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By Gedvondur (Wed May 01, 2013 at 12:41:32 PM EST) health, hernia, surgery, fear, shame, blood and guts (all tags)
I haven’t been around much for the last several weeks. Contained inside is why.

About two weeks ago, my wife and I had a wonderful Saturday, going to antique shops, looking for a mid-century modern buffet table or dresser to hold up a new TV in the future. We had both been looking forward to it, the new dog (ZuZu, a French bulldog) had kept us cooped up in the house, as she is not house trained yet. Two months of tending the dog (along with our pug, Avi) and we both needed a day away from the dogs and the house. Little ZuZu had been spade and was finally cleared to go to Doggy Daycare. So we dropped the dogs off to run and play at daycare while we took a day for ourselves.
It was a great day. We stopped and got the dogs at about 4:30 in the afternoon, had some supper and then settled in to watch a movie, exhausted dogs snoring at an obnoxious level around us. Eventually this idyllic time ended and my wife put the dogs into the kennel and went to bed. I was restless and wasn’t ready to sleep. So I called a friend of mine and we ended up talking for about a half-hour. Short for us, normally our conversations go on much longer. But my stomach had begun to hurt. It was a dull aching pain in the center of my stomach, one that was hard to ignore. So I bid him goodnight and drank a glass of milk, hoping to sooth my stomach. It didn’t seem to help. I went to bed thinking that if I could just get to sleep, all would be well by morning.
20 minutes later I’m up and in the living room again. The pain had gotten worse lying down. I sat down in the living room and began to watch some TV as a distraction. That didn’t last long, the pain increased. I tried using the bathroom, with limited success and no relief from the pain. The pain had started at 10:30 at night. At 1:30 in the morning the pain had increased to the point where I couldn’t sit still, the only relief was to pace the room. I woke my wife up and had her take me to the hospital.
When we arrive at the hospital they give me a standard battery of tests and eventually dose me with dye and give me a CAT scan. Then an x-ray with contrast dye. It’s our old friend again, the hiatal hernia. The same condition that lead to my massive anemia.  My stomach is in my chest, behind my lungs. Now, I knew that had been happening. I’ve known since the anemia the root cause of these problems. They gave me some synthetic morphine derivative to help with the pain. It was a weird high, but it did make me not care about the pain.
The surgeon (we will call him Dr.Eye) then intubated me, putting a hose up my nose and down into my stomach. Kids, this is one of the most unpleasant procedures you can have done. Very uncomfortable. Little did I know at that time that I would have that damn tube in for the next four days. 
Every surgeon I talked to wanted to cut on me and repair the condition. Every GP I talked to said “If it doesn’t bother you, don’t get cut on”. I chose not to get cut on all those years ago. I didn’t lose the weight like I had wanted to, but all had been well until Saturday.
The surgeon in my hometown did not inspire me with confidence. He was three years from retirement, unable to do the procedure lathroscopically, and went back and forth to me about how comfortable he was doing the procedure. The best and the brightest don’t exactly flock to my area. We pushed at Dr. Eye and finally he relented with a recommendation to a specialist.
We were referred to a hospital in Milwaukee and a doctor that specializes in these conditions. The hospital in Milwaukee is a teaching hospital and the doctor is also a professor at the medical college there. Super competent, very experienced.
They sent me via ambulance. No lights or sirens, but by ambulance none the less. A stupid waste of money for the hospital to cover its ass, liability-wise. My wife trailed the ambulance in her car. 
The hospital in Milwaukee was huge. 2 million square feet. Unreal. The staff there is extremely competent. Once I was there, I was examined by a number of young residents and then my new surgeon whom we will call Dr. Whitehair. Dr. Whitehair is extremely competent. He’s also like every surgeon I’ve ever met, a total jerkface asshole. But I don’t have to make friends with him, I don’t have to have dinner with him, and we aren’t going to be buddies. So I don’t care. He knows his shit, and that’s all I care about.
By Wednesday night, they have decided I’m in no immediate danger. They take out the nasal tube and I can eat and drink for the first time since Saturday night. I can’t tell you how much of a relief that was. They decided to do the repairs to my stomach as an elective surgery in two weeks, rather than as an emergency right now. Dr. Whitehair was also due to go to a conference on Thursday. He wanted to be in town for my recovery. It made sense to me. They let me out on Thursday afternoon. Surgery was scheduled for May 2nd.
In the interim we’ve learned some important things from Dr. Whitehair. First, the hiatal hernia repair I need has a huge failure rate. Like a 25% failure rate. A second surgery to correct it again almost never works. Dr. Whitehair suggests that I have a stomach reduction surgery to go with my hiatal hernia repair. A Roux-en-Y gastric bypass or a gastric sleeve stomach reduction. That way if the hernia repair fails and my stomach migrates back to my chest, I will be a-symptomatic. Plus, I would gain the benefits of a weight-loss surgery as a side-benefit. If I have the hernia repair alone, it prevents me from having any stomach reduction in the future.
I have to say, I resisted this. I know I’m a fat bastard. I’ve never made a concerted effort in my adult life to change that. Getting the stomach reduction surgery seems like cheating. It feels like failure. I know it’s not, hell the purpose of the surgery is not to lose weight, but to prevent a horrible relapse of the hiatal hernia. But I don’t feel right about it.
Dr. Whitehair called me and actually begged me (as much as an asshole like him can do it) to have one of the stomach reduction surgeries at the same time. His fear of relapse was great. After a second hiatal hernia repair, they can no longer DO ANYTHING FOR YOU. Meaning you just have to live with it, which could mean pain for the rest of your life.
So I’ve decided to get a gastric sleeve. Gastric sleeve has less surgical complications than Roux-en-Y and less consequences regarding mal absorption and dumping syndrome. I have to swallow my pride about the weight loss and accept this as a positive. It will also ensure I don’t have a consequential relapse if the hiatal hernia repair fails. And it’s still a lathroscopic procedure. There is a chance he’d have to cut me open, but I hope to hell not.
But I’m scared. Occasionally weeping scared. I fear needles and after five days in the hospital two weeks ago, I’m outright afraid. I have one of the best doctors in the mid-west for this procedure; I’m in one of the best hospitals in the state. But I’m still scared. Most people who have this kind of stomach reduction surgery have six months of thought and therapy to get ready for this. I’ve had two weeks. I’m thrilled with the idea of losing weight. I’m ashamed that I will have had this kind of surgery, despite the fact I’m not doing it primarily for the weight loss. I know that’s stupid and I need to get over it. But….I still am afraid and a little ashamed. I need to get my head right about it. 
Tonight, we drive to Milwaukee and will be staying overnight. Tomorrow, surgery. Then dealing with the results.
Anyway, I wanted you to all know what is happening and why I haven’t been around.
I’ll see you on the other side.

