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Sam's post-surgical rant and junk thread

samzheresamzhere BannedPosts: 10,923 Senior Member
Okay, a pretty long thread with serious and humorous stuff mixed, as should be...

Facts: Hernia was getting worse and by last week had strangulated two separate pieces of the colon and small intestine (the medical term is "incarcerated"**) so regardless of my low hemoglobin (reason for postponing the surgery in Sept) we had to proceed or there would eventually be a bowel rupture which is major serious.

So... Monday 6am (10/27) we showed up a the hospital and checked in. Went thru all the screening and warnings and signing of stuff and whatever, and my girlfriend was there with me the whole time (except when they drew blood -- she's squeamish).

After prepping and whatever they rolled me into the surgical suite about 8am. Last time I'd had surgery was 3 years ago for my almost-burst gallbladder, and I had the same surgeon now.

Things were a lot better -- I'd lost 80 pounds and my cardio was vastly improved, and I could get up onto the table easily and so on. You guys who are significantly overweight, PLEASE loose it! You'll feel so much better and if you've got to undergo surgery or whatever, your body will be a better "candidate"

Anyway, they laid me out and had already started an IV drip (normal saline for keeping the vein open) and they chatted a bit with me.

Doc had already told me he was gonna TRY to do this laparopscopcially (via peep-lenses and such) and hoped he didn't have to open me up but since the hernia was now on both sides and incarcerated, he couldn't promise. I said do it if you have to.

Anestheologist and I had already chatted, too. I was also introduced to the chief surgical nurse, the chief anest. helper, and other leaders on the team. That doesn't do a lot but it helps allay the subconscious fear of seeing anonymous eyes behind masks.

Asst. said, okay, we don't think we'll have to intubate you (inserting a breathing tube) but we will use a clamp to keep your mouth open and tongue depressed for easier breathing, so you will later feel a little irritation and may cough a bit after you wake up. Okay, fine.

So they said, all right, we're starting the IV anesthetic prep drip now, "See you later"

And of course the next second, I'm lying all comfy and smooth in recovery, this gal typing on her med computer next to me and keeping an eye on my waking. Soon as I was awake they checked my vital signs and asked again if I was okay, asked me where I was, what day it was, if I remembered what the surgery was for, and my doc's name, and so on. I passed with flying colors!

I dozed off and later I woke as they were rolling me to my room. I'd been out of surgery for maybe 90 min and I was fully able to scoot across the gurney onto my bed with minimal pain.

They checked my vitals and I dozed off again (realize, due to stress and also abdominal pain, I'd been getting little sleep for the past week so I was "normally" tired).

I'd arrived in the hospital about 5:45am, went to surgery at 8am, and by 2pm they had me up and walking! I was sore across my abdomen (duh) but no sharp pain and I made it to the room door and back. My head was also clear and I was feeling ZERO of the previous aching and grinding intestinal pain!

Surgeon came by later and checked me, I was fine. Due to my previous cardio and my low hemglobin, they kept me overnight just in case, and after giving me 1 unit of whole blood Tues am, they discharged me.

I did take home a very nice little bottle of Tylenol #3 with Codeine! Ha! Score! Which I took one earlier today and slept the sleep of the just.

Right now I've got minimal pain and of course some topical soreness and stiffness, but no other symptoms.

Restrictions? Don't drive while taking the Codeine, duh. Don't lift heavy stuff (as if I do anyway).

I've got these two small bandaids over the laparo holes, each about 10mm diameter, and that's it!

Naturally I thank the Lord and the good prayers from all my friends and family, and of course my superb docs and other medical folks.

Replies

  • DoctorWhoDoctorWho Senior Member Posts: 9,496 Senior Member
    Be greatful they did not have to do a junkectomy on you !
    That would indeed have been a true pity !!!!

