Sunday, July 19, 2009

Dodged a Bullet

I seriously dodged a bullet this week. For about a month and a half I've had serious pain and numbness in my right arm. So I went to my GP who sent me to a neurologist who sent me for an MRI, and then sent me to a neurosurgeon.

The neurosurgeon didn't like the MRI and sent me for another set at a different hospital. Now so far, this has cost me $100 in doctor copays and $200 in MRI costs...

Neurosurgeon says I need between 4 and 6 disks removed and bone taken from my hip and stuck in the space left by the disks, and metal things driven into my vertebrae to stabilize it all. (They go in from the front of the neck, and push the trachea and esophagus aside to get back to the spine. YUCK.)

But before he would operate I needed clearances from my cardiologist. So another $20 later I'm sitting in the Cardio office and he wants a stress test. Luckily he does it right away. (I already have three stents) So he brings me back into the room and shows me how no blood is getting to the lower part of my heart. He says I probably need a bypass, unless we can handle it medically.

BYPASS??? My two brothers have both had bypass surgery, so it's always been a fear lurking in the back of my mind. But wait a minute. First I needed cervical spine surgery, and now a BYPASS before I can get that???

So he sets me up for another cardiac catheterization. Now I'm a frequent flyer when it comes to catheterization, but the idea that he might send me right away for a bypass afterwards freaks me out.

Luckily, the cath shows that blood IS getting to the lower part of my heart. I'll have to ask him on Tuesday how that can be. But I'm certainly not gonna argue with the man. So he's signing the release. Of course, if past charges are the same as before I'll be stuck with about $1600 in cath copay bills. I just got done paying off the last one.

So I'm on for the neck surgery, but I have to go back to my GP for a clearance from her ten days from the surgery date. That's another $20. I can't wait to see my part of the bill for the actual 3-4 hour surgery coming up.

I'd do anything to get rid of this pain and numbness, and to regain the strength I've lost in tht arm. My only other choice is to spend the rest of my life on narcotics, which I'm not exactly wanting to do.

So I"ll be stuck in a hard shell neck collar for 6-8 weeks. But right now I'm saying PHEEWWW, I dodged a bullet. The cervical spine surgery looks easy compared to a bypass.

Life is GOOD.

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