I’ve been trying for about 8 months now to get the VA to pony up for total knee replacement surgery for my left knee. As I may have mentioned, I have no cartilage remaining in my left knee, and I’m walking bone on bone on that knee, and because I have no cartilage, the action of walking is causing the two leg bones to gradually chew ligaments in two. As you might suppose, this makes my knee hurt, especially when I’m standing or walking on it. Which is bad enough, except I’m allergic to opiates, which would be morphine, Demerol, Darvon, fentanyl, hydrocodone, codeine, Tramadol, i.e., all the good stuff. Add to that, I’m on Plavix, so I can’t take acetaminophen, and I’m already taking all the aspirin I can, which is the 81 mg you take for your heart. That leaves ibuprofen, which does diddly-squat.
Tried the injections. Knew they wouldn’t work and they didn’t. Tried physical therapy, knew it wouldn’t work, and it didn’t. But, because bureaucracy, you have to try all those things so you can prove to them that surgery is the only viable option. It would be bad enough if I was dealing with an insurance company bureaucracy, but I’m dealing with the VA, which is umpteen orders of magnitude worse because it’s a government bureaucracy. And, as I have said, repeatedly, dealing with the VA is like pushing a rope.
We had the surgery scheduled for May 10 (yes, that’s this Friday). Because my previous Secondary Authorization Request (SAR) had expired, the doc’s office had to get a new one, which they applied for on April 22. It was (FINALLY!) approved Friday and I didn’t find out about it until this afternoon, and then only because I called. I was supposed to preregister with the hospital by April 26, but I couldn’t because the SAR has the billing account number, and I was waiting for the VA to approve it. So, tomorrow I have to got get registered, get paperwork to my cardiologist, get my preop lab work done, and then I’ve got to clean house, buy groceries, do wash, and all those other housekeeping things, because knee surgery Friday . . . .
But, wait! There’s more. The orthopedists office hasn’t submitted a SAR for aftercare! And they don’t know that until they get the message I just left for them!
The only available caregiver I have is my 95-year-old mother (and she doesn’t live with me). I’m going to have to go to some sort of extended care facility until I can get around on my own, and I’m going to have to be able to negotiate one step up and one step down, because the duplex I live in has that death trap from the 1970’s called a “sunken living room” between the front door and the entire rest of the stupid house. (Yes, it is a ginormous pain in the posterior, not to mention the knee. . .)
At the moment, I’m taking this one hour at a time. Now, I’ve got to go fix me some supper and settle down to logistics and tactics and the 9 gillion things I need to get done between now and Friday morning.
For the last four or five months, I’ve been pretty much house bound. I do a lot of sitting and knitting, sitting and watching TV, and sitting and reading (which activities have been reflected in the paucity of blog posts lately). Doing housework is a chore. Shopping groceries is a chore. Going anywhere is a chore. Some days, going from my bedroom to the kitchen is a chore. I’m hoping so much that once I’ve recovered from the surgery, I’ll be able to go places and do things again, like go to Pearland (south of Houston) with my mom in October to visit the friends and relations who live in that neck of the woods. Or go to Capitan, NM to visit my cousin. Or go out with friends. There’s this nice park about two blocks from my house . . .
Anyway, stay tuned. Life is about to get ever so much more interesting, frustrating and painful.