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Monthly Archives: April 2012

My hernia operation, Part Two . . .

Okay, come on now, admit it—you’ve been waiting with bated breath for the second installment of my recent hernia operation. I can understand your interest in this because everyone, whether male or female or a combination of both, are subject to such surgery. Other than a few statistics extracted from the web, I’ll leave it up to you to do the research. Click here to learn just about everything you probably never wanted to know about hernias and hernia surgery. It’s the most common operation performed by general surgeons in the United States, and males lead females in hernia surgery by a ration of 3:1 in the US. More than 750,000 inquinal hernias are repaired in our country every year by general surgeons.

Now on to Part Two of my quadrilogy, the diagnosis of the hernia.

I reported to the General Surgery clinic as directed and was examined by a Doogie Howser look-alike, the young man who performed fantastic surgeries on the television show Doogie Howser, M. D. from 1989 to 1993. My doctor (not really a look-alike, just young looking) replicated the hands-on exam that I endured in Internal Medicine and scheduled me for a sonogram to determine the exact location and the size of both hernias. He decided that the left hernia warranted surgery, but the right fissure was small and would not need surgery unless it expanded or became uncomfortable or painful—uncomfortable or painful for me, of course, and not for the hernia.

The doctor told me that he had three hernia surgeries in his early twenties, and since then had no other symptoms. I suppose that was meant to reassure me concerning my pending surgery, but it didn’t work. I wasn’t sleeping well before I was scheduled for surgery, and the wait between scheduling and operating was for too short and in no way helped my sleepless nights (I unashamedly admit that I dozed off for a few hours in the mid-afternoon while waiting, and in fact I still do). I believe it is somehow related to age, but in my case I believe that it’s because I am bored, and napping is something that seems to come naturally for me to make the time pass.

The sonogram gave a perfect picture of the two hernias, and I was scheduled for surgery the following week. I made several demands—no, make that several requests—including local anesthesia as opposed to general, no breathing tube in my throat and finally, that I had to be back home before dark. My demands—I mean requests—were given consideration and the doctor said they would do their best to meet them—that was shortly after his laughter subsided.

Okay, that’s the second part of my quadrilogy, the diagnosis. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

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Posted by on April 30, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Wanna read about my hernia operation, Part One?

I know very well that neither you nor anyone else wants to read about my operation—well, okay, perhaps one in a thousand does wants to read about it so I will offer it up for that one in a thousand, that one that is willing to wade through such drivel just in case it might be educational or funny or foolish or all three—just in case.

I recently managed to shed fifteen pounds of avoirdupois from my 67-inch frame—that’s five feet and seven inches in height, a total of 67 inches. Okay, perhaps by now it is more like 66 inches due to the compaction of vertebrae in my backbone—that’s one of the privileges, or perhaps the vicissitudes of aging.

Mind you, I am not stooped or hunchbacked as was Quasimodo the Bell Ringer, nor do I ring anyone’s bells—in fact, I never have and probably never will. As for my height, whatever the total number of inches I rise from the ground upwards may be, I am militarily erect, and in my not-so-humble opinion I would stand tall even if I were the little fellow on television that was always saying, “Zee plane, boss, zee plane!”

Had I been taller I would have ruled the world, but as it is I’m content to be in charge wherever I may be.

Out of respect for any reader that may take umbrage, I will refrain from repeating something that Mae West said in one of her films when she responded to a tall stranger’s knock on her hotel door. She looked up and told him that he was “a tall one,” and he responded that he was “six feet, six inches.”Oh, well, what the hey! I’ll tell it anyway, and if anyone takes umbrage they shouldn’t have read it. What Mae West said was something on the order of, “Well, come on in, big boy, and we’ll talk about the six inches.”

But as is my wont, I have digressed—-back to my operation. On a fateful morning in late December 2011 while waiting for the water in the shower to reach a reasonable temperature (I’m a wuss when it comes to cold showers), I was admiring my image in the mirror, an image sans clothing, while examining the areas that still needed slimming down (just as an aside, cold showers don’t work for me).

In my pinching and lifting and rearranging for effect while holding my breath (stomach in, chest out) I found something that send me scurrying to the physician who was unfortunate enough to have me on the list of people assigned to him to monitor their health, a doctor in the Internal Medicine Clinic at the Wilford Hall Medical Center in San Antonio TX. I first called his nurse and confided my fears, and after enduring my plaint she checked with the doctor and returned my call, telling me to “Come on down!”

