Nobody plans a hip replacement for February 14th, right? But that appointment time turned out to be my unexpected Valentine’s Day gift this year. How did this happen?

My story begins with a previous appointment to undergo surgery on January 4th. I had requested an early morning operation time, but ended up scheduled for 5:30 pm. No thank you!

How is a patient assigned the last surgery of the day when she specifically requested the morning? Is there no compassion at all? How I long for the Marcus Welby days when doctors were kind and listened to their patients. Or did that only happen on TV?

Remembering that my friend who was scheduled at 9:00 am ended up with surgery at midnight (with the same doctor at the same hospital), I called the doctor’s office determined to reschedule.

Instead, my surgery got cancelled at the last minute. This was gut-wrenching for me. I realize that hospitals are in business to maximize operating rooms to make a profit, but there should at least be a happy medium between doctors as dictators and overly demanding patients.

“The doctor has cancelled your surgery,” his assistant informed me 24 hours before I was due at the hospital. “He doesn’t want to operate on someone with such a negative attitude.”

“But nobody would want to wait till 5:30 pm and not eat or drink, especially since I have hypoglycemia and get headaches.” I was angry. “Please can’t we just go ahead?”

“I’m sorry, no!”

My husband and I each sent the doctor emails to no avail.  Later that day, the hospital called to tell me my surgery was now scheduled for 4:30 pm.  What did that mean? I thought the doctor had cancelled me.

At 8:00 am the next morning, my husband got a text from the doctor’s assistant: Are you coming? Then came a follow up phone call to my husband. Evidently, the assistant was told not to deal with the crazy wife. Hello, I’m the patient and it’s MY decision!

No way was I having an angry surgeon cut me open.  Nor did I want anything to do with a doctor who had zero compassion for me—a patient who’d undergone breast cancer surgery and back surgery within the past 18 months.

Here’s where the story finally gets better. I will always wonder whether an angel was watching over me. I found a compassionate surgeon who had been highly recommended and who listened to my needs. I learned that my new surgeon planned to do an anterior surgery (through the front), rather than a posterior surgery—the only type my prior (older) surgeon performed.

The new surgeon—Dr. Eric Grossman explained that I would heal much faster with an anterior surgery and go home the same day as the operation. Instead of cutting through muscles, he would separate them. Plus, he kept his promise to operate on me in the morning.

 At 10:30 am, I had my surgery at NYU Langone Annex and went home at 2:30 pm.  If I’d had the posterior operation, I would have stayed overnight in the hospital and walked with a cane for a few weeks. Instead, only a week later I was walking without a cane. Going into my third week I was able to exercise on an elliptical machine with no resistance for 5 to 10 minutes.

Now finishing my second month of recovery, I can do almost everything. I can easily walk a mile, take public transportation, walk 2 flights of stairs, and work on upper body strength sitting down. I can even pole vault into one of those taxi minivans if necessary. Better yet, I’m back to dancing in my Zumba class. Yes, really.

Kudos to Dr. Grossman for my unexpected Valentine’s Day gift.

A happy ending after a grueling start.



Like What You're Reading?

Subscribe below to receive alerts when I publish new articles. 

You have Successfully Subscribed!