broken bones

A nice vacation turned bad recently for my step-mom, Velma.

After traveling around the American southwest, visiting family and seeing places like the Grand Canyon and Meteor Crater, Dad and Velma were spending a little time in San Antonio with my cousin Eric and his wife Lesvia.

While there, Velma tripped, caught her arm on a table and crashed to the tile floor. She was in excruciating pain so she got an ambulance ride to the hospital. X-rays found the shoulder broken in 3 places, 2 across the ball and one across the bone just under the ball. None of the breaks were displaced, which is good, but they had to fly back to Florida rather than drive.

Then the drama really started. Doctor "A" needed a referral from Doctor "B", who refused to provide the referral without a report from the hospital in San Antonio.

You really don't want to give my father the run-around. He is sharp as a tack and, although he projects an easy-going persona, can smell bullshit a mile away and will call you on it: clearly and mercilessly. Needless to say, he managed to secure an appointment with another orthopedist. It was determined that surgery was necessary.

The hospital where the procedure was to be performed also happened to be the first one my late mother visited six years ago, before it had been determined that she had ovarian cancer. The way she was treated there can only be described as outrageous malpractice.

This time, when my father learned that the doctor who would be admitting Velma was the same "piece of shit" (in Dad's words) who had misdiagnosed my mother's cancer as cirrhosis of the liver, he told the surgeon that he would not allow that doctor to have anything to do with Velma's case and made it clear that the "shithead" was not to be allowed anywhere near her. The surgeon agreed to respect my father's wishes.

Today they performed the surgery. Once inside, they found that the bones were in such bad shape that a complete shoulder joint replacement was in order. She will never regain the full range of motion she once had, but her recovery time should be shorter. As an added benefit, it is unlikely that an artificial joint will develop arthritis.

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