I told the doctor that I had discovered a lump in my lower left abdominal area, a lump that was present when standing but one that disappeared when I sat down or lay down. He suspected that the lump was an inguinal hernia, but then used a hands-on search—with my trousers and under-wear on the floor—and said, “Yep, you have an inguinal hernia in the left groin and also a smaller one in the right groin.” What he actually called the hernia on the left was “a potential candidate for surgery.”

He said the smaller hernia could merely be followed, and at this stage he felt that surgery was not necessary. He set up an appointment with a doctor in the proper clinic at BAMC (Brooke Army Medical Center, now renamed as SAMMC, San Antonio Military Medical Center). He said that BAMC/SAMMC might decide that surgery would not be necessary and then added, “But they really like to do surgery over there.”

On that cheerful note I will conclude the first part of a quadrilogy, one comprised of the suspected hernia, its diagnosis, the surgical repair, and recovery. I am breaking the series into four parts because I have been criticized for making my postings far too lengthy. It’s something similar to the old joke about two drunks in a bar, a bar bet and a cuspidor. Click here to read the joke—it’s funny and you can share it with your children. However, you’ll probably need to define the word cuspidor. The joke is in the last paragraph, and the post is a long read, but don’t be discouraged, and please don’t fast-forward to the joke—you’ll miss a lot of excellent prose!

As an aside, the Free Online Dictionary defines quadrilogy as “A series of four related dramatic, operatic, or literary works.” This posting definitely qualifies to be classified and presented as a quadrilogy. My discovery and its diagnosis were dramatic, the surgery was operatic (Get it? Operatic, as in operation?), and this carefully couched and presented 4-part series is the very epitome of a literary work.

This constitutes the first part of my dramatic, operatic and literary quadrilogy and I’m sticking to it.

Stay tuned.

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2012 in health

 

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In response to “Six degrees of separation” . . .

Some nine months ago one of my daughters—the middle one in age, the one that lives, loves, laughs and labors in Northern Virginia, blogged about her work as the designer and producer of a bimonthly magazine for the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA). I made a long-winded comment on her posting, and for nearly a year my comment has languished in the Stygian depths of blog comments.

I thrive on comments for my own blog, as do most bloggers. You can read her posting here, and you’ll have the opportunity to check our my original comment on her post. However, just in case you skip the comments, I will generously post the original comment below for your enjoyment., but please do not skip the original posting. If you skip it you’ll miss the last paragraph, the one in which my daughter gives me a really nice shout-out for assisting the publication. For your convenience I have extracted that paragraph:

I wrote to Ulf and asked if he would be interested in sharing his story with Hearing Loss Magazine readers. With editing and compilation assistance from The King of Texas   (who also moonlights as my father, Hershel M. Dyer) and beautiful photos by Anne K. Haga, Ulf’s story—From Silence to Sound: My Quest to Hear Again—is now in print.

And finally, here is my original comment on her Six Degrees of separation, moved out of the darkness and into the bright light of day—enjoy!

A beautiful magazine, professional in every respect, and I am very pleased to have been part of its creation—a part perhaps no bigger than a mustard seed as your grandmother Hester might say, but still a part of the whole.

Moonlighting as your father? Moonlighting?

Being your father has always been and will always be a full time job. All those years since you stubbornly insisted at birth in presenting the soles of your feet to the world first instead of your head, have been a full time job. I will admit, however, although presented last instead of first, your head was beautifully rounded, and certain features such as the temporarily flat noses that were presented by your siblings at birth were absent in your case. The flat noses were caused by the long slide, of course, and soon rebounded.

My moonlighting since then has consisted of incidental tasks such as making a living to keep food on the table and shoes on everybody’s feet, assisting my country in losing two wars—Korea and Vietnam—working overtime to staunch the flow of illegal narcotics and illegal aliens into the US, detouring harmful plants, animals and vegetables away from our fields, cities and tables and controlling the outflow and inflow of people, vehicles and merchandise entering and exiting the United States..

I had a part-time job just trying to keep up with you, an effort in which I failed miserably. Six degrees of separation? That leaves some 354 degrees of separation between your mastery of so many varied skills and my success in trying to emulate them, so much separation that I officially surrender.

I give up, but I am exhilarated by the fact that you could not have done any of them without me. I take full credit for your creation—okay, half the credit—okay, okay, let’s just say that I suggested to your mother that we should have a second child—I guess one could say that I planted the seed, so to speak. Of course, I only suggested that to her after she announced that she was again in the family way—folks didn’t use the word pregnancy back in those days—they referred to it as being “in the family way.”

