They Have Rebuilt Him

A report from Steve's hospital room

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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