Post Surgery Update

I’m recovering pretty well from the hernia surgery. In my follow-up appointment with the surgeon on 5 November, he said I was healing well. He mentioned that there was more swelling in the area than he had expected but that was good because it meant that my body figured out it couldn’t reject the mesh so it was forming scar tissue around it. He increased my lifting restriction to 25 pounds and that ended yesterday. He also said I could continue with my yoga practice following the cautions I’d been following.

Even with the medical restrictions lifted I don’t feel that I’m even 90 percent yet. The swelling has gone down but I can still feel some hardness beneath the incision site. I was feeling some pain just above the site last week. I don’t know if it was related to the hernia but it affected my mobility a bit.

I got the hole drilled into my jawbone for the implant on the 12th and had the stitches removed earlier this week. The young lady who removed them said there was still a little tenderness but it was healing well. I’ve been putting my body through too much lately.

I really haven’t gotten back into my yoga practice to the degree that I’d hoped. I attempted to do more in the beginner’s class I attend with Abigail and quickly realized that I wasn’t up to it. There was some discomfort in the area of the surgery but more alarming was the diminished core strength. Right now the intermediate classes would thoroughly kick my ass. I haven’t done anything at home really due to other things I’ve got going on. I need to get my ass back on the mat.

The new position at the hospital is working out well so far. I’m keeping busy most days but I’m keeping up with the work orders and the administrative crap. I’m doing well but it could easily become overwhelming. I don’t know if they’re planning to hire another person to work with me but it would be nice.

Hernia Surgery

Yesterday I underwent surgery to fix an inguinal hernia on my right side. Aside from the current post-surgery pain and discomfort the overall experience was good from my initial appointment to my release from the hospital. The care was excellent. Everyone I dealt with at the Wright-Patterson Medical Center was great, the surgeon, the anesthesiologists, the residents, the nurses, everyone. They kept me informed as to what they were doing and what they were going to do, double and triple checking to ensure everything was going to plan. I truly felt like I was more than just a patient, I was actively involved (as much as I could possibly be).

At the initial consultation, the surgeon explained the various options. The agreed upon solution was to make a small incision, push the hernia back in place, attach a mesh patch over the muscle and glue the incision back together. He told me that the older method of stretching and stitching the muscle over the hernia weakened the muscle and was more likely to fail over time. The mesh method has a much higher success rate.

I don’t a thing between being rolled into OR #6 and waking up in the APU. But that’s how it was supposed to be. Tina and I spent most of the afternoon in the APU. Nurses were in and out checking on me, walking me walk around the room and bringing me juice and water. I had to pee before they’d release me. I finally peed around 3:30. I wasn’t feeling the urge but I decided I’d give it a try. The anesthesia still hadn’t completely worn off so maybe that dulled the sensation. While Tina got the car, a nurse brought in a wheelchair and rolled me out to the main entrance.

Once at home, I made myself as comfortable as I could on the couch while Tina fixed me some soup and a sandwich. I was famished as all I’d had eaten or drunk since the night before was a few graham crackers, juice and water in the APU. Along with my dinner I took my regimen of pills.

Around 7 PM I decided I should just go to bed and try to get some rest. I slept some, waking several times to use the bathroom. I took another dose of Vicodin around 11:30 and got up again around 3:30 at which time I changed from my sweats to a pair of shorts and a light T-shirt. That felt so much more comfortable. I also discovered that bending my right leg while lying down felt better. It probably relieved some of the pressure on the abdominal muscles.

According to the information on the bottle, it looks as though I’ll be taking the stool softeners for 9 months. I certainly hope I’ll be back to my normal routine long before then. No one has really given me much information as to my recovery time. I’ll see the surgeon again on November 5th and I’m sure we’ll discuss that. I want to get back into my yoga routine as soon as I can but I’m not going to rush into it and cause a more serious problem. I’ll work on pranayama (breathing) and meditation with some gentle restorative postures when I feel up to it. I’ll be sure to check with my doctor and my guru first.

I’ll be staying home all week. My contract at Good Samaritan is up today and I step into my new position there on the first of the month. It’s sort of a vacation without pay but it does give me some time to recover and maybe get some light tasks done.

