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THE PULSE - Your source for survival, skills, and more from Rocky Mountain Editor Steve Howe

They Have Rebuilt Him

A report from Steve's hospital room

          Steve Howe? Steve Austin? Coincidence? 

Guest blogger Jennifer Howe here, giving the peeps an update. For his hip surgery, Steve chose a surgeon that practices in Boise, Idaho, a short 600-mile drive each way from Torrey town. On the evening before we were to leave, at 5:45 pm, the surgeon’s nurse Renee called to say that the health insurance provider, Regence Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Utah, had still not approved the surgery - in spite of approving all their own premium increases in an extremely timely manner over the years, and in spite of the fact that the pre-approval process had begun in October. The next morning, as we were due to begin driving north, for surgery the following morning, Steve learned that the claim had been denied. He got on the phone and began appealing the denial.

To make a long story short, Renee advised us to begin driving, with the hope that Dr. Colin Poole would be able to convince them of the need for surgery while were enroute to the hospital. We had been in the car four hours when we got a cell phone call that the procedure had finally been approved.  Unfortunately, we were in the middle of nowhere with 4 hours to go and no place to celebrate. Nonetheless, it was a huge relief.

Wednesday morning, as Steve was lying in the pre-op area dreaming, as he had been for months, about having general anesthesia instead of a spinal, the anesthesiologist walked in to describe the procedure for a spinal. So much for counting backwards from 100 and only getting to 96 like he wanted to do, but he took it like a man, or as I like to call him, a Bob. 

The last thing he remembers was staring at the white ceiling tiles and wondering when the anesthesia was going to kick in. A couple of hours later, staring at roughly the same ceiling, with a brand new hip, he heard a voice say, “You’re in the recovery room.” Steve sends his compliments to the nurse anesthetist!

The surgery took a little longer than expected, but then finally Dr. Poole came in to tell me everything had gone well. He said the only thing that presented a problem was cutting through the enormous muscle mass that is Steve’s thigh, which also allows him to leap well over 30 feet horizontally.

So now “Bob” is enjoying hospital food, great nurses, and his catheter – which he thinks is the greatest invention ever – perfect for drinking beer during football season. The nurses are changing his dressing right now, and he has about an 8-inch scar, clearly ending his days as an ass model.

As a 28-year career nurse, I would like to give a shout-out to Intermountain Orthopedics and St. Luke’s Hospital in Boise.  The coordination, competence and caring has been nothing short of spectacular. A special shout-out to Dr. Colin Poole, an extremely qualified, personable physician who, as Steve says, is “eerily dapper and cheery at 5:30 am.” He had the technology, and he has rebuilt him. Bob will be better, stronger, faster.  

After this experience, I can say that America does indeed have the best health care in the world. Unfortunately the one thing standing between a patient and that health care is a thing called the insurance industry.  Something is desperately wrong when nearly $800/month for health insurance, paid for years, does not give a person peace of mind. If only a patient’s health and well-being were given the same priority as bonuses for insurance agency CEO’s, there would be no need for health care reform. But that is not the case. Stay healthy. -- Jen “Nurse Betty” Howe


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Mar 03, 2010

Erik says that the good nurse should lay off the health insurance industry. Although she spun out of control with the exec. compensation bomb, Nurse Betty has a real, legit beef with a company she pays into to the tune of $10,000 per year. Who are you to tell her to lay off?

The system certainly needs an overhaul, but not the kind being proposed. Nurse Betty is in total la-la land if she thinks a program run by the government would gladly pay for this expensive procedure. And with them she would have little recourse when they balked.

The Arctic Brotherhood
Mar 02, 2010

Great guest blogging by Nurse Betty! The Brotherhood wishes "Brother Steve" a speedy recovery. Please tell us he doesn't have to sit for a 600 mile drive back. Ouch!

Erik Walter
Mar 02, 2010

Glad you are doing well but let's lay off the health insurance industry. For the most part, despite what you have read, your premium dollar is used for direct healthcare costs and not for insurance industry executive compensation. The cost of your health insurance is directly related to the cost of healthcare which includes the cost your healthcare providers charged for their services and the use of their facilities. A gain, glad to hear he is doing well but this is not an appropriate forum to offhandedly disparage an industry you seem to know little about.

J Dorn
Mar 01, 2010

Betty the Blogger just gave Bob a serious run for his money. And she makes the best challah bread French toast on the planet. I think The Pulse might need to get in touch with its feminine side more often. Maybe a weekly He Said, She Said?

Super glad to hear it went well, and that Steve's ass mass is finally getting the notoriety it deserves.

Steve Howe
Feb 27, 2010

Dear Kat,
Try not to worry. Anticipation, for me, was far worse than the surgery or recovery has been. I'm already back home, and (since I apparently have an allergy to hydrocodone) am already off pain killers 3.5 days after surgery. Recovery, thus far, has hurt far less than a typical day with what Dr. Poole described as a "destroyed" hip joint. Good luck! But you shouldn't need it. Relief is on the way.

Peter Rives
Feb 26, 2010

Happy trails, brother. Good work, Betty.

Feb 26, 2010

Glad to see all went well. Hope you have a speedy recovery.

Feb 26, 2010

Glad to see all went well. Hope you have a speedy recovery.

Kat Watson
Feb 26, 2010

Hi Steve,
Happy to hear all went well and I look forward to updates on your progress. I am scheduled for the very same procedure in three days---Monday, March 1st, by surgeon Philip Schmitt at Huron Valley Sinaii Hospital in Michigan. Very nervous but MOST anxious to be rid of the pain and back on my feet (I, too, am a young(ish) athlete unwillingly sidelined by my left hip). Best of wishes to you and please keep your blogs coming...I will be looking to you for inspiration!

Feb 25, 2010

All the best thoughts and prayers for a quick recovery!

Bob Palin
Feb 25, 2010

"Nurse Betty" is not quite accurate, for a week now she has caused concern among her Facebook friends, and terrified "Bob", by using Nurse Ratched as her profile picture.

Recover quickly Steve, you may need to run...

Bob Palin
Feb 25, 2010

"Nurse Betty" is not quite accurate, for a week now she has caused concern among her Facebook friends, and terrified "Bob", by using Nurse Ratched as her profile picture.

Recover quickly Steve, you may need to run...

Julie Trevelyan
Feb 25, 2010

Freaking hilarious. Nurse Betty, have you considered a second career in writing?

Glad to hear it all. :)

Dan Nelson
Feb 25, 2010

Best wishes for a fast recovery, Steve. Hope to get out off a trail with you again soon.


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