Today’s Medical Update

I saw my surgeon this morning for my three month post-op follow up. It was a short appointment and to be frank, I’m not completely sure that it was all that helpful. He seemed a bit shocked when I told him I’d spent 9 weeks in residential rehab but was pleased to know that I was home and managing well. I showed him my leg range of motion, which was better than on my last visit, and let him know that I am going to PT three times a week with a focus on isolating and strengthening muscles, specifically with e-stim, which he thought was great. At my request (because it was from the therapists), he wrote a prescription for a custom articulated AFO brace for the right foot to help with foot drop. Of course, I don’t know where to take it and his office was not much help on that. I’m to go back in a few months but to remember that it will take up to a year to see all the results of surgery.

Yeah, yeah, I know that part.

Then this afternoon I went back for therapy and to give them a report on the doctor’s visit. My therapist’s husband works at the Olympic Center and she is going to ask him for suggestions of where I can take that AFO prescription to be filled, since it was his recommendation in the first place that I get one. For the next weeks, I’m to concentrate on walking at home without the left AFO (the one that has been giving me fits) but WITH the right one, using my aide to help me walk in the mornings in our hallways. My legs will be freshest in the morning, and this way I can get in more steps. Today I walked 260 feet with that combination and it felt fine, and was the most I’ve walked at one time in weeks. When I’m at therapy, I’ll leave the AFO at home and we’ll work on building things up without it. I like the idea of doing both.

So there’s progress. Not trying to use the left AFO feels like a real gift since it’s given me such fits. That alone was worth the visits.

What the Doctor Said

I meant to write this last night but was so tired I could hardly keep my eyes open, so I opted for spending time offline with the kitty and an early bedtime.  Both were needed.

Yesterday I had my appointment with my primary care doctor to talk about WLS.  But naturally, since it had been five months since my physical, I trotted out a few other things.  Of course the visit started with taking vital signs and getting my current weight.  I hate this part but at least I knew it was coming, and I told the nurse that I didn’t want to get on the scale, partly because I’d just finished lunch.  She looked balky so I offered to give her the figure from my Sunday morning WW weigh in.  After all, I told myself, this visit was to talk about weight issues so it didn’t make sense to refuse.

The good news is that the doctor doesn’t see me as a surgical riskfor WLS should I decide to go that route.  My next step is to go to an open support group meeting for patients at different stages of the process, to ask questions about how their process worked.  What they eat, how hard it was to transition, did they have/were they planning to have plastic surgery.  What was hardest, what worked, what didn’t.  These sessions are only held once a month and I need to figure out where to go in the hospital, which is a place I’ve never gone to before so there’s a good chance I’ll get lost.

I need to show commitment to a weight loss program with accountability, such as WW which weighs me in and records it every week.  Why?  To show that I can stick with eating less and being okay with it.  Since my checkered WW history includes major loss and slow but steady gain, I need to get a grip here. But I need to anyway, not just because of the possibility of WLS.

Bottom line is that when I’m ready to get in touch with the surgeon’s office to inquire about next steps and to talk with him about ME and not just generalities, I’m to let my primary care doctor know and she will send a formal referral.  Counseling and the psych eval have been done by an outfit associated with the university, but it apparently closed this summer so the doctor didn’t know who/how it would be handled in the future.  The surgeon’s office would be able to give me that info.  I’m not going to pursue it right now.

We also talked about my hand problems.  It’s possible that the carpal tunnel has recalcified, especially given how much I use my right hand with the computer.  I’m to get one of those little splints and use it for a while, and to consider getting a modified mouse that’s more ergonomically designed to ease the stress on the mousing finger.  It doesn’t help that I have arthritis in the hands, making them sore in bad weather (such as we have today, by a remarkable coincidence).

My friend P also reminded me that about 2 years ago I had somewhat similar problems that ended up in a saga involving a cervical collar, nerve tests, and multiple MRI’s.  They finally found a herniated C6 disk – but on the other side, which didn’t explain the symptoms on the right side.  Eventually it went away without anyone figuring what was wrong other than “probably a pinched nerve somewhere.”  Sometimes medicine is so exact.

I also walked out with a wicked expensive prescription for a 3-month supply of meds to help control restless leg syndrome, which is part of what’s been keeping me up at night.  I had a 10 day sample pack from the sleep doc and it did make a difference, so now I have a real prescription.  The new fiscal year is only 5 weeks old and I’ve already met my deductible for meds.  It adds up fast.

So that’s my story.  Lots of angst and stress for what turned out to be a routine information gathering visit.