Well, my friends, I am back after having survived rotator cuff surgery on my right shoulder last Wednesday. I felt it unfair to you readers to try to get any posts out until I was free of the drug fog that descended upon me post-surgery. I’m sure I would have produced something like a new take on Alice In Wonderland. Believe me, I am no fan of heavy pain meds. Having had two full knee replacements only three years ago, I remember all too well the struggle I had choosing between the intense post-op bone pain and the multiple nasty side-effects of prescription strength pain medication. This time, because I had heard and witnessed how difficult rotator cuff surgery can be, I decided to just suck it up and take the pain meds for a period of time to stay ahead of the pain. This worked fine for Wednesday night and Thursday. In fact, so fine that I made the decision to take my last dose at 3:00 a.m. Friday morning. I was feeling pretty proud of myself all day Friday, with little pain and no noticeable side-effects of kicking the heavy drugs. Ha! I guess it just took a little time for the pain medication to clear my system, then Friday night, and for the next 24 hours, I was smacked with the reality of both excruciating pain and the flu-like symptoms of going cold turkey on the prescription pain killers. Fortunately, by Saturday night, the Aleve seemed to be handling the pain enough so I got some sleep and by Sunday, I started to feel human again. The withdrawal symptoms became less of an issue and I actually was able to hit the gym yesterday for a little leg work and 30 minutes on the recumbent bike.
So why am I sharing any of this with you? Well, aside from the fact that there should be something personal about a blog, the message is that we all have the ultimate responsibility for our own healthcare and the paradigm shift taking place in the industry is going to make that even more apparent in the future. Whether it’s which doctor we choose, which course of action we decide upon to deal with a health issue or even where we go for care, these decisions are ultimately ours and most people are woefully unprepared to make them. As I reported in Healthcare Angels?, there is a new healthcare model emerging which is decidedly patient-centric. The prevention and treatment of health issues are going to be handled by a team of resources assembled to produce the best outcomes and the patient is going to be in the middle of it all trying to make the right decisions.
One of the resources I would like to share with you in fulfilling your new new responsibility as an educated healthcare consumer is a website that allows you to actually watch just about any surgical procedure you may be contemplating. At www.orlive.com, I was able to learn about and actually watch two separate total knee replacements prior to my surgery, which contributed significantly to my success in rehab. Understanding exactly what took place during the surgery gave me a better perspective on the necessary healing and rehabilitation process needed to produce the best long-term outcome. For the rotator cuff surgery, I did the same thing, but this time I actually had my surgeon, Dr. Craig Foster, sitting beside me while we watched the video. Not only did I have the running commentary of the surgeon doing the procedure, but I had my own doctor there making editorial comments as they related to my particular case. It was an empowering and reassuring process for me, the patient, and I implore each and every one of you to step up, be the CEO and take responsibility for every aspect of the most important thing in your life……your health.