Post-op Confessional

Two days ago I had surgery. I wasn’t nervous. I wasn’t scared. I wasn’t even feeling bad when I went in. But my gall bladder needed to come out so in I went.

This isn’t the first time I had surgery. The first time was when I was about 10 years old. It was oral surgery. I was scared that time. It was my first time having an I.V. and first time being knocked out with anesthesia. Man was I in a lot of pain when I came out of that one. But I was 10. I didn’t have a very high pain tolerance. And I didn’t even want the surgery except for the fact that my two front teeth were growing next to my nose and would never grow in without the surgery. So in I went. I have a pretty decent smile as a result.

This time though, I figured it would all be okay. My wife had the surgery a few years back and she came out fine…other than the fact she just didn’t want to wake up. But her recovery went good. I figured mine would too.

Two days into it and I am sore. Not painful sore like you would think post-surgery. No, I am sore like I just did a million crunches and then was used as a punching bag by Mike Tyson. Okay, maybe not the punching bag part.

Is this normal?

If I sit still I am fine. If I walk and hold my stomach I am okay. If I sit in my comfortable couch that is hard to get out of, I am going to hurt. Yes, it is sore.

I had four incisions (the surgery was laparoscopic) but the only incision that is really sore is the one near my belly button. The other three are, well, not as sore. However, I feel like a baby was pulled out my belly button. And not a small one like the gall bladder… a 10 lb 10 oz baby like I was.

I think some heavenly being is trying to make me grateful for what my mom went through…and to imagine she had twins afterward.

The bruising is about the size of a baseball. Maybe they propped me up as a temporary backstop while they had batting practice in the O.R. I don’t know. I am still trying to figure it out.

So in my arrogance of thinking that I would be fine after surgery, I ate a bunch of club crackers and drank ginger ale in the recovery room. They had to see that I was going to keep food down. Well heck, lets try some real food. After being discharged, I went straight to the snack bar for a grilled cheese sandwich and strawberry milkshake. Yeah, now that is post-op food.

We needed to stop at the pharmacy to pick up my pain meds. I decided that I needed to walk around. Since the pharmacy is inside a grocery store, I decided to do two laps and say hi to all of my daughter’s and wife’s co-workers. My daughter couldn’t believe I was even there. Hey, I already had some percoset in me, I thought I was invincible.

We went home and I sat on the couch, well, laid on the couch. The wife and kids all went to a reception for a movie that they starred in…I mean were extras in…in preparation for the big screening. About 30 minutes before the screening started I decided I was feeling great again. Guess what I did?

I walked a mile to the movie theater to watch the screening. And when I got there the reception wasn’t over yet so I downed a couple of sandwiches, some grapes, and a glass of water. Then I watched the movie.

This is normal post-op behavior right? Doesn’t everyone feel that good?

After the movie was over I went to the church to have a meeting with my bishop. It lasted 1 1/2 hours. It might have lasted longer, but I finally hit the crash point. It was time for more pain meds.

The next day I wasn’t as active. In fact, I wasn’t very mobile at all. I was so sore I didn’t want to move. I did get up and walk a mile, but that is about it.

I realized that sometimes you can go at life a little too hard, a little too careless, a little too naive, or in my case, a little to arrogant and stupid.

But I probably wouldn’t change a thing if I had that night to do over.

Surgery was a good thing for me. It prevented me from having more gall bladder attacks. But it also taught me that I am not Superman. I don’t have unlimited strength. I am not Wolverine. I can’t heal myself within minutes of the injury. I am not Batman. I don’t have all of those cool gadgets and machines. But I do have the raspy voice because I had a tube down my throat to help me breath during the surgery.

No, I am more like the Greatest American Hero. You remember him, right? No? Well, he was the one that tried to do more than he was capable of. The one that could get hurt. The one that thought he had control of his powers. Yeah, I am more like him.

Except, I don’t have any powers. My “flight” is done at the expense of narcotics…legally prescribed of course. And I don’t have a red leotard to wear.

I am an ordinary person. And if I don’t have to experience surgery again, I will be just fine with it. However, if I do, I will make sure it isn’t scheduled on such a busy day. (I know, my fault on that one too.)

Just another view from a Palmtree.


Trying to Make Sense

It has been two days since the senseless mass-murder at the elementary school in Connecticut.  There has been a lot of sadness, a lot of tears, a lot of grieving…and there will continue to be for a while.

I don’t know what I would say to the families that lost someone in that horrific event.  I can think of a lot of things I would like to say, but once in the situation I’m not sure what I would.  Maybe a hug and a shoulder to cry on would be the easiest.

My religious views may not be that of some victims’ family members so some of what I would think to say may not resonate with them.  Truth be told, there may not be anything I have in common with those families that would help me think of something that I could say that would bring them comfort.

But I am a father.  I have five children with my youngest being the same age as many that were killed in that school.  But I still can’t even imagine how I would react if she were to be taken from me as those kids were taken.

A lot of blames has been passed around over the last couple of days and a lot of political banter on what the government needs to do to prevent this.  Some say we need more gun laws.  Well, the shooter broke 40+ laws…they didn’t work.  And that is in a state with some of the strictest concealed carry laws in the country.

Some people say that there needs to be more mental health treatment for people with disorders such as the shooter apparently had.  One article that I have read on-line sheds some light on the need for that and what parents of children with behavior disorders have to deal with and worry about.  Click here if you are interested in what parent has to say.

Others have said that the problem lies with the decline of values within our society.  There is more violence being sensationalized through the media and made more and more available to kids at a younger age.  We have less religious tolerance, in fact, less religion period in the public arena because of political correctness.  There are higher levels of immorality, drug use, alcohol consumption, smoking, etc. because of increased peer pressure and public tolerance.  All reasons that I have seen, not just in the last two days but last few months, that people have used as the reason for the decline in tolerance and increase in violence in society.

Maybe everyone is right.  Maybe there are some things that can be done with laws, with healthcare, and with social values.  I don’t know all the answers.  That is the difficult part…there is more than one answer and the people who make the decisions can’t agree on those things.

I am a religious person who doesn’t like to see the decline that is happening in society.  I am a gun owner that is responsible and believes that the second amendment in the constitution should remain in force.  And I am a parent and church Primary teacher that deals with kids that have emotional and behavioral issues.

And I am trying to make sense of it all.  Not just now, but every day.  I am trying to be a responsible adult and parent.  I wish everyone else would too, rather than leave it to those that don’t share their ideas, understandings, and beliefs.  Maybe there wouldn’t have to be government involvement in regulating so much if there was more parental and community involvement.  I am sure this wouldn’t solve all the social problems we face today, but it is a good start.

Just another view from a palmtree.