Monday, October 20, 2008

Because Gina Needed More Reasons to Complain About Healthcare...

Don't worry, I'm not going to rant today... It doesn't do any good and my blood pressure is high enough already... but I thought you all might be interested in an update on Bob's recovery.

When he was discharged from the hospital we were told that he needed to protect his broken sternum while it was healing and that he should see his regular doctor in two weeks for a follow-up. That was all. Well, within the first week his regular doctor found that the hospital had missed two additional broken bones but the issue that was really bothering him was the pain and numbness in his hand. Last week we finally had an appointment with a Neurologist to evaluate that problem and guess what he told us? Bob has a fractured vertebra in his neck. The pain he is experiencing is because the vertebra and disc are out of alignment and possibly sitting in an unstable position on the vertebra below. The numbness is because there are bone fragments impinging on the nerves that run through that vertebra and into his left arm. The Neurosurgeon was shocked that Bob wasn't wearing a cervical collar to stabilize his neck. The collar had been removed in the hospital the day after his accident because they had determined that he had no neck damage... But, the CT scan done just hours after the accident clearly shows the broken vertebra. They just missed it. (Ok.. this is the part where I don't rant about the state of medical care or the fact that he had been transferred to the trauma center, by helicopter, at a cost of $14,000.00, to insure that he had the best level of care, or the fact that he was concerned about his fingers being numb just minutes after the accident and every doctor he saw told him not to worry about it. Nope, I'm not going to rant today.) Bob put the collar on as soon as we got home and hasn't taken it off since but it doesn't seem to make a difference to his pain.

The Neurologist wants to do surgery to remove the bone fragments and fuse the broken vertebra to the one below it. Bob, understandably, is a bit reluctant to trust doctors right now so he's taken a couple of weeks to consider the options and make a decision. Unfortunately there aren't many options to consider. There is no guarantee that surgery will repair the damage and he could have pain and mobility issues for the rest of his life. However, without surgery there isn't much chance that anything will change. It's a dreadful choice, especially when you've lost faith in the doctors who are supposed to be taking care of you.

Recovery is going to be slow. Whether or not he has the surgery won't change the fact that he must wear the neck brace for the next ten to twelve weeks and he can't drive or travel for work. But we really are lucky that he's alive, that he is able to walk, that he took this job in May that allows him to work from home and provides excellent insurance, that we have each other no matter how bad things are. I'm working on finding the positive in every day and enjoying it because complaining just makes things worse.

(I will not rant anymore, I will not rant anymore, Iwillnotrantanymore)


Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...

Oh Gina. I will pray again even harder.

B2 C2 2009 said...

I say.... rant. Rant. RANT!!!

I am so thankful Bobby -oops- Bob is alive. There may or may not have been a split second decision from a higher power, but thankfully, the determination was that he is needed here.

Try to remember that you are part of a larger family. Not just biological or in-law, but even bigger - Blogger. You have many current followers that look forward to your daily thoughts, opinions and, yes, even rantings. Consider how many out there have yet to connect to your postings and grow from what you have to share.

On the ranting front, for what it's worth, I rant about what you all are going through. I rant to my friends and family who take life for granted that in a spilt second a brother might be taken from you. A brother that you meant to tell one more time that you love or hope he knows how much you look up to him. I rant about how incredibly SUCKY it is that not only does he have to leave the hospital with 3 major broken bones, but, there are 3 more equally significant ones to discover. And by significant, I mean - who really needs a fully functioning vertebrae anyway?? I rant because 3000 miles is a long distance to sit as a spectator to a life changing event for a group of people you care deeply about. At the end of my ranting (when calm and deep breathing resumes) I have ultimate gratitude he is still here on this earth with us and that you are the one there by his side.



Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Rant if it will help. We are listening.

ms-teacher said...

This is does not surprise me, sad as that is to say. I do hope that he starts feeling better and that whatever choice he makes, he has GOOD medical care.

This is not a rant - I think you are helping others who are afraid to question their doctors.

Karen MEG said...

Gina, OMG, you go and rant!!! That's pretty negligent, poor Bob, no wonder he's in such pain! Back injuries are the worst, and it's involved the neck ... ugh! Is there a chance to get a second opinion on the surgery? Just a thought, if it makes the decision easier (or it might make it harder). I applaud your attitude.

It's good of you to keep on those doctors. Honestly, if my parents hadn't looked for a 2nd and 3rd opinion, my Dad would be walking around with a bag attached to him now instead of being able to work out everyday and going on a cruise next week. Because the first surgeons wanted to go in and cut and remove his rectum/ but his last specialist is just screening his colon more regularly and over a year now... all is clear.

Ginaagain said...

Cheri, thank you for the prayers.

Anne, I cried when I read your comment.. and I never do that. Thank you for being a wonderful sister. Talking with you really raised Bob's spirits the other day.

Jenn, thanks for listening.

Ms Teacher, The neurosurgeon is the first doctor who seems to have really paid attention and his credentials are very good. Now I'm praying that he is as good as he seems and that Bob will begin to trust him a bit.

Karen, we are working on the second opinion. It's very difficult to get an appointment with a neurologist. Today Bob was told that the earliest he could be seen by a doctor that has been recommended is March! His company offers an online consultation through Harvard Medical School that he may end up using but it's not really the same as actually seeing another doctor. Your Dad was smart and very lucky!

JCK said...

Gina, thanks for updating us. As the others have said, feel free to rant.

Bob is smart to take the time to think about how he wants to move forward.

I know you are blessed to have him alive, but it is OK to be frustrated and angry, too. :)

Tiffany said...

oh no! I am so sorry things are not seeming to be getting any better, and now this complication as well. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Thank God you have insurance, but yikes. What a thing to miss!

Laura/CenterDownHome said...

Oh, Gina -- you posted this when we were away, and I'm having a tough time getting up to speed since we've been back.

I really hesitate to tell you about Mark's and my car accident experiences. One: It's so Me-saying while you guys are going through this, and two: Stupid doctors and health care system.

I was in the hospital with a shattered pelvis (broken ribs, broken collar bone, broken leg, ruptured internal organs, bad infection contracted in the hosp) and the hospital physical therapist came around every day to make me do exercises and sit up, holding onto that triangle thingy over the bed. Weeks later, her superior found out, and raked her over the coals in front of me, because I should have been motionless. Seems funny now.

I hope it helps for you to know that I'm fine now. I mean I was pretty much fine after about a year. The emotional stuff that got stirred up took longer. But even that is okay now.

Holding you and Bob in the Light. Life sounds hectic for you these days. Can you find any time just for you, to re-center and recharge? Hope so.
xxxooo -- Laura