Welcome to Big Old Goofy World . . . a place where I can share my thoughts, hopes, and dreams about this rock that we live on and call home.

Friday, October 21, 2011

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Surgery

As a male I have always valued the right to prolong the unpleasant.  Isn't that a male "right"?  To prolong, ignore, and avoid that which will eventually need to be done?  Especially when it involves having to make changes to one's self?  What male goes quietly into change when it involves changes to himself--not me!  I go kicking and screaming if it is not my choice.  But, if you give me enough time I usually come to my senses and approach change with a quiet whimper--as long as I think it is my decision.  Luckily for me I have a fairly patient wife who plays along with this game.

Having prolonged my male right to diddle-dick around (as my mother used to say) I finally came to my senses and decided to deal with a problem that had been lingering around for over four years now--repairing a hernia.  Yeah, I know--four years!  But I think I have legitimate grounds for postponing this little problem as it was going to be the third time that I would have to have surgery for a hernia.  Yes, I said third time.  The first was with stitches, the second was with mesh, and with each another hernia appeared right above the previous repair.  When it happened the third time, I just wasn't ready to deal with it again.  Besides, I had read that if it was not bothering a person they should wait--wait until it became a problem.  A couple of months ago it became a problem--the time had come to get it fixed once and for all.  Yeah, I told the doctor to wrap me in mesh, but I am jumping ahead in the story!

Having finally come to my senses or running out of excuses, I made an appointment with a surgeon to get the hernia fixed--besides I was really getting tired of pushing it back in.  I felt like the popping fresh Doughboy for Pillsbury except I was the one doing all the poking.  Having the appointment I ventured forth to meet the surgeon and the adventure was begun.

  As most doctor appointments go it was fairly routine.  The nurse came in and asked all the preliminary questions about my health.  She took all of my vital statistics--pulse, blood pressure, and more.  She proclaimed me quite healthy and then proceeded to explain to me that the doctor has a Physician Assistant intern that was female--would it be okay if she participated in the examine?  Would I be comfortable with this arrangement?  After hemming and hawing around I decided that it would NOT be okay.  I sure did not want to display my middle aged, slightly pudgy (remember the Pillsbury Doughboy--I wasn't kidding), hairy body in front of any female who did not need to be there.  Damn her education!  Let someone else with a better physique educate her! Then the nurse left.

Soon there came a knock on the door and entering the exam room was a twenty-something Physician Assistant trainee who was going to perform the exam.  She asked me to remove my shirt.  She asked to see the hernia.  She had cold hands.  I was sixteen shades of red.  Despite my greatest fear she performed the exam with the utmost professionalism and did not laugh once at my Adonis physique!  I appreciated her compassion and ability to not laugh.  Then the doctor came in, did his little thing to teach the student, and announced that I certainly was an excellent candidate for surgery.  The doctor was quite good and I even learned something myself--this was not a third hernia, but a second recurrence of the original hernia.  With that all said and done I was told that I could have surgery on Halloween, but I would have to preregister for the surgery.

Preregistering sounded like no big deal.  At least that is what I thought until I found out that they had difference standards for those who are over the age of 50 years old.  Seems like I fell into that category--by a couple of years.  Besides the normal paperwork I would be required to take an EKG--Electrocardiography--a heart test.  That is a little cause for anxiety when one has never taken a heart test.  No one wants to flunk that test.  But guess what--I flunked the test.  With wide eyes the nurse doing the pre-surgerical intake asked me if I had ever had any problems with my heart.  Nope, I said, why?  Well, she explained, your EKG is abnormal.

Abnormal?  How, I asked.  She then proceeded to inform me that I had had a infarction at some point.  I don't know about you, but medical terms are a foreign language to me.  Infarction sound like some sort of secret letting out of gas that one does not want to admit to.  At least that is what I thought, but I was informed that it is a heart attack.  She was telling me that my EKG was saying that I had had a heart attack.  Needless to say I was a little short of words at that point.  How does one respond to such news--I sat there wondering, why didn't I just wait another year or two?  She then explained that the doctor would need to see these results and then would let me know what the next step would be.  In the meantime, since it was 3:00PM on a Friday afternoon, I should go home and wait.  Anyone thinking anxiety?

