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This is Off Topic but I Want Your Opinions

shes driving me crazy in my retirement's picture

I am schedule for surgery Tuesday on my knee.  The FIRST operation on it was on Jan. 18th and it was not successful as the inside stitches broke with 24 hours (when they first got me up my knee dislocated and was crooked).  Of course I had no real strength in that leg as it would pop in and out of place especially upon getting up.  Surgeon said to wait and it would settle didn't.  So, I now am having a total knee replacement (first one was only a partial as the artheritis was only under the knee cap.

Have been having problems with it since the beginning.  Surgeon even admitted to my daughter and I that he should have used stronger situres.  And I have a right to expect that the surgeon do a job where the stitches last more than 24 hours.  Friends, the whole thing that day was a fiascco, starting with the instruments, which had to come from XXXX, being contaminated, which resulted in my being kept "asleep" until they were sterilized, etc.

Mid Friday I got a call from the Head OR Nurse asking me what time I had been told to come in Tuesday.  I told her but was wondering whyshe seemed not to have that information.  She then immediately tells me not to come in until noon!  When I asked why the dramatic change, I was told that they had to wait for the Rep from XXX to come in with special instruments!  I inquired if she had me down for the right operation as this was a normal total knee replacement, special instruments were only needed when I had the original partial knee replacement.  She then starts backtracking about, well maybe it is for someone else, she is not sure, but my surgery is set back.


shes driving me crazy in my retirement's picture

I told her that I didn't want that and she said she was sorry but....  I lost it and told her she could be sorry until the moon turned blue, but I was concerned about what was going on.  The Nurse snapped at me that Yes, she knew what had happened that had me coming back to have the knee fixed.  DD overheard me and stepped in talking to the nurse.  She too was confusd about this Rep, etc.  I, even in the pain I have been in and the knee popping when I stand up and walk, was ready to cancel until this mess was straightened out.  I told DD that the nurse didn't seemm to know what was going on for me and I wanted certainty.

DD told her that she would talk to me and to call back in an hour, but after digesting the matter, called back and told the nurse to have the Surgeon call her.

Well, he called back some timelater saying that he understood that I was having problems with the scheduling.   DD told him the situation, that I had asked to be first on this day as I wanted to get it over with.  I know I am going to go through more pain etc.,but have waited and suffered long enough through no fault of my own.  Surgeon knows nothing about the schedulilng but will try to see what he can do.  DD then tells him about how the Nurse was saying that they had to move me back because he had to wait for the Rep to come with the special tools.

Surgeon IMMEDIATELY assured both DD and me that he didn't need the Rep there to take care of my knee replacement.  He guaranteed it!  

Here's the deal.  Seems another patient is having an operation that requires special instruments and while the Rep is here for that operation, he wanted to "sit in" on my operation!  WTH!  So they were going to put me back to come in at noon and my surgery would not be until 1:30 p.m.!

DD got it cleaned up, I am back to the A.M. as I was, but I just have a hinky feeling about this surgery.  Don't know if I am over reacting or not.  DDi is encouraging me to go through with it as I have been in pain and having problems "walking" since it was screwed up the first time.  I haven't been able to sleep in my bed since I came home from the hospital due to the pain, etc.  I was, for a long time, only averaging 3 hours of sleep a day!  I have been sleeping in a lift chair and keeping my legs raised and very straight as that is the only way to keep the hurting down.

How would you feel about this.

shes driving me crazy in my retirement's picture

Oh, after sitting back and ruminating on it, I believe that I was set back so the Rep could observe my operation and then they coud all go out to a late lunch.  I am pizzed the change was being made for the REP's convenience and not my wishes when the surgery was set at a time weeks back, and was confirmed several ltimes last week.  The only change came on Friday afternoon.  Note, nothing about an emergency and they had to put me back.

notsurehowtodeal's picture

If you have a bad feeling about it - reschedule. I'm a firm believer in listening to your "inner voice" - and it seems it is trying to tell you something. The whole situation seems odd. Do you trust this surgeon? If not, maybe start with a new surgeon all together.

