Saturday, December 31, 2011

Laproscopic inguinal hernia repair(if that title doesn's say fun read, I don't know what does)

Daily log of activities at the bottom of this post...

After about 15 years of having a hernia, it became unmanageable so I decided I had to get something done about it.

I chose the very best hospital I could, and the best surgeon I could find to do it.  University of Maryland Medical Center, and Doctor Lo Menzo.

Everything leading up to the surgery was perfectly orchestrated, and confidence building.  Dr Lo Menzo is a very careful, and seemingly compassionate, and considerate surgeon.

He gives the impression of being a skilled surgeon who is not a cowboy.

I had told my friends I expected a 3 day recovery, with being able to lift weights 2 weeks after that.

I expected I could go back to work in 3 days, but that I would take a week just to make sure...

The day of my laproscopic inguinal hernia surgery, my room mate, who is a seemingly calm man, and is also in the hospital for a hernia, is heard telling his doctor that he ran a marathon a week previous to the surgery

Before he left for surgery, he said "Good luck Mark, your going to do fine!"

After he came back, he yelled through the curtain "How you doin over there Mark?"

I guess I talk more than I think, because he seemed to know all about me, and my little anxieties.

Maybe he could tell by the way I peed every 5 minutes before surgery, "just to get every last drop out before surgery", that I was a nervous person...

So everything looked good, and I blindly went into the surgery having no clue what so ever, what I was in for....

I have the surgery, and everything seems to go off with out a single hitch...

I have pain for sure, but it is not that bad.

I am told that as soon as I urinate, I am free to leave, and the race is on.

The nurses seem to say "No pressure or anything, but seriously pee and get the hell out..."

They don't really say that, but that is what I hear when I read their minds, through their facial expressions.

My roommate, the "Herniated, Marathon Runner" pees after falling asleep after surgery, and taking a short little refreshing nap.

As I hear him pee behind the curtain in our room, I am so blinded by jealousy that I just can't describe it.  I yell at him "congratulations, I am so jealous of you..", and purposely leave out the words that are in my head  SMUG BASTARD...

He good-naturedly says, "Don't worry, your next Mark!"

Somehow, we are on a first name basis.  Despite never talking to him, he seems to know me like an old friend...

5 hours later, I still haven't urinated, and if you read the above words, you know I pee, well,, Sort of often.

Finally, after about 5.5 hours, with the help of my patient wife, and some procedure the nurse cooked up, of pouring alternating warm/cold water on my genitalia, I squeeze out just enough urine for their satisfaction..

I became some sort of pee surgeon with demands for the proper instruments, and my wife became the surgical assistant.

"Warm water."

"Cold Water"


"Warm Water"

"Cold Water"


I am on my way home, but the problem is, it is an hour drive, and once I started to go, I couldn't stop for more than 10 minutes.  It is like my body was making up for lost time...

        The nurse had wisely given me a plastic bedside urinal to take in the car so we wouldn't have to pull into a  gas station every 5 minutes, but it is harder to use one of those in the car than you might think...

Especially, with your wife speeding the car up and slowing down, every 20 seconds because of the bumper to bumper traffic.

You have to lift your behind out of the bucket seat, with compromised groin muscles, so you basically won't pee yourself, and balance yourself from left to right,  and keep yourself from hitting the dash, and smashing back into the seat every time your wife hits the breaks, and then simultaneously floors it all while trying to relax, and let out a urine stream.

I seriously think to do that, you would have to have the patience, and control of a Buddhist monk.

Either that, or be like my former roommate in the hospital. I bet he could do that! 

Since that technique didn't work,  I took to giving my wife orders as to which lane to get the car in to give me a smoother ride.

I became the bridge captain of our little grey car, navigating in a sea of hostile traffic.

Only, I was shouting orders with my pants down around my knees sitting in the car seat next to her, with a urinal held to my junk.

Somehow, I don't think this scenario would work any better in the Navy on the bridge of a fighting vessel, any more than it worked for my first bridge command in the little Acura...

When that didn't work, I took to shouting at random times in the trip at my wife to pull over the car NOW!  Then limping to the side of the road, not caring who saw me, awkwardly climbing over the guard rail to pee, and thinking that I would tell the cop that pulled over to arrest me for indecent exposure that I just had hernia surgery, and couldn't help it...

After getting home, all was good.

Until 2 days later, when I chose not to follow the learned advice of my doctor... 

He said not to lift heavy objects, or move large articles, as I could strain my muscles and undo the surgery...

I just couldn't help it...

I decided to move some very large articles from inside my body to a different location..

Although I felt it was necessary, I couldn't help but use my imagination, and think of all that hard work by that surgeon being undone, in 10 minutes on the toilet.

I could visualize the seams of my muscle moving apart, and all of those carefully placed fasteners giving way, like I am sure the rivets and seams on the Titanic did, shortly before it went down.

Later, after spending hours typing into Google "bowel movement after hernia surgery" and "constipation after hernia surgery" and "wrecking hernia surgery, after bearing down to poop",  I have found that I am not alone in the world, and I should be okay..

It is now four days out, and I really am not sure I am going to work this week, but we'll see...

3 days of discomfort my ass!

Daily log day 6 after surgery day.

I feel wonderful!

Just kidding, it still burns quite a bit in the area where I had my surgery, but of course "the burn means it's working.."

On the second day out, 3rd day after surgery I was taking some single doses of percocets, and tylenol.

I took a 20 minute walk around the neighborhood, and while I was limping a little bit, I was fine other wise.

On day 4, our friends came over, and we played Monopoly for about 4 hours.

I won, so it was good times....

