07 December 2006

How I Planned

Last night I realized that I started this blog in a moment of pique about the admissions process at Scottsdale Healthcare North and its pre-admission process.  That, however, does not help the person planning a hip replacement. So I'm going to back track a year, to when I got back from China and realized I was limping.  Or rather, people told me I was limping.

I ignored it, powered through the pain, and was determined, at least, to wait until I was on Medicare to do something about my hip, because I had the kind of health insurance that entrepreneurs have -- very little. So the first part of my plan was to wait until May, when I turned 65.

To do that comfortably, I switched my yoga practice to a less strenuous one from Power, after which I used to emerge really trashed. I also began to exercise in the pool at my gym. I didn't want to wet my hair every day swimming, so I walked in the water. And I did pull-ups on the ladder. At first I hated it. But then as always, some really nice people manifested and I formed a new community of pool exercisers -- a man with MS and his caregiver, an older woman who hiked first and then walked, and some Europeans who just believed water exercise was good for you.

By May, however, I was in considerable pain. So I started asking around for people with experience.  One of my yoga teachers had a friend in Tucson who had had a new, minimally invasive procedure and was up in seemingly no time with a tiny scar. Ed and I went down to see him. He had learned the procedure in Europe.  He had done a lot of them.  He acted like it was NOTHING. I asked him a lot of questions about my back and its relationship to my hip, all of which he dismissed with the "don't you worry little lady" attitude of the guy who does 50 surgeries a week, and then he fobbed us off on his office staff.

We did schedule the surgery (same way I put deposits down on new real estate projects as long as they are refundable), and then I went home and started to talk to friends and family.

The logistics of having surgery in Tucson weren't optimal, but they were doable. One of my deal breakers was not to have to go to a rehab facility, however, and we quickly learned I couldn't drive or ride home to Phoenix until I had the staples out. Hmmm. Ten days in a hotel.  Or go to the rehab and have Chelsea stay in the hotel.

So I began looking for surgeons in Phoenix who might do that same procedure. At the same time, I had two nagging fearsL

1)the hip surgery would aggravate my back issues, which are not trivial, but which I have always controlled with yoga. After all, when you are a yoga teacher you learn that the "hip bone's connected to the thigh bone, the thigh bone's connected to the knee bone, now hear the word of the Lord." (Old folk song) Often, if you change one thing that relates to the spine, everything else also changes (often for the worse).

2)I would never emerge from the anaesthesia with all my marbles. My mother didn't, so this wasn't just idle anxiety.

...more tomorrow

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