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.