Minister of Science and Chief Protector of the Faith

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Physician, Heal Thyself! (Within Your Primary Care Network, Preferably.)


No time for blogging today! I am busy being overly dramatic about my own imagined demise, so I am filling my time making funeral arrangements and deciding what to have engraved on my headstone. (I keep telling myself that my death isn't really the end, as I know that I will still have probate to look forward to.)

On the first of this month I had surgery somewhere in the region of my Hostess Twinkie and my Oreo Double Stuff Mint Chocolate Cookies for an odd condition that only old men get. (He also did this really gruesome diagnostic thing while I was under the anesthetic for another unrelated condition that I don't even like to think about.) The doctor told me that I would be up and about in only three days after the surgery. After the surgery I felt pretty good. I stayed over at my Mom's house that night because it was recommended in the doctor's literature that I not be left alone for 24 hours.

When I woke up the next day (which was a Friday), I felt a pain in my side and in my groin. I figured that I had slept in a funny position or something, and assumed the problem would go away. The day after that the pain kept getting worse and worse. It hurt whenever I stood up, walked around, sat in a chair, or did just about anything. I could barely walk! The only comfortable position for me to be in was lying down in bed.

The longer I stood or walked the more it hurt. This put a very definite sense of urgency in any task I performing, such as getting food or going to the bathroom or whatever. I would try and time these events to the pain pills I was taking, with varying degrees of success.

I grew increasingly frantic, and called the On-Call Surgeon a couple of times. (The nurse had given me his number in case of an emergency.) He was concerned that I might have a kidney stone, but as I didn't feel any pain when I coughed and had no history of kidney stone trouble, he felt that scenario was unlikely. He told me to wait to see the doctor after the weekend. (My having a kidney stone would seem especially unlikely because of the positive holistic effects of my strict health food diet of Reeses Peanut Butter Cups and ice cream sandwiches.)

After an excruciating weekend I went back to the doctor that Tuesday, because they were closed for the Labor Day Holiday on Monday. After explaining my condition he went "Tut tut" under his breath, had the nurse give me an enormous shot of antibiotics, and changed the antibiotic pills he was giving me. He said that all would be well by Thursday.

I almost broke out laughing at one point during this office visit. Both the doctor and the nurse urged me to sit in a warm bath for 20 minutes to help relax all of the muscles. With a grimace I had to explain to them that I could barely walk to and from the bathroom. "With a great degree of difficulty I might be able to actually get into the tub, but I certainly won't be able to pull myself out again!" I said.

The doctor explained that the problem is that I have an infection in one of my Oreo Double Stuff Mint Chocolate Cookies, and when all of the muscles and tendons in that general area bear any weight they press upon the infected area and causes pain. (According to the internet tubes, there is a 2% risk of infection or complications from this procedure. Just my luck.) This explanation still sounds kind of stupid to me. I would much prefer to be suffering from a much more dramatic sounding and sympathy inducing disorder.

On Thursday I felt even worse, and went back to the doctor again. The nurse gave me another enormous shot of antibiotics, the doctor gave me a new prescription for pain killers and another layer of platitudes and hollow promises. This time he said that I was going to feel better by Sunday. By Saturday, I did actually feel substantially better than I did the week before in that it didn't hurt nearly so much to stand up and walk as before. I was still in pain though.

When I ask the doctor about why the infection is taking so long to heal, he just says that "it's like that sometimes." He is really hard to pin down when questioned on any subject regarding my condition, however. He seems somewhat disinterested in my dilemma in general. The nurse said that the pain was so severe because of all of the nerves down there. It's funny that before the operation I had a sense of foreboding about the surgery. (I guess that is natural any time you have surgery.) I had no idea that it would be this bad, though!

I was given a rather complex and surprisingly ineffective "athletic supporter" at the hospital that I have to wear over my underpants, which is really funny looking. Also it is very important that I wear briefs instead of my usual boxers because of the greater degree support that they afford. For the the first week and a half after the operation I had to actually cut the elastic waistband in several places because the pressure from the elastic was unbearable. The effect of this was that whenever I had to hobble to the kitchen or the bathroom I had to hold up my underpants as well. I fear that I must have looked rather silly.

