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Inspirational Reads

The Ordeal, Part V: Endgame

December 26, 2006

I originally thought four editions would wrap this tale up. And, it should have. Not much happened on the final day. I sat for an interminibly long time in my hospital room. My wife sat with me, and we waited and waited for that final bit of paperwork to be processed. I was visited fairly early on by Dr. Pickett. She just wanted to make sure that nothing had burst open during the night and that my wounds were, more or less, healing (barring a mutant healing factor (and the handy admantium skeleton that seems to come with it), I wasn't going to actually have been healed too much, but she just wanted to make sure that nothing had torn open and to tell me about cleaning them and such). I was very pleased with Dr. Pickett. I would recommend her to anyone.

I finally got the heart monitor off (no thanks to Kim) and pulled the patches off where the electrodes had been attached (once again, no thanks to Kim) and pulled the oxygen tubes out of my nostrils. Sexy images, I'm certain.

Finally, another older nurse came in to start making me less like a cyborg and more like a real, human boy! The long, arduous task of pulling me away from my machines and IVs had already begun. Kim actually came in and shut me off earlier in the morning. This lady, Judy I want to say, came along and began pulling needles out of my flesh. The one in the hand up around my first knuckle on my right hand, not so bad. The long one buried in the vein in my left wrist? Hellish. And fortunately, that one bled when I decided my arm had become numb and couldn't be held up in the air any longer. I'm not sure about my fear of needles anymore. I might have finally overcome it, or it could be lying dormant within my psyche, ready to burst forth at any moment when a sharp piece of metal comes hurtling toward my flesh.

I digress. This is really the tale of the recovery, which was amazingly short, given that my abdomen had been pierced so many times. I finally got the discharge papers and, feeling a bit crotchety, demanded to be wheeled down to the front door. Alright, so it wasn't so much a demand as it was not a refusal to take the ride. My wife picked me up and we jaunted home where I could enjoy the healing aura of my own house. It was a lovely autumnal day, however, I was sore. Not sore enough to be popping medications like my doctor thought I should. In fact, the only times I felt sore at all were on days when I tried to force myself to recover too soon. I would do too much, and there would be the sort of...vacant...feeling in my side. It might have been my subconscious playing with me, but it really felt like...phantom organ pain, for the lack of a better term.

The worst part was sitting down in a chair. The muscles beneath my belly button did not like that so much. Getting out was fine because I could use my arms and shoulders and sort of push myself out of the chair. Laying down wasn't much more fun, and again, sitting up wasn't so bad. I could hurl my leg over the side of the bed and the momentum would ratchet me up into some semblance of a sitting position. As bad as this sounds, though, this only went on for about a week or so. My follow-up was scheduled for two weeks after the surgery (and I wasn't supposed to go back to work until Dr. Pickett gave the go ahead...*whistles innocently*).

After a week, I felt pretty good. The fatigue was mostly gone. I didn't NEED that nap in the middle of the afternoon like I had the first week. Which is good, because I was back at work. I could have gone back sooner, but EB games had a buy 2 used games get a third free, and so I took full advantage of that for a couple of days.

So, I've been recovered now for about two months. I finally flicked off some of the final scab material around my belly button. I didn't want to mess with the area where Dr. Pickett had, most wonderfully and blessedly, taken that hideous piece of flesh off my body that had lived at the edge of my belly button for thirty plus years. Imagine how THAT appealed to the ladies. "No, no, it won't bite. It'll just sit there and stare at you the whole time we're together. Pay it no mind. Sentient? No, not quite. Wait? Where are you going?"

Not that I dated a lot of girls that knew what the term "sentient" means.

Anyway. So, one thing that the gall bladder is good at is keeping around extra bile so that you can use it at the body's discretion whilst digesting your meal. Bile is used to help break down fats and oils and to help soften up proteins for further digestion. You can imagine, then, that if this little bag of fat-digesting sauce isn't in your abdomen anymore that you could run into some troubles, especially if you sit down and eat a whole tub of Crisco or something. This is the case. Meals that are really oily or fatty would require an extra squirt or two from the gall bladder to help process these oils. With the gall bladder gone, the liver still makes bile, but sometimes, it might not be enough. You can imagine what happens then when all that grease and such gets into your bowels? Right, it lubes them right up and everything just sort of...slides...on through.

Now, I'm a man who fully enjoys his morning, late afternoon and night time constitutionals. It's a peaceful time where it's just me and the wilds of the nearest sewage system. News that I might not be crapping solid ever again distressed me. However, once the pain meds wore off (oxycodone tends to harden the stool to the point of being something akin to granite...I assume the body pulls more water out of the waste stream in order to compensate for the metabolism of the drug...but that could just be my very limited view of pharmacokinetics working), I was blissfully and wonderfully solid. Until a few days ago.

Remember, eating a lot of fatty, greasy, proteiny food will, ahem, loosen the bowels. For this reason, I advise anyone who is missing a gall bladder to pace themselves while eating at the Brazilian steak house. Oh, sure, it might seem like a good idea to take two or three slabs of roast beef off that skewer when offered or to tell them to keep the lamb coming. While the food is delicious, let's just say forty minutes later, the lamb strikes its revenge.

A pain unlike any I had felt in my bowels for many a year struck. Fortunately, I have a sphincter with the tensile strength of steel and could keep things shut tight on that fateful ride back to work. A quick dash upstairs and I was literally sweating bullets. I hurried to the toilet where I unleashed a salvo straight from hell. In fact, Satan himself, who I assume is quite the alchemist, could not concoct such a violent, gut-wrenching, sulfurous stench if he tried. Fire and brimstone poured from my backside, and I could feel the water beneath me begining to smoke and boil. Fortunately for me, animal fat is one helluva lubricant, and as quickly as it began, it was over.

So, now I know, and knowing is half the battle (thanks, G.I.Joe). I consider this part a public service announcement. When at the Brazilian steakhouse, sit back for a bit after polishing off that last disgustingly large portion of lamb wrapped in bacon. Sip some coffee, enjoy a tart or two. And wait, because you know it's coming.

Just do yourself a favor, and don't wear light-colored pants.


Christie said...

I'm about 3 years late and a couple of dollars short, but I have to say this series is beautiful! I've been a nurse for 20 years and have been on the terrible side of the fence as a patient. This was the funniest, most eloquent description of a hospital stay I've ever heard.And, trust me, I've heard some doozies. I bow to you!