I’m not sure what brought on the hernia. The only recent heavy lifting I can recall was moving Mandy’s “sentimental rocks” at the end of August. They were too heavy to lift so Adam and I rolled them up a ramp into the truck. I didn’t notice the hernia until near the end of September. That might have been it, not that it really matters. I’m hoping that I can recover quickly enough to get back into my yoga and accomplish a bathroom remodeling project this winter. We’ll see how it goes.

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Things are looking up

As October begins to wane, the future is beginning to look just a bit brighter. Things are starting to sort themselves out and fall into place. Overall, life is good.

The uncertainty over my employment situation has dissipated. Effectively, my last day of work under my current contract will be Friday and after a week off I’ll come back as a fulltime employee of the incoming company. I’ll be making a little less money but I think it will work out better for me. Just knowing that I’ll have a job next month is a great relief.

I had second thoughts about having the two procedures back to back so I rescheduled the dental implant until after Veteran’s Day. That may still be a little too soon. The hernia surgery is set for this coming Monday and I’ll have about a week to recover. I’m confident it will go well and I’m hoping that I’ll be able to resume my yoga practice before too long.

I’ve been doing a gentler practice the past couple of weeks and will continue it until the surgery. I expect I won’t be doing any asana for a day or two afterward and after that I’ll probably limit myself to breathing exercises and meditation, perhaps some gentle restorative practice, for a couple of days. I’m sure I’ll have to gradually build up to usual physical practice. I’ll discuss this with the doctors and my yoga teacher who has been very understanding, supportive and helpful. I’m sure the others in my classes have been wondering why I’m doing some things differently from the teacher’s instructions.

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October Happenings

I have a lot of things going on this month and even if I don’t outwardly show it, I’m detecting subtle signs of stress building up. I’m doing my best to handle it and deal with everything but the mind and body react.

There’s an air of uncertainty about my employment. The hospital is bringing in an outside company to take care of some of the computer support to include some of the duties I was brought in to do. Technically, my contract is up at the end of the month and I’m in the dark as to whether it will be extended. Nobody at the parent company nor the hospital have told me anything. I’ve spoken with a representative of the incoming company and they seem interested in having me. I’ve updated my resumé and I’m getting it posted to the various boards. If I’ve learned anything in the last 20 months, nothing is certain. And then there are the everyday frustrations of the job.

I’ve got two procedures, one dental and one surgical, scheduled around the last weekend of the month. I don’t know if it was wise to schedule them so close together but I’m committed to them. It will be interesting to say the least.

On that Friday, I’m having a dental implant done. Essentially a periodontist is drilling a hole into my jawbone and screwing in a titanium post which will eventually support a crown. Both my dentist and the periodontist have told me that it’s essential for the health of the bone and is the best of the available options.

Then on Monday, I’m due to have outpatient surgery to fix my inguinal hernia. I’m hoping that it won’t keep me off work more than a couple of days. Prior to the surgery I have to get blood work, x-rays and an EKG done. Then I have to go to a pre-admission appointment and consult with the anesthesiologist. Then there’s the surgery, the recovery period and a post-op appointment.

My yoga practice has been one of the most consistent things in my life lately. It’s something I enjoy and it helps to keep me balanced and helps to alleviate the feelings of FUD. Since discovering the hernia, I’ve had to modify and cut back on my practice. I’ll have to cut back even more during the post-op period. I hope it won’t be too long before I can resume my normal practice. I intend to keep doing yoga in some form throughout it all, even if it’s only pranayama and meditation.

There are some serious things coming up and uncertainty about the future but we’ll get through it all one way or another. These things are transient and they shall pass.

Mayflower 390th Anniversary

Mayflower

It was 390 years ago today that the Mayflower set sail from Plymouth, England, bound for Virginia. As history shows, they ended up in New England. Of the 102 passengers, only 53 would survive the first winter. I can count eight direct ancestors on the passenger list:

  • John Howland
  • John Tilley
  • Joan Hurst Tilley
  • Elizabeth Tilley
  • Isaac Allerton
  • Mary Norris Allerton
  • Mary Allerton
  • Francis Cooke

Three of them — John Tilley, Joan Hurst Tilley, and Mary Norris Allerton did not see the first spring in the New World. John Howland nearly didn’t survive the voyage across the Atlantic. He fell overboard during a violent storm but was able to grasp a line and be pulled back aboard.

