Shoulder surgery postponed

Recently I have been writing a lot about my shoulder and the surgery it requires.

I was supposed to have that surgery Wednesday at 6 p.m. in Great Bend at Great Bend Regional Hospital. Dr. L.T. Fleske, M.D., of the Central Kansas Orthapedic Group was to perform the surgery.

Well, guess what? It didn’t happen.

I arrived at the hospital at 4:45 p.m. to check in, as I was told to do. I quickly filled out the paperwork and sat down to wait to be taken to the surgery preparation room.

When a woman came out to the lobby wearing scrubs. She was a Physicians Assistant. I figured she was looking for me, and I was right, though the reasoning wasn’t as I anticipated.

She told me that a surgery that was supposed to take an hour and turned into a four-hour ordeal, and that after that one, there were still two ahead of me, which would put me on the operating table close to midnight.

Speaking for Dr. Fleske, she said it would be best if we rescheduled.

My mother and father were there with me, and my father became angry. As did I.

We had every right. We had rented a hotel room Tuesday night so we could be in town because Dr. Fleske’s office told me to make myself available all day in case I could get in early. What a joke.

So my family and I spent the entire day in Great Bend for nothing. Sure, we helped the local economy by doing some shopping, but the day benefited us none.

The worst part was I wasn’t allowed to eat or drink anything after midnight Tuesday. I spent the entire day Wednesday craving food and drink. By the end of the day, I had a headache that was horrible.

My father and I were angry, though that word alone doesn’t begin to describe the emotion I was feeling.

The PA told us the doctor thought he could perform my surgery on April 2, which is Good Friday, or April 9. These are both Friday, and I had been told Dr. Fleske performs surgeries on Wednesdays. I asked about this, using all I had not begin screaming. Meanwhile, father paced back and forth for a bit before sitting down and attempting to read a newspaper.

The PA said I was correct. Generally Wednesday was surgery day, but Dr. Fleske was agreeing to make an exception since he had to cancel on me.


Then the PA said a representative from Dr. Fleske’s office would be calling me today to schedule the appointment. I again questioned this since last time I was told I would be contacted to even schedule the initial surgery and appointment I ended up having to call the office to get answers about the dates and times. I couldn’t rely on them to contact me before, why should I this time? In fact, when I did talk to the woman scheduling the surgery, she told me the date and then said she’d check with doctor . . . Don’t you think the doctor should have been consulted in the first place before me? Could that be why I had to reschedule?

PA assured me someone would call. Much to my surprise, someone called. I am tentatively slated for surgery at 2:30 p.m. April 2. I will be the only surgery Dr. Fleske is performing that day. It is a purely make-up day in order to take care of me.

I am so angry and frustrated with this that I could spit, to say the least.

It has been suggested to me to find a different doctor, but then I would have to start the process over. I just want to get this done and finished. I don’t have time to screw around with this. I want to get sliced and diced so I can get on the mend as soon as possible. I’ve got things to do.

I’m willing to give Dr. Fleske another chance. I’ve heard nothing but positive things about his work. The odd thing is that my own experiences simply don’t match up.

Before I learned the surgery was delayed, there were signs that things weren’t going to go well. First, a silicone bracelet I wear broke. Then, after sitting in the parking lot of the hospital for an hour because we’d ran out of thins to do, I went in and checked in, only to be told I wasn’t scheduled for surgery.

Come to find out, we were at the wrong hospital. Who would have thought Great Bend has two hospitals?

In any event, I am glad I have a new surgery date already. I honestly didn’t expect such speedy service. Hopefully that is a sign of a more pleasant experience on my part peeking over the horizon.

Once I get the official paperwork of this new surgery, I will post it. And if you are curious, this change in surgery doesn’t change my new publishing method I discussed Tuesday. I’m still going to use Posterous, which does eliminate my worries of postings becoming more irregular due to surgery because I can post to Posterous from my phone.

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About toddvogts 843 Articles
Todd R. Vogts, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of media at Sterling College in Kansas. Previously, he taught yearbook, newspaper, newsmagazine, and online journalism in various Kansas high schools, and he ran a weekly newspaper in rural Kansas. He continues to freelance as a professional journalist from time to time. Also, Vogts is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), the Journalism Education Association (JEA), and the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC), among others. He earned his Master Journalism Educator (MJE) certification from JEA in 2022. When he’s not teaching or writing, he runs his mobile disk jockey service and takes part in other entrepreneurial ventures. He can be reached at or via his website at