For the Record: My Inguinal Hernia Repair, 09/08

This began Sunday, 09/07, around 10:00 pm as I finished a meal that was to sustain me until the following day around 3:30 pm. This was the preoperative fast–no liquids or solids until after the surgery.

My inguinal hernia was from lifting more weight than I should have on the abdominal crunch machine at the Tokay Fitness Center,  Fayetteville-Cumberland Parks and Recreation.

I choose to see if I could lift “all” the weight–274 pounds. I did! I thought with no problem–well…

Fortunately, the hernia was not severe–requiring immediate medical attention. Nor was there a need for surgical correction to prevent incarceration and strangulation. Hey, I lived with it for about a year. Long walks were uncomfortable and sometimes I had abdominal discomfort. But, I digress…

Back to the fast–not being able to eat or drink when you are restricted is more of a challenge. For me, the hard part is during the night–I made it! I began my Monday morning by going to the gym, breaking up the morning as much as I could before my 11:00 am appointment a my local Veterans Administration Hospital. The thought of food or drink were not on my mind. My plan is working…

Oh, I forgot, the preoperative preparation started by replacing all of my piercing metal jewelry with plastic retainers. Including tips, that was $40 for retainer placement and putting the metal jewelry back.

My piercer, Rachel, tells me the real reason this is a required procedure–if you “code” while on the table, defibrillators can be used in an effort to save you without damage to piercings because of the presence of metal. Comforting…  [research tells me different]. Again, I digressed…

Okay, arrived at the VA parking lot 15 minutes before appointment time–no parking spaces. It took all of 15 minutes to find one. But, found one we did. I checked in at 11:00 am and get called to the day-bed unit in less than 30 seconds.

Strangely, my blood pressure was elevated. The upcoming surgery, and the parking lot experience did not give a peaceful calm. After some deep breathing and relaxation, my BP comes down enough to proceed. I changed into hospital gown, etc. and get prepped for surgery–half my groin was shaved [clippers were used to avoid razor nicks–Mo (lady attendant) attacked the hair at a high clipper angle and nicked me anyway. Shall I say I grinned and bared it–no pun intended].

Nurse Peggy arrived to start my IV–uneventful, except there is some discomfort. I asked if the discomfort will go away after the IV has been in for a while. She says no. It should not be uncomfortable. Oh! She slowed down the rate-of-flow. That helped. Now to get into the leg-warmers–not the kind I know as a cyclist. They looked somewhat like these. Ready to go–right. Not so fast!

My OR nurse–Sophia; my surgeon–Dr. Mullen; and, my anesthesiologist–Dr. Islam huddled. Nurse Sophia verified I am the patient on their schedule and that the hernia is the protrusion on the right as described in the surgical instructions. We want to get the “right” hernia.  I understand…

After about 1 hour and 45 minutes on the prep bed, Dr. Islam inserted the stuff to knock me out and they wheeled me away–nice ride. We arrived in the OR. I am asked to slide from the bed to the OR table and to place my arms on two supports–like I’m on a cross. I heard and felt the inflatable leg sleeves go to work and the attachment of sensors for monitoring.

Lights out…

I awaken in the recovery room, with the nurse handing me my glasses. I guess she knows to look in my tennis shoes for glasses. I’m alert–nothing like awaking from ether after a tonsillectomy when I was 12 years old. I see Dr. Islam. He was checking that all was well. It was!

It is now between 2:00-2:30 pm. I was allowed to get dressed. I was handed a sack lunch. Food! But, I’m not hungry. I saved it until later. I’m wheeled out to the patient pickup area and await my ride. I manage to get into my seat–tender tummy and all.

I ate my sandwich as I rode and ultimately made it home. I napped for a couple of hours and asked for a ride to Evolution Ink to have my metal jewelry put back in.  That was about 8:00 pm. After that, we stopped at Panera’ s for soup to go.  I ate that around 10:00 pm. The day is done…

I worked on a customer’s computer Tuesday night and delivered it Wednesday. I was on that call until around 2:00 pm. I went to the gym Wednesday morning, walked about 1/2 miles Thursday and returned to the gym Friday morning. Saturday evening I attended a cancer gala–mostly sitting–not comfortable, especially with a tight fitting waist band.

During the week, I ate light–lots of bran and fruit, looking for the first BM after the anesthesia. I think that was Wednesday. Although, I have been active, I have had LOTs of discomfort, particularly in reclining and getting up there from. I continue to take my pain medication [acetaminophen–325MG] every 6 hours. I do not have symptoms of having done too much.

If this a rapid recovery, I’ll attribute it to my level of fitness. I am blessed. Thanks to family and friends for their prayers and well wishes.

Early Tuesday morning, 09/16, I see a gastrointestinologist in preparation for a colonostrophy. Late morning, I’m back with Dr. Mullen for my hernia postop-visit. I’ll hear then what he thinks of my recovery. I called Dr. Mullen and Dr. Islam to thank them for the procedure and tell them I am well–no issues with my local VA Hospital. I have also tried to speak with nurse Sophia, but have not spoken with her yet.

Now, if the discomfort would just subside…

Jim Artis

Author: jalexartis

Avid cyclist, who loves photography, technology, blogging & cooking...

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