[date Sun, Mar 31, 2013 at 10:14 AM]
To reiterate: my PN rants are a personal journal. I find it easy to scratch a few thoughts on my tablet in the “cloud” whenever the mood or timing suits. I broadcast this note to friends old and new as a milestone / telegraph. No need to respond. Addressing is open: you may know or get to know others on the list and want their email address. If you want to be blind copied or anonymous copied, or not copied, say so. I can’t read my own mind….. Also, Jimmy crack corn.
Special events this week: I’ve survived an appendectomy, performed Wednesday evening. I’m operating at 40%, tops. Bad juju. The following is a message for posterity to me from me about me. To be read each and every time I forget or am reminded of how frail my body is, and how tentative a grasp one has on life.
Warning! Graphic images and naked thoughts……..
I was laughing into the final week of March. I have worked enough this year to provide some pin money. Pretty well did what I wanted when I wanted (as long as I didn’t want too much too often). So far this year (football analogy – first quarter) everything was looking good. No worries mate!
On the 26th I woke up with an almost crippling pain in my lower right side, and the same testicle not very happy. I couldn’t eat breakfast…… Pain all day. That night Wendy, myself, Len and Loretta journeyed to Bob G.’s to maybe buy some die-cast model cars. A car guy thing. Bob was surprised I wouldn’t take a beer (it was my favorite kind!) Later that evening, Wendy called a Hospital Help Line. We described the symptoms to the on duty nurse (Penny was her name) and she suggested a quick trip to a hospital to see what we could see. Being me – and who else might you ask – I insisted we wait until morning (I was already snuggled in bed) to see what the pain index would be. Deep breaths were making me shiver, then I’d get a hot surge. What fun!
Wednesday morning the 27th wasn’t too promising. The pain was worse. No appetite. Shortness of breath. Small bladder holding capacity. Shaking like Elvis on a good day. An old man shuffle had replaced my jaunty meandering gate. Not optimum. Wendy, God bless her, knows the hospitals in Calgary as well as the people who work there. She has had too much to do with them in her lifetime. She quickly ascertained the best choice for my problem, and we set off for Rockyview. Admission was over in about 15 minutes. The clerks were cheerful and very helpful. I got my very own “chart”. Yea! Off I went to get fitted for one of those fashionable blue open back one-fits-all gowns in an admission clearing area. Stylin’! A beautiful young lady started to do a ECG, but her lunch break came right then, and an older east Indian fellow finished the job. His enggrish wasn’t too crisp. I assumed I passed the test because he didn’t hit the panic button. Dr. Mark Scott came by to stick his finger up my bum (no harm, no foul), listen to me breathe, and generally get to know my level of hysteria. It wasn’t long before my first station “A13” became home. This is where people with certain issues such as gall bladder and appendix are analyzed further. From here RN Darleen got me outfitted with a blood pressure cuff, some blood samples were taken. The big task was drinking a ginormous bottle of tracer fluid in preparation for a CT scan. It took an hour for that one, and the ride was awesome into the CT machine. I felt truly humbled that such technology was available to a normal schmuck like me. After the CT ride, (and a HUGE pee), Xrays. One of my old favorites. Gotta love it when everyone scurries out of the room commanding me to stay still and hold my breath. Back to A13 (home base) for a short rest. Dr. Mark Scott came by to tell me the results were in – he showed me the CT scans after I asked. Talk about thin sliced corned beef…. He said that the radiologist thought they’d detected a tiny air burst beside my appendix. He called it a micro vent. I said “cool!” for lack of intelligent banter. I was very relieved to know what they thought was the problem. As Mrs. Morrison in math told me, defining the problem is 95% of the solution. So be it…. Dr. Mark Scott declined to cut