Bye Bye Baby Pt 3

Nearly 4 years ago to the day, I was living in Ulsan, South Korea. It seems like a lifetime ago now. While I was living there, I had the opportunity to go through surgery for an umbilical hernia repair. You can read all about part 1 and part 2.

It didn’t seem to work though. I’m not sure if my attempt at pilates screwed it up, or if the mesh was no good. There apparently were some ‘recalls’ for people who had hernia repairs with a mesh. Unfortunately mine was outside of the US so I wouldn’t know if that even applies to my situation.

ANYHOOOO! I’ve been back in the US for a year and was experiencing some stomach issues and my hernia was full-fledged back to party. I have a full-time job here with good insurance (For the first time in how long?) — so one of the first things I did was go to Surgical Group of Orlando. Dr. Chambers took a look, gave a nod, and we set a date.

So on July 24th (1 week shy of 4 years) I had my umbilical hernia repair. I had my entourage with me (parents and grandparents) and we waited for a solid 30 minutes before I was called back. Michelle was attending me and she was a blast. We made small talk and funny talk and went over all of the necessities that I now can no longer remember for follow-up care.

At one point, she was taking a look at my belly and gasped: my stomach was beet red. I wasn’t having a reaction to medication or had some sort of viral breakout. I was severely sunburned. I made this dumbass mistake of going to Siesta Key the weekend before my Tuesday surgery. I chose to NOT wear a 1 piece because TAN LINES! Hello!? Yup. The wind was strong that day. My SPF30 sport sunscreen was expired. And I was just not responsible. I got SO SO SO Sunburned that i had to take 3 black tea & apple cider vinegar baths. I lived in an aloe plant and rubbed super potent “CBD” salve on me. And I had no a/c in my car on the 3 hour drive back. Boohoo my poor choices.
So anyway, I almost wasn’t allowed to get the surgery, but luckily I hadn’t started to peel yet.

Back to the story:
Because my surgery wasn’t scheduled until 1pm, I was allowed to eat and drink up until 3:30am. Unfortunately I was asleep by 11:30pm the night before and barely woke up in time to drink a bottle of water before I couldn’t anymore. For anyone going into surgery where they say ‘Don’t eat or drink anything for 12 hours before the surgery’ — do your veins a favor: drink and eat up until the last minute. If you do what I did and have an easy Thai meal and hit the hay early, your vein may or may not collapse when they try to put in the IV. If you’re a punk like me and don’t do well with needles — this is a problem.

My vein collapsed and Michelle had to do it again. My wrist is now so bruised that I look like I was in a domestic issue (I can’t even wear my watch). Anyway, I spoke with the anesthesiologist and Dr. Chambers came in for a few minutes. Then I was wheeled back and moved onto a table. They put my oxygen mask on, I wished them good luck, and I was out. I do not remember my dream, but I did manage to not sit up this time.

To indicate to the nurses that I was awake, I made a joke about how the nurse they were making fun of for being short was ‘fun sized.’ Then my teeth started some serious chattering. And the pain started really hitting. I couldn’t swallow. I was not freaking out. The anesthesia was leaving my system and for some reason, this was how my body reacted. I wasn’t cold. I wasn’t scared. I was just in pain and my wonderful mom kept trying to give me water, but would take the damn straw away mid-sip and make a giant mess. But to be fair, she hasn’t had to feed a person in a while.

They gave me Vicodin and I proceeded to hate every second of it. My breathing was really shallow and I just felt like I was in this half-way state of sleep and frustration. I took it a couple of times that first day and haven’t looked back.

Repair:
Initially, Dr. Chambers was going to make the incision from my original scar with a possibility of using a mesh.. However, she changed her mind the day of (whether it was the sunburned scar or other reasons, I currently do not know). She decided to go through my belly button and sutured the hernia rather than using a mesh.

Recovery:
The act of sitting, standing, lying down, sitting up, twisting, coughing, or you know.. anything was pretty rough the first day or two. I’m stubborn though and did more movement than I probably should have. But also, 5 days after the surgery, I’m sitting on my couch cross legged without too much pain. Just soreness. And majorly itchy from this damned sunburn. I’m barely starting to peel, but if I can keep moisturized then maybe it won’t? Hopefully?

I was able to take a shower on day 2 — and it was painful. But on day 4 (yesterday), I was able to take a full shower with hair care and then go get a haircut. I don’t think I’ll be going to a movie or out for dinner and drinks just yet, but I feel better today than I have all week.

Week 1:
Rest. Rest. Rest. No lifting, bending, etc. Take it easy.

Week 2:
Rest, but I can go back to work. Follow up visit is scheduled for 1 week from the surgery. No lifting anything more than 10lbs.

Week 3:
Resuming light activities. Lifting maybe up to 20lbs? But more than likely 10lbs still.

