The Short Version
I got to come home from the hospital late this morning, not too much worse for the wear, other than I'm sore from it hurting so much. But, I got through this without having to have emergency surgery and I'm thankful for that.
I see my doctor on Tuesday and will make arrangements then to have surgery done. Not sure if I'll do it here or go to Wichita. We'll see.
I felt well enough to go to work this afternoon, so other than being sore I'm okay.
The Long Version
I'm not sure I ever really explained. I had a hernia repaired when I had surgery in January. But, by the time I was through the recuperation from surgery I had yet another hernia in my belly button. This one, unfortuantely, continued to grow and has become pronounced. It has been slightly painful but nothing major. I've learned to hold my tummy when I sneeze or cough to protect it and had hoped to just live with it because I could not wrap my mind around having more surgery. Frankly, I still can't.
Monday night I thought I had food poisioning, but even after I had gotten everything out of my system I was still having severe pain across my abdomen where the hernia is. At one point I was laying on the floor of the upstairs bathroom with my head on a package of toilet paper using it as a pillow and I thought, "wow, this is not how I want to be living my life." I decided to get up and go to bed and see if when I stretched out the pain stopped.
When it didn't subside I decided I should do a little net research and grabbed the phone. In only moments I discovered I had the symptoms of a strangulated hernia, which can be very serious. Gang-green can set up in less than six hours and I'd already been hurting for nearly five hours then. I called Greg and told him I had to go the ER. He came got me and Sharon followed us out there.
The ER doctor said it probably was not a strangulated hernia, so that was good news. They did a cat scan and basically a small part of it had narrowed and something was "stuck."
There was a plan of putting a tube down my nose and into my belly to suction out anything left or giving it time to work through my system. The doctor said the first option might give me some relief from the pain, but wouldn't be pleasant happening. Of course, morphine was giving me much pain relief, for which I was thankful. I asked what the chance was I was going to end up having to have that done anyway and he said probably about 90%. I didn't see any point in waiting. That sounded like an extra day in the hospital to me. So, I opted for the tube. And, it was unpleasant. Very unpleasant. I am not even ready to discuss how unpleasant yet.
It was also a classic situation of why you need people to advocate for you. In the ER they had planned to give me some numbing spray in my throat and numbing gel on the tube. Upstairs they were just ready to jam it into my nose and down my throat. Greg and Sharon got them to use the products mentioned in the ER but the nurse was annoyed by having to get them, none too gentle about putting the tube in, and none too happy about any of it as best I could tell - not to mention she repeatedly told me it was going to be awful to have it done.
While I'd like to say she just wanted to make that true, I'm afraid she was just accurate about that. Fortunately, she and one other nurse seemed to be the abberations. It's just that those experiences are the ones that stick out. Overall, nursing care was good. In fact, the next day, my nurse, Jeanne, was amazing.
I'm sorry to say I've been in two hospitals this year so have some comparisons that can be made. And, lets face it, the nurses are really the ones in charge of your care on a moment to moment basis. But, that comes after the surgeon. Last time I went where the surgeon was, and that's probably what I'll do this time too.
They cannot tell me what caused this to happen, but the only thing out of the ordinary is that I ate some figs that day. Needless to say, I won't be doing that again anytime soon. Until I have the surgery I'm going to be extra careful about what I eat. But it may not have been the figs. It may have been that I moved funny that day and caused it. Nonetheless, figs are out of my diet for the moment.
It would be much easier if they could tell me - "Don't eat any peanut butter!" That I could work with. The not knowing what the culprit is is much harder. They didn't recommend any dietary changes but I'm going to take it easy on things that seem like they might be a problem - popcorn, nuts, figs, and other things I'm sure will be added to the list.
So, the next step is Tuesday morning I have an appointment with my regular doctor who will refer me to a surgeon and then we'll see where we go from there.
I don't feel like I'm fully recovered from the last surgery, but I can't be wondering when this is going to happen again. So, I'll just have to have this surgery. I've decided 2009 must be my year for body maintenence and fortunately the calendar is about to turn and I'll be good as new by then.
It means I won't be able to have the kind of Christmas decorations I love, or host holiday gatherings this year, but I'll just have to have a different kind of Christmas season and I'll love that too.