me open then and their, saying he’s a top drawer emergency doctor, but he don’t do no stinkin’ surgery. Triage are him. Dr. Brent Peter Jim (Indian fellow from Burns Lake area) came by to explain the options, and he brought an option sheet. Turned out to be a consensus form – all I had to do was pick some items from column A, B, C, add garnish, and wait to be served. All this happened before 7:00 p.m. The wait was on. No drink, no food. Me no care, ’cause I had a drip in my arm with some marvelous concoction that kept my screaming to a minimum. Smiling I was….. Shortly after 7:00 p.m. my ride arrived. A chrome and sheets beauty with big bumpers and pneumatic wheels. Of to the Operating room! There in the admitting area I met some nice people responsible for the “gas warfare” they would use to still my restless beasties. Wish I could remember their names – they were both very pleasant. Then the surgeon showed up – Dr. Glenn Vajcner (yes that’s how it’s spelled; still can’t pronounce it). A very pleasant man about half my age with ginger hair. I asked him if he’d had too many beers today to continue, to which he replied “don’t drink”, with a grin. Good! A sense of humor! He explained to me what he was intending to do – start with a laparoscopic procedure off the tee box, then hack me open with a chainsaw if it all went to hell in a hand basket. He was so charming I agreed in a second, and who wouldn’t? However, I had plenty of time during the day to prepare my demands sheet – I thought there might be an extra or two I could scoop. The list, in order:
- I want to take the little traitor bastard appendix home – intention – barbeque it to further death over high heat with beer
- I want a complete video of the procedure because it was my first trip along the bank of the Styx – who knew what could happen? Would I pick flowers and return home? I intended to show it to the few friends I have that are still alive when we barbequed the above traitorous bastard…. Would the ferryman meet me? Us expressives are risk takers (didn’t even think about this possible outcome).
- Remove 30 pounds of fat from my gut – I’ve been meaning to do it myself, but seeing you’re in the area?
- Make me pretty – this was probably not possible, but he did seem like the second coming of the miracle worker, with much nicer teeth. (Never been a Burt Lancaster fan…..)
- Fix my umbilical hernia while he was there – my argument was laparoscopy needs three holes, I drilled one in advance….
I was ready to argue my points well into the operating room, but Dr. Vajcner listened patiently to each point before saying “No!”, except for my umbilical hernia. Logic wins the day! Pleased with my small but at the time important “extra”, we then rolled merrily into the operating room. It wasn’t a theater like you see in the black and white movies of yore (no bone saws in sight, either), but it did have good lights, cool air, and a team waiting to proceed. Proceed we did. The lovely anesthesiologist said sniff these various things and tell me what you think. Always looking for an olfactory treat, I did as told. I had exactly enough time to glance at the clock – 8:16 p.m. before I woke up in recovery. The two RN’s in recovery were not busy that evening. Probably very good for me. I woke somewhere around 9:30 p.m. but they told me the operation took less than 1/2 hour. Dreamland. Wendy showed up about that time. I was quite emotional, telling her how much I love her etc., ad infinitum. I could have got away with it too, but Wendy had arrived early enough to hear me say pretty much the same to the RN’s on duty, the strong men to help lift me, and anyone else wandering by. Most people spend a short time in recovery until they learn again the skill of speaking, breathing by themselves, and recognize basic patterns. I was pretty well zonked. Those lovely ladies kept me from flat-lining (they said I had “sleep apnia”). Every once in a while they came around to wake me, get me breathing, and tell me stories. They also kept phoning my final resting place (day surgery bed 11) to see if they’d take me, but down there they’d seen it all, and were too wise to take a fat man on hearsay.
