Friday, June 10, 2011

"Have it Done FRIDAY return to work MONDAY-my ASS!"

So I Said to my doctor in a firm voice," I think I should really have my gall bladder out while I have time and insurance"....she sort of made an "are you sure face" and then later agreed it was probably a good idea and sent me for an ultra sound.

Yes indeedy lots of lovely stones and maybe even some pancreatitus-the offending organ had to come out.

Now the problem is I live in Seal Beach and my doctor and the hospital are in Burbank.

She is connected to that well know hospital where John Ritter died back a few years- its a well respected hospital overall-there's always some celebrity in there, great heart and cancer departments and one of the WORLDS best laproscopic gall bladder guys.

When you walk in you feel like you've stumbled into the medical department at Nordstroms (complete with live piano player).

Obviously she wants me THERE where she can keep an eye on me and it's also home base for WORLD CLASS GALL BLADDER GUY-my choice as well but on "short stay" that would mean finding a place to stay after the surgery since an hour freeway trip after major surgery might be a stupid idea.

Might be? Its a stupid idea.

I could have had it done down here at Gang central regional hospital-I have a nice local doctor I'm sure he could have found someone competant but not world class and certainly lacking the personal style and fine trousers of my surgeon.

NOW, everyone has told me that gall bladder surgery is NOTHING these days-my sister had it not so long ago and she did OK-she's a nurse and she knows what drugs to order and how to talk to doctors so she recovered fairly quickly.

There was some world class puking of bile involved but all in all...

She's also younger than I by 5 years, has a husband and three grown children and a hospital and doctor fairly close to her house in Northridge...I live alone and its a 38 mile trek to the Burbank facility via some of the most congested freeways in the USA.

I went eventually and visited the specialist and he is quite something.

Only the French know how to have their trousers tailored properly-if you don't believe me look at the French Guy in CLOSE ENCOUNTERS of the 3RD KIND-spectacular pants...thia man's were better!

He also liked my Boucheron cologne (Paris) and we seemed to hit it off.

FOUR LITTLE HOLES-with band aids---quel simplemente!

EVERYONE told me this was a piece of cake and remember I ASKED to have it done-lets just DO IT!

I charged into the fray...the offending Gall bladder would soon be history and shortly after I would join Cirque du Soleil swing from silk 8 shows a week as the poster boy for laproscopy.


I had to put it off for a month since I had friends etc with various medical issues ranging from a stroke to neuropathy and the one with neuropathy I needed to help with transportation.

Finally it arrives, THE day...

I have to be in Burbank at 8 am-I asked a friend to drive me up; we left at 6:00am we were at the hospital at 6:45am...

From there I will spare you much of the first half day activities because the first part is mostly waiting and fretting and then comes the shaving, IV, surgery and into recovery.

Recovery is mostly puking green stuff and trying to breath-I had some intubation complication and problems with the anesthetic but amazing the knife like pain under my right ribs where my gall bladder used to be was no more.

In recovery they also stick you with more needles than there are at a tatting convention but I digress-compazine is a fine thing.

"Merci mon cher Doctuere, vous etre le gran Wizard du medecine a la monde!"

I'm sure that's terrible French but what the hell you get the idea-he did great.

I then languished in "short stay" recovery from say noonish till after 10 pm on a gurney-needless to say my back, hip joints and butt all hurt as did much of the rest of me but true to his word: 4 little STAPLED holes which people checked frequently.

The following is for adult consumption so if you offend easily don't read it.

Really-if you can't deal with a little raving stop reading.

If one cannot urinate one cannot go home-I couldn't so they admitted me to regular hospital assuming I eventually would.

I believe there are any number of expectorating functions: spitting, vomiting, sweating may be one, crying-all of those I had managed.

I had also passed gas which is on the list of have you...? OK we'll mark that off.

Really there is a check list of all this stuff you must do in order to be discharged-ask them they will show it to you.

Peeing however despite 2 IV drips was not even a glimmer in the distance on my chart.

Next I find myself rolling through the halls towards 7 East accompanied by two burly young men and a lovely Asian nurse-very sweet (the nurse) who assured me I would be fine.

Nice private room, newly decorated-blues and blonde wood with stainless steel accents-very HGTV.

Ironically the view from the window 7 stories down are the offices where my doctors are and Disney Studios off to the right.

I was delivered to DENNIS my night RN nurse-a sturdy and attractive fellow, nice smile and highly trustworthy-he just gave one that "I can do anything" feeling.

My loved ones went away and Dennis and I turned to the matter at hand.

It was now nearly 11 pm so lets give it till 5 am at which point CATHETER is the next step----really? Catheter? I don't think so.

I assured him if he brought me some diet soda, preferably caffeine free COLA I would be peeing in no time-it always works at home.

