Note: Two updates have been made to this post since it was first published!
So yesterday, I explain that I was slightly annoyed and a bit frustrated. And anyone who knows me, knows that I'm not one to openly come out in public with a swear word. But this morning I am PISSED!
So I finally got to talk to a doctor this morning who had seen some results of my tests. He understood my concern as to why I didn't want to sign off on the surgery. This doctor was very nice, as nice as the first two doctors that I've seen. What did this doctor say different than the other two doctors? NOTHING!!! I found it interesting that this third doctor drew me some diagrams to help explain what he was talking about with bile duct blockage.
Of course I'd already researched all of these things on a half a dozen medical sites on the net. What else am I supposed to do with days in bed with a computer hooked up to the internet?
So when this doctor explained that what they would like to do, would be to have an ERCP to clear any debris from the the bile duct prior to surgery so that they could simply go in and remove the gallbladder, I asked him why I was never scheduled for an ERCP when both prior doctors had told me that was their plan all along.
He told me…. “I guess with so many doctors involved things must have got confused.” THIS PISSES ME OFF! I've been in this hospital since Saturday! I've not eaten anything since Friday at 7pm. Unless you include the four Italian ices that I've had the past two days.
Yesterday, my doctor told me that I was supposed to be scheduled for an ERCP TODAY and I WAS TOLD that they would try to schedule my surgery to remove my gallbladder in the afternoon. If not, my surgery for the gallbladder would be tomorrow (Wednesday).
So the doctor today confirmed my suspicion that today's scheduled surgery without having an ERCP was an oversight! A PRETTY DARN BIG ONE IF YOU ASK ME! Seeing as how an obstruction in the bile duct left untreated could cause pancreatitis and could even be fatal.
So guess who IS NOT scheduled for surgery today? That's right! Me! NO SURGERY TODAY!
The doctor then told me that it is likely that the GI doctors would simply come in and “talk to me” today. He further told me that they would likely schedule the ERCP tomorrow (Wednesday) and then the surgery to remove my gallbladder either THURSDAY OR FRIDAY!
Sure, I understand my health is more important than anything. Sure I understand I'm just supposed to hang in here. Sure I know that it's just a good thing that I'm here and that this didn't happen when I'm in Vegas. Sure I understand how blessed that this happened at the first of the year and not at the end of December or my deductible of $3,000 would be due twice! Sure I know all these things.
BUT I'm STILL PISSED!
I recognize this post is COMPLETELY OUT OF CHARACTER for me! Many of your are likely shocked to read that I've even written a post such as this. No I'm not on any medications for pain while writing. I'm just really upset that I'm adding a minimum of an additional two days into this month before I can get back to doing something to earn money for my family and to pay the bills for the business and the family that I was going to do this past Saturday.
Just very upset at the incompetent care that I've been given to this point. I could sugar coat it and put a positive spin on it and I could try to be more encouraging and inspiring. However, like everyone else, there are times that I simply get angry and this is one of those times.
1st Update 1/6/09 11:00am
Melinda Wrote: I can’t imagine that in your frustration and anger you treated your doctor in a disrespectful manner. i.e. calling him names, cursing at him, punching him in the face, etc. You are simply voicing your understandable frustration with this situation.
You are correct. In the midst of how I feel about the situation (I'm still angry), I've been nothing but respectful to my doctors and to my nurse staff.
The head of the nurse department nurse came in about 30 minutes ago and asked how things were going. Talk about Bad timing on her part. Again, I was extremely respectful to her and even said that the nurse staff had treated me rather well since I've been here.
I explained to her what had happened. She read all the doctor's reports and it appears that it was my doctor from yesterday that made this oversight. You may recall that I told you that even she told me that she'd get the results of the MRCP and would likely schedule me for an ERCP in the morning and if possible, a laproscopic surgery to remove the gallbladder right after if possible. If not, the surgery would likely be Wednesday.
Seeing as how my laproscopic procedure was scheduled as late as 2:30pm, it seems to me that she simply “FORGOT” to do the write up for the ERCP.
I asked this head of the nurse department if there was anyone in this hospital who could hear about what had happened to me to see if we can get them to expedite my consult and possibly get me into the schedule this afternoon for the ERCP seeing how this was an oversight.
She's doing what she can to see if this is possible. Until I hear back on whether my ERCP is definitely happening or not happening today, I can't even have the clear liquids that I had the past two days. I'll keep you posted!
