Saturday, August 8, 2015

Home Again


After a week in the hospital, a week after some pretty major surgery, I have returned home.

While I do have some heavy duty pain medication in the storage locker, I have yet to avail myself of such things. My pain is manageable and nice to have.

Masking pain can lead one to over stress the body's inherent limitations as it works to heal itself. A little pain to remind you to slow down, watch where you put your feet and be more aware of your surroundings is a good thing.

Would I rather be pain free? Of course. The surgery was performed to alleviate a pain I get at least once a year. An occurrence which has been going on since the mid-90s. The normal bout lasts 3 to 5 days. The most recent lasted over a month. The knowledge that that particular affliction will (according to the odds makers) probably never recur is comforting.

I'll take some pain now to avoid more pain later.

I'm not going to go into any details of what the past week entailed, the suffering and the loneliness experienced. At least not right now. There are certain details I want to fade from memory. Other details need to coalesce to a point where I can make sense of them.

Having a morphine based pain reliever at your beck and call may help you sleep, even if somewhat fitfully, but the line between what is real and what is only in your head tends to blur from time to time.

I was having conversations with people who live hundreds of miles away. Those loved ones who only haunt my dreams also stopped by. The very real mental image of beholding the face of a loved one who no longer walks the earth is startling. Talking to them is very surreal.

And very heart rending.

Eventually you realize that it was all in your head, yet it blended seamlessly with the environment I was in.

There were times I pressed the button, not just for the pain, which was very real, but in vain hopes of reconnecting with my other worldly visitors.

I truly believe that there is a thin veil which separates us from the other side. Nothing which is lost is ever truly lost. Love does conquer all. But it takes time.

Scenes from a Garden...

Bean pods




Peppers
무궁화
Rose of Sharon - The national flower of Korea





Oddly enough, I kind of miss the hospital. My third roommate was a very nice fellow. His wife was also nice. We chatted quite a bit.

I also miss the hospital staff, the doctors, nurses and CNAs* were all very professional and yet caring at the same time.

I think it takes a special person to be a nurse. Mine were superb. The nurse will take your vitals, administer your meds and be your advocate with the doctors (at least mine did that).

The CNAs are the folks who come in the middle of the night to check on you, adjust your pillow and covers, maybe chat for a while if it's not too busy. Mine were truly angels of mercy and grace.

There are also the folks who bring your food, those who keep the place clean. Important cogs in the hospital machine. Mine were all very friendly and pleasant.

I miss them. I really do.


But it truly is good to be home. Anya and Sasha were overjoyed at my return.


So I sit here, slowly recovering and marveling at the miracle of modern medicine...

...watching the skies over my beloved New England...

As I ponder the infinite...





* A certified nursing assistant, or CNA, helps patients or clients with healthcare needs under the supervision of a Registered Nurse (RN) or a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN).The individual who carries this title needs strong work ethic and ability, but issues of liability and legality prevent CNAs from performing certain procedures. (Source)

36 comments:

  1. Welcome home, Sarge. You were missed.....................

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  2. Glad you're back, my friend, and glad all is well.

    And yeah, I know what you mean about hospitals. Shitty places to be, but with just a few decent nurses and other staff members, it can be a comforting place real quick...especially if you've got a morphine pump or some good drugs.

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  3. Welcome home!!! Get yourself back to full mission ready in a hurry!

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  4. Welcome home Chris. I'm glad you studied hard and passed the test. We reach an age when visits to hospitals become an all but inevitable part of life but I'm always reminded of young Dorothy saying "There is no place like home."

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    1. I suppose a visit to the hospital beats the alternative when one has an ailment.

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  5. Glad you've returned to your castle, Sarge.

    Pictures are brilliant! Love the way peppers grow, I can get lost for hours in a pepper patch.

    My bouts of major surgery predate the button thingy, and all the nurses had hairy legs and smelt of Old Spice.

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    1. Thanks Shaun.

      I had three male nurses, two were actually brothers. They were Hmong. Both were excellent.

      The other was Tony. I liked him, he laughed at my jokes. Another excellent nurse.

      No button? Ouch!

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  6. Welcome back and keep on getting better and making a full recovery. I always found being home and being ina familiar space helps me heal quicker after a procedure and I hope it does the same for you.

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    1. So far it seems to be working.

      Thanks Aaron.