Weeks 4-6:
Resuming normal activities, no heavy workouts still, but light activities are encouraged. No lifting more than 20lbs.

I’ll hopefully remember to write a follow up in a week or two.

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Not Just Another Beautiful Face – A Dedication

I saw my great-aunt for the first time in years. She was in the hospital getting ready to go for surgery. She called me a few months ago and when I asked to see her before I left for Korea, she said ‘No my sweetheart. It’s better this way.’ I’ve felt heartbreak before. I’ve felt it from young love, and the death of a beloved pet, and realizing that my dream would not be my reality.

But to be told by a dear family member that I may not see her again… that was new. I’m not happy about the circumstances that allowed me to see her. I ‘facetimed’ with my uncle while she writhed in pain in her hospital bed. But I saw her. I was as close to her as I may ever be again.

I looked at her aged face: the deep wrinkles, her teeth, her white and thinning hair. But what I saw for just a moment was such a beautiful smile. I know the smile masked the pain she was in. But we got to see each other. After years of not reaching out enough, her family surrounded her. Her nephew and sister in law (my uncle and grandmother) were by her side. They turned the camera away while she was in pain, and we talked of things far less important than her health: sports, tv shows, wedding details. I may not have been in the room to witness it, but I could hear her cries of discomfort.

Maybe this is a horrible thing to say, but I’m glad I wasn’t there. I mean, in the room. If I was in Florida, I would have dropped my life and been there in the fastest way possible. But to see her in pain, in a hospital bed, pale and frustrated… this would have torn me apart. Here was a woman who talked me through some hard times, hugged me in the few instances I saw her, and I couldn’t be there for her today.

Perhaps I’m making this sound morbid. She had a successful surgery. She woke up to her husband and only daughter, her brother and his wife (my grandparents), and her nephew. She had family surrounding her. This is something she had not experienced in YEARS. I can only imagine how happy she was to see all their faces. Maybe a bit humiliated too.. she doesn’t like others to see or feel her pain.

Now she’s headed to a rehabilitation center. She suffered from broken metacarpals (fingers/knuckles) that has her in a cast up to her elbow. She needs a walker too, which will be interesting I think with a cast. But she’ll have the help she needs, that my great-uncle could not provide.

Her strength empowers me. The thought of losing her weakens me. I suppose this is part of the balancing act of life, huh?

Here’s to you Shirley, you’re not just another beautiful face!

It’s Not Fair to Compare

It’s Not Fair to Compare.

 

my input in the form of an article for the new online magazine Tickets To:

Virtual Gameday – College Gameday experience

My brother has been working is arse off the past couple of years trying to perfect this website. And finally it is complete. It’s brilliant! For those of you in the States, Virtual Gameday offers you a social network as alumni. You can follow your team’s games and join fellow fans “going to the game” or “Watching the game.” Based on where you are, you can share with friends your plans or start new ones! If you’re visiting another city and feel the urge to watch the game with your alumni, look up plans in that city and you’ll see different viewing parties (from official to not as official).

Although it’s not available for viewing parties out of the country (yet) I still get to keep track of my friends going to the game or watching it in my hometown. Check it out! All you have to do is visit www.virtualgameday.com and sign up via facebook. Then… happy gameday. Go ‘Noles!

Link

Blame it on the..

It’s been a long while since I have posted an update. My apologies – I blame the heat. Actually, one can blame the heat for a lot of issues here:

A certain laziness sets in that makes joining a gym or working out just seem torturous. I luckily have looked past this (and into a mirror) and joined a gym that does not have air conditioning. They have fans, but I haven’t seen them on yet. I spend more here on a gym membership per month than I did in the States.

A rash is inevitable. Heat rash mostly. The constant Florida summer heat can make sensitive skin break out in ways and areas that make ZERO sense. Luckily, pharmacies are as accessible as the drugs they sell. I picked up some cortisone for 180Baht (roughly $6).

I blame the heat for bad hair days! Being a native Floridian, having a ‘good’ hair day keeping long hair straight for longer than 2 hours. Here… maybe there is, maybe there isn’t an excuse. It’s too hot to blow dry and straighten my hair. I can count on one hand the amount of times I’ve used a blow dryer… which was actually used for drying my paintings. The straightener bit was a few times more I think. I end up sweaty before I get through half of my head. However, Thai girls have good hair days everyday. I think they may wake up hours earlier than they should to make sure they look like dolls. Thai teachers especially. They rarely have an ‘off’ day. (Maybe I can blame the heat for the laziness of not getting up early to sweat from straightening my hair!)

I blame the heat for dirty clothes. Darling English people.. I know you LOVE to wear white in the worst combinations but white + heat = sweat stains. And they are obvious. I have a couple of white shirts that I have not and will not wear in Thailand. If not for the heat and sweat, then the rain that will give the Thai culture a real sense of spring breaks in Florida.

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