< Ahem, sorry. | Hooray for hockey! >
Withholding | 21 comments (21 topical, 0 hidden)
Just remember by anonimouse (4.00 / 2) #1 Wed May 01, 2013 at 12:45:21 PM EST
Duxup anonimouse loves you.

Girls come and go but a mortgage is for 25 years -- JtL
Heh by Gedvondur (2.00 / 0) #10 Wed May 01, 2013 at 01:59:29 PM EST
Right back at you, buddy!

"So I will be hitting the snatch hard, I think, tonight." - gzt
[ Parent ]
Best wishes. by ana (4.00 / 2) #2 Wed May 01, 2013 at 01:04:59 PM EST
We'll be thinking about you tomorrow. Sounds like a good all-around therapy for your condition, and has the added extra side effect of making it easier to lose weight. A win/win.

I now know what the noise that is usually spelled "lolwhut" sounds like. --Kellnerin

Thanks! by Gedvondur (2.00 / 0) #9 Wed May 01, 2013 at 01:58:49 PM EST
I appreciate it.  Hopefully I'll be back around again in a few weeks.

"So I will be hitting the snatch hard, I think, tonight." - gzt
[ Parent ]
Gastric Bypass != Cheating by Phil the Canuck (4.00 / 1) #3 Wed May 01, 2013 at 01:10:08 PM EST
It's a hell of a lot of work to maintain oneself properly after that surgery, especially long-term.  If you don't end up making the changes that we fat bastards should be making anyway, you end up fat again with the side effects of GP surgery to boot.

Yes by Gedvondur (4.00 / 1) #8 Wed May 01, 2013 at 01:58:16 PM EST
You are correct, most gastric surgeries for weight loss fail due to the failure of the recipient to change eating habits.

