Sunday, July 19, 2009

Recovering from hernia surgery

Tomorrow I return to work, having come to the end of a week off recovering from my hernia surgery. Monday's operation went well, I suppose -- I wasn't awake for most of it. I do remember at one point my doctor coming into the room and talking to me, and I asked him who he was. It wasn't because I didn't remember him, but because I couldn't see. The nurses prepping me made me take my contacts out, but not knowing this rule ahead of time, I hadn't brought a case to put them in. The nurses solved that problem by giving me a pair of urine sample cups (which they insisted were sterile) in which I could store my contacts. Yes, folks, that's the sort of specialized care you get from St. Vincent's.

Misty was kind enough to film me just before and after surgery, since the girls had requested that I leave them a message. They were expecting something along the lines of the YouTube sensation "David After Dentist," so I tried to humor them.

Ah yes, thank you for that, Misty.

Actually, Misty took excellent care of me for the first few days while I remained mostly stationary on the couch upstairs. It was very comforting to know that she had everything under control -- from doling out my medicine, to refilling my ice packs, to bringing me things to eat. I was told I shouldn't lift anything heavier than a cup of coffee for two weeks, and I'm happy to oblige because it really does hurt when I exert myself to even small degrees.

Monday wasn't too bad. Mostly I was just sore. It felt like I'd done about a thousand sit-ups.

Tuesday was when the pain really set in and I could feel my incision.

Wednesday seemed to be a little better, but by that point I was keeping myself well medicated, so who knows?

Thursday I finally noticed the swelling subside. I was able to remove my bandages, and that pretty much freaked me out, seeing my incisions. The surgeon had explained that I'd had two "tiny little cuts" along my abdomen, but these things are three and a quarter inches long each! Of course, this is also the guy who told me that they'd be knocking me out with the same drugs Michael Jackson had been taking.

When the girls returned home (they'd been staying with Misty's mom) they were both really sweet, giving me gentle hugs and telling me how much they missed me. I showed Emily my incisions, whereupon she did a smooth Keanu Reeves impression with her response of "Whoa." Kendall then ran over and said, "Daddy, show me you blood!"

Taking note of how slowly I was moving around, Emily suggested that I should get myself a cane. "Like Mimi," she said. Ah yes, thank you, my dear daughter. "They have some fancy ones at CVS," Emily explained. She offered to help me pick one out and even to decorate it.

I tried watching some SpongeBob with the girls, but I had to stop because it hurts too much to laugh. It also hurts to cough, blow my nose, or, God forbid, sneeze. I sneezed once and it felt like someone had jabbed a knife into my abdomen.

Every so often, I'm still feeling pinches of pain along my incision, and sometimes I'll feel like I have a cramp on my sides. Most of the time though, the pain just feels like a dull ache in my testicles -- which is the reason I went to get this corrected in the first place. But then I'll check with my boys, and they say, "No, no... It's not us. We're fine." They suggest instead, "Maybe that doctor inserted a second pair of testicles into your abdomen, and they're being slowly strangled by your intestine." "Yes," I realize, "that's exactly what it feels like."

Saturday evening, Misty and I went to a wedding, and it was the first time all week that I'd worn pants. That in itself was an effort. Things went OK, but after a few hours, I felt worn out. Today I felt well enough to drive myself to Sam's to get my car battery replaced. Hopefully by easing into things, I'll be set for work in the morning. If not, I'm sure no one at the office will mind if I just sit at my desk pantless.

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