2 pitchers of ice water, several diet beverages and a couple hours later nothing had happened not even a trickle.

At 2 am Dennis and I had a man to man and I asked him just how grim the whole catheter thing would be-this being my FIRST experience with both major surgery and general anesthetic.

He assured me it would be uncomfortable-thankfully he didn't pull that"well its a little PINCH and that's it" merde de veau...

He told me he had done it MANY times and he has a kit that is smaller than a Foley Catheter that goes in, drains and comes out.

Seems the urine collects the anesthetic which then sits there and numbs the nerves etc in the bladder which make us have the urges, opens one of the numerous sphincters men have in the urinary tract and finally causes the muscles to expel said PEE.

Hence, due to the above collection of concentrated urine full of anesthetics it MUST be drained and the area bathed with new fresh water (which you drink) to "wake up" the area.

So I hear myself saying-well why wait lets just DO IT!!!

Why wait till 5am when one can have misery immediatly?

All that to one side Dennis the nurse is sure I am lying about not be uncomfortable but aside fro a little back ache which I now assume were my kidneys preparing to explode I was fine.

Dennis is also very impressed with not only my bravery but confidence in his abilities and goes off to collect his gear after congratulating me on my astute understanding of how much BETTER this is all going to be at the end.

He's soon back in no time with all sorts of goodies and begins to clean and sterilize and prepare "the area" for the "procedure" then he smiles and says to me "Now, breath deeply and normally and don't clinch."

I am splayed out on a bed virtually nude while someone (more or less a total stranger) plays with my Tallwhacker: all I can think of is "NOW is not the time for an erection"...

Over the doors of hospitals I would like to suggest an attractive sign which reads "Abandon DIGNITY and Modesty all ye who enter here".

I want you to focus your concentration here-imagine getting a fair size cinnamon stick (that's a cheery image) then roll it in broken glass and Mica glitter-lubricate it and the insert it (briskly) into your urethra!

ALL the way in...

Lets just say that I CLINCHED almost immediately.


I have had numerous root canals and various other dental procedures which are considered quiet painful-any of them pale beside inserting a catheter-and come to find out since I clinched he was only half way in.

I frankly thought It had gone through and would be found later on the bed beneath me.

So he tells me I need to unclench, take deep breath so he can finish-I took the breath-he pushed and after a blinding flash it was in-now he could drain and I could tell from his face even he, an experienced and seasoned medical professional was impressed by the quantity and quality of the product I then produced.

It seemed he might have to have an additional bag but he assured me he could drain from the bag and wouldn't have to remove the catheter...thank God for favors great and small.

He then said the cutest thing-he asked if I could possible reach the button near my left temple which would raise the head of the bed this folding me in half-somewhat like the toothpaste tube principal thus forcing the remaining liquid down and out.

I could and I did and wonder of wonder that did the trick and the possible 2ND bag was not needed after all.

More than a liter in the bag-wow...of a color and concentration that would go down in medical history.

Taking the apparatus out is quick and mostly startling rather than particularly painful so that wasn't nearly so bad.

As he was cleaning me up he was again telling me what a good choice this was and how he was sure now things would wake up and begin to function properly.

I asked him if the first evacuation after all this wouldn't be quite uncomfortable and that's when he used the "NO just maybe a little pinch" metaphor.

I firmly believe that unless a medical professional actually intends to reach over and pinch you that word should be banned from all medical procedures-it seems to cover everything from extracting a splinter to injecting one with a horse needle and the intensity of "PINCH" between the two is quite vastly different to say the least.

He then admonished me to drink lots of water and let him know when I needed to "GO".

About 90 minutes later-something awoke in my bladder.

I went to the commode knowing that this was not going to be any fun but remembering that I had ASKED for it and had been a reluctant but willing participant despite the clinch.

You sit there and ponder the coming event-knowing that liberty is but a normal bodily function away and your body says in return "ARE YOU NUTS!?????"

I spoke briefly with God and then concentrated on the matter at hand.

When the feeble stream began it was not unlike pouring Tabasco sauce over broken glass down the urethra but in my joy I pushed the call button and proudly announced that we had URINE!

Now comes one of those moments in medical history-Dennis is doing the PEE PEE VICTORY dance at the door but I see from his face he has something MORE to tell me.

Seems that I must have a "normal evacuation" for it to count-not this paltry dribble.

Normal evacuation? I present to you that I have just had a NORMAL evacuation for say a humming bird-if you expect me to pull off some Elephantine cascade you just have another think coming...

So over the next several hours I continue the water and finally at 6 or 7 am I have an almost painless, fairly normal event that we all agree "counts" and that tick mark goes on the chart.

