I phoned the surgeon again December 11, 2018 and due to having to go for metal allergy testing my surgery was CANCELLED. This was an unexpected setback which could have totally been avoided if I had been asked this question at the start of this journey. To say I was upset is putting it mildly. It was 3 weeks until surgery and it was cancelled.

The surgeon’s office was to get back to me about the allergy testing but after one week I decided to call them to push this. The sooner things get  moving then the sooner I can get another date for surgery. Finally on December 18th, 2018 I was given a specialist name and phone number for a Toronto hospital.

I phoned the hospital and a date was set up for a consultation. For allergy testing you have to go for a consultation first and then it proceeds like this. Monday for test patches on. Wednesday for test patches off. Following Monday for results. My consultation day was set for January 7th 2019.

As I am struggling to drive because of my hip locking up, it was not possible for me to drive for 40 minutes to the city. I decided I would have to take public transport and use a bus and subway. Luckily the hospital I was going to is only one block away from the subway stop.

Allergy testing

January 7, 2019

I went to the hospital for a consultation for allergy testing. After a 90 minute journey on public transport I was glad to get there and get this started. The specialist asked me about my metal allergies and explained that skin testing is not always foolproof because sometimes what the skin reacts to, inside the body may be OK with it and vice versa. However it is the only way to test. Also the fact I have had a lifetime allergy to cheap metal jewellery, bra hooks, jean studs etc means that they need to avoid nickel, irrespective of the test results.

When the specialist asked me when my surgery date was, only to discover it had been cancelled, she talked to the technician about fitting me in ASAP.

Exceptionally, they decided they would fit me in that day and then it would speed things up. I was very appreciative of this and also the fact it meant one less trip to the city. The technician loaded drops of several different substances onto squares which were then taped to my back. I was not allowed to get my back wet for a week until the patches came off. Of course I could still wash my body but I used dry shampoo instead of hair washing, in order to ensure my back didn’t get wet.

January 9, 2019

I went down to the city 2 days after having the patches on, in order to have them removed. The past 2 days were uncomfortable and very itchy. Also it was taped on with medical tape which in itself was uncomfortable and really tight. The relief of the patches being removed was good, and in order to keep track of what the test squares were, the technician wrote all over my back with a pen. I spent the next 5 days trying desperately not to scratch. I had 2 patches that were very itchy and uncomfortable.

When I got home from the hospital testing I decided to call the surgeon’s office to make an appointment for the results. I could not get an appointment until February 13, 2019 which was 5 weeks away. The best thing I did this day was to insist that the receptionist make an appointment for surgery. She was very reluctant to do so and suggested that I could schedule it when I saw the surgeon. That was when I insisted that I did not want to wait another 5 weeks and wanted a date setting for surgery. Reluctantly she “pencilled” me in for April 1, 2019.

January 14, 2019

Today I returned for the allergy test results. It was confirmed I was allergic to nickel. I had not shown any allergies to anything else. Apparently they test for allergy to bone cement in case it was to be used for my hip replacement. I was told they so a double test, so the 2 sets of patches on my back were identical and different strengths. This explained why one side of my back was far more itchy than the other.

The specialist then told me that they would give me titanium. I would have thought titanium was used in most cases but at this stage I had not been told what was to be used.

Now it was a long 5 weeks wait until I had the appointment with the surgeon. During this time on January 22, 2019 I had a doctor appointment to ask for a prescription for more painkillers. It was at this visit that I was told to take 2 Tramadol at a time and to take them every 4 hours if needed.  I was told not to wait until I was in pain and not to worry about taking 2 every 4 hours. As much as I don’t like taking too many tablets, the pain I was experiencing was worse than the thought of taking the painkillers.