Monday, January 24, 2011

Other Side of the... Bleh

So I'm recovering nicely from the event.  But I have no desire to write about it much.

Here's the short version.

11 hours in the ED.  CT scan showed a ruptured diverticulum.  IV antibiotics and a hospital stay.  Morphine for the first time.  Did not like.  I'm not geared to be a druggie.  Kept pushing for fewer pain meds in the three days I was there.  Finally released with follow up visits planned.  Was visited in hospital by Dad, our friend JM, one of my pastors, and of course the Wife and Kiddos.

In short, I feel pretty good now.  But I also feel like a ticking time bomb.  Every little twinge or grumble in my abdomen punches my anxiety up a notch.  Another episode so close on the heels of this one means surgery is likely.  And not just a quick go in for a pat down of the gut.  They're talking removal of part of the colon, probably a colostomy bag placed to drain poo while my colon rests and heals before they reattach the two ends.  A longer hospital stay.  I shudder at the prospect. 

Mostly though, I am sick and tired of feeling sick and tired.  This too shall pass.

More Later

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Other Side of the Coin

As a medic, it is not uncommon for me to pick patients up and take them to the hospital for treatment of what ails them.  But now I find myself admitted to the hospital with a perforated diverticulum, and I gotta say, being a patient is no fun.

It all started on Sunday with a little tummy ache.  No big deal, I had eaten some fast food crud, and I figured this was just payback from my body.

Monday I awoke all gassy, but again - payback is a bear sometimes.  By suppertime on Monday My GI tract was hurting pretty good.  After supper and kiddos going to bed, I curled up on the couch and watched some TV, all the time the gassy feeling getting more intense.  The Wife became concerned and I made a deal with her that I would call our family physician in the morning if it did not clear up.  Of course, I thought that perhaps it really was just gas.

I fell into a restless sleep around midnight.  Next thing I was aware of was an intense pain in my gut, like someone had just stabbed me with a fire poker.  As I woke up, I heard some idiot scream in pain nearby and thought "Hey dummy.  If we are being attacked the screaming won't help."

Then I realized the voice was mine.  That's a discouraging thing at two in the morning!  Per the Wife's instructions. I rechecked my temperature.  It had spiked to 101.7.  Four more times that night I was awakened to my own grunts of pain.  Throughout the next day the Wife became more and more resolute about getting me to a doctor.  Finally I relented and called my local Doc.  She was full up, but scheduled me with another doctor because my "condition" sounded serious.

On the way to the doc, I did a little self assessment.  Pain... lower left quadrant and lower center line.  Pain level...6-8 out of 10 depending on the bumpiness of the road.  Fever.  Chills.  Nausea.  If I were a medic with a patient like that I would suspect they were rather sick.  But in my head I was still denying that anything was wrong.

The doctor I saw did a few tests and fond two significant things.  One was a White blood Cell count up around 15.5.  Normal is 10.  So I had a BUNCH of extra white blood cells running around, fighting infection.  The second finding was upon palpating, or poking my right lower quadrant.  So painful was it that my knees shot up to the fetal position.

We both immediately suspected appendicitis with that one.  Though I told hi it really did hurt more in the lower left and middle.  He referred me to the Emergency Department to do a CTscan to rule out the appi.  What else could it be? I asked him.

"Well, you're a pretty young guy.  But it could be Diverticulitis.  I'm almost sure it is one of those things."

So off I went to the ED, to find out what was going on.

More Later

Friday, January 14, 2011

Friday Ramblings

I've been pretty busy this year so far.  I've got three knives in progress in the shop... no four.  I've got two stained glass transoms to build.  Sheaths for all of the knives.  So much to do and it seems I've been going and going and going.

On top of this, I signed up for the Pigman Triathlon down in Palo, Ia - near my hometown of Cedar Rapids.  So I started training in earnest again.  Oh, I've been doing a little on the treadmill, an occasional push up or some crunches.  But June 5th will sneak up on me awfully fast unless I get my rear in gear.

So it's off to the races again!

I turn 40 this year.  40.  Twenty years ago that seemed so old!  So far away.  But now that I'm here it doesn't seem that bad.  I'm creakier than I once was, and more than a few pounds heavier.  But in all I don't feel old.  Although I do get stressed about time when I think that I'm probably more than half way to the finish line in this life.  I was not nice to my body while in the Corps, and I have not been so good to it since.  So I think my lifespan will fall short of where my parents get.  Mostly those thoughts are as follows...

If I can make it to 70... that means I only have 30 gardens left to plant!  That's really not too many to try out the several hundred varieties of tomato that I want to try.  If I am only making 20 to 40 knives a year, that's only six or seven hundred that I will make in my lifetime!  So much to do!  So much to do!  Maybe I should up that number to 10 - 20 knives a month.  Maybe that will help.

And thirty years really doesn't seem like that long.  Especially since I've already gone ten years past that. 

But then I think about all of the things I've done in forty years.  The list is literally HUGE!  Someday I'm actually going to compile a list.  I did a ton of stuff up through high school.  From then to now I've done things like paddling the Mississippi river from Itasca to St. Louis.  I was a Marine for about a decade.  I've travelled all over the world.  I got married, had kids, bought a house and a couple of cars.  Somewhere between Boot Camp and Bluefeather, I became a grown up.

That has been hard to get my head wrapped around.  Because when I was a kid, grown ups had jobs and bills and worries that I never wanted.  Worst of all, most grown ups never seemed to have any fun.  Thank God I had the parents that I did!  Role models for keeping a kid-like attitude even as a grown up.

Mom loved family nights watching the Hawks win or lose, and Sunday night suppers were a treat with fudge and popcorn.  I don't think I had a toy that Dad didn't play with too.  I can remember launching little foam F4U corsairs off of a huge plastic aircraft carrier with him.

And so when the Boyo saved up enough of his allowance to buy his very own indoor remote controlled helicopter, I had to have one too!
The Boyo got a yellow one that he named Fireworks because of the red and blue flashing led on the nose...

I got a red one.  The Boyo wanted to call it Fireworks Two, but I told him it's name was Dragonfly because that's what Grammy said they looked like...

As busy as I get in the shop, and as much as I have on my plate as a grown up that is still adding years onto this body, I guess I'll always be a kid in my heart. 

More Later

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year with the Boyo

My son the precocious six year old, has always been a bit of a ham.  Knowingly or not.  Today, whilst wrestling with his mommy, they were laughing and giggling, when he suddenly yelled out...

Anyone who knows me knows that I have a few strong opinions.  Also understood is I seldom have trouble expressing those opinions.  One such thing that sticks in my craw is the use of the term "phy ed" for physical education. 

Growing up in Iowa, it was called "phys ed"  or more simply "gym".  Leaving the 's' off of the 'phy' is just plain annoying.  It isn't called PHYICAL education.  It is PHYSICAL education.  For some reason, in Minnesota they call it PHY ed.  Grr.  How are kids supposed to know what the 'phy' stands for after all?

So it was with no small sense of amusement and vindication that today, while asking the Boyo where he learned a chant he does while doing jumping jacks (TWIG!  TREE!  TWIG!  TREE!) he enthusiastically replied...
"I learned it in phyeducal education!"

Yup... phyeducal.

I love that kid.  He is hilarious! 

Happy New Year everyone!

More Later