I had my consultation with the surgeon Tuesday at good ol’ Florida Orthopaedic Institute. Well, that is what was supposed to happen. But, alas, it did not.
NEGATIVE POST WARNING! Back away now if you are needing some fruity, sparkly unicorns to brighten your day.
So let’s review. I was supposed to see Dr. James Billys (whose name and photo bring to mind a troll and he would probably do a great job on Once Upon A Time, but I digress…) who happens to specialize in iFuse SI joint fusion surgery. I received a call Tuesday morning saying he would be out of the office for a meeting but a different surgeon would be able to meet with me. A meeting. Okay, not a great first impression, but whatevs.
Let’s not forget that I had to take most of the afternoon off for this appointment.
So I arrive at the Brandon, FL office which is conveniently located and upon entering the building, I knew this was going to be an adventure in keeping my mouth shut. It was nearly standing-room only and I felt like I had just walked into a nursing home where they forget the patients in the hallways for ages until they either drown in their own overflowing diapers or die from bedsores amidst annoying Morgan and Morgan commercials on the overly-loud televisions. It really wasn’t that bad but that’s where my mind went. I suppose I should’ve known that it would’ve mostly been elderly gentlepeople but I simply was not prepared. I felt out of place and kind of sad…is this how we all end up? I should hope not. Some of these precious people seemed so forgotten and this was clearly their only outing for the week, according to their half-attentive hired caregivers who were more interested in their phones than their elderly employers. Selfie, anyone?
Next, we meet the front office staff. I’m not sure where they hired some of these people. Let’s just say English is not their first language but they obviously know no other languages so I had to turn on the urban app on my phone to understand them. And don’t assume I am being racial because that is not the case whatsoever. This Urban Speak knew no racial boundaries. If you want to see the word “bae” in action, go to the Brandon office.
I do have to say I was impressed that the lady got my ID cards through the scanner with such long, neon ballerina nails. I admit I admired her nimble abilities…and that she could afford such a manicure. I hid my natural stumps behind my wallet.
Paid, sat down. I got up to use the restroom. It smelled worse than a Walmart bathroom. Literally like a days-old diaper pail. I gagged. It was filthy, disgusting, and I felt like the inside of my skin was contaminated a la Contagion-style. When I got out, I was called for an x-ray. Awesome! Let’s get this show on the road.
No. No, this was a walk down the long hallway to an even smaller waiting room full of really creepy-looking people with weird boots, crutches, slings, and casts. I don’t like being in small spaces with people I don’t know, who want to talk. I’m a very outgoing person, but sometimes I just want to scroll-veg through my phone. These people wanted to talk. Compare injury stories and surgery stories. Considering that I looked extremely normal and I was still dressed in work clothes, I stuck out like a sore thumb (hah!).
Quick x-ray. Back to main waiting room. For two more hours. *finger to head in gun-motion* I watched a lot of demotion Flip-or-Flop type shows. I can tell you how to rip out your kitchen and replace with all new hardware, cabinetry, and marble while coming in under budget and cleaning up unexpected leaks and cockroach infestations. I. am. qualified.
As almost everyone was called in for their appointment or wheeled out to their transport back to whatever “home” (why do they call them that, every single person leaving was obviously dreading it…), I was finally called back to a room. I had to pee again, so I used another bathroom real quick. Just as disgusting as the first. Seriously?
So the second surgeon never comes in, I get the joy of having my first-time patient/surgery consultation with the Nurse practitioner. Whatever…I took the whole afternoon off, we’re just going to do this thing and move on with our lives. She obviously knew her stuff. She managed to put in a mini-lecture about how addicts need to maintain themselves like diabetics after I told her I don’t go to “groups” anymore, and I really didn’t feel the need to correct her misconception of what the nature of addiction actually is (spiritual). At this point in my recovery, I’ve learned that it’s just not worth it. I don’t always have to explain myself.
She did some nice maneuvering of my legs, one which caught my SI joint and threw the firey darts of hell itself through my back and pelvis, at which point I refrained from punching her. She doesn’t know how lucky she is, oh nurse practitioner of my heart! Finally, she sat back and said the next step to find out if I’m a good candidate for surgery is to do a procedure in the hospital where they put me under and inject a special chemical into the joint. If I even have one hour of pain relief, then I’m a good candidate for the surgery.
I’m okay with this. I’m actually relieved that they’re not just going to throw me into the operating room without some kind of “gold standard” diagnostic test. This will give me something to evaluate and think about with real evidence instead of “guesses.” We scheduled me for next Wednesday. Unfortunately, they will not let me go back to work afterwards that day since it’s a surgery and I’ll be all kinds of loopyhead. I guess making recruiting decisions is not a good idea?
I made a follow-up appointment with the surgeon to discuss the results and I will go armed with a list of specific questions. I also discussed how awful that office is and both she and the assistant wholeheartedly agreed and told me never to go to the Brandon office, that the Sun City Center and Tampa offices were not only cleaner and more modern, but they were much faster due to more room availability.
I appreciated their honesty and after chatting it up with other people who have been, this seems to be the consensus. I still believe the surgeons know what they’re doing, although their office needs some help. I am still evaluating this. My one hope is my church friend who is walking around like a happy fairy and you can’t even tell that she has a fused SI joint. I hope for that relief.
They refilled my prescriptions (which I hope to come off of post-surgery!). I let her know that anything stronger than Tramadol is not in my best interest unless it’s for right after surgery, so she gave me some samples of gentle meds. Goffy don’t play with fire.
So I left. What a miserable office! But I did leave with hope. There is hope. I guess we’ll find out Wednesday if I’m a good candidate for iFuse or not…I think I’ll be happy either way. It’s the not-knowing that is so frustrating. I’m so sick of the doctor run-around. Just. fix. it. already.
Morale of the story…only go to Brandon office if you’re looking to volunteer for clean up “doodie.”
P.S. Jesus, I’m totally cool with receiving my healing any moment now and we can skip this whole thing altogether! :) Please?