Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Back to Finals

Now that I’m starting to get back into the swing of things, I’m facing the problem of taking my final exams. In some ways I’m lucky (if you can call having part of your anatomy removed “lucky”). I’ve had more time than my fellow students did to study. On the other hand, I’m not so lucky. Mostly I’ve been drugged and not thinking about school (or anything else) and so there’s more distance between me and they subject at hand.

The other side of this is that since I came back to work, my work schedule has gotten nuts. I’ve got more responsibility and a larger client load than ever. Okay, not “ever.” Just larger than it’s been in a long time. It’s been harder for me to carve out time in my schedule to study and take my tests.

In any case, I’ve promised myself that I’m going to take my anatomy final this week It’s waiting for me at the assessment center, I just have to go take it. I had originally planned for tomorrow but (work again!), it’s looking like it will be Thursday instead.

Wish me luck. Come hell or high-water I want to get this done.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

First Week without a gall bladder

The day after my surgery was weird. Not that the three days I had before that weren’t weird. In many ways, I guess, the day after was really just a continuation of the weird. They started giving me solid food, sort of. I mean, if you can call colored gelatin solid. Maybe it was just less liquid. Mostly they just checked me out and sent me home.

To be honest, that day, and most of the next week was a blur. I do vaguely remember arranging for incompletes with my professors. Mostly I just took lots of narcotics and stayed on the couch. I think I watched more TV that week than I have in the past several years.

One thing I learned that week, though. When you’re recovering from surgery, DVD rental means never having to say, “What should I do today when I’m not asleep?”

Monday, May 15, 2006

Let's play operation!

So, there I was in the hospital. I didn’t want to be, but who does?

At first I tried to study my chemistry. I had a final coming up and I was hoping to make it out by my final test. It’s amazing the kinds of delusions that pain and morphine will lead to.

One astute nurse, finding me struggling with my chemistry, said, “So, with all the stress in your life right now, don’t you think that may have something to do with you being in the hospital? I think you probably should put the chemistry away for tonight and get some rest.” At first, her comment annoyed me. What was I supposed to do? I was confined to ice chips for two days and had finals coming up. My work had sent me to Vegas so I’d already lost two critical days of cramming. How was watching crappy TV and sleep supposed to help me? It wouldn’t change anything. I was still going to get cut on and have a small part of my anatomy removed.

In the end though, she was right. I was exhausted. I had pushed myself too far and my body had rebelled. In the end I didn’t get much chemistry done. Mostly I just slept and watched crappy TV for two days.

Monday rolled around and I realized that it was already noon, and I had no idea when I’d being going in for the surgery. It was supposed to be that day. My previous experiences with surgery had convinced me that surgeons were morning people of the worst sort and so I had expected to have gone under the knife by now. Or at least by 1:30. Didn’t happen, though. Even the nurses weren’t sure until the last minute.

After sitting around worrying for a few more hours, I was finally wheeled in, bed and all, to the pre-op area at about 4:00 PM. Remember how I said that surgeons are morning people? If you can help it, never schedule a surgery for the afternoon. Not only are surgeons morning people, so are operating room staff. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a group of more exhausted looking folks in a hospital and not have them be patients. Honestly, I was a little concerned. Mostly I just had to pee. One of the most surreal moments though, was when one of the staff came over to me with what looked like a magic marker and wrote the word “yes” on the right side of my belly and “no” on the left side. “That’s to make sure the surgeon knows which side of you to cut on,” she said with a smile.

Okay. I was officially freaked out. I’d been studying anatomy this last semester, right? Even I remembered that my gall bladder was on my right side. Why did the surgeon need a reminder? Didn’t they go to school for this sort of thing?

Too late to back out, I was wheeled into the operating room, and subjected to abuse only a fraternity could think up. I woke up later with half of my stomach shaved and four rather large band aides on me. Oh yeah. I hurt. More morphine was given and I did little but sleep through the rest of the night.

Monday, May 08, 2006

When Push Comes to Shove

Hey everyone! Long time no update. For those of you who don’t know, I ended up in the hospital last week having my gall bladder removed. Take it from me, it’s not a good way to get out of taking finals.

I had planned on this surgery the following week. Or rather, today, so I could take my finals. I had a severe attack last Sunday, though, and ended up in the emergency room for the 37th time.

Okay, I really have no idea how many times I’ve been to the ER before over my gall bladder, but it’s a lot, all right?

I got to freak my niece out, as well.

My Good Wife and I had just come home from a business trip to Vegas at about 3:30 AM Sunday morning. (Yes, it really was business. Quit smirking.) GW had the good sense to go directly to bed (do not pass Go) when we got home. I tried, but my gall bladder had other ideas. It had been vying for my attention for the last couple of hours of our trip home. I thought about asking GW to drive, but she doesn’t see very well at night.

My Lovely Niece had been staying with the kids over the weekend. She’s 18 now, and getting ready to go off to college (full ride scholarship, no less) this coming fall. All in all, she’s a capable young woman. MLN was sleeping on the coach but started rousing about three hours after we got home. I, on the other hand, had been drifting in and out of exhaustion induced sleep alternating with bouts of increasing pain in my gut. When she, and a couple of my kids, started moving around the house like the little morning zombies they are, I finally gave up. GW was fast asleep and dead to the world. No joining the undead for her. So I turned to MLN and said, “I’d like you to put your shoes on and take me to the hospital, please.”

The look on her face of utter horror and concern was worth the price of admission. Not really, but it sounds good.

MLN did not let me down. In spite of her shock she did just as I asked, and within just a few minutes we were in the emergency room. The doctors did all of the right things, poking and torturing me in just the right ways to make me scream, and then giving me morphine to make me feel better about the abuse. About this time GW had roused herself to consciousness and joined me.

Not in the abuse, just as a witness. You guys really are sick, aren’t you.

Now, I was hoping to feel better and go home. We had scheduled this very surgery for the following week so I could take my finals. As the morphine started wearing off, though, it was clear that this attack was much worse than anything from before. I was still hurting. Not as bad, mind you, but I could still feel it. I talked with the doctor about my concerns and asked him what he thought. My would-be torturer said, quite frankly, “I think you should let us cut it out now. Your surgeon has agreed to do it tomorrow.”

How could I argue with that?

But you’ll have to wait until later for the rest of the story.