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Monday, July 29, 2013

29 - Highly Unlikely

http://www.Homesbythecase.blogspot.com For anyone "just tuning in" this post may leave you wondering what the heck I am rambling about, I hope you take the time to go back and review my earlier posts so you can catch up with our story. For anyone who has been along for the whole wild ride - Thank you!

Highly Unlikely

 "Highly unlikely".  That would have been my response if anybody would have asked me what the chances were that my mother would ever have back surgery.  "Highly unlikely" would have been my answer less than two weeks ago.

It was ironic really.  "Highly unlikely" had become a phrase that would provoke one of two responses from me, depending on the context and/or deliverer.

If the phrase was delivered by my brother or one of my sisters, the context would most likely be in the form of mocking humor.  "Do you have a shovel I can borrow?", as they are looking at the shovel would require a reply of: "That would behighly unlikely".  One of those "inside jokes" that no one else gets.  Well, they might get it, but it would be highly unlikely!

However, the same phrase delivered by a health care provider in regards to my mothers health, would cause me severe anxiety and sheer panic.  "That would be highly unlikely", seemed to be a rehearsed phrase by the many doctors who had provided medical care for my mother over the past year.  It also seemed to be almost a guarantee that things were likely.

It had been "highly unlikely" moms pain had been caused by anything other than muscle spasms or her rheumatoid, until they diagnosed a compression fracture.

They needed to run some tests, but it would be "highly unlikely" they would find anything to prevent the kyphoplasty procedure they assured us should "provide pretty quick relief" from her back pain. They did find something to stop the procedure, a staph infection.

"Somethings wrong with her knee", I said over and over again.  It was "highly unlikely" the problem with her knee was anything other than her severe RA, even though it was an artificial joint.  The knee was infected with staph.

"Will the staph infection attack the compromised spine where the fracture is?", I was throwing out theories.  "That would be highly unlikely", moms RA doctor told me.  He sounded sure and convincing as he told me it wouldn't make sense, there "wasn't significant blood flow" to that area.  They would later aspirate a fluid sack infected with the staph - right by the fracture at L1.

If it was highly unlikely, mom proved them wrong.

"What about referring her to someone who specialized in the spine?", I asked for referrals constantly.  My requests were dismissed again and again because it would be "highly unlikely" they would be able to help.  I was told an Orthopaedic spine specialist would just want to do surgery and it was "highly unlikely" mom could survive a major surgery.

Mom was 76 years old and up until two weeks ago she was absolutely opposed to back surgery.  Now we were waiting for a call from the spine clinic to schedule an eight hour surgery, requiring two surgeons.  I couldn't believe mom had agreed so readily.

Had the increased pain changed her mind?  Had she considered how "highly unlikely" it would be for her to live through this surgery?

"I felt so comfortable with her", mom later told me.

It had taken us nearly six months to get a referral.  We spent another four months trying to coordinate an appointment.  Each way we drove five hours to get to the clinic.

Yet, it took less than an hour for mom to decide she could trust this woman with her life.

I wonder if she was as scared as I was.

That would be highly unlikely, don't you think?









4 comments:

Holly Higbee-Jansen said...

I have lost faith in our medical community. Unfortunately, we all need to deal with it from time to time with increasing frequency as we get older. I have had much better results with the alternative practitioners who prefer to treat the person as a whole, mind/ body/ spirit instead of as cog in a wheel. I'm sorry you are going through all of this with your Mother.

healthcare hostages said...

It is easy to lose faith in the medical community. I hope, for those following our story, I can show what a stark difference it makes when patients are treated as a whole person and treated with the respect they deserve.

Today's post was from an experience nearly 8 months ago now. Earlier posts detail our journey.

Thank you for stopping by!

I appreciate your comments.

Sheri Conaway said...

I'm really enjoying reading about your journey with your mom. You manage to inject a sense of humor into a very stressful and difficult situation. I appreciate the fact that, no matter how glum things look, you never lose faith or stop trying!

healthcare hostages said...

Thank you Sheri, I'm glad you are enjoying it! Humor does help me absorb the stress.

I have to remind myself a LOT that I am not in charge. Faith and moms sheer determination have been my motivators.

Thanks for following the story!