Monday, January 11, 2010

Varicocele Post-Surgery *Story*

As most bloggers do, I use this space to keep track of our treatment history.  This is what happened last week:

Last weekend (Jan 2-3rd), DH had swelling and pain in *the boys*.  We decided that I would call the urologist's office on Monday (they were closed for the holiday Thurs-Sun) and find out if we should be concerned and if the doc wanted to see him.  On Monday, Jan 4th, I forgot to take the doc's # w/ me so I looked it up online...just a general search.  The 1st # I found was busy...I tried a few times and it was still I started clicking on other web pages to see if there was another # or something....thought maybe I got the fax # or a different line (other than the main #) or whatever.

Well, one page I clicked on was an editorial about the doctor.  Of course, I started reading and my heart dropped.  It talked about these numerous malpractice suits he has had over his 25 yrs in practice, how his license was revoked in another state and how he was on probation here but a big named hospital stepped up to 'fight' for him (which I think he is now affiliated with - haven't got that figured out yet).  Needless to say, I was FREAKED OUT.  All I could think was WTF?

Then, I finally get through to the doc's office and find out he is on vacay until the 18th.  I tell them about DH's condition and ask about our options.  She said we could go to his primary doc, call this other urologist and see if they would see him (which happens to be urologist #1) or go the ER.

I talked to DH and he was hurting much more by then....he didn't want to go to doc #1 and we thought it was stupid to go to primary doc because he hasn't been involved in any of this. So, we opted for the ER. DH had to be at work the entire day to get holiday pay, so he stuck it out...

We go to the ER after work....they were great, got him in w/in 15 minutes and went straight to an eval room (skipped the triage, thank God!).  The nurse took all of the info and asked questions.  She gave him an iv w/ pain meds, took b/w and urine sample.  The ER doc came in and asked more questions and said he was sending him for u/s and then a urologist would come and talk to us and let us know what's going on.

Finally, we went to radiology and he had the u/s.  The tech was nice - young guy - mid-20's.  He talked through taking the pics and asked lots of questions.  He asked which side the varicocele was on and DH told him left.  I asked if he could see the repair?  He did not answer me.  (DH told me later the tech he made a face - his back was to me).  The tech went on asking about something else.  Then, he took pics of DH's groin area and made a comment about the location of the incision....we asked is that normal?  He said that he assists another urologist in surgery and he has never seen it that high. (Now, granted, he is young and docs have different approaches....yada, yada....but what??).   He leaves for a bit to go talk to the radiologist to see if the pics are 'good enough'.  While he was out of the room, we talked about it and decided we would push to get more answers about what he thinks he he comes back and DH asks him if he could see the repair on the u/s?  He says, "Well, I am not supposed to say anything, but I like you.  It looks to me as if it is still there."  Can you say emotional?  I about lost it..... We asked, what do you mean?  He said that it looks like there is still a back up of blood or maybe there is another?  We were so shocked, we were speechless.....

Fast forward an hour or 2 later.....the ER doc comes in and tells us the b/w and urine look great, white and red counts no concern w/ infection.  He tells us that a urologist reviewed the u/s and 'things look fine', it just appears that things are settling from the surgery and that DH needs to take it easy for a few more days.  I asked if the urologist is coming to talk to us?  The ER doc said, no, he looked at the u/s and thinks it's okay...that they are going to check in w/ our doc's on-call doc and will be back....  I said, "he is on vacay remember - there is not an on-call person".....the ER doc was snotty, like "he has to have one, everyone does, don't worry - we'll find out." He comes back about 20min later and says "Well, it is very odd and not the norm, but he doesn't have anyone on-call for him. I double checked w/ the urologist here and we're going to give you a pain med and motrin for the inflammation."

We are such skeptics now which does not help....but there are a few things we found odd. First, the list of malpractice suits against this doc (we've done more research the past few days), that the tech said he thought he saw a varicocele, that the tech thought the incision was higher than usual, that a urologist was supposed to come and talk to us and then (after the u/s) does not, that the ER doc's attitude changed drastically.  It just made us leery of really what did they see? what did they think? I surely, SURELY hope and pray that if there was anything life threatening, they would have spoke up.  I wonder if they would tell us if otherwise, if something was 'botched' in some way.

DH took the rest of the week off of work to heal and recoup.  Today, he called and is feeling much better.  We are still unsure of our next step.  We talked last night about requesting copies of the u/s pre/post-surgery and going to another urologist for yet a 3rd opinion.  I am worried though that another urologist will not want to "get involved" especially if he knows this doc's litigation record.

Why are things ALWAYS so difficult for us????  Not the way I had envisioned starting the new year!  Blah!


  1. OMG. That's insane. I hope your DH feels better. I would definitely get copies of everything and see another urologist!!!!

    I hope the rest of the new year goes well.

  2. I would definitely get copies and get a 3rd opinion. There is so much in that story that would worry me. I'm sure if it was something life-threatening, they would immediately tell you BUT it doesn't sound as if things were done properly or according to standards and that worries me. Can you research another urologist and try to get an appointment as soon as possible? This is such a pain and I'm sorry you are both dealing with it!

  3. Holy are you kidding me?! Seriously, I would be fuming at this point. Can you find a new urologist in a surrounding area? I think a little travel would be worth it at this point for at least another opinion and likely a new urologist. I'm so sorry you are going through this and hope that not only are you able to get it figured out soon, but that your hubby is feeling better too!

  4. I'm so sorry you have to deal with all this, and like everyone else is saying sounds like its time to jump ship as far as the urologist goes! That is just SO frustrating. I'm glad your hubby is doing better though!

  5. That's awful. I'm sorry you and DH had to deal with this. It is frightening how we are supposed to put our trust and faith in the medical profession and there are these one off awful practitioners that just seem to take advantage. If your gut tells you something isn't right, I would definitely request copies of your records and get another opinion. With something this important, a second or third opinion wouldn't be out of place.

  6. Ugghh! So sorry to hear about this realllly frustrating experience! We have varicocele issues, too, and--big surprise--trouble with the urologist too. My husband went to see his urologist first back in October 2008, and the urologist recommended the varicocelectomy. He had the procedure, but his pain, swelling and appearance never really changed. Also, his incision took a VERY long time to heal. After more than six months and no improvement, he went back to the urologist who kind of shrugged his shoulders and said that my husband should give it "more time." My husband was not satisfied with this, so he asked about other measures. The urologist referred my husband to an Interventional Radiologist, who discussed varicocele embolization instead. And yes, the varicocle was STILL there--not the least bit repaired. The embolization procedure was MUCH less invasive and the recovery time was significantly less, too. Basically the IR inserted little coils into the vein leading to the varicocele, which divert the blood away. We were much more satisfied with this experience and we really wonder why the embolization wasn't offered first, since it is such a lesser procedure.

    Anyway, neither procedure helped with sperm count for us. :( Heartbreaking, really. After both procedures (and a 90 way for total sperm regeneration) my husband's last SA showed about 6 million total count, 2 million concentration, 20% motility. Grrrrr....

    My fingers are crossed that your hubby feels better soon and that the varicocelectomy is a total success! Good luck!

  7. I just found your blog through another. Oh my goodness!!! How terrible! I hope that everything really is ok and the tech just made a mistake. Also hoping your husband is feeling much better!

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