There is more-a beautiful but evil princess representing the surgeon who wants more blood in exchange for a "possible" release-my family doctor arriving and charging to the rescue-a STAT blood draw and process and finally at 3:45pm I am in a wheelchair headed for the front door-oh they attempted to stop me but I had the Rx in my hand they were worried about just in case.

It is a wonderful thing to breathe and not have any pain where my gall bladder used to collide with my diaphragm but was it worth all of the above and more I have omitted for reasons of privacy and sheer horror-I suppose-at very least its over.

Someone announced to me when I told people I was going to have this procedure that it is easy, simple, far better than the old days and that she had it out on Friday and returned to work on Monday.

I can only assume that this woman is of the Teutonic order a veritable Brunhilde able to leap over the magic fires of Valhalla bearing aloft dead heroes and a heavy steel armor breast plate as well.

I myself am thrashed-for the record I came home to my bed with my favorite soft 1500 count red cotton sheets and went unconscious for about 15 hours or more.

I now feel exactly as if I have been beaten by several angry dykes in a crowded bar after insulting their girlfriends-everything hurts.

Thankfully the nausea and vomiting has ceased as has the serious acid stomach-I have graduated from custard to bread and soon will attempt fruit on the soft diet path

Oh I managed the other and final tick as well-the last tick mark after "Passed gas" thanks to Metamucil, apple juice and some probiotics.

Now I just have to have my staples removed on the 15Th and avoid a urinary tract infection (have cranberry pills for that one) and pneumonia-of course site infection can be an issue but with a little luck there are no further catheterizations in my near future.

Bless you dear readers I don't know why I felt compelled to share this with you but Catharsis is a good thing.

While no particular art was discussed I did talk about Trousers so it counts under the description of my blog.

It is my secret belief that my gall stones were sent, not to pathology, but to the local Catholic High School where girls in their neat little plaid skirts and white blouses are busily making them into earrings for the hospital gift shop.

I have no proof of this mind you but it does support my belief that nuns are capable of anything.



  1. That was amazing, laughed my pants off - now I used trousers too, so my comment is also ok =). And I hope you have continuously normal evacuations =)

  2. Im sorry you had to go through so much torture. I was one of the people that told you it would be a piece of cake. But your story had me laughing so hard i was crying. Glad your doing better.

  3. OMG, I am going for this surgery on Monday, June 13. Not sure if I should have read your write up or not. Very descriptive and at some points you had me laughing out loud.

    I wish to well, Rick :)

  4. I read every word and enjoyed your surgery immensely!
    This should be required reading for pre patients AND DOCTORS AND NURSES!!!
    take care!

  5. YVONNE you will make it through just like I did and I believe the female urinary tract has 2 less sphincters than male-we have extras to keep the pollywogs at bay-be well-print a copy and make everyone in the hospital read my version-laughter builds bridges-BE WELL-let us know how you do.

  6. I felt so bad laughing but your descriptions are so funny. Mmm they should have a sign up at the doors of hospitals with a wee box to leave your dignity in for collection on the way back out. (having been a Midwife I have seen many people with zero diginity left!!!)
    So glad you are on the mend now. Take Care
    Love Hazelxo

  7. Dennis, living in a small town where the mandate of the local hospital "no pain, all gain" makes it hard to believe that they did not insert a catheter when you were anesthetized. brutes. Ugh. So speedy recovery and all surgery involves them looking up into and along things once never mentioned. So you GO Go Go man!!!

  8. @ Monica: Lest I mislead anyone: They DID do a cath during the surgery when or why they removed it is a mystery to me-If they KNOW that the anesthesia is an issue I would think once in it would stay till the numbing gunk is clear-but that woud be MY logic (and it sounds like yours as well?)

  9. I'm so glad you're doing better! Sounds awful! I've experienced "THE CATHETER", and we are NOT FRIENDS! In fact, I'm cringing while I'm writing this...LOL.

  10. I haven't laughed this much all week.....that was brilliant!

    Sorry you had to go through all that, though.

    I had my gall bladder out when my first born was just a few weeks old. (She's 23 now.) Yup, you guessed it. The old style 8" incision. I was in the hospital for a week. BLECCCH.

  11. Oh, this needs to be published somewhere, Rick! I mean other than here because more people need to read it!

    Seems that although your dignity was in serious distress, and your pain level cried out for a new rating meter, your sense of humor stepped right in pushed them both aside and handled this 'assault' perfectly.

    I lived for many years in Burbank, on Santa Anita Ave and know right where St. Joe's is. Until reading your blog today, I always thought it would be a lovely place for a vacation.

  12. Small World Holly
    I lived on 5th near Elmwood from 1976 to 1980 then I moved to Glendale till 84 when I moved back to Burbank where I live at 814 East Angeleno-just about Kenneth Road and a few over from Santa Anita

    You should see St Joes now----amazing growth


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