“Who am I anyway? Am I my resume?” These are lyrics from the opening number of the musical A Chorus Line. Last Friday I had a consultation with a surgeon. I wanted him to know who I was . Who I was. Not just my medical resume. My medical resume is this: the number of birthdays I have celebrated and my considerable and rather interesting medical history.
If you follow this blog you may know I had a bit of a medical adventure at the end of August that involved a long weekend in hospital. I shall leave a link to the blog post I wrote about it at the end of this post. The medical staff did a great job for me in the hospital and were responding to a rather dramatic episode in the ER. Fair enough. But here’s the thing. They saw my medical history before they saw me.
I saw my GP a week later and he noticed from my hospital report that no ultrasound had been done. He said he wanted one done. He suspected I had experienced a biliary colic. A colic! Just like a horse. This human colic happens when a gallstone gets stuck at the exit point of the gall bladder.
Long story short I have gallstones. I was referred to see the surgeon to discuss surgery to remove my gall bladder. What were my concerns?
- Now that I had a diagnosis of gall stones it would be a pre-existing condition and I would be unable to get travel insurance for the USA and my winter season of training and competition in Florida.
- If I had the surgery how long would I have to be off riding and would that impact my training with Biasini?
- How could I convince this surgeon that riding a horse and training and working with him was my passion in life. It is not that I am brave, it is that horses and riding have got me through 5 major surgeries, cancer, auto-immune disease, and hip replacements.
- How could I get him to see me, ME, and not see a senior citizen tottering gently toward old age.
I decided to take two 5×7 photos of Biasini and me competing last winter at the Global Dressage Festival in Wellington Florida.
After we shook hands I placed them on the surgeon’s desk. “I don’t want to take up too much of your time,” I said.” But it is important for me that you know that this is my passion in life and this is who I am.” He looked at the photos and broke into a huge smile. “You are an equestrian. A dressage rider. What is your horse’s name?”
And so we went on from there. He drew diagrams and explained why gall stones cause gall bladder attacks, what would be involved in the surgery to remove my gall bladder and that he usually advised people to take a week off work after the surgery.
“But for this,” he said and tapped one of the photos,” for this it will be six weeks.”
My surgery is booked for November 15. My pre-op visit is next week. I am not looking forward to it. But I will get to Florida, I will get back to riding and I will be able to train over the winter.
Today I took Biasini out to the grass field and did a few gallops around the loop trial in the forest and gave thanks for all my blessings.
Here is a link to my post about the visit to the ER and my weekend in hospital and how my Oakcrest Farm family helped me through at a critical moment.