Tuesday, January 10, 2012

For Granted (1/9/12)

I'm back to the Blogger website. I was relegated to posting from my iPad while in the hospital, and Blogger wouldn't let me upload pictures, so I cheated and used Facebook to keep up with my "pic a day" blog. I know, there probably is a better blogging site or an app for that. It's ok. I'm out, I'm back with the Macbook Pro and it's all good. :)

I've spent 43 pretty healthy years on this earth. No broken bones, no surgeries, no extended hospital stays. In fact, since I was discharged from St. Mary's Hospital in Rochester, NY on or about September 17, 1968, I had not been in the hospital overnight -- until last Wednesday.

I got quite sick last Sunday which led to the hospitalization on Wednesday. I have been living with intestinal issues for a few years now, and from time to time the pain was unbearable. Maria took me to the ER on three different occasions with stomach pain. The juice fast and weight loss was initially so I could have the laparoscopic cholecystectomy (or, removal of the gallbladder through a tiny hole). Since I wasn't in pain for three months following the fast, I didn't have the surgery, on advice from my doctor.

Then Sunday came. Oh the familiar pain. It eased in Sunday afternoon, then hit full-blown around 1am Monday, backed off on Tuesday before returning on Wednesday. By the time Maria came home to take me to the ER, my pee was dark orange and I was very yellow -- like a Simpsons character. Come to find out, not only did I have a stone lodged in the main bile duct, I also had what doctors called a "smoldering infection" in my gall bladder. It was close to sepsis, which could be fatal.

After an ultrasound and MRI confirmed the blockage, they rushed me to the GI department for an ERCP or Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography. They knocked me out, stuck a camera down my throat with a wire which they used to dislodge the stone from my bile duct. On Sunday, they removed my gallbladder. Since the procedure was done laparoscopically, I only have four small holes and I was able to be discharged less than 24 hours later. If not for the infection, they would have given me the boot that afternoon.

I left my hospital room for urgent care, where Maria was being treated for an upper respiratory ailment - something viral, which must just run its course. She got some good codeine cough syrup for her troubles and we were home by 4pm yesterday.

I must say, it's been a great run! She and I have been blessed with incredible health that we certainly took for granted. I know I did! I also took people in the health care profession for granted too. After watching them work their 12 hour shifts, moving from one room to the other, providing meds, changing beds, cleaning up "spills", handling all sorts of unseemly things, I will never take them for granted again. Thank you Rod, Mateo, Sarah and Monica! You are truly the best, and a credit to your profession!

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