October 1984 - The Pain Isn't Over 'Til It's Over
After my minor (major) surgery, I was very happy to be lazing around in bed. The insidious bump had been cut away. All that was left was a one-inch scar, which hopefully would not be visible, once my pubic hair grew back in.
The warm quilt gently grabbed my side and helped me to sleep through the afternoon. My wife took the evening shift, watching over my recovery and my dear mother-in-law made certain that I was comfortable through the daytime. But as the days of my one-week convalescence rolled by, there began to be a problem. I was feeling better and I wanted to get up and move around. Peeing sideways into a bowl was getting old and I was beginning to feel helpless. I craved for the adventure of fully using the bathroom on my own.
It was about the fourth day and my mother-in-law was away in the kitchen making me lunch. I had made the decision that I was going to take my first baby steps. I removed the blanket from my left side and slowly slid my leg towards the edge of the bed. Everything went well until my left leg was hovering off the side of the bed.
The pain began at the point of the bandaged incision and then hit me like forked lightning, making a path throughout my torso. I used my left arm to push my leg back to the mattress and I finally had relief. It was now obvious. I could not do this by myself. I decided to wait for the evening shift so my wife could lift my leg, lower it to the floor and then assist me in hobbling to the warm, awaiting bowl, which actually, was only a few steps down the hall.
About two weeks later, I felt totally healed and things seemed to be returning to normal. I was finally able to get around the apartment on my own. I had learned to be cautious with my movements because slight pangs of pain would bring me back to reality. I had come to terms with not moving my mid-section more than I had to. The thought of going back to doing my regular exercise routine, which included sit-ups, made me nervous, so at this point, slow was good for now.
My brother was having a birthday party and we all piled into the car that glorious Sunday morning. Getting in and out of the passenger seat was still a chore for me but as long as I balanced my weight away from the delicate area, it seemed workable. Once we reached our destination, my wife got out and was unbuckling our one-year old from the car seat. I had just opened my door to get out, when the unspeakable happened.
The cool air that rushed in as the door opened had tickled the hairs of my nose. I gave out a really hard sneeze and suddenly my world felt like it was coming to an end. The only way I can describe it was that the doctor was again making the first cut and he was ripping his way up to my brain. Another sneeze was coming which I was trying desperately to muffle. My feigned attempt to stop this action only caused a second jolt of pain.
As I sat there seeing stars, I cried out loud:
"I've done it now! I've busted the stitches wide open! I've got to go back to the hospital!"
My wife walked over to my side of the car with our sleeping daughter in hand and leaned into the open door. Strangely enough, she had more perspective in these matters than I did. She had spent the past few weeks listening to me trying not to complain about my condition.
"Want me to call your brother out here to give you a hand?" she patiently asked.
The thought of my brother and who knows how many curious onlookers coming to the car, helped to calm me a bit. I realized that I was sore but the pain was going away. I guess my post-hernial incision had reacted to the sneeze, the same as if I had tried to do a sit-up. It was too soon for that type of pressure. Apparently, the muscles down there wanted to work together but they weren't finished healing yet.
It's been many years since that day and I've learned my lesson in terms of not straining myself. I love to exercise and I've learned how to pace myself. Even Superman has his limits.
The greatest happiness you can feel is when you share with someone you love.