Nice work—kudos to you and Barbara for an outstanding publication.

Postscript: I took the liberty of extracting the following paragraph from a recent posting by Barbara, the lady mentioned above. You can find her home page here, and be prepared to begin experiencing hunger pains. She is a talented writer and a chef extraordinaire—oh, and she has really good hair and a marvelous smile.

These are her words:

When I’m not welcoming people to our home in the Washington, D.C., area, or writing this blog, I am deputy executive director of the Hearing Loss Association of America. I am also editor-in-chief of Hearing Loss Magazine. I don’t have a hearing loss myself but with one in ten Americans having a hearing loss, I have family and friends who do.

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Anatomy of loneliness . . .

At any time I am out and about and anywhere near a Half-price Book store, I park and enter and browse and usually find something I cannot do without—oops, I ended that sentence with a preposition. It should read “. . . something without which I cannot do.” Such was the case recently when I found a copy of McGuffey’s  First Eclectic Reader, a revised edition copyrighted 1907 and 1920 by H. H. Vall—yes, my copy is of the $5 variety, not one of the $1,000-plus revisions. My imagination is not strong enough to speculate on how much an original first issue might be worth.

I paid the princely Kingly price of $5 plus tax for my copy, primarily because its browned pages sheltered a newspaper clipping, torn and tattered and darkened by the years and held together with Scotch tape. The clipping also showed a brief statement labeled Lone Star Steel Company Drops. The statement dates the clipping at sometime during 1949 or 1950—probably in early 1950. The author, Nat Lamb or perhaps Nathan Lamb would now, if still living, be somewhere on the north side of eighty years in longevity. Dallas has more than its fair share of Lambs, both Nat and Nathan, and I could not pin one of them down as to age, gender or occupation.

As an aside, I have heard and seen the term fair share used in conversations and on radio, television and  in print so often that I now cringe when it appears, whether through sight or sound. Enough, I say—enough, enough, ENOUGH!

The complete article follows:

THE PIED TYPER
by
NAT LAMB

Loneliness is a babbling hunch-back soul, lost on the way to tomorrow, groping its way through the misery of unending space, forever looking back . . . seeing nothing.

This is the anatomy of loneliness . . . the deformed bones of its being, the wasted flesh of its twisted body . . . this is the shape of loneliness.

A wispy scent of forgotten fragrance, jerking the mind back to memories of a dead first love . . . the uneasy stirrings of gardenia leaves, discarded, dropping onto the ash heap of a burned out love . . .

Soft murmured phrases, whispering through the corridors of time, breathing the glory of an undying love in days long dead . . . raising the gray and misty ghost of a forgotten romance.

The haunting lilt of music swirling through the night . . . a tune played on a harp with half the strings missing, a melody heard in a dim-lit cafe over wine glasses on a checkered table . . . music of the past, intruding unwanted into the present.

The half-remembered warmth of a caress, mingled with a vision of time-withered flesh, creased and wrinkled with the passage of years . . . the creeping death of marching time. . . the slaughter of youth and the mangled dreams strewn over the years . . .

The crackling pages of a lavender-scented letter, yellow with age . . . faded ink blurred with tears except for a signed name under the words “Yours forever.”

Loneliness is the day after forever . . . the waking moments after a dream . . . memories forgotten until the midnight hour.

Loneliness is the throbbing moan of a half-heard train whistle wandering through the night to nowhere . . . a wild ride on a runaway nightmare with no beginning and no ending . . . the muted throbbing of an aching heart.

It is a compound fracture of the mind . . .a creeping paralysis of the soul . . . a gust of cold wind over the emotions . . . this is the anatomy of loneliness . . .

Pity the poor heart.

Postscript: In my first reading this post I considered it a sophomoric attempt at humor, or perhaps a tongue-in-cheek satirical analysis of loneliness. It reminded me of the time a college professor noted that my writing was somewhat turgid. It that is indeed a fault, I cannot continue claiming that I am sans faults in every respect. I confess my guilt to the accusation of turgidity—in fact, I embrace the fault, if in fact it be a fault.

Just one more serious afterthought: With subsequent readings I realized that the article on loneliness mirrored many of my own thoughts and feelings, and even now after those readings I still find mirrored emotions that parallel the author’s thoughts, and if that means I am sophomoric, or of a satirical bent, so be it.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2012 in Uncategorized