Sunday, August 9, 2015

Le Voyage - Première Étape

Room with a view...
As many of you might know, I was admitted to the hospital in the fair city of Providence on the last Friday in July. (It was also the last day of July for those needing more precise detail.)

'Twas a fine sunny day that Friday and...

What? Oh, the prelude! Can't start at the beginning without covering the prelude. The stuff which occurred prior to our trip to the hospital.

I'd been to the surgeon's office on the Monday preceding the Friday in question for "Pre-Op Testing." I was a bit nervous as I hadn't studied a lick. Hadn't been attending classes for that matter...


What it really entailed was a set of vitals, a bunch of health and insurance related questions and it lasted less than 30 minutes. Upon departure I was informed that I would receive full instructions in the mail shortly.

Hhmm, full instructions? Sounded a bit ominous that did.

Good evening Old AF Sarge. The packet in front of you contains all the details you will need in order to accomplish your mission.

Once again, if you or any of your team are captured...

Um no. Not those kind of instructions. These kind of instructions:
  1. Go to the pharmacy and have the two prescriptions filled.
  2. Get four Dulcolax tablets.
  3. Buy this fizzy, citrus-tasting stuff in the 8-ounce bottle. (The name of which escapes me.)
  4. The day before the surgery, no food and only clear liquids. Apparently black coffee is classified as a "clear" liquid. At least the fine print said I could have coffee, sweetened, yes, milk, no.
  5. The afternoon of the day before the surgery, do the following:
  • At 1500, take the four Dulcolax tablets.
  • An hour later, drink the bottle of fizzy, citrus-tasting stuff.
  • Buckle your seat belt.
Yes, it was very much like this. Just on a smaller scale.
  • At 1900, open the bottle with the big pills. Take four of them. Now open the bottle with the ginormous pills. Take four of them.
  • Seat belt time once more, see above.
  • At 2300, open the bottle with the big pills. Take four of them. Now open the bottle with the ginormous pills. Take four of them.
  • And it's seat belt time again, see above.
  • Before going to bed, shower with the weird smelling liquid contained in one of the sealed packets. Save the other one for the morning.
Eventually I ran out of rocket fuel and went to bed (after showering with the medicinal smelling reddish stuff, of course). As we were supposed to arrive at the hospital by 0930, I didn't have to get up all that early.

After getting up and showering once more with the medicinal smelling reddish stuff, I clad myself in loose fitting comfortable clothing and was chatting with The Missus Herself. That's when the phone rang.


Yes, Mr Sarge, this is Nurse Nightengale at Admitting, where are you?

Ah, I'm in my kitchen, why?

Well, you should have been here by now, your surgery is at 0930.

I'm leaving right now! (Now being 0810.)

Oh, don't rush, drive carefully.

Alright. I'm on my way

We piled into the Missus-mobile and off we went, The Missus Herself at the wheel.

Actually the traffic was lighter, and the hospital isn't in San Francisco. Otherwise, nearly identical.

We arrived with time to spare, found a great parking spot and into the hospital we went.

They took my clothes and gave me one of those "all the fasteners are in back" gowns which do make your butt look big. Not to mention completely in the wind. Then they had me get onto the standard hospital bed which, I kid you not was one of these...

Note the name of the company which makes the bed, I circled it for you.

Of course, this image immediately popped into my head...


I shudder to think how much one of those beds cost, but they're awesome. I want one.

Of course, I want the M1126 as well.

Can't afford neither truth be told!

So there I am, on the Stryker (the bed not the vehicle) getting prepped. At or around 1030, they hook me up to an IV and the next thing I know, it's 1730, Friday afternoon.

My first words were, "Is that clock right?"

Puzzled looks all around, they figure I'm still loopy.

"No, seriously. Did something go wrong? The nice lady out front told my wife that the surgery takes about three hours. Though my grades in math weren't that good, I still figure that I was out for seven hours, not three."

"Don't worry sir, you're fine, the doctor will be by shortly."

Hmm, okay says I.

The wife comes in, concerned but everyone has told her "He did great!" (Hhmm, all I did was lie there. Maybe it's the surgeon they were talking about.)

