October 1984 - Surviving Embarrassment
I arrived at the doctor's office in pain but with an ever-increasing hope that soon I'd be on the course to feeling better. Little did I know that I'd have to first face some primal embarrassments.
It was when a nurse led me to Doctor Urologist's examination room that I saw it. I truly believed that only the female gender used those spread-em-wide stirrups that were connected to the foot of the table. As I changed into a hospital gown, I slowly realized this not to be the case. Dr. U instructed me to lie down and put my legs up in the holsters. I understood that this was necessary so that a thorough examination could be performed but I was also pretty sure it was also to convenience the doctor. As he worked, the Doc let me know that there were many different types of hernias and that they could also occur in newborns or the elderly, be they male or female. I zoned out on the details of other kinds of hernia. I just wanted to know what was next in store for me and not a baby. I wonder if the mention of baby hernia was some kind of snide joke on his part? Naa. Couldn't be.
After the doctor was finished (thank God), I finally sat in his other office. Dr. U confirmed that I had an inguinal hernia and that a simple surgery would be necessary in order to repair it. He said, with a smile, that the bowel that was pushing through the membrane was reducible (or could be pushed back in place). In any case, surgery would be repaired. But if the hernia had been irreducible and couldn't be pushed back in place, then say a prayer. This could have turned into a medical emergency since the blood supply would have been choked off to that area. The development of dead or gangrenous bowel is possible in as little as six hours. In other words, there was the possibility that had I waited a much longer time, before getting it taken care of, it might have killed me. That would have made for a bad day, so I agreed to the procedure.
About two days later, I'm sitting in a hospital bed, waiting to see what happens next. A pretty nurse told me that I would have to be shaved down there as a precaution against infection. I was about to jokingly say that I was a happily married man when the male nurse entered the room with the foam and blade. Isn't there some kind of rule that a female nurse is supposed to be handling the equipment? I guess not. At least the guy was professional and after a few uncomfortable minutes, I was now as bald as the day I was born.
After being given some pre-op medication, I was placed on a gurney. Someone wheeled me out of my room and I looked up as the lights overhead crawled along the ceiling. I was describing this to the nurse who was rolling next to me, but I was mostly hoping that I was making some kind of sense.
Once in the operating room, I was told by Doc U that I would be given gas and to please count backwards from one hundred. I think I got to ninety-eight. I soon wished that that were all I could remember. Even though the merry-go-round was spinning, with me on it, I felt what could only be described as a dull tugging in the surgical area. I moaned a bit, hoping that the volunteer worker that administered the anesthesia understood that I was trying to say, "Hey numb-nut, I'm awake. I can feel that!" It seemed that he understood because a needle was soon placed in my IV and suddenly my trip to the circus became happy again.
When I finally woke, I found myself bandaged up. I was curious about the incision but I was pretty sore so I decided not to move much. My hope was that after the surgery, I would be a much happier camper but I was not aware that a brand new kind of pain was on the way.
To be continued...
The greatest happiness you can feel is when you share with someone you love.