Winterglow's picture

I agree. A different surgeon might need be a bad idea. After all, this one admitted he could have done better the first time. Why trust him a second time?

As for their scheduling changes, I'd be using words like "unprofessional" for things that are decided at the last minute, without your input and without your consent. 

shes driving me crazy in my retirement's picture

Thank you both.  I have  thought about starting over several times.  My GP has said he would help me with that if I wanted to start over.  This "surgeon" is supposedly very well credentialed etc.   I am in pain and pain killers don't help because it is a thing whre the knee cap floats and irrates the area causing swelling and great soreness.  I had called around and it was going to take several weeks to get an initial appointment with someone else and then more testing, x-rays, EKG etc, and then 6 weeks to get on someone's schedule.  Plus some don't want to deal with someone else's mess.

As I said, if I had to be pushed back because of an emergency, that would be one thing.  But just to change me WAY back because a Rep want's to sit in on my surgery is just plain old BS.

shes driving me crazy in my retirement's picture

Don't forget, I was kept out an hour longer than necessary while the "instruments: were being sterilized before operation could start.  That is tough on an old lady like me with high blood pressure, etc.

tog redux's picture

I think given your concerns, seeing another surgeon is a good idea, as long as you can deal with the pain until you wait. You should feel confident in someone who is going to knock you out and cut you open.

This would make me mad also because I find fasting before surgery to be plain old torture, and if they made me do it for 5 more hours just 'cuz, I'd take issue with that.

Miss T's picture

... find yourself another doctor. I have the luxury of living near a world-class teaching hospital where a number of internationally prominent specialists practice and teach. I get opinions and have everything the least bit complicated done there.

Of course, not everyone has access to such excellent care. Nevertheless it provides a point of comparison. Have you stopped to think that 50% of doctors graduated in the bottom half of their class? Are you aware that there are physician reviews available online? Do you know that the most experienced specialists have setups almost like assembly lines, and that this "assembly line medicine" produces the best outcomes? If I needed heart surgery, I would pick the surgeon who does heart surgery 100 times a year over the one who does it 100 times in a decade. Every time.

And for heaven sakes, I would pick someone who had supplies and equipment at the ready over one who has to make a special effort to lay hands on something.


shes driving me crazy in my retirement's picture

I agree about the special instruments but I had no clue about that until the surgeon came out that moring and told DD about the delay in surgery and the reason; and that they were just keeping me "sleeping".  Was a surprise t both of us.

As I think about it, Iwonder if part of this happened to me because the surgeon got in a hurry to catch up on his schedule.

Actually, I am thinking that I should be compensated for his mistake.  It is in the hospital reports that the nurses noticed (h*ll, they couldn't miss it when they tried to get me up and my leg, at the knee went to the left, like a turn in the road, and then went down to the foot.  Wasn't normal and scared the daylights out of me.  They also heard a clanking, bump as the knee cap was not tracking properly.  So the problem  was IMMEDIATELY, not something that I could have done.

And I certainlhy did not need an additional anxiety of hearing that I had to wait for some Rep to come up with special instruments, especially when it was not true.  As I said, when I pushed the nurse on this she started rambling about how maybe it was for someone else, she didn't know, etc.  That MOST people don't have a problem with a scheduling change.

I am like you, the fasting part is a pain.  Not food wise, but because I am use to having coffee first thing to get the blood moving. And 4 hours is a LONG wait.

shes driving me crazy in my retirement's picture

This surgeon has a very good rating and my operation was at a top notch hospital in the Chicago area.  His rating and recommendations are what directed me and DD to him.T

Miss T's picture

... how he could get a good rating if he's willing to inconvenience patients to get a free meal from a pharma rep. Which is what was planned--I mean, who do you think was going to pick up the check? If it were me, I'd blast him online for pulling that and would specifically call out that he allowed a salesman to influence his practice. But I'm an irascible sort.

shes driving me crazy in my retirement's picture

Agree - Remember, surgeons have god complexes. 

