Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Groan...

Essential Recovery Items
Well, I'm back at Chez Sarge somewhat the worse for wear. A much shorter hospital stay than last time so they're aren't as many tales from the hospital as last time. Once again the staff took good care of me while I was in their hands. Apparently the overnight stay was for pain management. I'm guessing to see that I could manage the pain and appropriately medicate myself at the correct intervals. So far, so good.

For the curious amongst you, I had a ventral hernia repaired. What I had is also referred to by some as an incisional hernia, as it was at the sight of an old incision. The doc discovered during my last surgery (partial colectomy) that I had a hernia directly above my navel, possibly caused when two previous surgeries (hernia in the left groin and a cholecystectomy - gallbladder removal) had to gain access to my nether regions via my navel, or close by.

The doc tried to fix that up with sutures only as he couldn't be meshing about down there with a big chunk of colon removed, infection don't you know? Well, that didn't work. So by mid-July I was rather tired of having this softball sized protrusion in my belly. (Which is large enough by itself.) Went to my doc who referred me to the surgeon.

After a short meeting, it was agreed by all those present that repair of that thing should be done. Forthwith.

So it came to pass that in the early morning of the 19th of July I would report to dry dock to undergo repairs. Which were effected, the surgery took a couple of hours, felt like a couple of minutes to me.

I only had one roommate during my stay (as opposed to three last time). He was very quiet the nurse told me as he couldn't speak. When I first had the opportunity to see him, I could see that he was profoundly disabled. Unable to move or to speak. The nurses had to come in and reposition him every two hours. Apparently he was in the hospital not for his disability but for some other ailment.

The nurses seemed fiercely protective of the old gentleman, I gathered that this wasn't in first stay in this particular hospital. A daughter and granddaughter came to visit him on Friday, they seemed like very nice people. On Saturday his wife came to visit and to make arrangements for his discharge. She was a really nice person. Portuguese, as many folk in this region are, she told me that he had been in his current state for 17 years.

Seventeen years, unable to move, unable to speak. But he could communicate as his wife told me. I remarked about how nice it was that the two girls had come the day before and stayed for quite some time. They chatted with him as if he had no disability. She told me that he communicated quite well with his eyes. And his smile.

He had been a good husband, father, and grandfather for many years. She said that they owed him this. He had taken care of them, now it was their turn to care for him. Which, as near as I could tell, they were doing a great job of, so I told her so. Wonderful people who understand tradition and caring for their elders when they can no longer care for themselves.

There was a bit of excitement Friday around midnight. Apparently the older gentleman in the next room down the hallway had had enough of being poked and prodded. He was telling the medical staff to "leave me alone!" He couldn't remember how he'd gotten to the hospital and was convinced that they had kidnapped him.

A "Code Grey" was called (which is hospital-speak for "we need security"). Eventually four hospital security types showed up and were negotiating with the poor old guy, who wasn't feeling well and was quite obviously confused.

The lead security officer eventually got the fellow to calm down and return to his room. His family showed up not long after. He was still heavily sedated when I was discharged. Another sad story which I will never know the outcome of. A sobering experience but the hospital handled it very well I thought.

So I'm back home, in a lot of pain, though it be manageable, and it lessens with each day. I've gone from dilaudid, to oxycodone, with acetaminophen in the on deck circle for when I run out of "ox." The pain meds have given me odd dreams, so I'm looking forward to being done with them. Of course, being done with the pain is the ultimate goal here. Which seems to be in sight, though still hull down on the horizon.

The doctor has commanded me to stay home for two weeks so I have the joy of dealing with the insurance company to look forward to. Perhaps I'll send them a picture of what appears to be a six inch incision above my belly button (but is actually two 3-inch incisions) and see what they think.

Anyhoo, on a lighter note, I awoke at dawn this morning, the pain awakened me, and was convinced that the doctors had run part of the internal torpedo connection harness through my incisions. Like I said, I've been updating torpedo test software as of late and I am totally in to my job. I guess that goes deeper than I realized!

The feline staff is always on hand to make sure I am well cared for. I mean really, how can one feel pain while petting a cat? Doctor Sasha says it's good therapy. It is, for both of us.

I now have an 11 x 14 centimeter mesh encasing the region above my navel. I'm guessing that while that won't make me impervious to small arms fire, it will keep the hernias at bay.

