Sunday, August 20, 2006

Big Chunk O' Me, Part IV: The Final Chapter... a.k.a. "Holy Sh*t, I'm In Pain!"

You know, I realized earlier today that each chapter of this saga carried a lesson.

Part I was "If I'm Having my Blood Pressure Taken for the Express Purpose of Proving that my Blood Pressure is Normal, It Makes My Blood Pressure Go Up". I'll admit, that lesson isn't terrible useful in other parts of my life, but, hey, beggars can't be choosy.

Part II was "Karma's a Bitch." That one I need to remember.

Part III was "You're Never Too Sick to Be a B*stard". That one I also need to remember. If nothing else, but to remind me not to be.

So... what will be the life lesson of this final chapter? I think it will need to be: "Don't Believe Everything You Hear, Even If You Hear It from a Doctor."

What do I mean, you ask?

Let's flash back to the day after my surgery.

First off, I wake up to realize that I still have a tube sticking out of someplace where I have NO interest for a tube to be sticking out of. I beg the nurse to remove it, which she does, provided I promise to pee in a jug so she can keep track of it. Yeah, whatever. JUST RIP IT OUT!!!! (Not to mention, I have a huge vertical incision south of my belly button, as well as four "poke holes" in my abdomen which they used to see their way during my laparoscopic operation, all of which were closed with metal staples... see below for pictures!!) A few hideous seconds later, no more tube. Bye bye. And never come back.

Secondly, I'm in a serious amount of pain. They give me Dilaudid, which is some kind of narcotic which I hated so bad, I got off it within a day or two. Even when I was asleep, it made me feel freaky, in a really gross kind of way.

Here's where the problem starts. A doctor, who I've never met before, comes to check on me. I guess he's... I don't know, the recovery doctor.

I ask him if I can start eating yet. He says yes.

So, I eat. Corn Flakes, and yogourt, I think... doesn't matter. I eat. After fasting since Saturday (keep in mind that it's now Tuesday) eating feels pretty good.

For a while. Until I get in such a horrendous state of pain/discomfort/sickness... whatever it was I don't really have a good word for it, but trust me that it was really BAD.

Later in the day, I make it to the washroom, try to do what needs to be done, and don't think I can make it back. I was sick, hurt, scared, and totally disoriented. Someone just shoot me now, because I don't think I can take this. The door to the washroom opens, and there's my surgeon, coming to check on me. I don't remember what I said to him, but I know it's pretty pathetic. Once I make it back to my bed, the surgeon is aghast that I was told I could eat. Turns out I was "under" for quite a bit longer than usual (my compact muscular body, hee hee, made working the kidney out a bit more effort) and my digestive system was still "asleep". I wasn't supposed to eat until I had passed gas, which would have demonstrated that the ol' system was working again.

So WHAT THE HELL DID THAT OTHER DOCTOR TELL ME IT WAS OKAY TO EAT FOR????? I was a little pissed off. Especially considering that my wife had suggested that eating was probably not a good idea. She's never wrong. Why didn't I listen to her instead? (Well, because the other guy said that I could do something I really wanted to... if the person delivering food trays had been the one to say it was okay to eat, I might have listened to her too!)

Please allow me to refer you back to this chapter's lesson.

Over the next two days, the pain got better, and I could *really* eat, so off I went on Thursday. Corinna didn't have it so lucky... she started showing signs of rejection, and was back to surgery twice more... but eventually everything settled in for her... though it took two gut-wrenchingly emotional weeks. Almost three years later, and she's still good to go. Knock wood.

Oh, here's the final part. After being home for a week, it was time to take out my staples.

By the way, want to see my cool incisions, staples and all? We took pictures, never even dreaming that I would someday have a blog to post them on!

Here they are. To spare those of you who don't want to see, I won't put the 'thumbnails' on this page. But click HERE to see my "poke holes" and HERE to see the big vertical incision.

So where was I? Oh, yes, time for the staples to come out. My wife, talented person that she is, is up to the task. She gets started, and.... MY INCISION GAPES OPEN AT THE TOP!! That's NOT supposed to happen!

I find out later that the surgeon, after finishing removing my kidney, had someone ELSE close me up. Let's just refer to that person as... I don't know... an incompetent f*ckup!!! See, when you staple someone together, you should abut the two edges of the incision before stapling. NOT FLAP ONE PIECE ON TOP OF THE OTHER AS THIS PERSON DID FOR THE TOP TWENTY-FIVE PERCENT OF MY INCISION!!! The inside of me had knit together well enough, but all the skin was just hanging open. My dear wife tries everything, from steri-strips, to glue, to try and keep things together (and yes, we DID go see someone about it too...) but it healed pretty yucky. The top part of my incision healed to big thick red scar. So much for that underwear modeling career I was hoping to fall back on!

That's pretty much all the fun stuff. By two weeks post-surgery, I felt 100% better (though I wasn't), and by three weeks post, I actually was pretty much back to myself.

However, it took WEEKS for my appetite to return. I was never hungry. I ate because I knew I needed to, but there were no cues to tell me to eat. It started to worry me, but ultimately, my appetite came back. Didn't need those fifteen pounds anyway.

And... all joking aside...

Of course it was all worth it.

Wow, this really was WAY longer than I expected, especially when you string all four parts together. And the amusement content was a little lower than usual too. I PROMISE only to talk about frivolous fluff for a long time now! OK? OK.


At 9:01 AM, Blogger caramaena said...

Very interesting reading too. Good on you for doing it.


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