    Glad to have you back alive and kicking !! All piss and vinegar ! LoL
    "There is some evil in all of us, Doctor, even you, the Valeyard is an amalgamation of the darker sides of your nature, somewhere between your twelfth and final incarnation, and I may say, you do not improve with age. Founding member of the G&A forum since 1996
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    ** "incarcerated"

    I laughed when I read that term, remembering an old Brit Goon Show radio show I've got on CD. For those who don't know, the Goon Show was a regular weekly Brit radio comedy show with Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan, many other classic British comics -- a precursor to Monty Python.

    They had skits and such, and one of my faves (if you like oddball humor, Youtube "Goon Show" and listen to "How to tell time" which is one of their classics.) and if that turns you on, try to find their famous episode "A Tale of Men's Shirts!" a radio parody of Guns of Navarrone, and hilarious.

    Seems that War broke out in all directions in 1939, and instantly, British generals quickly decided "I must write my memoirs!" and all of them sat down to their Whitehall typewriters, but Bang! and it was "Quick nurse, the screens!" because the nasty Germans had infiltrated the British General Shirt Factory and dosed all their shirttails with an explosive! Bad.

    So there's this team who "volunteers" to parachute behind enemy lines and blow up the dreaded explosive factory. Broad, but clever, humor, silly stuff too.

    And there's this sequence when they're captured and taken before the evil Nazi commander:

    "Ve haff you as captifves!" To which an adlib: "Listen! It's Peter Sellers, speaking with a bad German accent!"

    And the audience bursts out laughing -- as well as the cast. then the script proceeds...

    "What do you intend to do with us?"
    "You vill be incarcerated!"
    A nervous cough.. "Er, I hope I hear that right."

    So "incarcerated" has been a laugh-word for me years afterward. You hadda be there.
  • DoctorWhoDoctorWho Senior Member Posts: 9,496 Senior Member
    When you appreciate humor like that of Peter Sellers others like Steve Martin do not seem as funny.
    That incarcerated term for a herniation is twaddle.
    "There is some evil in all of us, Doctor, even you, the Valeyard is an amalgamation of the darker sides of your nature, somewhere between your twelfth and final incarnation, and I may say, you do not improve with age. Founding member of the G&A forum since 1996
  • HAWKENHAWKEN Senior Member Posts: 1,720 Senior Member
    Glad that went well Sam. Prayers for a speedy recovery.........Robin :angel2:
    I don't often talk to people that voted for Obama, but when I do I order large fries!
    Life member of the American Legion, the VFW, the NRA and the Masonic Lodge, retired LEO
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    Some serious stuff...

    Only a few years ago, even though the medical treatment was technically good, it was impersonal.

    In just a few years I've noticed a significant change in how medical staff act toward patients. Nowadays, they take time to explain stuff and deal with questions in a much improved way!

    Monday the anesthesiologist (a pretty rad young dude from South Africa) was careful and personable, ensuring that I knew all the details, and we talked quite a bit. This behavior was typical of how I was treated.

    And of course taking time to chat and get things perfectly understood not only ensures that no mistakes are made, but also makes the patient feel more cared for, not just an object.

    This sort of treatment was across the board, from the top surgeon to all the staff, and the office folks, too. It made me feel like I was actually being properly cared for. And I suppose it worked!

    Now my own personal medical care experience in the last 25 years or so has been via one principal hospital group, the Houston-HQ Memorial Hermann med care group, so I can only speak for this one organization.

    But I've noticed a significant trend for the better in the last 5-8 years, a far more personalized way of dealing with patients and this being within a monster med care system, like 15 hospitals, most of them huge, thousands of patients every day.

    Mistakes are made and sure, there are some slipups, but for the most part, it's a welcome improvement.

    Anyone here notice this same trend? Teach? From what you say I can guess that you had pretty personalized care, too. I may be wrong there.

    I can really not emphasize this enough --- if you're getting bad vibes, if you're feeling pushed around, try to change things, and switch doctors if necessary! (I did this last fall via a shabby neurologist).