Someone send me a direct message on Twitter saying:
I am praying for you and your family. I am glad you knew to NOT sign the surgery release, I would have no idea to do that! God IS in control.
Indeed, God is in control. I'm very thankful that He gave me the wisdom to ask these questions, to take control of the situation, and to not trust people who consider me to be a complete stranger with my overall well being.
If anything, I hope this serves as a reminder to folks that if you have medical issues, you should take special care to be as involved as possible with what is being done with your care. Nobody out there is going to care more about you than you do for yourself.
One side note that I didn't mention earlier.. Last night, I told my 2nd shift nurse I was not going to sign the form for the surgery. You could tell that she'd never been refused before. She said, “are you sure you don't want to just sign the form, we can still call for the doctor to come see you in the morning.” I said “No” very respectfully. I explained that my surgery was late enough in the day that they would have time to see me in the morning, have me sign the form and then do the paperwork.
2nd Update 1/6/09 12:10pm
Just when I thought things couldn't get worse, they got worse, then better, then worse again. Let me explain.
So the nurse from my GI doctor's office (I've seen him for GERD in the past) came in and saw me. She explained that my GI doctor does not do ERCP's but that they had contacted a doctor that does do them. She explained that she left a message for this doctor and that he should call back immediately.
She went on to tell me about the fact that my MRCP results showed no blockage in the common bile duct, however they did see some debris in the cystic duct that could be cause for concern. She explained that out of the endoscopy procedures they do, this is the only one where they warn of possible death. She continued to say a lot of scary things about the fact that the scope used has a camera on the side instead of at the tip which means that the doctor is going down sort of blind until he gets where he needs to go. Said that it is possible that there could be tearing of tissue, bleeding, infection, pancreatitis, hepatitis, etc, etc, etc…
Lovely right? Yeah, she said possible death! (This is where it got even worse!)
So after the fun pep talk. She checked her voice mail. She actually let me listen to the whole thing after she listened to it. Turns out that this doctor, who's supposedly the best at this surgery, says that from the two imaging tests, there did not seem to be anything in the common bile duct. He said that the report shows some “stuff” (Can't remember the medical names) in the cystic duct but the results are underwhelming at best for a stone. His feeling was that I probably passed the stone. He said they should go ahead and do the gallbladder surgery and that they could do (something medical with a baloon) to test for blockage in the cystic duct while in there and if there was an issue, he could do an MRCP on the cystic duct after the fact, but he didn't feel that there was any reason to put me through the RISK OF THIS SURGERY with what he has seen.
(That is when it got even better) This was the FIRST TIME I'd had a DOCTOR talk to me about the actual MRCP test results. And well, heck, it wasn't even TO ME. It was on a voice mail to a nurse. But I understood what the guy was saying. He was saying that he felt that I was pretty much okay in that area based on the test results and that laproscopic gallbladder surgery is the best option in his opinion.
So this nurse from my GI Doctor's office went to go and see if they could get me back in for my scheduled surgery at 2:30pm today. She came in about twenty minutes later and told me that she spoke to this Male surgeon that came in and saw me today. She told me that he told her to tell the GI Doctor that he is certain that there is an issue with my common bile duct and to schedule the MRCP.
Now, up to this point EVERYONE who had seen my test results told me there was nothing wrong with my COMMON bile duct. So did the nurse misspeak? Doesn't matter, I'm told this doctor that left that voice mail will be the one doing the MRCP and that he will be in to see me. From what I understand, his visit will be today and that they are currently trying to get me in for an MRCP today.
So now I'm going in for what is a super risky procedure that they tell you has all these possible issues, including death. Of course I shared this with Stephanie and I don't think she wanted to hear that. Things are pretty rough at home with the kids worried about dad. Stephanie is worried about me. And I'm sitting here all alone dealing with this crap on an empty stomach.
I'm going to stop for now and go spend some time in prayer.
—- I take that back. As soon as I hit save, a lady came in to draw blood. Because of how uptight I am, not veins were to be found. She poked me twice with a needle and then resorted to a finger stick. Man what a lousy day. My spirit is crashing.
3rd Update 1/6/09 1:26pm
Linda G. posted a comment on Facebook:
“I dont understand why they cannot do a Cholangiogram (sp) while they are removing your gall bladder? Thats where they look into & flush out all the bile ducts while they are in there. That's what they should do, then there will be no need for an ERCP before or after the surgery.”