Robert Cushman, who was instrumental in organizing the voyage and came over on The Fortune in 1621, is also a direct ancestor. His son Thomas accompanied him on that voyage and later married Mary Allerton. When Mary died in 1699, she was the last survivor of the Mayflower voyage.

12 Stone

It was in January that I finally broke through the 180-pound barrier and my weight began to slowly creep down toward my target weight of 168 pounds. I hovered around 175 for a few months and around the end of May I began to approach 170. The goal was coming in sight. Finally, on July first I went below 170 and on the second, hit my goal of 168 pounds. I’ve since gone slightly below that.

It feels good to have shed almost 50 pounds. It took a little over two years to do it but that may be a good thing. It shows that in that time, I made lifestyle changes and changed my attitudes about food, nutrition and exercise. It also indicates that I’m likely to keep it off. Now the focus turns to maintenance, toning, and getting my blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol under control.

I had tried to lose weight before with limited success and I’d put it back on. This time around, I wasn’t trying so hard. After my pre-diabetes diagnosis, I began controlling my carbohydrate intake and weight loss was initially a pleasant side effect of getting my blood sugar down and under control.

I seemed to be onto something so I set a long-term goal with no definite target date. I had gotten a digital scale from a drawing at health fair at work so I began weighing myself daily and tracking my weight as well as my body fat and body water percentages. Just about everything I’d read about dieting said not to weigh myself that often but I took the attitude that I was merely collecting data and the daily numbers were meaningless. What mattered were the long term trends so I made my monthly averages the indicators of my progress.

I’ve seen and heard all sorts of ads for diet products and programs that promise astounding results in a short time. I’ve also heard many of them claim that you don’t have to change your eating and exercise habits or your lifestyle. I’m sure that many of these products and programs will help you lose weight quickly but as soon as you stop using them, I’m sure you’ll put the weight back on.

You’ll regain the weight because, even though you lost weight, you didn’t learn anything. It was quite likely your lifestyle that caused you to become overweight in the first place. You can’t expect positive change if you keep doing the same negative things over and over. For significant change to happen on the outside, something has to change on the inside. You can’t separate the mind and the body, they work together as a team.

In a Power Yoga workshop I heard Bryan Kest say that to lose weight, you just need to eat less. I’ve taken that idea and modified it slightly. My secret to losing weight has been “Eat less, eat smarter and move more.” It doesn’t get much simpler than that.

Weekend Road Trip

My weekend trip back to the homeland was a welcome respite from life in Dayton. It was good to experience the peace and quiet, the sound of the crickets and the tree frogs and the distant roar of the drag strip. That roar was there when I was growing up out there and I just associate it with the other sounds in the area.

My visit to the Westfield Cemetery was pretty much a bust. I found the family plot but very few headstones, particularly not the ones I was interested in. There was a large stone in the center of the plot with “Ossman” carved across the front. There was absolutely nothing to mark the graves of my aunt and two cousins. I should have a mailing address for the cemetery somewhere. I guess I can write to the cemetery office and see what information they’ll provide.

After the cemetery I made my way to the parking area above Chautauqua Gorge where I met several members of the Northcoast Naturists for a group freehike through the Gorge to Skinny-Dip Falls. I’ve never gotten into hiking before but the freehike was quite enjoyable and the water at the falls was cold and refreshing. I hear there may be another group hike later in the summer. I’ll attend if at all possible. I’ll certainly be better prepared.

After I got back from New York, Dad and I looked at a couple of covered bridges. I got some nice pictures (see my Flickr in the sidebar). As always, it was good to spend time with Dad. I would have liked to have helped him some with his firewood but I was recovering from a pulled muscle in my back and didn’t want to risk aggravating it further. I’m sure my hike didn’t help it much.

I spent Sunday relaxing before I made the drive home. Dad suggested that I get some sun in the backyard and said I could do it bare-assed if I wanted. The offer was tempting but maybe I’ll do that next time. The only neighbor keeps to himself, there’s nothing but wetlands all around and hardly anyone ever drops by unexpectedly. I was surprised to hear that idea coming from him. He’s full of surprises.

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