Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Stardate 62885.83 - Medical Report

As many of you already know, I had surgery last Wednesday for a Right Inguinal Hernia. This is something I'm pretty sure I've had for over a year, but as the doctor told me, "Hernias never get better, they can only get worse." So I finally scheduled the surgery at NYU Medical Center (same hospital where Loren was born).

I know some of my friends and co-workers have already had this procedure, but for anyone else who may need it now or in the future I wanted to briefly talk about my experience. People with no interest in this type of thing can stop reading and hope for a new picture of Loren tomorrow. Some people may feel this is too much information, but I found it very helpful to talk to people who had already been through the procedure so if my experience can help set people at ease who are anticipating this procedure then that is what I want to do.

I had to go in 10-14 days in advance for a pre-surgery screening and other than a 2-hour wait that was uneventful - drawing some blood, an EKG, and a lot of questions. The day before the surgery I received my instructions and my time - no food or drink starting at midnight Tuesday and report at 0730 Wednesday morning. After meeting with every single person who would be working on me (and even the people who clean the room, I think!) and answering the same questions over and over I was finally ready for the procedure. The doctor was running about 30 minutes late, but I was quickly taken into the surgical room around 0900 and climbed up onto the table. There was some small talk, I was given an IV and oxygen, and then I don't remember anything until being woken up post-op and asked to help move off the table onto a gurney.

I was wheeled into recovery and asked if I wanted anything to eat or drink. I was very tired and groggy, so I asked for some decaf coffee. As soon as I drank a sip, I realized I was very nauseous. After lying on the bed for 30 minutes or so they moved me into a chair. They asked me about the pain - on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the worst pain ever (the time I broke 3 ribs and the morning after when I sneezed both came to mind). I replied the pain was a 2 or a 3, but the nausea was overwhelming. They gave me something in the IV for that (along with a lot of fluid), but it didn't help. Later they gave me a shot of something in the leg that was supposed to help. It helped me enough to get into a cab with help from Cheryl and get home around 1330, but I felt like I had the stomach flu. I went to bed and didn't get up until the next morning. I would sleep for 2 hours, get up to use the bathroom, and go back to sleep.

The nausea didn't dissipate until Thursday afternoon, and I didn't completely get my appetite back until Sunday. The entire time from the surgery through today the pain has been around a 1-2. The pain was completely dwarfed by the nausea, which I understand can happen from general anesthesia. In fact, the pain was so low I didn't even use the Percocet they prescribed for me and instead just used over-the-counter ibuprofen. In fact, I haven't even taken an ibuprofen in more than 24 hours as I write this post.

My friend Brian Hampton told me that the worst part would be getting up in the morning, and he was right. Everything is just sore and it is hard to get out of bed, but once I am up I am fine. I have an appointment this Friday with the doctor for a follow-up and I'm hoping the dressing gets removed--think about having a few napkins held on you by plastic wrap. Lets just say the itching really started kicking in yesterday.

So I spent Thursday and Friday off of work and watching nearly an entire season of Star Trek: Voyager (most of season three and the start of season four). Saturday I took it easy with the family, and on Sunday Cheryl took Loren to New Jersey to her parents' place so I could have another day with minimal activity. I worked a half-day from home on Monday and was back up to a full day yesterday (I'll be telecommuting through the end of the week). I should be able to go back to work in person the Monday before Thanksgiving.

Overall, it wasn't too bad. The pain was a lot less than I anticipated but the nausea was much, much worse. Apparently being under a general doesn't affect everyone the same, but for me it was so much worse than any other part of the procedure. I also recommend people really listen and take it easy for several days so that you have time to recover and heal up -- I was pretty tired for the next few days and was in bed by 9 PM for a few days afterward.



wtfree3 said...

Sorry to hear about the nausea - I've been under general anesthesia 5 times and haven't had that side effect. I agree with you on the heavy meds - I've only had to take them more than the evening of just once (when I had my knee reconstruction). That's a whole different level of pain. And not just physically - remember what cable TV was like in 1994? Selection of VCR tapes in that day and age wasn't great, either. Let's just say you had it nice (unlike me, being laid up for 2 weeks at home and stuck with that level of entertainment, when I wasn't torturing myself in rehab).

Enough about me. Hope you are feeling right. I've had your surgery (twice) and was lifting stuff I wasn't supposed to (like a toddler) much sooner than they recommended. Just listen to your body - the staples hurt if it's too much lifting.

gaz said...

here's to a quick recovery captain.