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Surgery Day Has Been Canceled

Jesse chowingToday was my last-ditch appointment with my ENT before my scheduled pre-op on Tuesday. To say things went great would be the understatement of 2011. I’d like to celebrate with another one of those Pink’s hot dogs.

He started off by asking me how my symptoms have been and I had to admit that, though I have a headache nearly every day still, they are not debilitating like they were before Christmas. It’s definitely controllable with my Ultram and I’m very able to function with that, even more so than I was with Vicodin, as that at least made me a bit sleepy and has a distinctly more narcotic effect. He reminded me that the surgery he had scheduled was going to have a “prolonged recovery” compared to the one in January, too.

So, up my nose he went (after numbing, of course) to take a closer look at how things had been since I got the PARI Sinus (note I didn’t say SinusStar) and vancomycin to see how that took care of my infection. Last time, he immediately mentioned a polyp. This time, he went in both sides twice with no mention, so I asked, “how’s the polyp look?” “I don’t see one,” he replied. He checked his dictation notes from my last visit and saw the mention of a polyp, but let me know it was gone!

He kept saying how great things looked, too. I had quite a bit of crusting, and the smell burst forth as he dislodged one. Both sides were pretty crusty, even by my standards, but he insisted that my tissue was looking much healthier and he wasn’t at all enthusiastic about operating on me in this condition.

We decided then and there to cancel surgery and keep me on a 3-week on, 3-week off schedule of vancomycin and go back in a month to see if things have improved even more.

In an effort to shame Tampa General Hospital (TGH), they have instituted a campus-wide “no free valet parking” for patients. What was once a pleasure to be treated with such respect as a patient who was often there 2, 3, 4 times per month, we now have the privilege of being charged $5 to use valet or $3 to park in the garage and walk to the building through the hot, muggy Florida air. Thanks a lot, suits. You suck. Needless to say, the valet did not get a tip from me, as they usually do.

To Operate or Not to Operate? THAT Is the Question

Nasal polypWe’ve both been eagerly anticipating my sinus appointment today for a couple of weeks now. It’s been almost 7 weeks since my last appointment with Dr. Tabor when we scheduled my surgery for June 13th. I’ve been on vancomycin for over a month using the pulsating Pari Sinus machine that precious few people have. On a side note, that device is a dream, and I’ll be writing up something about it very soon.

We scheduled the visit today to determine if the abx were working enough to avoid major surgery. He’s not entirely certain that operating will relieve my headaches, but is “willing to give it a try.” I have to chuckle at that as a services professional myself. Of course, it will help some, but it might not be an all-in-one relief. I know what he means, which is why I am willing to go for it, but not if we see clear improvement with meds.

Interesting phenonmenon

Then something interesting happened when I was in Chicago for 4 days: I didn’t have a single headache, at least until the last morning… but that may have a pretty traceable cause. I was talking to Sue one day after I got back and told her about that strange lack of head pain and she immediately said, “allergies.” There seems to be enough of a reason to believe that our location here in piney, grassy North Tampa has been causing my extreme headaches due to allergies. We will soon see if that theory holds true as we head to So Cal on Tuesday for a week. If I don’t have any headaches for a week, we’ll have to figure out an allergy-related cure to my pain.

Back to the appointment. Yesterday morning while I was still doing my treatments, I got a call from a blocked number. It was the doctor’s office saying that won’t be in clinic [today] and will take my pre-op appointment on the first Tuesday in June as a appointment before sending me over for labs for surgery. First, I was really, really mad that after weeks of waiting, he tells me the day before my last chance to get sucked out before vacation that I can’t see him. I called the scheduling nurse and left a message to call me back if I could be seen Friday or Monday after his surgery time.

She called back in the afternoon, but I was on a call with a client, so Beautiful took the call for me (Thanks, Babe! Having you around is awesome!) and told me that he had already left down for a family emergency and would be back in time for surgery Monday, but would be operating all day. Alright, at least it was an emergency, so now I don’t feel bad about it, because I was fuming earlier that I could have gone any day this week or last week and been better off. We were even debating calling Dr. Seper to see if I could slip in for a sucking since it wasn’t really my decision to switch doctors as much as it was clinic’s choice to work with a doctor out of their hospital. I don’t think it’s necessary, given how much work I have to do before we leave, but maybe Monday would be a good shot in the dark.

So, all of that said and done, we are thinking we should call scheduling and cancel the surgery because we were supposed to have an opportunity to inspect my progress on abx. If we decide I still need to go under the Black and Decker, then we can do it as soon as he has an opening because I don’t have any travel plans for the rest of summer.

What would you do in my situation?

Just As Things Go Up, They Also Go Down

ThermometerMost of you know that starting on February 1st, Beautiful started working from home with me. Things were really tight because February absolutely sucked on the income front. We had to take out of savings to pay our obligations and I was feeling like a one-income failure, mainly because January rocked so hard that I was sure we could do this on one income.


March started out okay, but just okay. Beautiful was still quite concerned about how it was going to work because it wasn’t going to just be enough to make our bills for the month, we also needed to put money back into savings. We had a $3,000 hospital bill  (for our annual out-of-pocket max) from my surgery to pay and both taxes for 2010 and our 1st quarter estimated taxes were looming. This is why a $1,000 emergency fund is laughable for us – we really need to be on top of things to not sink, and she does an absolutely fabulous job keeping us afloat. She is succeeding where I failed for many years. She is my better half.

We started getting testy with each other because we were both stressing out, and I was beginning to consider her working part-time to create a buffer just to reduce the stress, even if we didn’t need the money from here on out. I was really torn because her allergies would make most jobs so difficult, she’d be more tired because just the housework is a fair amount of labor, and all of that would be risking having the same thing: a stressed and cranky wife. It would be a method of last resort.

After our 2nd or 3rd week of having a tense lunch, we finally worked it all out. The issue for me was that she was bringing it up at almost every meal. Sometimes we were spending precious work time just endlessly discussing our situation and never doing anything to improve it. That is a big red flag to anyone who is doing it. Stop it and start looking for ways to actually make things better. Here is how we did it.

[Read more…]

Can’t Get No Satisfaction

No Satisfaction

Where's my satisfaction?

Sometimes my life feels like the song: Can’t Get No Satisfaction. Friday is yet another landmark day for us in our adventures with my newly troublesome sinuses. It’s beginning to look like my long honeymoon without surgery has come crashing completely down since October. I have a follow-up with my ENT Friday after lunch to decide if we need to be more aggressive with his reconstruction of my head.

The scoop

One of the most annoying things for the last year or more is the constant smell in my nose. It varies between smelling like a wet dog and soggy Corn Chex, depending on the infection of the month. Far, far worse are my headaches, even though they aren’t as persistent as the smell is. Every morning is a new day with a ton of gunk in my eyes, a completely stuffed nose, and that smell.

I take a lot of CF in stride, but this is getting on my last nerves. How many times can I tell clients [Read more…]