Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Visit to the hospital...

Today was my first official visit to the Hospital for Joint Diseases to get injections into my hips (to see if that will help the pain in my thighs) and also to do all my operation registration and pre-testing. I'm so glad that my parents came with me, just because we really weren't sure what kind of reaction I would have to the injection and also to support me =)

I really didn't know what to expect of both procedures and I have to admit I was a little worried about the injections because like most people, I don't love needles. The hospital staff was extremely nice and helpful and made me feel at ease right away. I changed out of my regular human clothes and into a hospital gown and I even got a hospital bracelet...Thankfully they gave me two gowns so I didn't have my backside exposed to the world.

First, I talked to the nurses about basic information and then the doctor came in to explain the actual procedure. They were going to numb me with lidocaine and mark the spot to be injected. Then they would hook me up to this machine so they could see what was going on inside in real time. COOL! Before they applied the medication, which I found out today was actually steroids, they release a dye into the area to make sure they were in the right joint. All of this happened in less than 10 minutes and was actually only a little uncomfortable, mostly when they were applying the shot for numbing.

There was another medicine mixed in with the steroid that would work in the first 5-6 hours and the steroids won't kick in for 2 days. The effects can last from a few weeks to possibly a couple months. If this works, I can only repeat this procedure 4 times a year because the steroids can have a negative effect on your bones and ostheoporosis is a major side effect. I say "if this works" because this is really trial and error. We don't know this will work for sure because the doctor isn't sure my thigh pain is related to my hips but we are trying. I am feeling positive that even if this doesn't work out, at least now we are exploring areas I have never explored before and I'm hoping one of them will be the right one. I need to keep track of my pain levels over the next week so I can talk to the surgeon about it and see if there's been any improvement or no change.

When we were all done, I headed down to Admissions and started to sign my life away...so many forms. And they asked me if I have a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate Form) and a will...kind of weird to think about these things at 29. I guess watching television does pay off sometimes because I knew what the DNR was from Grey's Anatomy...LOL...and yes! Please resuscitate me!

When I was done with all the forms, we headed upstairs for all the pre-testing. I cannot stress how nice the nurses were...I was really impressed. I continued to go on and basically tell them my entire life story because they asked me 1,000 questions, my blood pressure is great, I found out I lost some weight, did a blood test, EKG (results were good) and I found out more serious information about next week's procedure. Some of these were the most interesting to me:
  • I will not find out what time the surgery is on until Tuesday night
  • I cannot eat anything past midnight on Tuesday (regardless what time my surgery is...here's praying that it's earlier in the day. I asked what if it's later in the afternoon. Answer: Sorry but you will have to suck it up). If I'm dying of thirst I can take a teensy tiny little sip
  • I won't know how many days I'll be there until we do it...we have to play it by ear
  • I can continue to take my Lyrica/Vitamin B
  • I will have to buy some medicine for my nose to be used everyday 5 days prior to surgery to help against infections
  • I will have to shower the night before and morning of with Dial anti-bacterial soap and not dry myself with a towel. They gave me special patient pre-op cloths that are supposed to help sterilize my skin
  • I gave them authorization to give me a blood transfusion if I needed one
When I was finished with the nurses I met with the anesthesiologist to go over yet more questions. Thankfully they accept my health insurance so one less concern. The doctor was really nice and she said if I didn't want to, they could just numb me from the knee down...I said: ARE YOU CRAZY?? Knock me out, I don't wanna hear, see, or smell anything! LOL...she said that's fine too...I just wanna wake up and be in my room already.

I am really happy that we were able to do everything in one day. Now I just need to wait until next Tuesday to find out the final details.

On a side note, John is getting me one of these leg elevator pillows that should be really helpful once I have the cast on and to be more comfortable. I'm thinking maybe I should also get a back pillow...we'll see.


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