    But the past couple days, I received only the finest care imaginable, and I'm nobody special, just a regular patient. Things have improved significantly here, so I wonder about your own experiences?
  • NNNN Senior Member Posts: 25,126 Senior Member
    Glad you only have a couple of holes, if you behave as told, you should do well.
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    Some odd stuff...

    When I first undressed and got into a "prep" gown prior to surgery, it was a new and pretty keen gadget.

    The "gown" wasn't the typical saggy old cloth gown, open in the back. It was a synthetic plastic clothlike fiber that had a wraparound and tied in the front, like a Roman full length toga. Crinkly but not slicky, and because it closed in the back and wrapped, more "secure" feeling.

    But here's the goofy part --- on the side, about near the right hip, was this snap fitting about 2" diameter onto which snapped a flexible hose like a vacuum cleaner hose, that went to a wall fixture, and blew warm air into the gown! As you know, hospitals are kept frigid and often in a gown, you're freezing.

    This thing blew a gentle whoosh of warm air and you had this little rheostat on a cord so you could control it.

    Sounds totally goofy but the darn thing worked great! I was nice and comfy all thru the prep.
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    The nurses:

    Gals were uniformly pleasant and well trained, and some were okay-pretty, some rather plain. The only exception was the chief RN on my last day, in the regular room, not surgery.

    She was this tall, gorgeous and slender blonde, sleek and linear, like some of the CBS British news correspondents tend to be. She was smart and efficient and had a good sense of humor, too. A great lead nurse, head of the wing and seemed very competent. And very "date-worthy" but definitely only for classy guys (read: doctors with money plus brains). 40-ish and very much a fine looking gal.

    Nice thing about the aides and other staff, regardless of gender, were that they were all pleasant and in a decent mood. Makes a big difference in how you're made to feel, because when you're laid up, you're kind of at their mercy.
  • TeachTeach Senior Member Posts: 18,428 Senior Member
    Yep, I got the same sort of heated surgical garb the second time around- - - -the first one post-accident was an emergency procedure so a lot of the niceties of elective surgery were ignored. I can't make enough good comments about the E.R. doc who did the initial exam and stabilization- - - -he's an Army reservist from Huntsville Alabama, a "Rent-a-doc" who just happened to be manning the local hospital emergency room where Mary spent 20-something years as an employee. He had just completed his second tour in Afghanistan, so his trauma experience was recent and his no-nonsense manner and thorough diagnosis really impressed me. When there was a delay getting an ambulance for the 80-mile trip to the Vanderbilt trauma center, he called for a chopper! Weather problems enroute nixed that idea, so I made the trip by ambulance after a slight further delay.

    I don't remember much about the next 24 hours or so- - - -they kept me pretty much snowed on pain meds. The only sour apple in the barrel was the open-bay trauma unit where I spent the next two days- - - -horrendously poor care in one of the dirtiest, most disorganized medical facilities I've ever encountered. As soon as I got coherent enough to start making a serious fuss, things improved dramatically, especially once Mary started talking about finding another facility and checking me out "AMA" (against medical advice). Mentioning making formal complaints to the Joint Commission on Hospital Accreditation starts hospital administrators jumping through their collective butts in record time!

    Once the trauma unit nightmare was over, things got better in a hurry. I can't complain at all about the majority of my medical care or the dedication of most of the nurses, surgeons, or other medical staff I encountered, but that trauma unit was straight out of the dark ages! Vanderbilt is supposed to be one of the best hospitals in the southeast, too!
    Jerry
  • Diver43Diver43 Senior Member Posts: 12,142 Senior Member
    Glad your well Sam
    Logistics cannot win a war, but its absence or inadequacy can cause defeat. FM100-5
  • jaywaptijaywapti Senior Member Posts: 5,032 Senior Member
    Glad your up and around, ya know us old farts are few and far between, and someone has to keep these young kids in line.

    When ya mentioned Peter Sellers, I always thought his greatest role was Dr. Strangelove.