I think the timing may be right.  I had been about to make a change anyway, when I got sick. I was going to start when I got back from a business trip that had been scheduled for next week. 

Well, if nothing else the surgery will give me a leg up.

"So I will be hitting the snatch hard, I think, tonight." - gzt
[ Parent ]
one way to cope with the feeling you're cheating by the mariner (4.00 / 2) #4 Wed May 01, 2013 at 01:12:33 PM EST
is by also eating subway everyday. that way, you can plausibly claim that your weight loss is only incidental to your stomach reduction.

besides, wringing your hands about whether such and such is cheating is no way to live your life. i say if it works, do it.

You are correct by Gedvondur (2.00 / 0) #7 Wed May 01, 2013 at 01:55:40 PM EST
You are, of course, correct.

It's simple mental anguish about the change. I know it's not rational.  It actually does me good to hear that it isn't rational.

"So I will be hitting the snatch hard, I think, tonight." - gzt
[ Parent ]
Cheat guilt free by marvin (4.00 / 1) #5 Wed May 01, 2013 at 01:49:14 PM EST
If the outcome is a longer, happier and healthier life, I can't see any reasonable person calling this cheating. Hoping for the best, and if you're not already a member of the HuSi bike cult / club, why not join us when the doc says you're all healed up and ready to go?

Heh by Gedvondur (2.00 / 0) #6 Wed May 01, 2013 at 01:54:28 PM EST
I have thought about it.

When I was 16 a fell off a bicycle, three skull fractures and a major concussion.  So it will be a mental leap before I get ready for biking.  But I am thinking of it.

"So I will be hitting the snatch hard, I think, tonight." - gzt
[ Parent ]
Good luck! by kwsNI (4.00 / 1) #11 Wed May 01, 2013 at 02:07:21 PM EST

Good luck by georgeha (4.00 / 3) #12 Wed May 01, 2013 at 02:20:32 PM EST
and stop setting such a high bar for not posting diaries.

Good luck... by Metatone (2.00 / 0) #13 Wed May 01, 2013 at 05:38:21 PM EST
Don't let shame get in the way of a happy, healthy life.
It's not like they make the sleeve out of kittens or anything. 

Surgery is fucking terrifying by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #14 Wed May 01, 2013 at 07:16:10 PM EST
But it's always done for a positive risk/reward ratio. Good luck with it, and make sure to take it easy on yourself.

Good luck! by clock (2.00 / 0) #15 Wed May 01, 2013 at 10:15:02 PM EST
We will be thinking about you! You'll feel much better when it's over. Here's to a speedy recovery and a healthier life!

I agree with clock entirely --Kellnerin

holy hell by aphrael (4.00 / 1) #16 Wed May 01, 2013 at 10:15:02 PM EST
of course you're scared. any sane person would be.


But you're doing everything you can, and for the right reasons, and you made sure you have one of the best doctors in the region.

And you have NOTHING to be ashamed about. You're getting a procedure whose purpose is to minimize complications from the potential failure of another procedure which you have to have. There's no shame in that.

If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

Isn't "Milwaukee" an Indian name? by ammoniacal (4.00 / 1) #17 Thu May 02, 2013 at 01:39:17 AM EST
Yes, Ged, it is. Actually, it's pronounced "mill-e-wah-que" which is Algonquin for "the good land."

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

Good luck by hulver (2.00 / 0) #18 Thu May 02, 2013 at 04:13:08 AM EST
I hope the surgery goes well. And here's to a quick recovery! *clink*
Cheese is not a hat. - clock
*hugs* by R343L (2.00 / 0) #19 Thu May 02, 2013 at 12:53:00 PM EST
So, the initial condition sounds awful enough. I had to google it to understand what it really meant and I had no idea that could even happen. :(

To add the reduction part which is not something you probably expected to be recommended ... HUGS

"There will be time, there will be time / To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet." -- Eliot

Thinking of you, bro by johnny (2.00 / 0) #20 Thu May 02, 2013 at 09:25:42 PM EST
With best wishes, like all here in your HuSi family.

She has effectively checked out. She's an un-person of her own making. So it falls to me.--ad hoc (in the hole)
*hugs* by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #22 Mon May 13, 2013 at 05:52:38 PM EST
Fish tonight, in your honour.  Hope you get the best outcome.

Withholding | 21 comments (21 topical, 0 hidden)