Sunday, November 11, 2007

A chance to cure

First off, thanks to those people who have checked up over the last few days. It has been a bit frantic, only now settling down, but thanks.

First off, a friend of mine had a lovely looking child, first child, a boy. Wonderful mother, wonderful child - photos here.

Now - update. Sarah has been seeing specialists and getting various bits of news. About a fortnight ago we saw the neurosurgeon, Mr Broca. He feels we should wait on the surgery, as a proportion of these cases settle down spontaneously and also because it doesn't look like the kind of problem that would be easily fixable by surgery. I don't know that this is unambiguously good news.

It's difficult to explain how this felt. All the week lasting up to the consult I had been angry. Not snappy or short-tempered, not angry at anyone, not even angry in a way that I could articulate. I only knew I was angry because I could feel it - that calm, measured way of speaking, that change in posture and muscle tone, getting up every morning to punch and elbow and knee and kick the punching bag, half an hour before breakfast, again when I got home. Anger that was just under the surface of my consciousness, waiting for something to materialise, someone to stand forward so you could hit them. An intransitive anger, like that intransitive, objectless fear anxious people get.

The thing is, when Mr Broca said that Sarah wasn't going to have surgery I started crying. Seriously, in the waiting room, so I had to go outside, and Sarah followed me and comforted me. Her (with the medical problems) comforting me (without them). First time I've cried in public since - I don't know. Decades.

Anyway. No surgery yet. And I don't know if this is good or bad. In the end you go to a surgeon to ask one question - "Is this going to get better with your surgery?" - and at the moment we don't have a perfectly satisfactory diagnosis and we don't have a treatment and the problem has not gone away and Sarah gets occasional paraesthesia (that pins and needles feeling) on her forearm.

Mr Broca has referred us to a neurologist and that's next.

In the interim we went to the orthopod. The way it is told in medical school, orthopaedic surgeons are to medicine what drummers are to pop musicians and this guy was to more normal superfolk. It's a lot of hammer and chisel stuff, and geeks often look down on manual labourers. Ortho is intrinsically simpler than, say, renal medicine or neurosurgery. Most damning of all, orthopods tend to be good looking, as well as rich and good with their hands, and that can't be good.

But our guy was excellent. He was clear, and comprehensible, and sympathetic, and examined Sarah, and used words like "accelerating" and "disabling" and "severe", and the gist of it was Sarah's hip joint is bone on bone, and there are pits and cysts in the socket itself, and there are bony spikes growing where they shouldn't, one of which has fractured, and she has less than a quarter of the normal range of motion that she should have.

Try this - stand legs straight, feet together, holding onto something for support. Keeping your leg straight, lift it sideways - this is hip abduction.

Normal range of motion is about forty five degrees, more in trained people. Sarah has ten. He has signed her up for hip resurfacing.

By the by, I am not an orthopod, but from my reading, if you are looking to have hip replacement surgery, ask your doctor about hip resurfacing surgery. If you're suitable, it's a lot better operation. This guy has professional surfers and footballers who've had the surgery.

Anyway, Sarah has been off work for a week or so. The main thing that is worrying us at the moment is the pain, and tomorrow she goes in for joint injections - uberantiinflammatories and anaesthetics injected into the joints. And after that - and not immediately after that, because Medicare is not what it was - comes the surgery.

Anyway, today she managed to go off to a cat show. It's the last one of the year, so we loaded up the cats and she drove off in the early morning light. I am going to potter around and await her return.

I almost feel my next post should be about something other than my worries - maybe my patient with Gender Identity "Disorder" (not to be confused with the much more frightening Christian Identity Disorder - seriously, don't click on this if you are easily offended. Or if you can read. In fact, don't click at all). But it's all I've been thinking about lately. "He who loves gives hostages to fortune", as they said in "Swamp Thing - the Movie". Apparently Francis Bacon also said it, but I think I heard it first in Swamp Thing.

Thanks for listening,


Blogger The Girl said...

Take care of yourselves! I hope things pick up for you both soon.

10:11 PM  
Blogger Camilla said...

How frustrating that you haven't got a clear answer yet! I'm not surprised at your reaction, it must be very hard for both of you, not knowing what to expect. I hope you hear some encouraging news soon, and I also hope that Sarah gets some relief from the pain.

*huge hogs* (and piglets from Emrys)

ps I wanted to try and phone you this weekend but time got away from me - I'll try next weekend instead!

11:19 PM  
Anonymous Nogueira Jr said...

"We are free to be free
To make our own destiny
To shine like the sun
To become one
To hide under the moon
Under in the gloom
To run with the deer
To make worry disappear
To listen and to hear
To love and to fear
To make our minds be clear
To laugh and to cheer
To travel and to steer
In the path we have chosen
To be hot or cold or even frozen
We are free to be free
To make our own destiny
And to look back from the finish line
And to shout with joy and not to whine."
By Daniel Hooks

Blog: Brasil! Brasil!

2:09 AM  
Blogger Foilwoman said...

I'm keeping my fingers crossed for both of you. I hope a treatment that is very helpful yet not very invasive is identified, available, and effective. I hope the cats are being effective joint-warmers and general sources of comfort.

3:50 PM  
Anonymous ladyk73 said...

I have been lingering about...waiting for new....and could not post my drivel directly below such poetry (thank you foilwoman).

How is all?

3:54 PM  
Blogger Foilwoman said...

Thanks LadyK73, but I deserve no praise -- that is all due to Dr. John, I am quite sure, who inspires us all.

Speaking of which, another great South Australian blog: which Dr. John's comment about gender identity brought to mind. Although I don't think Alex, the blogger in question has any disorder: just a misalignment which he seems to be figuring out just fine.

3:22 PM  

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