I know I told you in the previous blog that I would not be commenting about our trials and tribulations of getting older and all what comes with that territory but I did say if there was any news about Kathleen's hip issue I would comment, and boy is there news!
I should mention here that our hopes were to rule out anything nasty that might be going on with the hip, seeing an orthopedic surgeon if that was needed and proceeding immediately with any correction needed including a total hip replacement were foremost on our mind. Getting all this accomplished through the summer and then allow us to enjoy and meet our winter commitments in the Rio Grand Valley of Texas are important. Are we dreamers or what? Are our expectations unrealistic? Perhaps, but we had to try.
With the hip discomfort progressively getting worse and our desire to be ready for our winter stay in the Rio Grand Valley of Texas we decided to make a hasty retreat from Washington State to our HMO health care provider in the Mid West. Upon arrival last week we had a prescheduled appointment with the Main Gundersen/Lutheran Orthopedic PA who had seen and cared for her hip last spring. With much disappointment we left that appointment, not even being examined, but rather told that we should just go to the front desk and schedule an appointment with a particular orthopedic surgeon. He accompanied us and pleaded our case for ASAP but we were told that the earliest she could be seen was 25 days out. A plea was made to put us on a list for any cancellation slot and a further plea to have the Dr. contact us if he could in any way see fit to slip us in earlier.
Waiting a few days and hearing nothing Kathleen called to check on her status and was told that her appointment would be July 28th and that was as good as they could do, but we would be kept on a cancellation list.
I know I digress a little here but: I am a strong believer in that there are basically two types of people in any crowd, those who wait for things to happen, and those who make things happen. Even though quite often I am a pain in the butt to some that I encounter, I am proud to say, I am one who makes things happen and today I just met several in a row just like me. What can happen when like personalities and minds come together is amazing. Listen up!
After visiting last evening with a close personal friend of Kathleen and I, we learned that Brian age 47 had both a knee and a hip replacement by one Dr. Jeffrey Lawrence an orthopedic surgeon practicing at the Vernon Memorial Healthcare center in Viroqua, Wisconsin. Just 33 miles from the main Gundersen/Lutheran clinic in La Crosse. Not only would our insurance cover us there but Dr. Lawrence is suggested to be one of the best at his trade in all of the U.S. Problem is, he is so popular that people come from all over and he is very busy. Brian (a maintenance man at Gundersen/Lutheran in La Crosse) when asked by someone from the main orthopedic department why he was going to travel 33 miles to an outlying clinic/hospital to have his hip replaced stated: "Dr. Lawrence is reportedly ranked number 2 in the world for hip replacement and if I am going to be cut, I want the best."
This morning, less than 12 hours after visiting with Brian we traveled to Viroqua and at 11:00 a.m. were standing in front of receptionist Julie in the orthopedic department. A brief explanation to her about our needs and she was on her feet headed to the depths of the department to consult with Dr. Lawrences PA, Collin. She returned to tell us that it is always a pre-requisite to seeing Dr. Lawrence to be seen by the PA and Collin could examine Kathleen at 1:30. We should report back at 1:00 for x-rays and he would have those in hand when he examined her. Remember what I said, "there are people who make things happen". We saw Collin at 1:30 and after a thorough examination and reviewing the x-rays with us he said it appeared that a total hip replacement was probably in order. He did inform us that Dr. Lawrence was scheduled out to November for the actual replacement surgery. Oh, Oh, that would not be good. To cold in Wisconsin then. We briefly described our lifestyle, our home on wheels, our desire to spend the winter in warm and sunny Texas and he immediately began exploring the options. Prescribing better pain controlling medication therapy for her to get her to a date in April for the surgery would be a possibility. Remember what I said, "there are people who make things happen". Collin escorted us in to see Connie, the gal who schedules all appointments. Understanding that we needed to do this when weather was conducive to our needs and all, including pre surgery preparation, surgery, and the recovery process it was determined that we could go through the pre surgery stuff in April and then the surgery in May and recovery in June and July. Kathleen agreed that it would work for her as long as there was good pain management to get her to those dates. A date has been scheduled to meet and be examined by Dr. Lawrence in October before we depart for Texas and that will work as we will be in the area in Sept anyway getting other medical appointments completed. On the same day in October Kathleen will have an appointment with a general practitioner to determine that she is physically fit to withstand the surgery. Following those two appointments the April and May appointments previously mentioned will be carved in stone and scheduled. Remember what I said, "there are people who make things happen".
It is important to note that here we are 20 days before an appointment for which we would have been waiting, we have a plan, and schedules made, and reassurances that it indeed is an arthritic hip problem and not something nastier, and by 3:00 we were on our way home.
In defense of the main Gundersen/Lutheran clinic we have always had good care there but sometimes it is better to deal with a smaller entity than with the mother house and I believe this time it is the case.
I can't tell you how pleased I am that we met in succession with several "people who make things happen".