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First of all, for my medically curious friends, I have the test reports back from Dr. Cheatum, my rheumatologist. I’ve posted them on this site and you can just click the link at the top of the page called “test results”. I didn’t want to take up room in the main blog or bore the non-interested readers with the nitty-gritty details. It appears that every joint except maybe my right elbow has some type of arthritic involvement. Yuk. At least we’re doing something to slow down the progression of the disease.

On the surgery front, I’m scheduled for the hip replacement on Monday, August 18 at Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas. I go in at 8:30 am and the surgery is scheduled for 10:30 am. I’ll be in the hospital for three or four days, probably getting out on Thursday. The good news is that the hospital has Wi-Fi. While I don’t expect to get any work done, at least I’ll feel like I’m still connected to the world.

I do expect to start working again, at least part time, from home by the following Monday, August 25. However, I won’t be able to drive for four to six weeks — especially since it’s my right hip that’s being replaced. Dr. Tucker said I could probably go back to the office for part of the day about week four if Jack would drive me there and back. I’ll probably be stir crazy by then. I’ll have some home therapists that come to the house and help me with exercise and check on my progress while I’m home. I’ll also have to give myself injections of blood thinners, since blood clots are a hazard of hip surgery. I’ve never given myself an injection before and I can’t say that I’m looking forward to learning.  The injections are once a day for two weeks, so I ought to be an old pro by the time I’m done with them.

I also have to stop taking my Methotrexate for a while before and after the surgery. I’ve negotiated Dr. Tucker down from two weeks to 10 days. I have to call Dr. Cheatum’s office and see when they want to see me again given this turn of events. It will be an interesting conversation. Dr. Tucker says he and Dr. Cheatum disagree on whether you really have to stop the treatment. But since methotrexate can compromise the immune system, I’ll all for being cautious.

I’m also going to donate two units of my own blood. Dr. Tucker says that in my otherwise healthy physical condition the chances of my needing a transfusion are very, very slim. However, if there is any chance at all, I want my own blood. I need to do the first donation next week and then one two weeks later, to allow some time before surgery to build up my reserves again.

In the mean time, I’ve been accumulating the necessary accessories I’ll need for home recovery — like my walker and “reachy things” that help me pick up things without bending or stretching.

There are some neat calculator tools accessible through the hospital website. It says the average stay for hip replacement is 4.7 days at an average cost of over $11K per day. Fortunately it appears that my insurance will cover most of it and I’ve already met almost all of my deductible. Dr. Tucker’s not in network, but he’s promised to make me a deal based on what the insurance would allow if he was.

That brings us up to date. I take my second dose of Methotrexate tomorrow, so hopefully I continue to NOT have any side effects.

I’ll continue to update as we move forward toward surgery and as I continue my drug therapy for the rheumatoid arthritis.

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