Second Opinions and the Tenacity of Hope

A second opinion is really just a second chance to hope. Really, do we seek these out when have already heard what we want to? My much anticipated trip to the research hospital with the impressively credentialed surgeons did not go as expected. It went worse. There’s bad news and then there is you should get your children x-ray’ed bad news.

My hips did not properly form at birth, causing hip dysplasia, which also threatens my right hip and may be present in my children. The surgeon tried to make this condition relatable, and perhaps less scary, by discussing golden retrievers. Apparently, if I were a dog, I would not be the pick of the litter. The analogy was not the doctor’s finest moment during the appointment, but it was an amusing and slightly offensive distraction, which is exactly what I needed. The physician’s assistant had entirely too kind and sympathetic eyes. At one point I told her that I needed her to look at me with cold disinterest or a scowl to keep me from crying.

Though the news was bad, it was exactly what I needed to hear to proceed on this journey to wellness. Clearly, I am not going to Kegel my way out of this. My second opinion, while devastating, was extremely informative. The experience was much different than my first visit to the doctor. The PA and doctor actually sat down and explained my x-rays to me. Prior to this appointment, I did not even see the images of my hip. They also let me know that I had cysts that needed monitoring if I delayed surgery, as if they grow, I could experience bone loss. While I left my first doctor’s appointment scared to have a replacement due to problems 25 years down the road, I left this doctor’s appointment afraid to wait to much longer.

Both doctors agreed on one point, which is that I should schedule the surgery when it keeps me from doing the activities that I love and interferes with my well-being. I am at this point and am now facing the dilemma of scheduling. When can a working mom find six weeks to recover? Scheduling the time off is causing me more stress and worry than the surgery itself.

If anyone stumbles upon this blog post and is dealing with pain and being prescribed physical therapy, demand to see an orthopedic doctor. I went through three rounds of physical therapy and numerous trips to the chiropractor and nobody properly identified and treated the cause of my pain. Instead I was told that I was sitting too much, that my hormones were loosening my ligaments, and that I should avoid gluten and other inflammatory foods. All this was delivered by healthcare professionals with the utmost confidence. That unfounded confidence is costing me my hip.

A True Mother’s Day

On Mother’s Day I wake up a half hour early so I can sneak out of bed before anyone gets the clever idea of bringing me breakfast and to have a moment of peace before I receive my sanctioned doses of gratitude. At 6:30 a.m., my son assured me that we can play games all day because mother’s day means getting to do whatever I want. We clearly have different definitions of what I “want.” However, after waking up with a timeline full of Facebook tributes to mom, I feel compelled to bring my “A” game. Also, I remain haunted by the All about Mom Questionnaire my son brought home from school.

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Number seven is a dagger to the heart. Luckily, his answering that my favorite food is salad throws the validity of form into question. I rationalize that he was probably thinking of the words he hears every morning when I drop him off to school (that’s right drop him off because I am too soft-hearted to make him ride the bus). Still, even in this context, it pushes the big flashing guilt button every working mom has.

Adding to the damning questionnaire is the history lesson of the day that Mother’s Day was created to pay homage to the great work done by women. In particular, Anna Jarvis wanted to recognize her mother Anne Reeve Jarvis, who spent her free time (a whole other concept in the 1860s) teaching women how to care for their children. Only four of her eleven children lived to be adults due to poor sanitation and lack of vaccinations at the time. She also organized “Mothers’ Friendship Day” after the Civil War, which brought together mothers and soldiers from both the Union and the Confederacy in order to “promote reconciliation.” 

I realize now that allowing my daughter to use my bath tub today was not such a large sacrifice. After all, she did bring her own bubble bath. If we learn anything about the legends of motherhood, it is that self-sacrifice is a virtue. I tried valiantly to wear the mantle through sibling spats, six-year-old male rambunctiousness (my son’s new life ambition is to be a WWE wrestler), an endless round of storytelling in a cramped indoor fort, etc. Unfortunately, I am only human.

The day ends with my daughter first “accidentally” dropping a toy in the toilet and then later an entire roll of toilet paper. For the safety of all, I explained to her that she needed to remove herself from my line of vision. The mournful sound of “It’s a hard luck life” could be heard throughout the house from behind the closed door of her bedroom.

A hallmark holiday it was not. However, it was a true mother’s day.