On the morning of the 28th, about 4:00 a.m., they finally told the correct lie, and my limo driver drove me to bed 11. Another jostle into the bed, hook up another intravenous drip, and dim the lights…… Sometime later in the morning I met Carleen, the RN, who seemed to be Irish in nature if not by birth. We didn’t agree on much, as it was the arguin’ of the little parts that kept us from agreeing, and me so sick and all, a crying shame it was. She was wonderful! Somewhere (not near the rainbow), Wendy came to see me with sensible accoutrements such as clothing and a toothbrush (for those post surgery mornings). And didn’t Dr. Vajcner show up shortly after? He asked how I felt. I told the truth and he kicked me out! Damn, I had it good in there…. Last minute handshakes, hugs, and kisses, a few documents, and a 12 pack of Percocet later, Wendy darling took me home. Wasn’t even noon! The whole two penny opera took about 24 hours. I was and am impressed with everything involved. I phoned my kids, Ricky, Bob, and promptly settled in to snooze. The plan was I was too tough for my shirt, too tough for my pants, and way too tough to take drugs for the pain. All you survivors of surgery can stop guffawing….. The tough lasted exactly until the last of the IV drip special sauce was consumed. We looked at the instructions for the drug. I was reluctant because of the ingredients. We decided that when the pain was bad, take one, but try and manage the pain, not “chase it”. The first afternoon I took two of those little monsters (5mg), 6 hours apart. Did the job. Painful getting into bed, getting out of bed. Ridiculous bowel movements – like spray painting a picket fence with your mom’s Hoover on reverse, but WAY smellier. I won’t but mention that essential job “doing the paper work”; if you ever need to do it again, you’ll figure it out again. Not quite Samuel Pepes, but so to bed. Lest ye forget you daft old bugger, here’s what you looked like fresh from the hospital, all blown up with gas (part of the procedure), and blown up with gas (intestinal) after two days without eating. Nice shave job. I’m brushing the stubble as I write –
The morning of the 29th was similar to the previous day – lots of dull but persistent pain, unless you pushed on the entry points, then Yikes! Spray paint lessons. Shortage of breath. Small bladder, many trips. Not much appetite. Want to sleep, boss. I didn’t get through the 29th, Wendy got me through the 29th. She’s very special. Only two Percocets used, one in the early afternoon, one late at night.
30th found me still drowsy, lackluster, short of breath, small bladder, but hallelujah Jesus I had a bowel movement! Looked kinda like a Halloween mini Oh Henry, but I was quite proud and very relieved. Later I got constipated…. What a joke. Feast or famine, intestine wise…..
It’s the 31st at 2:30 a.m. as I write this. I took no Percocet pill yet, but the pain is just enough to keep me awake. A glass of orange juice, a toilet trip to empty my now tiny bladder, and voila! Something seemed to rip / grate and the rest of my bladder was able to drain. Much better diaphragm movement, less pain, less shortage of breath, increased endurance (expected) between drains, less shaky hands. The Elvis era passes? Now 3:30 a.m. I’m taking a Percocet to induce drowsy, and Samueling the morning…………………………………………………………………………………….. Holy Doodle! Percocet on an empty stomach has very psychedelic effects on me. I zoomed around the universe for a couple of hours before drifting off. Much less side pain, much reduced bloating, better breathing, reduced to almost nothing headache behind my right eye. It’s 10:00 a.m. – 10 hours will make it four days since the surgery.
– Wonderful professional people all the way through my experience – if it didn’t hurt so much, I would have loved it even more!
– Hey! I didn’t die!
– Hey, I could have died. I was due to drive home on Wednesday morning.
– Didn’t see the grim reaper, or smell his breath (mine was bad enough)
– Didn’t see any lights, tunnels, left turns, relatives, lost friends, or beloved pets.
– A reminder to pay a little more attention to my physical well being is a strong take-away.
– How many warning shots do you think you will hear, David?
Gather your feces young man. You are in the final quarter. There is no need to fear the “Reaper”:
Not much below. Blame it on the Percocet. The cinema in the back of my head has been overwhelming this week.
CANADA VS ???
The erosion never ceases. There is strength in numbers, especially when a politician smells votes:
Ralph Klein was a rare political entity. Some straight talk from Colby Cosh:
Blair Johnson was a friend of mine. Met Blair at the end of grade 5 in Mountview Elementary. Blair and Marilyn Haag were my school buddies in that time. Always competing for the top mark. I have trouble thinking of a world without Blair in it. Last contact I had with him was the early ’80’s – met up with him in Vancouver during a business trip. He was finishing a Chemical Engineering degree if I remember. We went to No. 5 Orange Street and had a few beers. Promised to stay in touch, but you know how that turns out. Couldn’t find an obituary for him on line. Kim Walker told me, and was kind enough to connect me with Bob Johnson. Bob said he died from pancreatic cancer. If anyone knows how to reach Marilyn Haag, would you let her know? And pass my contact on to her. Time to tell all. RIP, Blair.
THINGS I THOUGHT FUNNY THIS WEEK
For all intents and purposes, weather was cancelled for me this week. As the jingle goes….
I don’t care if it rains or freezes
Long as I got my plastic Jesus
Ridin’ on the dashboard of my car..
Jimmy crack corn sums the week for me.
Joe (Inflated) Mekanic
Ramirez is good medicine –