Friday, June 17, 2011

Surgery #4

I have another abscess, and I need more surgery.

That's the short story.

Here's the long story. Maybe I'm jaded, but miscommunication and failures really seem to be the rule (rather than the exception) of my experiences with medical personnel.

Well, after my less-than-satisfying visit with Dr. Saturday, where he denied that I had abscesses and wanted me to get tested for Crohn's again, I continued to have a fair amount of lower abdominal pain. Since I've gone through a few years of illness, I have quite a lot of intuition into when something is really wrong. I can feel that my body is having to work harder than it should; that something is not right, and the pain is getting worse. So after some encouragement from my mom, I went to see the family doc. She was quite concerned that the abscesses had recurred. So she ordered (surprise!) an MRI.

I got the MRI, and unfortunately, it showed an abscess. A new one.

I was frustrated beyond imagination. I don't understand why Dr. Saturday apparently changed his mind about getting the MRI. I am baffled that he didn't think I could have a recurrent abscess, despite the fact that I am having the exact same symptoms I had before my April surgery. Since he wouldn't listen, I had to sort of go behind his back to get the MRI that I knew I needed.

Family doc called Dr. Saturday. I got a call from family doc's nurse saying that they talked, and the surgeon said I need surgery, and he'd call me.

I didn't hear from him that day, so yesterday, I called his office. His MA (stands for Misinformation Assistant, I mean, Medical Assistant) eventually called me back. She said that Dr. Saturday wanted to try to drain the abscess in the office, and she would schedule me for that. This sounded like a horrible idea to me. I tried to get more details about how exactly he would do this (as the last two times I've had it drained, it required CT guidance to get the needle in deep enough, or general anesthesia, so I have NO idea how it would be possible to drain it in the office), but she didn't know anything at all. So she said that I should call on Friday to try to talk to Dr. Saturday.

I had some pretty obvious concerns, one being that Dr. Saturday didn't listen to me when I said something was wrong, despite my labs and symptoms pointing towards another abscess. It seems like every doctor I have listens to me initially... then after a while, they seem to stop listening. And it's not like I'm making this stuff up. My other concern was this: we can't just keep draining the abscesses every so often. We need to fix the source.

So, thankfully, Dr. Saturday called me today (I didn't even have to call!). He said he needs to see me (on Wednesday) so that we can discuss options. He said I have three choices:
1. Go to interventional Radiology (IR) and get the abscess drained with CT guidance (this was the procedure I had in September).
2. Have a repeat of the April surgery - go in, clean out the abscess, and place a drain, or,
3. Remove the part of my J pouch and (sorry, worst phrase ever) anal canal that did not get removed in August, as well as clean out the abscess. This is the more permanent solution, and his recommendation.

So... MA was greatly mistaken about an in-office procedure! ;) Much as I do NOT want another surgery of any kind, I have to agree with Dr. Saturday that option #3 is the best. If we did option 1 or 2, in a few months, the abscesses would likely re-accumulate, and we'd be right back where we started. All three of the surgeons I talked to in March suggested doing the more conservative surgery (like I had in April) first. If that did not resolve the infections collecting in my pelvis, they would recommend option #3. Please be praying for the timing of the surgery... my health insurance runs out on July 15, so I need to be out of the hospital by then, hopefully! And we all know how long I typically end up being in the hospital!

Dr. Saturday didn't have any explanation or apology or anything when I asked him why I had to go to another doctor to get the MRI done. He just laughed when I asked him about it. So frustrating! I just wish that he would actually listen to me...

Hannah ;)

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