So I waited . . . I did yard work all day Saturday.  Sunday I did church, laundry, and did visitation.  I did anything humanly possible to keep my mind off of waiting.  On Monday, I waited at work for a call from the doctor.  I pestered my co-workers.  I anxiously waited until late in the afternoon they finally let me know what was next--I would get to do a stress test.  The ol' tread mill test.  Walk till you dropped.  Plus, they said, it would be on Friday--nearly a week away.  More waiting!  More anxiety!  More worry.  So, while waiting I decided that if the medical establishment was going to change my whole life due to some reading of an EKG I was going to enjoy it while I could.  I then proceeded to eat all those things that I knew they were going to take away from me--boy, I had some great cheese burgers this week!

Finally the day arrived and I was to do my stress test as the adventured continued.  There needs to be some sort of law that states that medical offices should not hire staff that look like they could be poster children for fitness.  Every person in the cardio place looked as if they were the perfect, non-fat, physical specimens that everyone aspires to be in his or her wildest dreams.  They were a far cry from what I looked like--I just wanted someone who looked some like me, someone to make me feel comfortable.  Good luck!  It was my wildest nightmare--Pillsbury Doughboy stuck in some sort of medical Stepford Wives movie.

Finally the test came--my goal: Pass the test!  After having parts of my chest shaved with the dullest razor on God's great creation, having my skin rubbed with number nine sandpaper, and having little electrodes placed on me, I was finally taking the test.  It really wasn't too bad once they finished the shaving, rubbing, and placing . . . all I had to do was walk as they increased the speed and incline on the treadmill for ten minutes.  Piece of cake!  I did well.  Talked throughout--drove the technicians crazy, but finished without falling flat on my face or having a heart attack.  They were impressed--I thought I was going to die!  The results?  I passed with flying colors.  The doctor proclaimed that I had a 100 percent healthy heart--it worked like it was suppose to work; and, he proclaimed that I had no damage from any previous heart attacks.  In fact, he said I had probably never had a heart attack--that the first one was probably just a false negative.

It was like the heavens opened up.  Like the heavenly choirs sang.  Like a dove flew down, landed on my shoulder, and a voice proclaimed: "It is well!"  Okay, maybe I exaggerate . . . but it felt pretty darn good to get a clean bill of health.  He stated that my hernia surgery would probably still be on Halloween.

As I get closer to the actual surgery I will let you know more about that--that is another story.  In the meantime, once I got over the good news, I started to think--this wasn't free.  This probably cost a whole bunch of money.  The more I thought about it the more  I began to worry.  Worry is not good for the heart--puts stress on the heart.  Now I am concerned, concerned that the bill is going to kill me!  Just what I need!

It is funny the things that happen on the way to surgery.  We do not always take a straight and narrow path towards our goals--sometimes we have detours that change our lives forever.  Sometimes we get a wake-up.  Sometimes we just get the poop scared out of us.  I thought I was being a good person--a good male--finally agreeing to do what I should have done years ago.  Little did I realize I would have all this extra baggage to drag alone with me to get a simple hernia surgery.  Oh well, if I had only been patient a little longer I might have missed out on all of this fun.  You know, I am getting too old for all of this stuff!  If anything else happens, well, I don't know . . . maybe like Fred Sanford on Sanford and Son my reaction will be:

It's the BIG one, Martha!

Of course I haven't got the bill yet, so you never know!  But, in all honesty, I doubt it.  The doctor said I have a 100 percent healthy heart.  The container may be a little rough, but its what's inside counts and it is good.  For all the prayers and support I thank everyone.  Yep, some funny things can happen on the way to surgery!

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