Recovering very nicely, thank you.

Dear readers, the following post was intended for publishing on Friday, the seventh of February  Unfortunately, as I was recovering from surgery, my close friend Fran passed away. I’m posting it anyway, along with an addendum, because it illustrates the kind of winter I’m having. 🙂

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So… I had Lithotripsy a few weeks ago. Was it painful? Not really, but I do feel as if someone kicked me in the back. The forecast for the day of surgery was heavy rain turning into wet snow by noon. Great!  My other half was thoughtful enough to reserve a room at the small hotel where he works. So, instead of having to wait in the rain for a bus at 4:30am, we could walk just a few blocks to the hospital.

I’m fortunate to live in Philadelphia, a city that has one of the largest and best healthcare networks in the country. We have Hahnemann, Jefferson, Temple, and the University of Pennsylvania health systems all within the city limits.

I was the first patient Monday morning. Lucky me! The staff was thorough. At every step of the way I was asked to recite my name, date of birth, allergies, and the Magna Carta, then recite it all once more as I lay on the OR table. This was my fifth kidney procedure, so I’ve gotten to know most of the Pennsylvania hospital staff pretty well. One of the pre-administration lab technicians has a wicked sense of humor. I guess you’d have to if you spent your day stabbing patients in the arm in search of a good vein.

So I was laying on this strange operating table with a cutout underneath in which a water filled gel pad that emits sound waves protrudes. The doctor maneuvered me over the gel pad. The technician strapped me in. The anesthesiologist joked with me that I keep coming back for surgery because of their excellent selection of anesthetics. I don’t remember anything after the oxygen mask was placed over my face. I suspect the anesthesiologist slipped me a Mickey.

The next thing I knew, a nurse was hovering over me with a big smile. “How do you feel?” Like I want to go back to sleep. “Fine”, I said. I really did want to go back to sleep, though. I also wanted some more of whatever it was they gave me for pain. The chorus of The Floaters’ classic “Float On” comes to mind. 

“Float. Float on…”

 

After an hour or so of “recovery time”, I was wheeled out to the lobby where the reality of the day’s snow accumulation stared back at me. While waiting for a cab, we saw a bus and took it.

It was good to get home.

I made myself comfortable on the sofa to wait for love to return home from the pharmacy, bearing gifts of antibiotics and pain killers. You know when you think everything is okay, but you feel just a little off? Not anything major, just ever so slightly off center. That’s how I felt. The more I moved around, the less like myself I felt. Maybe I’d be better off laying down in bed.

Oh right… freshly cleaned sheets. YAY!

I turned on the TV, changed into some comfy clothes, and climbed into bed. That was all she wrote. I was out! Gone! I awoke the next morning stiff and achy and determined not to spend the day in bed.

I still feel a bit sore, but I’m doing well and trying not to use the pain killers too often.

Addendum…

A week later, we took advantage of the break in the snow by climbing up and inspecting the roof and gutters. Because I have a longer reach than Love, I laid down on the roof and reached over the edge to attach the Roof & Gutter De-icing Cable. As I reached and stretched, I heard what sounded like a snap, followed by a sharp pain in my rib, which was pressed against the edge of the roof. I’m not gonna lie. I panicked. After a few moments, I took a couple of deep breaths to inflate my lungs. There was pain, but nothing that indicated a broken rib.

So, if you need your walk shoveled or someone to carry your groceries in from the car, please be kind enough to ask someone else. I think I’m gonna lay low for a while. 😮

My favorite chef’s knife and I had a fight. The chef knife won. :\

The mercury hovered above the ninety degree mark on Sunday afternoon. The humidity was quickly approaching oppressive. It was Mother Nature’s way of showing us what she had in store in the coming months.

With summer on my mind, I got to thinking of the watermelon that’s been sitting in the fridge this last week. It was past time to slice that puppy up and enjoy the cool sweetness I knew awaited me.

I took out my favorite knife and prepared to go to work.

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My favorite knife is a ten inch work horse.
I use it for everything.

Now, I’ve had that chef’s knife for almost two decades. She and I have created many a memorable meal. She’s got a good weight, with a nice balance, and her handle fits my hand well. When I’m prepping dinner or chopping veggies, she’s an extension on my arm.

But today I was careless.

After I cut the watermelon in half, I placed the knife on the table so I could set one of the halves aside. This would ensure that the half I wasn’t working on would be out of the way.

The knife fell off the table.

I stepped back to let the knife fall.

But my hand was close enough to the blade that it made contact.

I watched in slow motion as steel sliced flesh.

Time was a blur.

  • Cold water.
  • Rinse the cut.
  • Wrap the cut.
  • Apply pressure.
  • Examine cut. (Probably needs stitches.)
  • Call neighbor. “I need a ride to the ER.”
  • Rinse cut in water again.
  • Dress cut.
  • Drive to ER. Sign in. Wait.
  • Answer questions. Wait.
  • Triage nurse. (Check blood pressure, temperature, and pulse.)
  • Wait some more.
  • Examination. Needle. “Ouch!”
  • Wait. “Feeling no pain.”
  • Clean laceration.
  • Sew it up.
  • Take pictures of cool stitches..
  • Here’s your bill. Off you go.
  • Home.
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Waiting for the shot they gave me to make my finger go numb.
Listening to the kid in the next stall brag about his sprained ankle.

I really want to thank the triage nurse for informing me that ACME has “Pre-Cut” watermelon for $4.99 lb. I thought that was very considerate of her.

And in case you’re wondering, the watermelon was fine. No, really. It was delicious! ;p

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Four Stitches?? That’s all I need?? Just Four Stitches?? :\

…and yes, I will most certainly use my favorite knife again.

I must have been a serial killer in a past life. It’s the only possible explanation. :\

Murphy’s Law, as it relates to medical issues, seems to apply even more so on weekends, when most hospitals run with minimal staff.

A new kidney stone joined the party on Friday evening. Thankfully the pain isn’t that excruciating “death would be better” misery that often accompany these things. If it was, I’d have to spend a weekend in a hospital room attached to a morphine drip waiting for Monday. Surgeons generally don’t work on the weekends.

These painful little gifts from hell show up frequently enough that I’ve become a pro at recognizing their calling cards; lower back and flank pain followed by endless trips to the restroom, where I can be heard screeching out a passable Robert Plant impersonation.

I drink an average of two to three liters of water each day. That’s significantly more than before my right kidney declared war a few years ago. Unfortunately, hydration only tells half the story. There are other factors that determine your propensity for kidney stones. Though technically not hereditary, if your father had kidney stones, chances are you will too.

Due to my history of kidney trouble, this will probably not be my last tango with these microscopic menaces. So I’ll keep drinking water, eating a low sodium diet, and wondering what the hell it was I did in a past life that Karma deemed it necessary to torture me so.