No, we haven't been amusement park hopping and we realize it’s been a bit since we’ve updated the blog and we have a really good reason…well sort of a good reason. While we’ve really been enjoying our time in Colorado, we kept thinking we were close to having a whole story to tell….and then we didn't.....and then we got closer, but now, we’re almost at the homestretch so here goes!!
You may recall that earlier this summer, when we were in Flagstaff, Greg ended up spending a few days in the hospital with his knee. Turned out that his knee was extremely inflamed, but luckily not infected. His knee issue dates back to a childhood accident and he’s had countless surgeries throughout his life and at some point, we knew he would need to get a knee replacement, but because of the numerous prior surgeries, it’s not just a typical knee replacement. And we also knew it would take a special doctor to tackle the project. After the Flagstaff stint, there was no more delaying it; it was time to start exploring options for a replacement sooner rather than later! And well, since we “have wheels (along with a nationwide PPO) and will travel” we explored several location options—Philly, Phoenix, Dallas, Denver, San Antonio, Austin--to see if we could find a doctor that we felt had the experience and background to tackle project.
Knowing the doctor to do this was one who was cutting edge and who has seen some traumatic injuries and was an expert in complex joint revision, and after doing a ton of online research and reading lots and lots of doctor profiles, swiping left, swiping right, we finally landed on a doctor with a profile that we really liked and who checked all the boxes. Yes, it did feel a little like we were looking for that perfect “match”, and I guess we were. While the process was a little tedious, it led us to Dr. Hugate, who was in Denver at the Colorado Limb Institute. Check!
It seems anytime you deal with doctors, medical issues, insurance, etc., it gets complicated, and of course this was no exception. After reaching out to Colorado Limb in late June to get an appointment with Dr. Hugate we discovered that he was in the process of changing practices and after contacting the new practice—Panorama Orthopedic—we learned that he wasn’t starting there until mid-August. Ugh! Do we wait or start over? We ultimately decided to wait as we felt we put in a lot of research to get to that point, and felt confident with our initial decision. We contacted Panorama, and were put on the “list” of initial patients to get into see Dr. Hugate, but waited most of the month of July to hear when the appointment would be. Eventually we got the call and got scheduled to see the doctor on August 23. Check!!
Now the other complicating factor for us is that, because of the solar business, our route is pretty well scripted out for us for the year. But the stars aligned and in anticipation of what we hoped to be pending surgery, we were able to rearrange things and get the installs that were on the calendar moved up and around. (Thanks to our customers for being so flexible!) Things were lining up! Check!
So, finally the initial appointment happened and like we both had hoped, we really liked Dr. Hugate. He understood everything that had been done to Greg’s leg, even knew the doctor who had done the original bone graft 40 years ago, and he felt comfortable with the knee replacement. Yay! But, before proceeding, a blood test was ordered to make sure there wasn’t any dormant infection and the doctor wanted Greg to see a plastic surgeon. Before we left the office, we had booked an appointment with the plastic surgeon the following week and then went immediately to the local Quest office for the blood drain. Things were moving right along. Check!
Feeling confident in our progress, we then explored a few RV parks in the Denver area and because there are so few parks that do monthly rentals, and many of them are booked, we put down a (non refundable) deposit at--what was the best park we could find--for four weeks. We were optimistic with our check in date—mid September--but the park did say that they would work with us if it got delayed. Check!
Next up was the appointment with the plastic surgeon and then one more with the orthopedic, and then a surgery date. Home stretch! Things were really coming together and we were really feeling like this was meant to be. Until.
Well, until the appointment with the plastic surgeon happened. He wasn’t as uplifting and encouraging as the orthopedic doctor. Quite the contrary. After the appointment we had with him, we had all but written off the surgery. There’s a lot of scar tissue and if there were any complications with the surgery, Greg has already used Plan A, and there’s really not a great Plan B. To say we were both deflated would be an understatement. This was a Monday and our follow up with Dr. Hugate was three days later.
In those three days, we talked through many options, and for the most part had all but written off the possibility of Greg’s knee replacement. Plus, time was ticking and our window was closing. We even kicked around ideas where we would go with the block of time we cleared out in anticipation of surgery that now, looked like it wasn't going to happen. Bummed, we went to the orthopedic appointment fully prepared for what we knew the doctor was going to tell us, that the surgery was too risky and he wasn’t going to do it.
But…..to our surprise, Dr. Hugate greeted us with, “I still feel confident in moving forward.” We could tell that he had given a lot of thought to Greg's knee, had spoken in detail with the plastic surgeon and had some revisions to his original plan, but still gave it pretty good odds of success—80/20 (which is better than 50/50 that the last doctor Greg spoke to gave it). Wow, didn’t see that one coming!! So the surgery was back on and the roller coaster was climbing back up!! Next up, a couple more appointments and a surgery date. Check!
So at this point, Greg just wrapped up what is hopefully his last two appointments before surgery earlier today--his pre-op clearance and a MR angiography--and we await surgery, which is scheduled for October 3rd. Depending on how the angiography turns out, there is a possiblity that he may need to have one more test, which we should know within the next day or so, and should be easy to schedule. Check!!
We’ve juggled our schedule a bit more, canceled all of our campground reservations until November, sadly canceled the balloon fiesta and are fortunate to be hanging with our friends David and Sharon while we wait. The only hurdle left to conquer is the insurance, which of course there is a glitch with since the doctor recently changed practices. Fingers crossed it gets worked out before surgery (if anyone out there works for Anthem/Blue Cross of Colorado, we need a favor!!!) Almost check!!
While all this was going on, we did manage to do some traveling and have some fun…..which we’ll highlight in our next blog post where will be back to more pictures than words! For relatively healthy people, between the two of us, we will have managed to have more surgeries in the past few years of full timing than we have had in the last 20!!
As always, we appreciate you following along and will definitely be grateful for any positive vibes you can send this way on October 3rd!! And, if you happen to be in the Denver area, give us a shout!! We’ll be sitting still for a bit and most likely will be getting a little twitchy!!!