My Aching Back

So I pulled something in my back recently. 


Had the worst sciatica pain down my hip and leg–could hardly walk or sleep from it. 


I went to the Orthopedist and he game me some meds for the inflammation and sent me for an MRI. 


Also, I went a number of times for acupressure, which was truly awesome. 


Came back to the Orthopedist and he asks how I am. 


I said:

Feeling a lot better, but the MRI shows a herniated disc. 


He says:

Go home and have a Happy Thanksgiving–we only do surgery to treat symptoms!


So I am truly happy that alls well that ends well. 


Thank you Hashem! 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Some Reflections From The Procedure

So I had a little procedure this week. 


I hate going to the hospital–who doesn’t?


But I figured better to take care of something before it gets worse. 


I think of it like taking the car into the mechanic for a tuneup every once in a while. 


This analogy stuck with me years ago, when the orthopedist told me I needed to get a hip replacement and started to describe it as having a flat tire that needed to be repaired. 


Leading up the the procedure, someone sent me this funny cartoon:

This really hit a nerve too because even the best medicine these days reminds me of the truly horrible medicine not so long ago.  


Ah, have some liquor, bite on this piece of wood, and now we’ll saw your leg off!


I remember my father never even liked to go to the doctor, and he had total faith that G-d was his doctor–I think he actually managed to avoid the doctor for literally something like 30-years.


He also used to joke that many doctors were butchers, and he didn’t want to get caught under their knife. 


So that’s certainly some apprehension going in to this. 


The other thing that was interesting-sad that I saw this week when I went for an MRI was someone taking a homeless person into the radiology center for a scan. 


But when the lady asked for insurance the person didn’t have any, so the lady asks for “proof of homelessness.”


I was flabbergasted at this as the guy was obviously homeless and literally was wearing tattered clothes.


They wouldn’t do the scan until the person escorting him would come back with this proof.  


I felt so bad for him and thought to myself is this what the healthcare system and care for the poverty-striken in this country has come to? 


While I am so truly grateful for the miraculous care that I received this week, I am equally saddened at the care that others don’t get that need it, and pray that we as a “caring society” will do better. 


Anyway, I want to express my gratitude to the doctor, the hospital, my wonderful family who stood by me, and most of all to G-d for seeing me through the procedure this week and for watching over me always. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Best Cut

Butcher
So I wasn’t sure I wanted to share this, but my wife encouraged me in an effort to help others going through similar things.



Recently, I went to the Surgeon about my other hip to read my MRI…



After having read the report myself before the appointment, I was convinced I was heading under the knife again with the pain I was experiencing, challenges getting around, and the verbiage in the report like: 



“Significant…”



“Advanced.”



Anyway, my daughter came along because I wasn’t sure I was going to easily get parking in this place…always a challenge there. 



Waiting for the doctor, I asked G-d for a miracle, since after all the hospitalizations this last year, I literally thought that another one at this time could very well kill me.



Low and behold, the doctor comes in and as if G-d is directing his speech for the next 40 minutes or so, he does everything to dissuade me from having the surgery this month, even though he was the one at the last appointment that had already booked me on his surgical calendar. 



So today the miracle unfolded…



First, the doctor read my MRI, but then quickly flipped the screen to an MRI of another patient–a 76 year old–and he showed me the unbelievable progression of the osteoarthritis from near onset to ultimately the complete collapse of the joint over about 9 years time for this lady…the last MRI looked like complete and utter bone devastation–I had never seen anything like it!



Next he opened his drawer and took out a horror basket of used replacement joints parts that he had removed from patients that needed revision–he showed me the wear and breakage and described in horrible detail how he often has to dig these out of the bones of his patients and how each revision–which everyone will need after about 10-15 years or sooner if they become symptomatic–becomes more complicated and dangerous in terms of infection, blood clots, and recovery. 



Then he told how in the field so many replacement surgeries do not go well and that he sees 3-5 patients a week who come to him because they are UN-happy with the replacements their doctors did. 



This went on and on, and bottom line…he said, “I love to do the surgeries–I really do–but wait as long as you can before getting it [on the other hip], since while it can provide for short term improvements, each revision is worse, and at your age you could need three–on each side.”



Needless-to-say, from this whole thing, I was in utter shock and some disbelief as I had been told these prosthetics can last 20-25 years with the newer models, and I was not aware of what the revisions really entailed in later years or the challenges they brought. 



As he continued to describe the risks in painful vivid details (note, I was his last appointment of the day and he was talking his time here), my eyes were literally welling up in tears.



I looked over at my daughter and she was sitting mouth agape shaking her head at what he was saying. I was deeply sorry that she had to sit through this (what we had thought was a simple MRI reading and confirmation of the upcoming procedure date). 



I left the doctor’s office, of course, canceling the surgery–still in severe pain and with trouble walking–however, “scared straight” to make the best of this for now, but also afraid of what lies ahead. 



I have to have faith that the L-rd who made the miracle to hold off on the surgery for now will continue to guide and protect me through this illness that today has no cure. 



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)