A decision on replacing the left side of my ass
Surgical Attendant immediately before surgery: “Now Mr. Holland, which hip are you having replaced?”
Me: “The right one.”
That’s the way it was several years ago when I had my right hip replaced. But once the general public became aware of the almost daily incidences of operational errors ranging from amputating the wrong limb to performing double mastectomies on the wrong women (and worse), extra precautions have been added to make sure the correct operation is performed on the right person.
Today, the question about “which hip” is asked and recorded with nearly every pre-surgery encounter. It sticks out like a sore thumb whenever a wrong answer is recorded.
And more things have changed: The chances of surgically related infections have been greatly reduced by having the patient enter the hospital as clean as possible. That means special bathing each day for three days prior to procedure with a sterilizing cleanser and sponge; a change to clean sheets and pajamas each night; and instruction to make sure all hospital staff wear gloves when attending your incision.
If I had to guess, however, the worse patients are the ones who, like myself, have gone through this before. My arrogance started with the boastful admission that my last surgery was a breeze (That’s a lie – just not a big one.) So, I reasoned this time that there was no reason I couldn’t also carry forward with plans to sell our home and move to California!
That’s right, a little more than a week before the hip is to be replaced, we are in the midst of showing our house and attending to the many details that putting a house on the market requires. “A stupid move,” you say? Now you tell me! Where were you when I needed advice?
It’s too late now. We will put things on hold for a few weeks while mending takes place.
I share this with you as the rationale for not attending to more immediate matters. For example, I got a call from the hospital today asking me to log into my “online patient program” and pay more attention to some important instructions they were sending. That’s right, each patient and their care-giver are given special, personalized instructions about daily activities associated with the upcoming surgery. The surgical planners know when you are not complying and are quick to follow up.
Though my house has been taken off the market, I wonder if I have waited too long to take this “hip procedure” as seriously as I should. I hope not.
From here on, I am out to redeem myself and have as good a recovery as possible.
I anticipate that my emotions will still race forward and I will continue to describe my fears as “mild anxiety.” But, having let you in on my little secret, you know better. I need to get busy!
That’s all for DAY TWO: More emotions, struggles and decisions coming DAY THREE.