Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Note on a Friend

A friend here in New Mexico has been enduring a health crisis for months now. She's been in the hospital with a blood clot that was discovered last Friday during pre-op for a hip replacement. Needless to say, her hip replacement is on hold.

She's on Medicare and has been through the usual series of frustrations, delays, incompetence and lack of communications that have long characterized American health care, and at this point, she's just beat. She's been barely able to walk since Thanksgiving when she was hospitalized the first time with these issues. Complicating the situation with her disintegrated hip joint is sciatica in her other leg, making it almost impossible for her to sit for more than a few minutes, let alone to lie down. She wasn't treated for that until she absolutely demanded that something be done. She's been in pain and misery almost constantly.

She was looking forward to hip replacement as she at least would be able to walk again, but because of the blood clot in her leg, they couldn't do it. She'll need to be on blood thinners for at least a couple of months, then off of them for at least a month before they can do any surgery, and it may well be longer -- much longer. She said that at least in the hospital she could sleep better than she could at home.

It's a sad and aggravating situation -- for our friend most of all, but for her family and friends as well. She's not alone, thank goodness, as she has family in town and friends throughout the area, but she's lived alone and has been independent for most of her adult life, and being dependent on others as she has to be now is driving her nuts. That and the pain and the frustration and being unable to walk more than a few steps at a time.

We're helping out as we can. It isn't all that much, but it's something. We've been through this kind of thing our own selves and taking care of another, so it's not all that unfamiliar. You go into a kind of auto-response of "Oh, this is what you do, this is how you get through it, etc." It's surprising how easy it is to slip back into that routine. Or maybe it's hard-wired.

At any rate, it's taking a good deal of our time, so posting may be light for a while.

Another cliff looms...


  1. Best wishes for your friend. Lately medical care is one of my big expenses, and sometimes I wonder if the doctor's aren't padding my bill. Still I just take the medicine and do the tests, and hope for the best.

  2. Oh, I feel for your friend. Been there, and thankfully, done that. Not being able to walk more than 10 minutes without being scared of not being able to turn around and walk back home because of the pain...Yikes! And for someone who has been active, active, active my whole life both in just plain living and for work... What a game-changer. It did take seven months or so (USA! USA! USA!), from diagnosis (I thought I just had a persistent "charley-horse" from overusing an elliptical machine...NOT!) to hip surgery, but it was done. And thank dog there were no issues such as blot clots to prevent the procedure. Your poor friend. My thoughts go out to her, and hope she will be able to have that new hip. I walk 3 to 4 miles every day. Because I CAN! From the perspective of CAN'T comes kind of a zealotry when you CAN.

  3. Yup. It's a fraughtful business. Can be frightening when you're enmeshed in it, and Liz is sure bound up in a mess right now.

    She's a fighter and a survivor, though, and she's hopeful despite the frustration. Still, the next few months will be a real struggle.

    She says she can't stand to wait another three months for surgery, and I can understand how she feels. If they don't do something better about her pain, immobility and (now) depression, I'm not sure how she's going to get through it.

    All we can really do is try to cheer her up.