The Positives of Having Surgery

One of the excuses for not blogging at all through October that I can make, is that I was out of action, getting surgery for a fairly routine ailment.

Well.. not completely routine, but an injury common enough, especially in men. Still an injury that carries with it some stigma and embarrassment. I’m talking about a *cough* hernia (said under the breath).  Common enough that plenty of athletes, even young ones face having to get one fixed in order to continue their careers. It’s pretty hard to explain to people what a hernia is without grossing them out if they’re squeamish – so I’ll just leave it up to “Weird Al” Yankovich.

“Weird Al” does nothing to promote the social acceptability of having a hernia – and the ailment will no doubt never be considered cool like a broken leg or a burst appendix, but at least it’s inspiring hilarious parody songs such as the above.

Surgery itself, not something that any young person would expect to have too regularly, has it’s positives and can almost be considered a fun experience from a certain perspective. You’re the center of attention for starters, being wheeled into an operating theater surrounding by many friendly anesthetists, surgeons and nurses all attempting to make the experience as pleasant for you as possible – depending on your surgical team I guess. General anesthetics themselves are pretty crazy and a unique experience. Entering the theater you might be initially a tad nervous at the thought of being put to sleep. At least I was. Would I wake up? Or worse yet, would I would up during the operation? It was almost pleasant however. First I was staring at the ceiling, chatting away, while they administered the anesthetic via a drip. Then my vision started getting slightly blurry, my thought process slowed slightly. I continued talking, while looking at the lights above me. The next moment – it felt like no time had past and I was still chatting, about muesli I believe (having been pretty hungry from the nil-by-mouth), except this time to a nurse on my right – it dawned on me that two hours had past and the surgery was complete. I had awoken again, modern medicine had not failed me.

hospital food

The first hospital meal I’m assuming

Not everything in hospital is fun as you might assume, but even such things as being nil-by-mouth for days on end have an amount of enjoyment to them. I had to await a second surgery to remove a blood-clot that had formed post the first surgery. Too much information I’m sure. Due to the acute ward having to let the most urgent patients through first (and due to some communication errors) stayed nil-by-mouth for several days before having this second surgery. But the good things about being nil-by-mouth are several. Modern hospital beds are awesome for starters. They’re pretty damn comfortable, and you have control to move so many parts of them – the back angles up and down, the middle as well, and a section for your feet. I could spend hours getting into ultimate comfortable positions and then abusing the free hospital WiFi on concert streams and TV shows. Being nil-by-mouth I was attached to a drip, but this was pretty fun, not having a feeling of hunger at all meant I could sit and chill and not worry about my stomach. Perhaps that’s the way of the future – we’ll all hook ourselves up to drips as we go to bed to give us the nutrients we need to survive, removing any of the hassle and time wasted from having to prepare meals and worry about nutrition. Food is of course a very fun social activity and we’d probably miss the pleasures of taste, but not having to worry about food was a fairly fun gimmick for a few days.

Perhaps during a moment of frustration

You also meet a lot of cool people in hospital wards. One night an older man named Ron was wheeled in beside me. I wasn’t sure we’d get along as he spent the first night yelling at the nurses, but the next day we struck up conversation and ended up talking for hours. He’d been a great piano player, a tour bus driver and told me all about his life and various romantic (mis)adventures. He had also been struck with polio at a young age, but had not let it hold him back, become quite an accomplished swing dancer with the help of an older woman who’d opened a dancing school in the Waikato with her husband. She was a bigger lady, and he had several hilarious and un-politically correct (true to his generation) morals to impart. One of which, regarding dancing with this lady was that – “you should never underestimate the dancing skill of larger ladies – she was big, but light on her feet”. He sadly had broken his shoulder and arm in a year previously so could no longer play the piano, but he schooled me up in some of his favorite honky-tonk and jazz – leaving me with the advice – “music is harmony, harmony is understanding – and with understanding, you’ve got it sussed”. I’m not entirely sure what it means but I liked it none-the-less.

hamish and ron

Ron and I. Cool dude, don’t know if he’d want his photo online, but oh well.

The second surgery was once again pretty fun and I quizzed the surgeons in how long it had taken to get trained as they again knocked me out. Waking up was a bit harder this second time round, perhaps due having two lots of anesthetic in several days, and the fatigue catching up to me from being nil-by-mouth. Never the less I recovered fairly quickly and was able to rest at home, receiving home cooked meals and not having to do anything by lie about for a week or so. That rest period is now all but over and I’m back at work, but I have to say there’s more to appreciate about having routine surgery than one would initial expect.

Feeling great, post-discharge

Will I look forward to the next lot of surgery I have to receive,  if so necessary in the future? Well.. probably not look forward to. Good health is much preferable to hanging in a hospital, using up free WiFi and not eating for several days, while being knocked unconscious and re-awoken at various intervals. But at least I know that there are pleasant elements to the experience and while I don’t wish another bout of surgery anytime soon, I’ll not worry if that is what fate brings my way. Perhaps I’ll take more time off work next time however.

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