Also, I can no longer wear a belt because it hurts. I have been wearing suspenders under my shirt because when I wear the suspenders over my shirt I look vaguely like a cross between Larry King and Baby Huey.

The wound left by the operation is straight out of a horror film. It looks like this: if you peel an orange and then pull the orange segments in half - That's what it looks like. There is now this huge chasm bisecting the left side from the right that wasn't there before. It's like a huge wrinkly crater between my twin moons of Endor. And it's an open wound, no bandage or stitches anymore, and it still bleeds! I am just supposed to stuff my underpants with gauze, according to the doctor. I now have some small idea of what women go through when they say "Aunt Flo's coming for a visit" or they are "Taking Carrie to the Prom" as I now constantly have blood in my underpants. The doctor says that the wound will close in time, though. I hope so, I feel faint when I look at it.

On my last visit to the doctor he seemed sympathetic, but all he did was look at the horror movie between my legs again, prescribe me a third kind of antibiotic and told me not to worry about all of the blood and stuff. He also said that I have to eat yogurt three times a day because I have been taking so many antibiotics for so long that it is destroying all of my intestinal flora and fauna that I use to digest food. I was particularly offended by this as I hate yogurt! Everybody knows that yogurt is just microbe poop.

It is now 21 days since the operation, and I am actually starting to feel much better. I think I am going to try to go back to work soon. (Although I have felt that way several times already during this episode, and always ended up feeling worse the next day.) My symptoms and woes at present are as follows:
  • It still hurts to stand up and walk. The longer I am standing or walking the more it hurts. This is not nearly as bad it was before, though. The problem that I have now is that if I sit at the computer for about an hour or so I start getting these pains. If I ignore the pains I eventually break out in a sweat and have to immediately lie down. It helps some if I take aspirin or ibuprofen. This is my biggest problem right now.

    If I go out to the doctor or the drug store, I get exhausted very quickly. (My Mom has been driving me everywhere.) At one point I tried to go get a burrito while my mom stepped in across the way and I just couldn't stand in line. I had to sit down. I actually break into a sweat when I overexert myself. I have no stamina.

  • I can't lift anything heavier than a half gallon of milk, and I have trouble bending down. Anything that accidentally falls to the ground has to be prioritized as to how important it is to pick up, or whether I can live without it for the time being. I dropped some ice cubes the other day, and I decided that I could live with a puddle on the kitchen floor rather than having to bend down to pick them up.

  • Due to the nature and location of the surgery, I now walk like John Wayne sitting around the campfire. (And when I say "John Wayne sitting around the campfire," I mean literally "sitting around the campfire.") I don't so much limp as swagger incoherently.

  • Because of these two conditions, I now have to take lots and lots of pills. I had to go buy this enormous pill box that has 28 compartments, and I still use a separate one for the antibiotics. Nothing makes you feel like an old person like filling and doling out pills from a huge pill box. I hate it.
The worst part about this whole mess is that this procedure was very expensive, and my insurance only covers a percentage of the surgery. (The only expense that they cover 100% is embalming.) That means that I am going to have to pay a large chunk of my savings for the dubious honor of starring in my own little horror movie. If you are curious, you can read what others have said of this particular procedure.

On the plus side, my evil cat, Captain Nemo, has been by my side ever since the operation, and my Mom has been an enormous help every day. Thanks, Mom!

Oh, and regarding my upcoming funeral - in lieu of flowers, please send memorials and monetary gifts to my favorite charity, The Cake And Ice Cream Defense Fund.

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At Wed Sep 21, 06:43:00 AM, Blogger Matty Boy said...

Get better soon, Doc. If you aren't around to do experiments on the humans, who will?

At Wed Sep 21, 07:51:00 AM, Blogger Chimp said...

Thats what you get for riding around Sarah Palin's Magical Mystery Tour bus.

Best wishes for a faster recovery, Dr. Z.

At Wed Sep 21, 08:32:00 AM, Blogger Jay Simser said...

