The Surgical Trifecta

In the clusterfuck that has been 2018, I have had two surgeries (so far), taken the first two ambulance rides of my life (the first, for what turned out to be a giant kidney stone; the second for having been crushed by, and concussed by a large, full and vicious, bookshelf), been without a voice for nine months (as noted in previous blogs), and, altogether, spent most of the year in an exceptional amount of pain.

I know compared to some, my problems are miniscule. Hell, I’ve lost two childhood friends this year — one to cancer, one to heart failure. But we all tend to focus on what’s happening to us, personally, and I’m no different (or, better).

Anyway, as followers of this blog know, I did something to my shoulder on my birthday (August 1st). Thus began a four-month ordeal of repeated doctors visits, physical therapy, & an insurance company that kept denying my primary care physician’s and two orthopedic surgeons orders for an MRI. Needless to say, after the third rejection by the insurance company, I was furious.

As noted in my last blog, It took the scheduler in my throat surgeon’s office to point out, as I’d already met my deductible for the year, my insurance company was simply trying to run the clock out on me. They managed to stall the MRI until the 2nd week of Nov., before finally caving, and allowing me to get what I should have had months ago. Naturally, when the results came back, it showed exactly what my PCP said it would, way back in August — I have a torn rotator cuff.

So, playing it conservatively, the orthopedic surgeon I was seeing wanted me to go back to the physical therapist for a couple more sessions, to see if we could avoid surgery. While I was more than happy to try avoiding surgery number three, I also pointed out to the orthopedist, if I needed the surgery, I needed it done before Dec. 31st, because, as of Jan. 1st, I would have to go back to scratch, & pay my entire deductible (meaning, thousands of dollars I don’t have). So we scheduled three physical therapy sessions, prior to the day we would make the decision — surgery or no. That day was today.

9:30am sharp, I’m at the orthopedists office. I’m quickly ushered back to the exam room, and a minute later the doctor walks in & says, “well, you need surgery. Unfortunately, since I’m moving offices, I’m closing my practice for the rest of the month, & won’t be able to operate until January.”

“Uh, do you remember our last conversation & why I told you I couldn’t wait until January?” So he gives me the name of another orthopedist, tells me they’ll give me his contact information at the desk, and walks out. That was it.

As I walked to the parking lot, my fury grew. MOTHERFUCKER!!!! If you knew you weren’t going to be able to operate until January, why didn’t you fucking tell me this two weeks ago? Did it not occur to this fuck, it might be a little difficult to go to another surgeon, cold, & schedule surgery for this month? As I drove home I found myself getting angrier & angrier. This sonofabitch’s irresponsibility toward me, his patient, could have screwed me, royally. My surgical co-pay this month — zilch! Next month, thousands.

Enter my beloved spousal unit, who made a call to the office of the surgeon who had done her rotator cuff surgery. She spoke to the doctor’s surgical scheduler, and got me an appointment for Tuesday morning. So long as the doctor agrees with the findings of my physical therapist, as well as my former (asshole) orthopedist, the scheduler says I will be able to get the surgery this month. But, for cryin’ out loud!!! Between insurance companies and doctors, if I didn’t already support universal healthcare, this would have made me a true believer!