about it. And should I choose to not go under the knife? I face either a condition that is progressive and non-reversible, or a condition that is static (stays as is).

So what do I do? I have no idea. I guess I’ll let you know when I get the kinks in my decision-making system worked out. Till then, you can tell which gal I am from afar by the gimp in my step and the midline straight lips that stripe my expression.

6 comments:

Scott K. Johnson said...

Hey Sarah!

I hope that your little guy is doing well and is back to being himself.

Sounds like a lot to think about in regards to the back/leg stuff. Given some time, I'm sure that you'll come upon the right decision.

Be well!

Drea said...

What a hard decision to make. I have a friend who went through it and raves the benefits....!!

All the best!!

mcewen said...

You've had such a tough time of it. I fully sympathise with your agonies over the decision making.
Best wishes

Minnesota Nice said...

Oh damn. Like Scott said, you will make the right decision. You are intelligent, informed and have a ton of experience navigating through the medical maze.
I just wish we lived in the same town - I would offer to lend a hand.
Has Gracie started on rapid-acting nsulin yet?

Nick said...

Wow, that's a lot of negotiating of the health care system. How does insurance etc. weigh in these decisions?

There's a new health care blog on the Obama campaign's website and I wanted to invite folks to visit it--I think the discussion there could really benefit from your perspectives and experiences with the system.

http://www.barackobama.com/issues/healthcare/?discussion

Thanks very much,
Nick

kristi said...

Hi, I just found your blog. My son has PDD too and my hubby has the back issues with 2 herniated disks. He does okay but has to get cortisone shots 2 times a year and he can't bend certain ways!