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My hernia operation, Part Four (and final) . . .

I awoke while I was being moved from the recovery room to an area where my daughters could gather and watch my coming out of that place of darkness into the bright light of overhead searchlights, all of which appeared to be focused on me. I was awake, but I was not completely in control of my facilities—oops, I mean faculties. I made ridiculous uncontrollable grimaces, rolling my eyes and asking pertinent questions such as where am I, is it over, you’re cute, who are you, did I tell you that you’re cute, and I asked the doctor, if it was alright to tell the nurse she’s cute.

His reply? “You can say anything you like until the anesthesia wears off, and then you must assume responsibility for anything you say.” He said it with a smile, but it was a serious smile and that dramatically reduced the lasting effects of the anesthesia. I believe the last dumb thing I said that the guy across from my cubicle was taking my picture. That’s something I learned from my sainted mother. When someone, whether male or female, sat with knees apart and facing her, she would say that they were taking her picture. In all fairness, I must admit that the patient opposite my cubicle, although wearing a hospital gown, had apparently been allowed to retain his under-shorts, or perhaps his surgery did not require them to be removed.

However, I doubt that. I had cataract surgery some years ago, left eye first and right eye one month later, and in each instance I was required to wear nothing but the hospital gown and yes, they checked to determine that I was in compliance and if not, the eye surgery would not have been performed. Go figure!

I was moved from the gurney to a not-so-comfortable hospital chair that had a host of features, bounded by a wall with technical-looking things on it, drawable curtains on each side, and a host of people gathered in front completed my recovery cubicle. Everyone seemed very pleased with my condition, all smiling and offering compliments and suggestions. My three daughters were there along with the doctor, a couple of nurses and several aides, all apparently focused on me.

I felt like Timmy probably felt when awakening after Lassie ran home and barked that Timmy had fallen in the well and he went under and didn’t come back up but they reached Timmy in time and got him to a strategically placed hospital and he got over his ordeal and continued to star in 321 episodes (1954-1973).

Incidentally, and in no way germane to this series of postings, Lassie was not a girl dog. Lassie was a boy dog because boy dog’s coats have a brighter sheen and color than girl dog’s coats and are far more presentable on screen. Had Lassie been a Pit Bull or a Great Dane or even a Chihuahua, movie-goers would have seen that subterfuge and would have insisted that directors stop shaming Timmy’s friend¬† with a wrong-sex name. A better name would be Sirius, the ancient’s name for the Dog Star, very appropriate for an earthy dog star and far more manly.

Patience, be patient, I’m almost finished with my quadrilogy. I walked out of the hospital under my own power, sans wheelchair, sans two burly attendants, one on each side to keep me on my feet. I wanted to walk through the parking lot to my car, but my daughters insisted that I stay at the entrance and wait for the car to come to me. In all honesty, I did not protest strongly, nor did I protest when they escorted me into my home, fed me and tucked me in—actually, I enjoyed all the attention, but it waned rapidly and everything returned to normal.

That’s it. That’s my quadrilogy of my hernia surgery, and I’m sticking to it.

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Posted by on May 1, 2012 in health, Humor, pit bulls, surgery

 

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My hernia operation, Part Three . . .

With the admonition that a picture is worth a thousand words, I’m furnishing a composite drawing of hernia areas, but please don’t be alarmed—it’s nicely drawn and gracefully presented. Had you worried there for a moment, I imagine.

Now droning on:

This is the third posting of my quadrilogy, the operatic part (Get it? Operatic, as in Operation?). I know, I know—that’s a stretch, but it serves my purpose of presenting the details of my hernia operation in smaller doses. Believe it or not, I have been roundly chastised for the extreme length of my postings, and that makes me wonder if those who cast their slings and arrows at me have tried reading Ulysses, or the Holy Bible or the New Testament—now those tomes are really lengthy dissertations.

With the help of my three adult daughters I presented myself—no, belay that—I presented my corporeal housing, my body, to Same-day Surgery at an ungodly hour, 5:30 AM on a bleak Thursday morning. The bleakness had nothing to do with the weather or its outlook, and everything to do with my reluctance to be there. I felt the same way when I boarded a plane bound for Viet Nam to begin my 13-month tour during the height of the war, a vacation from stateside duties with all expenses paid by the US government.

The process began a few minutes after I was comfortably seated with a nice view of a big-screen wall-mounted television. A friendly and very competent nurse confirmed my identification, determined and recorded my vital numbers—height, weight, blood pressure, and medications taken in the past 12 hours. She tthen produced a hospital gown, bade me strip, don the gown with the open part to the rear, don soft non-skid booties and then recline on a gurney while she trundled me to an area near the operating rooms.

My daughters were allowed to accompany me to that area and remain there until a nurse came to roll me into the operating room. In the interim I was furnished a silver hair cover similar to that worn in Arabella. the Hollywood movie starring Jane Fonda. Incidentally, I still have dreams of Jane and the costume she wore. No, they were not, and are not, nightmares. We are just two friends, similar to two boats passing in the night.

But I digress, so on to the surgery. I was fitted with a wrist tag with my name and other significant data, especially as to the location of the surgery. When the doctor came, he wrote on my left lower side, probably something on the order of “CUT HERE.” A needle was inserted into the back of my right hand, and I was hooked up to a portable stand with two clear bags filled with unknown liquids which dripped from both bags and converged into a single line and into the line connected with the back of my hand. When all the little shut-offs were turned to shut-ons I knew my time was near, and I’ll give you three guesses what the operating nurse said as she started wheeling me towards the row of operating rooms, areas lined up precisely like the cells at San Quentin—private rooms, of course, but just as secure.

What the nurse said as we started that last mile—that Green Mile—was, “I’ll see you on the other side.” Just before I entered a state of nothingness, I asked her if she would please rephrase that cheerful remark, and she said that she meant after the surgery was over and that she would see me on the other side of the area after I had recovered from the anesthesia, and this allayed my fears—slightly.

This concludes the third part of my surgery quadrilogy, and I’m sticking to it.

Stay tuned for the fourth—and final—part of my surgery. I know, I know. I heard that long sigh of relief.

 
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Posted by on May 1, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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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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