The Doc comes in and tells me that he had to repair a hernia as well as resection, er, fix other stuff.

"Did you know you had a hernia?" The Doc asks.

"No, but if you hum a few bars..."

Actually I said, "No, I did not know that." Whereupon he began to regale me with the technical details of what he did to mend that before heading "in" as it were. After a bit he realized that I was less than interested with the gory details.

All I knew is that I didn't feel that bad. What I didn't know was just how heavily drugged up I was. I learned that later, after they had wheeled me up to my room.

As the meds wore off, there was a distinct thought that something was torn up "down under." It kind of felt like a couple of badgers had gone "hog wild" in my guts and had not cleaned up after themselves. (With apologies of course to Scott the Badger. I'm quite sure none of his kin were involved.)

The first night I was behind the curtain near the door. I could sense that the room had a window as I could hear my first roommate, Joe, remarking to his missus what a nice night it was.

Joe was only there for one night. One long night of watching TV, him, not me. He kept asking me if I wanted him to turn it down but I assured him that sleep wasn't in the cards as I was on my back.

I used to not be able to sleep on my back. One learns quickly to adapt in the hospital. While I didn't sleep any on Friday night, subsequent nights were not as bad. Especially after I learned the use of the "magic button." Some sort of morphine based pain killer. I started to refer to it as "the dream machine." Most useful it was.

And so endeth the first day.

Next time: I room with mad Joe Stalin.

Ma, bring me some lemon-lime Gatorade!*

No, seriously, dude looked like a caricature of old Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili himself. Put him in big boots and an ugly Russian uniform and believe me, the kulaks would tremble!

*Мать, принеси мне немного лимонного известь Gatorade!


  1. All right! The meds seem to have fully worn off and you are back to "normal" -- Well, at least "Old AF Sarge" normal. We are glad to hear that your survived your durance vile and are getting back to fighting shape.

    1. Thanks Dave. Every day I'm getting back to my old self.

      Some wonder if that's a good thing.

  2. Good morning and a thousand wishes for a speedy recovery, Sarge! I'm glad to see your sense of humor remains intact. The internet burbs are a better place by your presence. Glad you are back!

  3. Dang, Sarge. Diverticula, Kidney Stone AND Hernia? Talk about maximizing medical efficiency.

    I too am glad that you are back and recovering. Was the pre-op talk about 8 weeks off work true?

    1. Yeah, I scored some sort of unholy trifecta there!

      I won't know about the 8 weeks off thing until I see the surgeon again near the end of August. At the hospital he told my wife that "normal" recovery can be 8 to 12 weeks. You can ask Skip about normal.

      I'll take what I can get. Goofing off is fun, though it will get old after a while I'm sure. And work ain't all that bad.

  4. You haven't mentioned your feelings of putting your fate, as it were, in the hands of strangers and surrendering control of your life.

    1. Funny you should mention that. My third roommate mutinied early on.

      "When can I get this tube removed?"

      "Well, I'll talk to the Doctor."

      "Tell him he has an hour, then I take it out myself..."

      Within a few minutes, his tube was out. Once you get the nurses on your side, you have a bit more control.

      As for putting my fate in the hands of strangers, we all do that, everyday. It's just the degree that differs.

  5. Some of it is what the prep for a colonoscopy is...........I get one every five years or so.
    The rest is reminiscent of a similar adventure almost 6 years ago. Nephrectomy. Boy can I relate to this my friend.
    I am so very glad that you are home and doing well.

    1. It is good to be home.

      Colectomy prep, colonoscopy prep. Same same for the most part.

  6. Hey!! All sounds familiar. My operation also fixed a hernia I didn't know I had. Triple score: I never have to worry about appendicitis again.Get back in battery (old Navy gunner term) soon!

    1. Working to get back in battery, Cap'n. Bore is fouled, working to clear it!

      (You too got the trifecta? And here I thought I was special.)

  7. I've heard it said that the most dangerous part of the operation is the drive to the horsepistol.

    1. My wife was driving. It was a bit sporty for my tastes.


Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)
Can't be nice, go somewhere else...

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