Date with my surgeon

I saw Dr. Santore today. After our last appointment he wanted to see me in a month and to follow up after my neurology appointments. He was very pleased with my progress and said that I’m catching up in the healing now. It was a slow start, but he said everything looks really good now. We both agreed that I was held back in my hip recovery because of my neck surgery and recovery. He was so attentive as always and gave me some recommendations with symptoms I’ve been struggling with and ideas on things to ask my neck surgeon about. I’d also been asking my therapists about my use of the cane and what the point was. My balance is good and when I’m in pain I just want to lean on something more supportive or not walk at all. Dr. Santore watched me walk and was SO shocked with the progress I’ve made. He said my gait pattern was good and he’s still impressed with my range of motion. He said I don’t need to use the cane, but when I feel I need some support to just grab one crutch. YES!!!!! I’ve been wanting to do this for so long. Balance is not a problem for me. For goodness sakes I was a dancer! Once a dancer, always a dancer! That darn cane just doesn’t do anything for me. I did bring it to the appointment and as I was walking out, he yelled out to me that I “don’t need that thing” and I threw it over my shoulder and walked out as I heard him laughing behind me.

The one piece of big news is that he confirmed that I do need a PAO on my left side. Him and I have both tried to ignore the left even though I originally saw him for bilateral hip pain. My right side was always worse and more symptomatic so we focused on it first. He re-looked at my x-rays and said in fact I would need a PAO on that side too. Gulp. I’m a bit bummed to hear this, but in all honesty I kind of figured it was in my future. I am receiving all information well these days. There’s really not good or bad info anymore. It’s all just facts and I’ll process it and deal with whatever comes my way the best I can. He said he’ll leave it up to me as far as timing. The benefits of doing it this year is that my insurance deductible and out of pocket max has all been met. This surgery is not covered by my insurance because it’s a subspecialty, but the surgeons fight on the patient’s behalf to get it covered. They do peer-to-peer reviews and help you appeal until insurance basically caves and realizes that no other person can do this surgery that is in network, so they cover it. The other thing is that as a nurse, I have to be off work for six months to give the hip time to heal properly, especially because nursing is a physically demanding profession. He said sedentary jobs are three months because they can sit at a desk and active military positions are eight months because they are the most physically intense. So again, I’m already off work waiting for my neck to heal and my strength to come back as well as other symptoms to improve and/or go away. Dr. Santore wouldn’t do it until six months post op for my right side, so we have some time. I have my screw removal already set for August 3rd, but if I decide to have a PAO on my left side this year then I would reschedule that and do it at the same time. I have to put some serious thought into this and figure out what my body can handle and what I can handle mentally. I also need to discuss this in detail with Chris and see what he can handle and how much more strain we want to go through. This relationship has survived A LOT this past year and I want it to continue that way. I have some time to decide and so I don’t feel rushed or pressured in any way. I’m hoping my body will tell me when it’s time. I’d like this all to be behind me. I seriously can’t wait until the day that all this hardware is out of my body! That will truly be the end or maybe, the beginning of a life without pain and with lots of fun activities!

That’s my update for now. Overall, it was a great appointment and for now, I am still just focusing on my rehab. Side note: I brought dark chocolate chip and sea salt cookies for his office and they were a hit! I know I love when patients bring goodies to my work, so I make sure to do that for my doctors, nurses, PTs, etc. I brought them to my PT’s office too and it was perfect timing as their receptionist had just done a coffee run for everyone. Coffee and cookies= a great afternoon pick-me-up! I plan on bringing them to my water therapist and the aid for my last session tomorrow too.


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