    Anyhow I glad all went well , now just listen to the docs and you'll be fine, keep us posted.

    JAY
    THE DEFINITION OF GUN CONTROL IS HITTING THE TARGET WITH YOUR FIRST SHOT
  • Big ChiefBig Chief Senior Member Posts: 32,995 Senior Member
    Glad you are post surgery and on the mend Sam.
    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
    Words of wisdom from Big Chief: Flush twice, it's a long way to the Mess Hall
    I'd rather have my sister work in a whorehouse than own another Taurus!
  • Gene LGene L Senior Member Posts: 12,575 Senior Member
    jaywapti wrote: »
    Glad your up and around, ya know us old farts are few and far between, and someone has to keep these young kids in line.

    When ya mentioned Peter Sellers, I always thought his greatest role was Dr. Strangelove.

    Anyhow I glad all went well , now just listen to the docs and you'll be fine, keep us posted.

    JAY

    I think Peter Sellers' best role was in "Lolita." If you haven't seen it, you should. Not necessarily a comedy, but with comic elements. It's a 1962 movie, which is probably older than a lot of posters here.
    Concealed carry is for protection, open carry is for attention.
  • tubabucknuttubabucknut Banned Posts: 3,520 Senior Member
    Glad you are feeling better Sam, and glad to have you back.:beer:
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    Teach is right -- as usual, ha ha -- if you're not getting good care, GRIPE and do it LOUD! Threaten lawsuits.

    This time around, as you can tell, I really got terrifically fine treatment, top to bottom, from the regular office staff to the surgeons and other top docs.

    I'm just guessing that the upper management of this huge hospital complex system is alert to change, and is genuinely trying to make it better for everyone. I know that sounds goofily optimistic but I could detect a clear movement toward the positive. And not just on the technical stuff but on things that don't "medically" help but are spiritually beneficial to the patient's health.

    I can also report that my surgery went beautifully and that I'm only in mild discomfort.

    I'll either be in more or less pain later tonight, depending on Game 7's outcome -- GO ROYALS!
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    Being in a huge city and a central point for worldwide medical care, this place naturally attracts all the good docs from all over the world. My surgeon is from Taiwan, the anestheo from Soot' Africa, my gastro doc is middle eastern, my neuro is a female Muslim, and I don't give a damn where the hell they come from! Just do the job with competence and grace.

    And thankfully, they all did.

    I again thanked God and fate and whomever else for being in a place where I receive perhaps the finest medical care anywhere, and such a wonderful thing to have, a great gift!

    Only to realize that the almost microsurgery I received Monday would have been impossible just a few decades ago, and now it's routine. I would have been carved open like the Christmas goose and I've now only got two teeny bandaids covering small holes where they peered in, inflated me like a balloon w. nitrogen, and the mesh they inserted didn't even exist a few years back. So instead of being opened w. lots of stitches and pain, I'm essentially healed before I got home!

    We're soooo damn lucky!
  • tubabucknuttubabucknut Banned Posts: 3,520 Senior Member
    samzhere wrote: »
    Only to realize that the almost microsurgery I received Monday would have been impossible just a few decades ago, and now it's routine. I would have been carved open like the Christmas goose and I've now only got two teeny bandaids covering small holes where they peered in, inflated me like a balloon w. nitrogen, and the mesh they inserted didn't even exist a few years back. So instead of being opened w. lots of stitches and pain, I'm essentially healed before I got home!
    It is amazing isn't it. When my daughter had her diaphragmatic hernia repaired, at two month old, they did it laproscopically. She would not have survived open surgery in her weakened state. One entry point was through her belly button. The other two are barely noticeable, and the scars are less than 2mm in length. They had to deflate her lung on the left side. They later used the same entry points to place her feeding tube. I can still hardly believe they can do some of the stuff they did. Modern medicine is pretty awesome sometimes.
  • Fat BillyFat Billy Senior Member Posts: 1,813 Senior Member
    Hey Sam, I guess that since they were working in your abdomen you had to wear a shoulder harness instead of a hip rig. Did the shoulder rig fit ok inside the surgical gown? Get well soon and keep Nerosporin on the Dr. Holes. :applause: Later,
    Fat Billy

    Recoil is how you know primer ignition is complete.
  • RazorbackerRazorbacker Senior Member Posts: 4,646 Senior Member
    Glad you're back Sam, the place wasn't the same without you.

