Grateful to be home recovering and not at a prison camp. Today the swelling has not gone down at all and it is painful. I spoke with my surgeon, and he prescribed more OxyContin. I never used narcotics and aware of the potential risks of addiction or death. I tried skipping a dose and the pain was unbearable. I don’t feel like I’m impaired mentally when I’m taking it and it does not make the pain disappear, it just makes it tolerable.
Before surgery I told the nurse I wanted to keep the femur bone removed from my body. She said she never heard of such a thing but would let my surgeon Dr. Gallagher know that I made this request. About 45 minutes later Dr. Gallagher and I spoke, and he asked me what I intended to do with it. I gave him a few sarcastic examples and then said, I’m serious I’m giving you permission to remove my femur bone but not to keep it. He stated he did not have the authority to release human body parts, because there are sterilization concerns, etc. He also said he would refer my request to the Director of The Operating Room. I replied that’s great I really appreciate your help. Mike (The OR Director) came into the pre op room to explain why I could not retain my femur. We had a great conversation and he was very professional. He explained that there are laws on body part disposal & sterilization. I made a reasonable argument that would justify what is my personal property and ended with, please do not dispose of it because this conversation will be continued. (I’m about to be knocked out and rolled into surgery) He then told me “What I can do is send this over to pathology.” They will inspect it and they are the ones who make these types of decisions. This was around 10am on Wednesday, November 29th. At around 5:30pm My surgeon came with his assistant to check on how I was recovering. I again asked if I could keep My femur bone that had my entire life and would not exist without me. He smiled and said “Dana, this went all the way to the head of Pathology for the State, located at the University of Vermont. You shook the pot.” You asked Mike (the OR Director) to show you in writing the policy on this matter. I just spoke to UMV, and I think you are getting your femur bone returned to you when you come back for your follow up visit in a few weeks.
What I learned from this experience:
- Self-advocate in every situation.
- People will listen and act if you have their attention.
- There is a path to follow before you get to the final decision maker.
- Results may differ If any person along the way did not up chain my request to the next level.
- Always be calm, polite, and friendly.
- Being able to tell my side of the story is priceless.
- It feels good to be listened to.
- There are exceptions made for exceptional people.
- There is not always a written policy to reference.
- People will assume they know the answer without doing the research.