I am so sorry that you have had to go through all of this. I was worried about where you were. I am going to think of you with white/blue healing light surrounding you.... I know it won't do any good but I like to think of you that way. Blessings and continue to heal.

At Wed Sep 21, 08:18:00 PM, Blogger Tengrain said...

Dr. Z -

Only you can make me laugh out loud at a miserable story of pain and suffering not involving Republicans.

Please don't rush things, just relax and let Cornelius take care of your plans for world domination.

Let me know if there's anything I can do.

Your pal,


At Wed Sep 21, 08:36:00 PM, Blogger moeman said...

Quadruple stuff those cookies Dr. Z.

At Wed Sep 21, 08:43:00 PM, Blogger Fran / Blue Gal said...

We love you, Zaius! Get well soon, and let me assure you that since you are an old Orangutan, your scar will either shrink into the wrinkleous folds of your skin or soon be covered with hair. xoxo always.

At Wed Sep 21, 08:55:00 PM, Blogger Dusty,Hells most vocal Bitch said...

I hope things improve in now! Had back surgery four months ago and was making great progress up until two weeks ago when I took three months of steps I can sort of relate m'dear..except I can't bend or pick up anything heavier than a feather yet...which pisses offf all my felines to no end!

Cyber hugs and again,I hope you are back in fine form quickly.

At Wed Sep 21, 09:01:00 PM, Blogger William K Wolfrum said...

Get well soon, good Dr!

At Wed Sep 21, 09:10:00 PM, Blogger Fran said...

Dr. Zaius! What is going on? Has the doctor prescribed cake? That might work!

I feel badly for you and send you all my good Catholic thoughts. That's all I will say about that!

Good thoughts and wishes. Hang in there. My healing was so slow and I did not have the issues of infection. Stamina? It will return but it will take such a long time; be patient.

At Wed Sep 21, 09:12:00 PM, Blogger Sherry said...

sending good vibes your way!!!

At Wed Sep 21, 10:02:00 PM, Blogger gmb said...

Any chance they can throw in some first rate pain killers with those antibiotics? It would make eating yogurt three times a day so much easier. Get well soon.

At Thu Sep 22, 12:37:00 AM, Blogger Kelly the little black dog said...

Hang in there Dr Z. This seems to be the month for catastrophic medical events. Poor Poobah is suffering from surgery too.

At Thu Sep 22, 01:04:00 AM, Blogger Batocchio said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At Thu Sep 22, 01:09:00 AM, Blogger Batocchio said...

Good lord, Dr. Z! I appreciate your sense of humor, which I'm sure helps, but that's an awful lot of pain. Sympathies, and best wishes for a full and speedy recovery.

At Thu Sep 22, 07:24:00 AM, Blogger Randal Graves said...

You do realize that the entire internets now knows that you can't chase down any would-be cake thieves.

Best wishes to you and your plumbing, and I'll be right over to steal your baked goods.

At Thu Sep 22, 07:36:00 AM, OpenID Omnipotent Poobah said...

Doc, you have my sympathies. I'm going through surgery stuff too. Very inconvenient.

I'm assembling all my omnipotence to send a get well. If you smell something like bananas, check your doorstep, Mr. Brown may do something for you. Omnipotent bananas are the best if I do say so myself.

Be well and heal thyself because these doctor people, aside from your self, don't know nothin' about birthin' no babies.

At Thu Sep 22, 07:58:00 AM, Blogger Lisa said...

Oh my goodness! And after all that, you were able to pen this?

I hope you're feeling better very soon. Please take care of yourself. I'll bake you a cake when you're feeling up to it.

At Thu Sep 22, 08:12:00 AM, Blogger Padre Mickey said...

Get better, Dr. Zaius.

At Thu Sep 22, 09:01:00 AM, Blogger Kulkuri said...

Hope you get well soon.

At Thu Sep 22, 10:59:00 AM, Blogger Rehctaw said...

Ouch? Oh Karma where is thy love?
And to think that you're paying for this not just physically, but
from the retirement cake account?

