|Bill, Kathy and Nathan|
So with our family complete, my thoughts turned to what we could do to celebrate. There are a couple of "issues" that need to be considered. Bill tells me he is not interested in doing anything that requires much walking. I was surprised because we went to D.C. less than two years ago, and he walked everywhere. He told me it was different now. We went to New Jersey last spring, and he let me know that it was difficult.
He gets three or four colds a year, and when he does, they are life-threatening. His doctor suspected pneumonia with his last cold, but the X-rays showed his lungs were very congested, but no pneumonia. Bill will be 80 years-old on May 6th, and he has let me know repeatedly that his personal goal is to "make it" until then.
As his spouse, I don't know how to plan. Almost two years ago, his cardiologist ordered up several tests. We were then called in and told, among other things, that he had three blocked arteries. They advised us that they would not recommend surgery as they thought that any surgical intervention would leave Bill in worse shape than he currently was. Bill continued to ride his bike on the bike trail and meet with friends over coffee and/or lunch. He tinkered with his multiple hobbies. Things were as good as could be expected.
Three weeks ago, Bill was experiencing extreme back pain. We went to the Emergency Room at U.C. and spent the entire night there. It was a snowy night and the hospital was understaffed. After a few tests, Bill was diagnosed with polymyalgia rheumatica, a condition he's had before that is usually treated with prednisone and anti-inflammatories. It ended up being a misdiagnosis as the ER doc had misread the SED rate -- that's another story. They gave him an injection of dilaudid which took the edge off, and home we went.
Three days later, we were in the ER at Christ Hospital. We've always known that Bill has an extremely bad back, but due to his cardiac history, he had been told to wait until he couldn't stand it. Now is that time. They ordered an MRI for the next day and we were able to get an appointment with one of the Joint and Spine Center doctors for the following afternoon. The MRI showed that his back was in far worse shape than we thought and that he needed surgery. Now for the conundrum. BILL CAN'T HAVE SURGERY! When we met with the doctor, she told us that she didn't think she would be able to find a surgeon willing to take the risk.
Three days later we were back at Christ again because of Bill's fears that his "back problem" had now extended down his left leg and throughout his groin area. This is not an unexpected symptom, and the doctor ordered an ultrasound, blood and urine test. They ended up giving him an injection of a heavy-duty anti-inflammatory, with the hope that it would "get him through" to his follow-up appointment scheduled for next Monday.
So here is my question: What do either of us do in light of what looks like "the end of the road?" How many second opinions do we want to get? Do we dare plan a trip? How can we get a doctor to level with us? Do we want a doctor to level with us? What does Bill want vs. what I might want? I think we will just have to play out our hand because, unfortunately, the answer doesn't seem to be on google.Thoughts?.
Bill and I have both tried to follow the philosophy of Theodore Roosevelt who once said, "Do what you can with what you have where you are."
I pray for God's guidance.