Tuesday, September 30, 2003

... and it's only Tuesday

Well, I was short on time in the first post of the day, and you are about to understand why.......

Yesterday, prior to my going to Oklahoma City for a doctor's appointment and the tests, when I was getting ready, my pager was constantly doing the 'vibrate alarm dance' on my desk. Every time I would check it, it was to notify me that one of our campus servers had decided to takes it's own "fall break" or that one of the technicians had brought it returned it to service. When checking the message on the last pager message of the morning, I was floored with the message of "(co-worker's name) passed away on Sunday. Contact the office for further information" WHAT?!? I just saw him last week! It was a known fact that he had a heart condition, but he had just completed an angioplasty (the balloons and stints in the arteries) on Thursday of last week. But he was supposed to have been fine. MB: you will be missed :-(

Forward to Tuesday morning. I realize the voice mail message I (thought I) left for my boss and co-workers, advising them I was going to be out Monday morning due to a very bad headache, didn't make it through the system. CRUD! Then when going through the email from the previous weekend and Monday, I find that I have been invited to a Re-organization meeting. Oh Great, what now?

Re-Org meeting: Turns out, my team, which I have taken a few years to build, into a very cohesive, productive, highly respected team has been split due to the re-org. Three of my team are going to an co-manager I have been working with, however, my right-hand man gets to stay with me. Without getting into our support structure here at the university, I am now in charge of second level technical support for the university. In that respect, I ended up OK as a result of the re-org.

... and it's only Tuesday
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Not official, but.... (short post)

Completed the tests yesterday afternoon (had a 4:00 PM appointment). While I haven't received the official report from the doctor or the specialist tasked with reading the results, the technician running the tests advised everything looked fine. Blood flow and oxygen saturation were all within normal limits. As a result, we should have no problems proceeding with a below knee.

(I won't officially know this until the Oct 8th appointment though :-)
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Friday, September 26, 2003

Office Managers are so cool!

Well, called the office manager and calmly advised her of the situation. She told me she would call me back within 30 minutes.

29 minutes later, my phone rings. Guess who? Yep, the nice office manager. She got on the phone with the manager of the testing area to find out what all appointments were available, then contacted her staff to determine what had happened in my case. Turns out, the testing area had a 4pm appointment available on the Monday I requested. However, since my tests would have gone into 'over-time' for the technician(s) involved, Person1 decided to take the next available (much like at a restaurant). Well, the nice office manager called the testing area manager back and explained the 'confusion' over the past week. The manager approved over-time for the technician(s) involved with my testing.

Needless to say, the office manager asked me to be there as quickly as possible after my previously scheduled appointment, so the tests can start as early as possible. I may have that amputation this year after all!

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Well, I just got off the phone with Person1 (had to call her!). After waiting on hold for approximately 10 minutes, Person1 comes on the phone and tells me she just got off the phone with the testing group (hum, wonder why she just called them?). First available appointment is the following Monday, Oct 06. As a result, I may have to move my Oct 08 appointment with Dr. Ertl back another week, so he can get the test results. Earlier in the week I was advised it takes 3-5 days to get the tests results to the doctor, now they are telling me that they can be obtained in 24 hours. If Dr. Ertl didn't have the reputation he does, I would have serious doubts about this organization.

Time to call an office manager!

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I hope it isn't always this hard!

I spoke with Dr. Ertl on Friday (19 Sept) at 1:30pm, and he advised me to schedule a tcpO2, venous doppler and arterial doppler tests, in preparation for my upcoming amputation. He then transferred me to Person1 (name withheld to protect the guilty). She advised that she would get with the group responsible for the tests and call me back. I told her I would be in OKC on Monday, 29 Sept, and would like to get the testing done on that day. Also stating, it might be Monday before I hear back from them.

Monday comes and goes, with no word from Person1.
Tuesday rolls around, and I finally decide to call and check on the appointments. Well, Person1 isn't available, as she has been in training sessions Monday-Wednesday of that week. However, they will pass the information on to Person2 and she should get back with me.
Wednesday: At 11am I call and am told that Person2 has received the message, but needs to confirm the request for test from Dr. Ertl. I call back later that afternoon, and Person2 tells me that Person1 will be back in the office on Thursday, and that Person1 can resolve the issue then. (are you seeing any ongoing theme here?)
Thursday: called and spoke with Person1. She hasn't heard back from the area responsible for the testing. however, she advises she will get back with me this afternoon, if she hears from them. At 4:45, I call to talk with Person1 again, but get the lovely recording advising the office closed at 4:30. ARGH!
Friday:8:55am - called and spoke with Person1 again. Still no word from testing area, but she promises to get on the phone with them as soon as she get through with the item she is dealing with at the current time.

At this rate, I expect to have my amputation in early 2005!

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Monday, September 22, 2003

Research, research, research....