    Regarding care, I've been going to UAMS in Little Rock for about 13 years now. Seven craniotomies, radiation, chemo, and a stroke.I can't say they've improved over the years because they've been first class since day one. And like your experience they come from all over the world. It's a giant campus with many tall buildings named after rich people who died from some dread disease.

    Every time there's been some new and unexpected twist in my situation, it's turned out a new troop had just come on board who specializes in that type of case. My Neuro-oncologist doesn't just specialize in brain tumors but rather only in the type I have.

    From the CNAs that wake you up to check your vitals at 2am to the top surgeons they have treated me with respect and done their best to preserve my dignity.
    So I agree, we are very lucky.
    Teach your children to love guns, they'll never be able to afford drugs
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    Oh, yeah, I forgot --- food...

    I was completely impressed! For the past few years, the hospital has a "phone and order" menu and no set meal times, just whenever you want (6am till 8pm).

    They've already got your name and room number in their computers for limitations -- mine was lowfat stuff only.

    And I had this amazing dinner the night of my surgery.... lime & cilantro marinated, grilled chicken breast, fresh sauteed veggies on the side, a fluffy dinner roll (lofat "butter"). The chicken was this big, perfectly cooked and very tasty hunk of meat, a light grill char and moist inside, the marinade was tasty and of course low fat and whatever. I've rarely had something that "heart healthy" that was so good! Lots of crunchy fresh cauliflower, broccoli, etc on the side, the veggies steamed and then grilled quickly, adding a bit of zip. Not over-steamed either.

    I had 3 small meals when I was there and each was just terrific. Someone really has the act together!
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    It is amazing isn't it. When my daughter had her diaphragmatic hernia repaired, at two month old, they did it laproscopically. She would not have survived open surgery in her weakened state. One entry point was through her belly button. The other two are barely noticeable, and the scars are less than 2mm in length. They had to deflate her lung on the left side. They later used the same entry points to place her feeding tube. I can still hardly believe they can do some of the stuff they did. Modern medicine is pretty awesome sometimes.

    First of all, good thoughts go out to your daughter. And yeah, same for me, my navel was one entry point, another one just below that. I've got two small "dots" on my abdomen that represent the hard work of searching inside me, fixing the hernia, and then inserting the polymer mesh. Amazing!
  • samzheresamzhere Banned Posts: 10,923 Senior Member
    Fat Billy wrote: »
    Hey Sam, I guess that since they were working in your abdomen you had to wear a shoulder harness instead of a hip rig. Did the shoulder rig fit ok inside the surgical gown? Get well soon and keep Nerosporin on the Dr. Holes. :applause: Later,

    Funny that you mention the gun carry thing...

    About 3 years ago when I had my gallbladder removal surgery, when I woke up, I briefly hallucinated until I was more awake, and I (for some weird reason) tried to remember why I'd been in surgery. And for a few moments, I thought, "Oh, yeah. That's for this new concealed carry thing..."

    Now I didn't fantasize that they'd installed an implant holster or anything (like the movie "Videodrome") and if you asked me later what the "concealed carry" thing would have done, I would have been unable to tell you, but my muddled brain didn't get that far along the fantasy path until the oxygen kicked in, and I realized, "Oh, yeah. My gallbladder." booooring....

    This time, there was no fantasy time. I woke up and lay there a moment, then realized "Hey, surgery's over! No stomach pain! Hernia must have been fixed!"
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