On days 4 and 5, I was sore from my activities, but on day 4, I tried to see how long I could go without taking pain meds, and by the time I woke up REALLY sore, I had gone 16 hours with no pain meds at all, so I took a percocet....

The Percocet really took the edge off, if you know what I mean?

Later that night we went over friends to play cards, and I spent most of the night laughing, and holding my groin at the same time.

Today, day 6, I have taken Tylenol every 4 hours, and we went for another 20 minute walk.

Lifting anything at all as heavy as, or heavier than 5 lbs causes pain.

I can go up and down stairs fine, and motivate around the house no problems.  I do have a constant burning pain, but it is manageable. 

This isn't as advertised, and not what I was expecting, but It is maneagable.

I had the laproscopic procedure, and I thought I would be back to normal by now, as it is supposed to be a super short return to normal activity.

I am just wondering why I still feel pain?  I am wondering if I did something wrong, or just am being unreasonable in my expectations, because of what I was told.

Perhaps a more reasonable explanation of what to expect would be helpful...

Perhaps I am just wimp?

Day 7: I take a couple of Tylenol in the morning and go for a walk.  Later, I decide to make my maiden voyage in the car, and drive to Wendy's for a bite to eat.  Later that day, I go to the hardware store.  Later that day, I go down into the basement, and catch myself running up the stairs, and stop myself after a few steps.

Day 8: I take 2 Tylenol and go for a walk.  Later, I drive to the mall to look for a book to the sequel I am reading,  and then to Chic-Fil-A for a lunch.  I feel fine. Later that night I run the full flight of basements steps, and then later realize I shouldn't have done that.

Day 9:  I get up, and am fine, but a little sore.  I contemplate whether or not I need to take my morning Tylenol. In the end, I give in as I am pretty sore while I am cooking breakfast.

Today, I took the longest walk I have since going in for surgery.  It was 30 to 45 minutes of walking through the woods.  Not a big deal unless you have just had surgery on your groin and then walking in the woods, versus on pavement is quite an improvement.  It takes a lot more to walk on a trail in the woods, stepping over rocks, fallen tree branches, and through the mud.  I feel fine.

Based on my experience of today in the woods, I feel confident that within a few weeks, I will be able to don my 40 pound back pack and go for a hike within a few weeks.  Yay, that is exactly why I had the surgery in the first place!

Let's hope things keep progressing!  Since day 6, things have been getting better at an increasingly fast pace.

Today, I also went to Barnes and Noble's and did some very light grocery shopping.

Day 10:  Today I took a little shorter walk than yesterday.

Last night, for the first time post surgery, I didn't need to take Tylenol before going to bed.

This morning, I was sore but I have a pain in a different area of my stomach.  It is higher and to the left.  If I had to describe the area, it might be my left Oblique area.  I took Advil this morning instead of Tylenol, and the Oblique are pain went away, but the groin soreness was still there.  I think Tylenol works better.

The thing with the side pain is, I don't know if it is in fact Oblique muscle pain or something else.  It isn't bad, it is just that any time after surgery, you always wonder if something else internally is going haywire, from having your insides diddled with...

People can get intestinal adhesion and all sorts of things.  I don't have an adhesion, but the pain makes me wonder. 

It is probably just muscle pain, I will keep a hot pad on it, and if that helps,  that will let me know it is likely a muscle pain.

In general, since about day 6, I have seemed to have been healing rather quickly.  I think the walking definitely helps with that!

Day 11:  No pain pill of any kind taken today.   Went for a moderate walk. The worst pain was actually in my oblique muscle.  I did in fact find out it was just muscle pain, as I could reproduce it by bending over and lifting my left foot.  This also told me how I managed to strain this muscle.  I have been lifting up my left foot every time I sneezed to keep from putting strain on my abdomen.  

Day 12:  Went for a short walk. No pain meds today, but I over did it with some exercising I did with my wife , and was pretty sore all day over my hernia site.

Day 13: No pain meds, and back to work.  I walk, stand, and use my hands a lot at work, and this was the most activity I did for 2 weeks.  I was quite sore. 

For all of you fellow hernia surgery patrons out there whether it be future or current, here's a tip.  Keep your body working like an assembly line, not a storage tank.  For me, it was 1.5 cups of pistachios, and 1 cup of pumpkin seeds a day.  I love pistachios, and pumpkin seeds.  For you, you may want to try prune juice... 

Day 14:  I am pretty sore today.  I had some groin pain nagging at me today, so I broke down, and took 2 Tylenol at lunch today, and left after about 5.5 hours.  Yesterday, I did 4.5 hours. 

Day 15:  I felt much better on day 15, and stayed later at work.  I took no pain meds this day. 

Day 16:  No pain meds, and only mild pain. 

Day 17:  Felt great!  Took a walk, ran up stairs,  and took no pain meds.

Day 18:  Exercised with the wife,  took a walk, and lifted some 10-12 pound items with no issues.

Day 19: Exercised with the wife, have a little slight pinching. 

Day 20:  Went for an actual hike today, without a back pack.  Over rocky terrain, and over logs and such.  I do have a little pain.  Well see how I things go tomorrow at my follow up appointment.

Day 21:  Went to see the doctor for my 3 week follow-up.  He said what I am going through is not uncommon, and said I should wait one more week, before I start lifting more than 20 lbs. Going to the doctors office, I ran up 4 flights of stairs, and down 8 when I left.  I feel okay.

Unless I have any major problems, this ends this log.  Thank you for staying tuned, good luck!!! 

Update 3/25/2012

It is now about 3 months since I had this done, and I can tell you, I am not only much better than before surgery, but feel better than years before my Hernia became acute.  So it was all well worth it. 

Mark :)

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