Monday, May 20, 2013

Trust from dizzying heights

Greetings from 7,000 feet.  It is beautiful today and Brent and I are on our way to NYC, courtesy of Angel Flight.  I cannot say enough how blessed we are to have this kind of help.  We are going to change planes in Williamsport rather than in University Park, so that another patient can get a ride home.  It is amazing to me, the coordinated generosity of so many pilots.   

With this bit of time, I thought that I might tell you about my plans.  I met with my OB on Thursday to talk about surgery.  He is putting in for pre approval from my insurance company, which I am hopeful will go through. (Although, if it doesn't, I have programmed my case manager's phone number into my phone...I have someone on the inside who might help me with the appeals process if need be). If denied, I will appeal.

I really, really like my OB, who delivered Lauren and Livvy.  I actually have a piece that I wrote some time ago, that I will post later about picking doctors.  I feel like I have to run it by both Drs. OB and and Ortho before I do, as I refer to them by name, and out of deep respect, would like their permission before I post it. But I digress.  

My point is, that I would really, really, really like to use my OB for the would be our last hurrah together, as I will have no parts left for him to annually check when it is done.  I trust him, and well, he is my guy for such things.  Should insurance deny coverage, I would need to have surgery at UH, where incidentally, my guy does not have privileges.  I would have to use someone else.

Because, given that the Ramers are sort of the goose who laid the golden egg for UH, I would be in a better position to work out something financially with them for of all things, removing my eggs If I didn't have irony and snark, you might as well cut out my tongue as well, because I would have nothing left to say.  You have been warned...this is going downhill from here.

So, if I get my wish and have the surgery at Southwest, which is affiliated with UH, but not in fact owned by them, I will need to get my girl parts shipped across town.  Last time that I needed to do something like this (who ever needs to do something like this?!!) Dr. Peters, my kids oncologist, was kind enough to drive across town with a box of dry ice and swing by FEDEX on his way back to UH, sending one biopsy off to Toronto.  How's that for service above and beyond the call of duty?

As my local geneticist is taking the lead on this one, having developed an essay that will detect our p53 mutation to within 2%, international shipping will not required this time, thankfully. So, I need a local medical currier...which we are thinking might end up being Dan.  "Honey, can you pick up the dry cleaning, and drop off my ovaries?"  Seriously, who makes arrangements for the transport of their own organs, outside of their body?  

I need to be sure to get a doctors note for my dear husband, in the off chance that he gets pulled over.  (I know more than a couple of doctors...which one is the best for such a thing?)  Because "What is in the box?"  could be a very awkward question to answer, when it is in fact, pieces of your wife.  Probably should rework the phrasing of that answer.

In case you missed the memo, I have a weird life.

So, the actual surgery...  You will remember that I was looking to have multiple biopsies done.  I went in to this talk with my OB with a particular idea...kind of a buffet or smorgasbord of my organs...take a little sample of each while you are in the neighborhood.  So, after a little geography lesson...there is sort of the continental divide in you belly (diaphragm) which makes loads of things out of easy reach if you happen to be doing a pelvic surgery.  Damn. 

But, there is the liver and spleen in the area (ooh, goodie!). However, given their vascular nature, they have the tendency to bleed ...and not stop.  I was advised that this was a very bad idea. Usually, such biopsies are done with CT guidance, which is a bit more than 'just taking a bit while in the neighborhood.' 

I have said that I would never presume to tell a pilot how to fly or a surgeon how to cut. (Writing of a surgeon as sit next to a pilot)  While I really am committed to finding some answers, I am not wanton.  I do in fact listen.   I may be crazy, but I am not stupid.   But I was bitterly disappointed, nonetheless.  

Bowels will be biopsied by GI in a separate procedure, the details of which I will be sure to keep to myself, and for which you will thank me, heartily.

Which leaves my tubes and uterus.  

"Are you planning on having more children?"

Umm.. No.  (Thinking, I would remind you that you are taking out my ovaries....and we talked about this you when you tied my tubes several years ago)

With extreme patience, and a hint of irony, "Do you plan on carrying a child for someone else?" (In my spare time?  with my spare energy?  With my 44 year old parts and sketchy genetics hovering around in the background?  Not likely.)

At which point he explained that really the only thing that my uterus could bring to me in the future was cervical or uterine cancer.  He could biopsy them, but really, it makes infinite sense to remove them.   

Dan will need a bigger box.

As I left to schedule it, an opening was available for Thursday.  As in this Thursday.  I feel odd, having been anxious and prepared to do this surgery for 6 months now, but Brent is doing hyperbaric oxygen treatments every day....and this would be the day after we return from New York.  Seems like a lot, and so waiting until the next slot in June makes more sense.  We go in June at this point.

Flight number two...chatting with our pilot, I learn that he is from Maryland and works for NIH.  I kid you not.  We exchange IRB stories, naturally.  

The weather has changed dramatically, and we fly in solid clouds, which I have never done before.   I think that he said to within 800 feet of the ground, which he preferred was much higher, naturally.  I had no idea, sitting next to him, how disorienting it could be.  You must completely rely on your instruments, as instinct will help you not at all.  I have no doubt as to how JFK Jr got into trouble, because what you feel and what the instruments tell you do not jibe.  If you are accustomed to following your instincts, this sort of flying is a recipe for disaster.  

I am trusting in the experience of this pilot.  I trust the experience of my doctor, and of the doctors that we are traveling to New York to see.  Hoping that we all get on the ground soon...and safely.

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