I'm not a doctor, nor do I pretend to be, but in my never humble, non-medical opinion, what you need is a human testicle cozy. Young, but not too... vivacious, but not too. ("Complications" could arise). Gentle, soft, supple hands a must.

When you reach the laving stage you'll thank me.

And cake! Something in the Demerol realm with a nice Damnitall icing.

If you follow my advice, it'll still hurt like hell, but you won't care.

In the meantime if there's anything you need, just howl!

At Thu Sep 22, 11:13:00 AM, Blogger Ted McLaughlin said...

I had missed you lately, but had no idea of your troubles. I really hope you get better really soon. Of course my wish is for purely selfish reasons, since a day without the genius of the great Dr. Z is like a day without sunshine.

At Thu Sep 22, 11:37:00 AM, Blogger mark hoback said...

Sorry to hear about your recent woes. Hope your back to full abnormality ASAP.

At Thu Sep 22, 08:32:00 PM, Blogger Freida Bee said...

Wow, this makes fire ants in my kitchen and drunken teenagers not seem so bad.

Time to pull those Happy Underpants back out (and send me a chess board if sitting on your twin moons of Endor can endure it).


At Thu Sep 22, 09:53:00 PM, Blogger dguzman said...

HOLY SHITE! Oh, Dr. Zaius, please be careful with that giant Twinkie and those mint double-stuffs!

I am currently reading a collection of short stories by Richard Russo called "The Whore's Child and other stories," and one of the stories deals with a guy who is just getting over prostate cancer surgery, and he is constant pain; as I read your post, I thought of his desire to shout at his wife "My dick's throbbing!" whenever she asks him if he's okay.

I'm sorry you're having so much trouble. Take care.

At Thu Sep 22, 10:12:00 PM, Blogger Morah Betsy said...

Hey Dr. Z!

So sorry to read this whole saga. As you know, I have been dealing with my own medical saga for many years and I am now feeling for the first time like there's actual improvement and maybe complete healing as I come out of this latest spinal surgery

I had an infection 4 days after surgery, but the doc said it was discharge and not infections. Low grade fevers aren't fevers in new medspeak.

In fact, just short of 5 months post-op, I danced yesterday and taught a class of 7th graders how to dance at each other's Bar and Bat Mitzvah parties. Read all about it here:

On the other hand, I still can't drive comfortable for more than 10 minutes before my right leg goes numb. Oh well. Still major improvement.

Dr Z, if I may offer some advice, each day find one thing that you did better or more comfortably than before. A big one for me was the day I could clip my own toenails. Shaving was a nice accomplishment.

Our medical "insurance" program are all about paying big bucks to the CEO and making the patients pay the price.

At Thu Sep 22, 11:56:00 PM, Blogger roo said...

Take care Zaius!

At Fri Sep 23, 06:59:00 AM, Blogger daveawayfromhome said...

Wow, sometimes I think life would be easier if we just eliminated all sweets from our diet, but then I slap myself 'cause that's just crazy talk. Besides, who'd sing the bass parts, then?
Get better, my good ma-, er, ape.

At Fri Sep 23, 10:38:00 AM, Blogger mbarnato said...

I felt so bad, I was laughing so hard reading this and there you were, feeling poorly... So sorry Dr Z. No one deserves to go through that pain and indignity. Hope you heal quickly and feel better soon. You need some young lovelies to sooth your brow whilst you rest.....

At Fri Sep 23, 01:21:00 PM, Blogger zencomix said...

Have you tried switching from cake to pie? The curative properties of pie are well documented.

At Fri Sep 23, 09:11:00 PM, OpenID RepubAnon said...

I'm reminded of a scene in the old SF series Babylon 5, where a character observed "imagine how much worse it would be if the universe was fair, and we actually deserved the terrible things that happen to us..."

Get well soon!

At Sat Sep 24, 05:31:00 AM, Blogger StonyPillow said...

Jeez, abandon the internets for a couple of days, and your favorite simian gets his Oreo Double Stuff Mint Chocolate Cookies stuck in a vise. Ain't no justice.