Posting may be sparse, it took me a few hours to knock this one out. Read the folks on the sidebar, if I'm not here. I expect to put up something when I can, even if it's just a few lines to say, "Yes, I still draw breath."



50 comments:

  1. That tradition is one we have tried to instill in our kids. I think they have it down, I guess we'll see how it goes. I'm sure they will dote on their mom. It got dusty in here when I was reading about their taking care of him.

    Rest easy. I've had a couple friends that underwent this type work. I found it helped them to start laughing about a week after the surgery. Well, at least, I found it kinda funny how they'd squirm and squint when we were swapping lies....

    Take care....

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    1. My nurse said something funny just before I was discharged. I laughed until I cried. Didn't take long.

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    1. Hanging in, it's about all I can do right now.

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  3. Hurry up and get better so you can return to the Lazy R Ranch for more abuse!

    Greg

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    1. The Lazy R! Hahaha! Can't wait.

      It's gonna be two weeks the Doc says. What will the place be like without me?

      Um, don't answer that...

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    2. THE department manager initiated dialog and I will be transferring effective 8/27! I have an escape chute back to the "North" if I need it. Also, Dave Bennett will be working here, don't know if he is a loaner or a transfer. Strange but good...

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    3. Mutual decision to not transfer; they can't (more like won't) provide a prediction for future work. A "source" tells me it looks like a big dropoff in work late 1st quarter 2017. More options this way, if necessary.

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  4. Yes, having a cat keep you company is amazingly helpful. The cat gets as much satisfaction out of being spoiled as we do having them near us. Hope that your healing continues apace. ;)

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    1. Sasha has been good to me, though overly jealous. She won't let her sister Anya anywhere near me, Anya has to sneak in to say hi. Which she does from time to time, at her peril.

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  5. Dude! You really do have a Six Million Dollar Gut, don't you! Well, hang it there. Illegitimi non Carborundum

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    1. We'll see, I haven't got the bill yest.

      Thanks Juvat.

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  6. I see you're diligently reading up on the Pacific. That'll help.

    I woke feeling a bit grumpy about my old man aches this morning. Your tale of the disabled fellow was just what I needed. Thanks for sharing.

    I woke up in Wiesbaden once upon a time, convinced that I was in the clutches of the gestapo. Or the baader-meinhoff gang. Pain meds do funny stuff to the mind.

    Keep on healin' up!

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    1. Pain meds are wonderful and scary, that's for sure.

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  7. I'm amazed at how the pain is dissipating day-to-day. I last indulged in the heavy duty stuff very early yesterday morning, about sixty hours post-op. Been managing with Tylenol since then, and was able to lie flat and roll onto my right side to sleep for the first time in days. Still not ready for a marathon, but the recuperative powers of the human body are amazing. You'll be up and about before you know it, but take full advantage of that disability plan to recover wisely!

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    1. Sounds like you're progressing very well. I still feel like I did a couple of rounds with a grizzly.

      Baby steps. I'm getting there.

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  8. Chris, Between the attentions of Sasha and the-misses-herself I'm sure that you are being well taken care of. I hope that you can confirm that you are exiled from the master bedroom to the girl's former room for your convalescence or I might draw the wrong conclusions about the gruffness of Air Force Master Sergeants. On the other hand, for all I know, collections of stuffed animals may well be de rigueur for the USAF. All the best my friend.

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    1. That is the view from my rack. While I have a gruff exterior, on the inside I'm just an old softie. The female progeny enjoy my enjoyment of the stuffed animals. One of which is an Air Force MSgt Panda given to me by The Nuke.

      I am confident and secure in my manhood Dave, not ashamed to admit that I have a few soft spots. While these type collections are not de rigueur for the Air Force, many units have had stuffed toys in the past as mascots. I recall a photo of a German Tiger crew with their little toy stuffed pig, which looked a lot like Pooh's buddy Piglet (I'm still looking for that photo). I daresay that a lot of that was the kids sending something to Daddy to remind him of home. That's how my collection started.

      Oh and thanks for the good thoughts Dave, they really do help.

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  9. Good to hear things are progressing as they should at Schloss Oberfeldwebel! Not just cats, Badgers are thinking positive waves in your direction.