Seriously thinking about cancelling, but gonna wait to call until very  early Tuesday morning and leave them hanging.  Treat them like they were going to treat me.  Tell 'em I got the runs and can't come in.  Hey, they were going to change me around just for the rep and  a free meal.

shes driving me crazy in my retirement's picture

and yes, the rep would be picking up the tab.  I worked in Corporate for a Fortune 100 corporation for years....I know how it goes on this stuff.

Surgeon, when he called back said that generally people don't complain about being rescheduled, all it meant is that they had to fast longer!  DD told him that was also the problem.

I guess that is why I have a strange feeling about I am just a piece of meat on an operating table.  But when we were going over options about the first problem, he said I would need a second surgery.  When I indicated I was not happy about that he comment it would just be like a soft tissue surgery!  I should have listened to my gut right then.  Surgery IS surgery and it IS a big deal iwhen you are the one undergoing it.

hereiam's picture

You are the patient, you call the shots. Follow YOUR gut.

I get so tired of people in the medical industry thinking they can just boss their patients around.

DH was in the hospital in Feb. due to chest pains (he has had a heart attack in the past). His doctor wanted a follow up appt. 2 weeks later. We had already scheduled a follow up with his cardiologist for a month later, which is in the same building as GP. I told the nurse, no, he will come in and see GP and have a full physical (which he was due for) on the same day he sees his cardiologist. She says GP likes to see patients 2 weeks after hospital visit. Why? So they can go over what he was in the hospital for? We already know that. Been there, done that, waste of time.

I told her, "DH is not taking more time off of work for a 2 week, useless follow up. If his cardiologist can wait a month, so can you." I will admit, I had a cocktail or two in me when she called.

Surgeon, when he called back said that generally people don't complain about being rescheduled

Exactly, because they are not used to people standing up for themselves. Ya know, against "God" and all (yes, they do have God complexes, don't they?).

Do what YOU feel is right. If you trust this surgeon, fine, but make sure that you get your scheduled surgery time and don't let them shuffle you around. Your surgery is putting money in his pocket. YOU are the customer (and he is not God).

shes driving me crazy in my retirement's picture

Agree with you about your DH, Hereiam.  Copays mount up.

And about the surgeon saying that generally people don't complain about being rescheduled.  That was a put down at me but it didn't work.  He went on to say the only thing different is that I would have to wait longer to eat and drink!!  To which DD responded to him:  "That is the problem".

DD thinbks I should just have it done and get it over with.  I do have pain that painkillers don't do anything for because the knee cap rubs and moves around causing swelling etc.  When I walk  any amount it hurts and swells even more so I end up sitting a lot which is not good.  The knee pops in trying to line up with I get up (terrible) and if I move it certain normal ways, gets that dislocated look which freaks me out.

Rags's picture

Sadly for many in the so called "professional" industries (medicine, attornies, etc...) they miss the point that they work for you.  If you are not getting performance to your standards, fire the idiots and move on to quality professionals who deliver to your requirements. Particularly in the scheduled procedure situations.  In emergencies... we are more likely than not stuck with what we get.

We all know quality when we see it and experience it.

Over my 40+ years as a T-1 diabetic I have sadly run into a number of medical morons who present themselves as professionals in diabetes management.  It is sad when I know more about the disease and management of the disease than the so called professionals.  Yes... I have fired them and engaged intelligent performing professionals to meet my expectations and to support my demands for the professional partnership I expect from my Endo/Diabetes Management team.

Do not be bashful or apologetic in your demands from the people you employ to meet your medical care expectations.

IMHO of course.

shes driving me crazy in my retirement's picture

Thanks Rags.  And yes, I should not feel bad about wanting to keep my original time slot and get it over with.  Othewise I would be waiting another 6 hours at home just building up anxiety and not being able to either eat or drink.  That would be over 24 hours without having anything including water!