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  7. Welcome back, Sarge. Have a speedy recovery. Nice garden pictures!

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  8. Welcome home, Sarge. I,too,have just returned home from a longish stay in the hospital. I've managed to lose 20 pounds over these last three weeks.

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    1. I was thinking of you Snuffy. Hope all is well.

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  9. I get a pain every April 15th. Do they have an operation for that?? Glad you made it through!

    I woke up a few months ago and the room smelled like my uncle's room at grandma's house. He died in '68 outside Danang. After the funeral, I used to sleep in his bed when I'd visit. I was 8 again for a split second. I can't imagine what it was like to see AND talk to the old ones... I trust it was a good if bittersweet remembrance. I know my "time travel" was cool while it lasted, but broke my heart when I realized where I was. And I'm a bit choked as I remember it now. It's amazing how fast 50 years can receed, then crash back on you.

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    1. Good story STxAR.

      Yeah, the "time travel" is cool, but upon awakening the bittersweet memories are almost too much to bear at times.

      Our nation will survive thanks to people like your uncle, who gave all they had.

      I'll say a prayer to the memory of your uncle.

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  10. Welcome home Sarge. We missed you. I was happy to read this post for several reasons, besides you just being back at work. You had some nice things to say about nurses, which my mother was one of. I will always hold that occupation in the highest esteem. I also liked the part about how you abstained from the pain meds as much as you could. My mother, when dying of lung cancer realized that the pain was part of life and she very much died with dignity letting the disease take its course, only allowing the serious pain medications at the end of her life. She passed away in Oregon, which had the assisted suicide law at the time, but she would have nothing of it. Palliative care was fine for her. I know you are far from that of course, but I appreciate your strength, and you writing about it.

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    1. I have always held nurses in the highest regard.

      Thanks for covering my absence so brilliantly. I couldn't ask for better cobloggers than you and Juvat.

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  11. Here is hoping you won't need a second visit.

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  12. As all others have said - welcome home my friend! Having had 2 major surgeries of my own I can attest to the other-worldly nature of the heavy meds. I had Dilaudid - medical-grade heroin in fact - so I had no hallucinations. I just don't remember much of anything; I've often asked Jim in the 3 and 5 years since those surgeries if something I remember happened or not...most of the time it did happen and he's amazed I remembered. It's all just a fuzzy haze to me, the hospital stay. And like you, the nurses and CNAs are brilliant BUT I don't miss being there. Was VERY glad to get out. And I hope your recovery goes as smoothly as your hospital-stay. REST is the order of the day.

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    1. Thanks Kris.

      It's rest what's been prescribed and it's rest I shall have.

      I've been told that my return to active employment will be a while, as much as two months. I work for a good company which has good insurance. A God-send in these times.

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  13. Indeed is nice to see that you are back home, be it ever so nice. I have for a few years understood why my Dad wanted to die at home, Country boy, trucker, WWII Combat Vet, home was where he wanted it to end. Took a few years, cancer being what it is, but Hospice (Bless Their Hearts) made his final months and days as manageable as possible. For most of us that pass the 6th decade it is only a matter of when and how long we will be in a hospital. Getting old ain't for sissies. Regards,

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    1. Thanks Ron.

      Home, home, blessed home. Those of us who have had to spend long periods away know the beauty of coming home.

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  14. Glad you're back in the warm embrace of loved ones, physically and www-ly. Loved the garden tour. Should be about the extent of your physical activities for a while.

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    1. Thanks SoCal. Yeah, the "hike" out to the vegetable garden was more taxing than I had thought it would be.

      Gotta pace myself.

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  15. Good to be home, right? I wonder if you had the same surgery my dad had. Since you didn't say, I won't mention it.

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    1. It is excellent to be home again.

      As to the surgery, bowel resection or partial colectomy, so I'm told by folks with initials after their names, MDs, RNs and the like.

      Ask and ye shall receive. (As long as the question isn't too personal.)

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    2. My dad had six feet of his colon removed. It fixed all his problems. I'm not sure of the technical term...
      Stay well.

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    3. Same procedure, I lost about a foot. I'm hoping my diverticulitis is a thing of the past!

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  16. Welcome home. A stint in the hospital really makes you appreciate your daily life at home, neh?

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    1. It is good to be home.

      That was the first time I had been in a hospital overnight.

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)