Well, I have been spending most of my lunch and coffee breaks researching prosthetics and the like. I have found nothing but good to great (a little OSU humor there) about Dr Ertl and the Ertl procedure. That part of the equation appears to be quite easy to deal with, other parts are starting to make me think a lot. It's not that I am confused as to whether the procedure should be done, I know that it is needed. I haven't been able to determine where I am at, mentally speaking.

I should be hearing back from Dr. Etrl's office sometime today (or tomorrow) about the scheduling for my pre-surgical tests. There are three to be done: TCPO2, Venus Doppler & Arterial Doppler. These tests are to determine how much oxygen is being delivered to my leg in the blood system, and how much damage I may have in the veins and arteries (after I find out more specifics, I'll let you know). Dr. Ertl advises he normally only has these test run on older patients and those with bad cases of diabetes (and, I guess, those who have had massive amounts of reconstruction between the knee and toes).

Back to the research.... I think I am just confusing myself a little more each day, since I really don't know how the whole "leg building" process is going to work. When I see the odd shapes of the feet that are out there, I have no idea as to how I am supposed to put them inside shoes. I guess that is why I have Jonathan, to show me how to use what he builds for me. It sends a chill up my spine when I think about the possibility of getting to go for a walk again with Renee. A trip around Boomer Lake sounds really nice, right about now. That normally takes about an hour, at a slow pace, and while I don;t talk much during the walk, I miss that time with her. Having Sarah and Hope with us also sounds good.

Hey, I don't plan on using blogspot to much for commercials, however: If you haven't checked out LAUNCHcast by Yahoo yet, you need to do so. LAUNCHcast allows you to 'build' your own internet radio station, around the artist/genres you like. Also involved is the ability to rate songs/albums/artists so that they get the weight value you desire. You can also indicate which artists you never want to hear again. Drawback: LAUNCHcast throws some weird songs/artists out once in a while, but I just blacklist them when I see them.
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Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Well, I guess it's official now....

I had an eventful Monday, in the way of doctor visits.

(Note: remind me to tell you about my accident on June 25, 2001 and all the happenings since then. My wife Renee keeps telling me I need to write a book, I guess I could start the manuscript here)

Back to Monday.
The day started off by dropping off my girls (13 & 3) at Renee's friend's house.

Then off to see Dr. K. I have been seeing Dr. K for about a year, as a result of excruciating pain in the ankle (as a result of the accident briefly mentioned above). In December, 2002, after a few office visits, Dr. K performed a surgery consisting of hardware removal, ankle fusion and local bone graft. To make a long story short, that surgery didn’t help, and I had to have an additional surgery to get the hardware from December removed. Dr. K wanted an MRI to attempt to locate the cause of the pain. An MRI was done last week, and Monday was my ‘review the MRI findings’ day.
Bad news: Dr. K, and others, are unable to determine the medical reason for the pain, and advises he has nothing further available to him to assist me. A couple of months back, I had mentioned to him that I had even thought about amputation, as a possible resolution. Dr K advised that my options now were either pain management via narcotics and/or continue discussions with Dr. Ertl (my amputation specialist – more to follow).

Following a relaxing lunch at Panera Bread, it was off to see the pain management specialist, Dr. S.

Dr. S spend a good deal of time inquiring as to how my current medication was working for me. After Renee and I explained our observations (and observations from friends), he decided it was time to change medications. He explained that the stuff I was currently taking was actually, gram for gram, stronger than morphine. However, the stuff he wanted to put me on was actually stronger than that. So strong in fact, that instead of being measured in milligrams, it is actually measured in micrograms. Also, it is dispensed via a 72 hour patch. The only kicker: I would have to stop taking my current medication when I put the patch on, even though it takes approx. 48-72 hours for the patch medication to kick in. (that was a miserable 2.5 days, in regards to the ankle pain). I have a two week supply of the patches, and have to return in two weeks for a follow-up review, before I get any more patches.

I have placed a call into Dr. Ertl’s office to determine what steps we need to take (no pun intended) in order to get the ultimate surgery scheduled. In a previous appointment, Dr. Ertl had mentioned the need for several tests to determine the actual health of my leg, prior to an amputation.

I will provide more information in the future, as well as explain the difference between using Dr. K & Dr. S naming convention, but then naming Dr. Ertl's actual name. I will aslo explain the June 25, 2001 day as some point.

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Sunday, September 07, 2003

How I got started...

Well, I thought I would share the site of the guy that got me into 'blogging'. While mine will never be as interesting as his, I hope you will continue to read mine after visiting his:
The Internet Ate My Homework
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Enought playing with this thing

Well, I had to see exactly how the BlogThis! button on the Google bar worked. Seems pretty straight forward.

This is a page I like to read on a daily basis, even to the fact of having it as one of my Avantgo custom links:
Comedian Argus Hamilton

Well, I have played with this template enough for now. Guess it is time to head off to bed. night-night!
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Initial Post (just set this thing up)

Well, I just set this thing up. This has been a long week, remind me to tell you about it some time.
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