This is exactly what the doctor on the voice mail said that he suggested. When comes in, you can bet that I'll be asking about that and whether or not his advice had been voiced to the doctor. Is it too much to ask these two doctors to speak to each other?
Anyway… I reached out to my wife and explained that I was feeling alone here. She's getting some help from those in our church so that she can come and be with me. I hate to make her go through these extra steps, but I really feel like having her here will help me calm down just a little.
Still no word from the doctor.
4th Update 1/6/09
I'm feeling a lot more at ease that I was during my last update. I've now seen the GI doctor I spoke of above. He and I had a good long talk about the procedure and his feelings about whether or not it was needed. His feelings are that on his scale, he doesn't think the results of the tests warrant the ERCP procedure. However, at the same time, he said, while there are some serious risks involved, he doesn't feel as though he'd be doing the procedure for nothing. There is stuff he could do to clear out anything in the duct once in there that would help protect from things happening in the future.
When it was all said and done. I'm on this doctor's side saying that it is likely that I don't need this procedure and he was going to try to talk the other doctor out of it. However, at the same time, he said that if the other surgeon insists on the ERCP, he'll do it as long as I don't object. He said that either way, he's scheduling the ERCP procedure tomorrow morning as it is easier to cancel a procedure than to make an appointment for one.
He said he should hear from the surgeon tonight and he'd let me know whether or not I'm going to be doing the ERCP. Out of any of the doctors I've seen so far, I trust this doctor. He made me feel calm and he spoke to me as though I was a human and not a number. That felt good. I told him that I would go through with the ERCP procedure “if HE felt I needed it” after talking with the surgeon.
So that's where I am. Now that I look back. I'm wondering if the doctor that I saw yesterday actually overlooked anything at all. I'm wondering if she saw the results of the two tests and decided the ERCP simply wasn't needed and that's why she only scheduled the gallbladder removal. And well, I would have been cool with that, I just wanted them to tell me that's what happened today.
But when they through this third surgeon from that same office, I think he may have been busy today, called to come talk to me, and simply told me what I wanted to hear. In a way, I'm wondering if anything I shared about how the prior two doctors didn't mention this “3rd option” of not worrying about blockage caused him to simply have a strong stance on making sure that I got the ERCP that he then “maybe PERCEIVED that I definitely wanted to happen.”
This has all been so much to take in really.
I hated to bother Stephanie as I know all this has been hard on her. I sent her a message after my last update and told her that I was really upset. This was before the “good doctor” came to visit me. I was in tears when I sent it. Since then, Stephanie came to visit with me, my real dad came to visit with me, and Jeremy L came to visit with me. Overall, I'm feeling a whole lot better about the ERCP “IF I HAVE TO HAVE IT.” I'm sure that I have enough people praying that the possible side effect of “death” won't occur! Okay, so even if you don't believe in God, please just do me a favor this one time… Please just pray… “Hey Guy, Girl, or Whatever up there that I don't believe in… in the slight off chance that I'm wrong and you do exist, please help Cliff through this risky procedure if he has to have it.” -LOL
That's all for now. I'm exhausted!
Oh, and hungry!
And hey… If you are having a surgery that “may cause death,” should you get to choose your last meal?
So obviously, you can tell people have been praying for me and my spirit's are back up!
Final Update 1/6/09
The GI doctor called me back as promised. He said that we are definitely a go for the ERCP tomorrow morning at 7:30am. I really trust this doctor and I told him that if he felt that it was the right thing to do, then I would do it. I told him if he didn't think it was the right thing to do, to tell me and I would not do it.
Obviously I don't know the conversation between the GI Doctor and the Surgeon. I just know the result is that I understand what the procedure is and that after the conversation, the GI doctor feels that doing to the procedure is in my best interest in his opinion.
If you're up that early, please say some prayers for a very successful procedure. Please also pray that while they have me under, that they change my IV at that time. It should be easier for them to stick me when I'm not awake. At least I would hope. After the ERCP, then I hope they will be able to get me right in to get my galbladder out. If not, I may have to wait another day to get that scheduled.
Folks, I must admit that I have a bit of anxiety about the procedure in the morning. However, I have a faith in a God who knows the plans He has for me.
I love my wife and my children!