Stick with that pill box with all the compartments. When you're sick and on pain meds, you need it to convince yourself you took 'em an hour ago, because it sure doesn't feel like it. And if you've really got to grab an extra, leave yourself a note.

BTW, your doctor wouldn't happen to be My T. Favog, MD? I only go to see him when I need medical attention in the worst possible way. And that's usually just what I get.

Dr. Favog obeys the King Ploobis Oath -- "First, fill the sacrifice bowl."

At Sat Sep 24, 12:44:00 PM, Blogger Laura said...

Oh Dr. Zed! I am so sorry that you have had to go through all of this! I hope that your recovery is going better now. :(

I'll make some Peanut Butter Cup cookies in honor of you.


At Sun Sep 25, 07:02:00 AM, Blogger Kate R said...

Dr. Favog resembles Mr. Magoo. I hope he's not your practitioner, Dr. Z.

Here's hoping the moons of endor have already returned to their proper orbits and all is calm in the cake and cookies region by now.

At Sun Sep 25, 11:12:00 AM, Blogger Mark said...

Take Care, Dr. Z. I was wonderin' where you were.

At Sun Sep 25, 01:55:00 PM, Blogger Greendayman said...

Those Quacks know nothing of Simian Anatomy.

Get well soon, Dr. Z. - you are loved and missed on the interwebs by many. And I agree with Zen - try some pie.

At Mon Sep 26, 06:53:00 AM, Blogger Zoey and Me said...

We wondered where you dropped out to. I thought maybe one of those movie stars had taken you out West for good. But hey, next time try a triple bypass. That's loads of fun.

At Tue Sep 27, 11:50:00 AM, Blogger Dr. Zaius said...

Matty Boy: Thanks, Matty Boy! There are certainly parts of the population that are need of my service more than others. ;o)

Chimp: Thanks, Chimp! The strangest thing about riding around in Sarah Palin's Magical Mystery Tour bus was that there seems to be Goo Goo Ga Joob all over the seats! ;o)

Jay Simser: Thanks, Jay! I think that your white/blue healing light is working! Oh, wait... I think that I left the refridgerator door open. ;o)

Tengrain: Thanks, Tengrain! Bah! I wouldn't let Cornelius borrow my car, much less my plans for world domination. Between you and me, he's something of a putz! ;o)

Moeman: Thanks, Moeman! Quadruple stuff cookies sound really good! Although maybe a little crowded... ;o)

Fran / Blue Gal: Thanks, Blue Gal! Maybe I can say it is an old war wound... I'll say that I was shot right in the davenport during the Crimean conflict! ;o)

Dusty, Hell's most vocal Bitch: Thanks, Dusty! Not being able to pick up one's cat is a sad thing indeed. I hope that you feel better soon! ;o)

William K Wolfrum: Thanks, William K Wolfrum! :o)

Fran: Thanks, Fran! You are very kind. I am afraid that in the rush I may have gotten all your good Catholic thoughts all over my keyboard, however! ;o)

Sherry: Thanks, Sherry! Back at 'cha! ;o)

gmb: Thanks, gmb! I actually was taking a lot of painkillers for the first couple of weeks. Unfortunately, they just made me sleepy. ;o)

Kelly the little black dog: Thanks, Kelly! I just checked up on the Omnipotent Poobah. Jeepers! I hope that he feels better soon. :o(

Batocchio: Thanks, Batocchio! You are very kind. :o)

Randal Graves: Thanks, Randal! Jeepers! I hadn't thought of that... That means that my ice cream is at risk as well! Eek! ;o)

Omnipotent Poobah: Thanks, Omnipotent Poobah! I read about your surgery - I hope that you are feeling better soon! I would disagree that one's pinkie isn't really used for all that much. Without a pinkie, what would you stick out when drinking tea!?! And it’s also very handy for cleaning lint out of your belly button. ;o)

By the way, I do smell like something - I'm not sure that it is bananas though.;o)

Lisa: Thanks, Lisa! Regarding my being able to pen this, I actually wrote this over a period of three weeks. I kept having to go back and changing the tenses. I think some of the tenses are still wrong - I'm so tense! ;o)

Padre Mickey: Thanks, Padre Mickey!

