Even Doctors Trust Their Gut

As many of you know, Grandma was supposed to have 2-4 toes amputated today. The plan was to take at least the 2 pinky toes on each foot, maybe the 4th toe as well. It’s been a long process. She’s battled infection for some time. Because of her heart condition, it isn’t necessarily advisable. Over the last couple months, it has become apparent that it is just a necessity. The risk of spread of infection is worse than the heart risk. So, we went through the approval process with her cardiologist and Medicare. Medicare approved the surgery, but not a hospital stay following. We haven’t felt comfortable with this decision. She can’t walk well under normal circumstances, she certainly won’t be able to walk well after foot surgery. But, we’ve just been praying about it and trusting that God would work it all out as intended. And, we had a plan. Should she fall coming out of surgery, she could go to rehab to help her regain her ability to walk…..

Surgery was scheduled for 12:45. We arrived at 12:15 and they took her back almost immediately. After looking her over, checking her vitals, and prepping for the surgery, the doctor called me back. Her feet were very swollen today, her vitals weren’t great, and she just didn’t look good. In addition to that, she has developed a pretty significant infection in the 2nd toe, yet the 4th toe has cleared up some on the right foot. All things considered, the doctor said his gut was just telling him today was a “No go”. I just breathed a heavy sigh of relief. I must say, Jeff and I both weren’t feeling great about today’s surgery. Again, no specific reason, just a gut feeling this wasn’t a good thing. So, we cancelled the surgery. We met for a little while and regrouped on the plan.

Grandma will see her heart failure cardiologist on Thursday for her big annual check up. This will include an echo, EKG, and stress test. Also, a pretty thorough check-in regarding her overall situation. We’ll talk to him about her bone infection, the threat to her heart and body from the infection, and the risk of surgery. Again, nothing we are doing at this point is about prolonging life, just improving quality for the time we have. Based on our visit on Thursday, we’ll have more information about making a decision to reschedule. The doctor is also submitting an approval request to medicare to take toes 2 and 5 instead of 4 and 5. I like this plan better. Toe 2 provides her no stability as it is hammer toed on top of toe 1 anyway. This will require we do each foot on separate occasions, so 2 surgeries instead of 1. But, I just feel like this is a better option for pain relief. I also feel it will help with infection as it provides space for the toes, and still removes the bones that are compromised.

I’ve learned more about toes, hearts, and healthcare systems than I ever cared to know. But, I’ve also learned that my God always provides. Today, I’m thankful our doctor’s gut was inline with mine. Which, I know to be an answer to prayer. Thank you again for lifting us up continually. One. Step. At. A. Time….

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