I've been on this planet awhile and my take, after thnking about it is:  The rep is coming in for another case with special instruments (usually reps come in when they want to show the doc how to do something new or with new equipment IMHO).  The repmentioned lunch and the doc told OR nurse to reschedule me for after the other procedure.  Hey, no skin off his nose if I have to wait longer etc.  I believe the OR nurse (she does the schduling for the OR room) tried to cow me by telling me he was waiting for the Rep to come with special tools.  I have been all over the things about this operation, especially after the first one.  This is a standard knee replacement and if the surgeon needs special tools for it, then he is not qualified.  You should have heard how quickly he became assertive about not needing a rep when DD told him what the nurse had said.  I bet she heard about that.

If I decide to keep apt. I do have my original 7:30 time slot back.  DD said that the OR nurse did not call back, the nurse that does your intake med. called back and was as sweet as could be.

Now, my first surgery was something somewhat special as that it was a partial knee replacement and required special tools.  That didn't go too well.  He originally wanted to just go back in, scrap away the scar tissue and tighten the knee cap, as it is not lining up properly.  That sounded a lot more complex than a standard total knee replacement with no guarantees.  My GP suggested I request the complete knee replacement rather than possibly going through a 3rd surgery.

One thing I do have is my GP keeping an eye on me in this mess.  When I was having problems with pain and sleeping, he gave me some mild sleeping pills to help me get more than about 3 hours of sleep a night.  Once I started working with him on my pain, etc., I am able to get 7+ hours although I wake up stiff from sleeping in a lift chair.

Thumper's picture

When my brother was dealing with various STENT surgeries as part of TRYING to help him function through Pancreatic Cancer...I remember the last stent placement Christmas 2019 a few weeks before he passed away :(....

His surgery delayed several several hours because the REP could not arrive on time with the coil stent. The Rep was flying in special for my brother AND the rep was going to be present in the O.R. (YIKES)

That was the very first time I ever heard of such a thing...from the sound of it, it almost sound normal. What ever normal is these days.

Gosh I am sorry you are dealing with this.




shes driving me crazy in my retirement's picture

I am with you about this rep stuff.  Reps are not doctors or surgeons, they are salespeople, so to speak.  The suppllies needed for a surgery should be there the DAY BEFORE so they are ready to go.

shes driving me crazy in my retirement's picture

My GP helped me get into a different surgeon and I had my knee re-done in early June.  Knee surgery is tough, but this almost seemed easy after last time.  Not only that, but the Doc came by to see me before he left hospital for day, and checked on me while I was in (they keptme 3 days.  I was doing well, but just to make sure after the other Doc. botched it.).  Evem ,my GP stopped by to check me out and make sure things were going fine.  Though  he never said anything, as I told him originally my situation, he didn't like what he was hearing.  Especially when I complained of  sharp pins andneedle feeling in my leg and was told by the former Doc that had nothing to do with my knee implant, leaving me to just tough it out.  Can you imagine!

I was advised that it would takeme a tad longer as he went in through the original scare etc., but I am doing fine and getting my range of motin back.

shes driving me crazy in my retirement's picture

I am considering a law suit against first surgeon due to the IMMEDIATE failure of the knee - the first time they tried to get me to standon it.

I am not certain that it is malpractice, but one does expec the surgeon to do it right and he did say, and DD was there when he said it, that he should have used stronger sutures.  I was in pain for over 3 months.

shes driving me crazy in my retirement's picture

DD canceled the apointment with the first surgeon on Monday  telling him that we, me and the family, had lost confidence in him over the original situation and outcome and the wanting to change things at the last minute with rep, etc.  Told office that she had  no confidence if a rep was going to do it or not.

IMHO the rep probably wanted to be there to see what was going on in my know.....big co. watching out for themselves, etc.  I never even knew a rep was going to be at my first surgery.  

Winterglow's picture

Thanks for the update. I'm relieved that you went for a different doc and I am glad your GP got involved. IMHO, you should absolutely go after the first surgeon.. even if only to avoid him being so sloppy with another patient. 

Hope your new knee is settling in nicely! 

hereiam's picture

So glad you went to a different surgeon. Always follow your gut on these things and do what you feel is best for YOU.

I would definitely talk to a lawyer. You have a valid issue with that first surgery and should not have had to go through another painful surgery.