Kulkuri: Thanks, Kulkuri!

Rehctaw: Thanks, Rehctaw! Ha! A human testicle cozy! What a novel idea. What a great job for an out of work actress! ;o)

I think that deep down, all icing is Damnitall icing. ;o)

My retirement cake account (or IRCA) has been all used up. I can't blame anyone but myself, although I am still trying to find others to pin it on. ;o)

At Tue Sep 27, 11:52:00 AM, Blogger Dr. Zaius said...

Ted McLaughlin: Thanks, Ted! You are very kind. Hopefully I'll be back to blogging soon. Otherwise, I hope that it's a nice funeral. ;o)

mark hoback: Thanks, Mark! I hope that my abnormality quotient is on the rise! ;o)

Freida Bee: Thanks, Freida Bee! I don't know what you're talking about, I was nowhere your kitchen! ;o)

dguzman: Thanks, Dguzman! Jeepers, where do you find these delightful books? ;o)

Morah Betsy: Thanks, Morah Betsy! I hope that you are feeling better soon. You offer good advice - baby steps, baby steps... ;o)

roo: Thanks, Roo! ;o)

daveawayfromhome: Thanks, Daveawayfromhome! Eliminated all sweets from our diet?!?! Eek! ;o)

mbarnato: Thanks, Mbarnato! I think that I need some young lovelies to feed me multiple desserts! ;o)

zencomix: Thanks, Zencomix! I actually like pie. (Except when it is squared!) ;o)

RepubAnon: Thanks, RepubAnon! Ha! I love any kind of sci-fi reference. ;o)

StonyPillow: Thanks, StonyPillow! ah, T. Favog, MD! I know him well. He cheated on his final exams! I hope that he filled his sacrifice bowl with cake and ice cream! ;o)

Laura: Thanks, Laura! Peanut Butter Cup cookies?!? I feel better already! ;o)

Kate R: Thanks, Kate R! I would be happy if the moons of Endor would just back to normal. ;o)

Mark: Thanks, Mark! I often wonder where I am as well. ;o)

Greendayman: Thanks, Greendayman! That's the last time I trust a human doctor. The whole thing is so unsettling! ;o)

Zoey and Me: Thanks, Zoey and You! I may need a triple bypass after this - on my brain! ;o)

(I had to post this in two parts because Blogger said it was too many characters. Thanks everybody!)

At Tue Sep 27, 12:08:00 PM, Blogger Chimp said...

Yep, you gotta watchout for the Goo Goo Ga Joob all over the seats! That sarah is a messy buskeeper. Sounds like your spirits are up and around again.

At Sun Oct 02, 03:56:00 PM, OpenID fd4b53ba-ed38-11e0-ad98-000f20980440 said...

I've missed you muchly, Dr.Z. Please take care and heal quickly.

At Tue Sep 01, 03:20:00 AM, Blogger Abdi Sukur said...

Jika Anda telah terinfeksi penyakit ini, maka anda akan memiliki banyak pilihan untuk menyingkirkan mereka. Yang terpenting anda tidak perlu malu jika sedang mengidap penyakit ini, karena hal itu justru akan membuat anda lambat menyembuhkanya.
Obat Kutil Kelamin,
Obat Kutil Kelamin Wanita,
Tanda-Tanda Kutil Kelamin Condyloma Acuminata Di Bibir Memek,
Cara Menghilangkan Kutil Di Kemaluan
Obat Menghilangkan Kutil Di Bibir Vagina

At Tue Sep 01, 01:23:00 PM, Blogger Yusrisal Herbal said...

Disini kami menjual Obat wasir Ambeclear Ampuh dan Obat Kencing Nanah dijamin dalam waktu 3 hari penyakit anda sudah sembuh dan obat kami sudah terdaftar di BPOM
Obat Wasir
Obat Ambeien
Obat Wasir Ambeien Berdarah
Obat Kencing Nanah
Obat Kencing Nanah Di Apotik
Obat Kencing Nanah Pria
Obat Kencing Nanah Wanita


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