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    1. Ahem, that's Schloss Hauptfeldwebel, close but no cigar Scott. (Still and all I'm impressed that you know the German rank structure.)

      Badgers are powerful spirit animals, I appreciate the good thoughts.

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    2. I thought Hauptfeldwebel was Warrant Officer?

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    3. Scott here is a good chart of NATO enlisted rank equivalents. These were current when I was in NATO from 1992 to 1999.

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    4. Ah, I had consulted a WWII chart.

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    5. http://www.cimilitaria.com/Graphics%20database/Rank%20list.%20%20Luftwaffe_RAF-USAAF.jpg

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    6. That's what I figured.

      Nice chart!

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    7. Didja know that the USAF has no warrant officers?

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  10. I have a deep aversion to pain meds.
    That said, I found myself greatly appreciating them on thesecond day after my hernia surgery.
    Cat therapy works just about any time one is able to take full advantage of it.

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    1. The second day after surgery seems to be the worst. At least that's my theory as well.

      Cat therapy is good.

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  11. My thoughts and best wishes remain with you for a speedy and complete recovery. Keep us posted, as I'm sure you will.

    Paul L. Quandt

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    1. Thanks Paul. With all the good thoughts out there, I'm sure healing will be rapid and complete!

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  12. Get better asap, and that's a strongly worded suggestion, not an order. And stay off the interwebs- you don't want to laugh and have this happen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2MsXQM6UKo

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    1. That's disgusting.

      Which is probably why I find it so amusing. (Pretty good hernia demonstrator.)

      As you know, a suggestion from a superior officer should be treated as an order. That being said...

      Getting better ASAP, AYE!

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  13. We're hoping and praying that you'll get through this pain cycle that seems to come every time they rip us open to underwrite a sailboat payment. Use the drugs. Be efficient and careful in the transition to Guinness and/or whiskey (rum would be better). Get well. Glad to see that you're using a feline therapeutic regimen.

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    1. Hahaha!

      It will be a few days before I can have a Guinness. All that mixing narcotics and alcohol business. (Not a good move, I have friends who found that out the hard way!)

      The feline therapeutic regime is one I've used since I was a wee lad. It works.

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  14. May God grant you a quick healing & recovery, and may you continue your curmudgeonly ways for many years to come. After all, we don't want your lovely wife to think she brought the wrong guy home. :)

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    1. Thanks Rev.

      She has told me a couple of times since the surgery that I was being too grumpy. I was going to mention the pain, but as I rely on her for everything right now, I figured that discretion was the smart move.

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  15. Happy to hear the pain is subsiding and you're doing well. Cats are tremendously cognizant of pain and will almost always try to be there for someone they love - and will protect those in danger. You've got a good one. Did you ever see the video of the cat protecting it's little boy from an attacking dog? Great stuff. Here it is... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRhV8YoEUqA

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    1. Cats are awesome.

      One day the neighbor's old dog (who was very aggressive when she was young) got out and came after me on the way to grab the mail.

      As I thought of the best way to handle this, the neighbor's cat (who was a friend of mine) charged out of the bushes and smacked "her" dog on the snout, driving her off. Yes, cats are pretty amazing. Every time I see that video I think of Tina the cat, saving my ass from getting mauled.

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  16. Two weeks light duty? Good excuse for not installing window a/c's.

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    1. I thought so.

      Weed pulling (using teeth or other instruments) is also right out.

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    2. Ditto. And I have a bigger glass than everyone else.

      Ever the optimist.

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  17. The dogs weighed in on your most recent medical adventure. Belle wishes that you get well soon. Murphy says that you should milk it and get out of as much stuff as you can get the missus to do for as long as possible.

    Either way, take it easy, ok? You are the only you that the rest of us have.

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    1. Heh, I'd expect that of Belle and Murph. Belle wants to nurture, Murphy, well he's a guy, isn't he?

      Like the movie said, "There can be only one."

      So I guess I'd best take care of myself!

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  18. Good to see no loss of your sense of humor. Praying for a quick and complete healing. My wife once told me (I was home after hip replacement surgery) that I should never be a patient again and she should never be a nurse again. Still not sure what that meant.....Take care

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    1. I'm sure my wife would concur. She was kinda pissed at the hospital for not keeping me another day!

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