Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Good News, Bad News (part two).

Well I promised to bring you the second half of our good news, bad news events but have some doubts about the actual ending of this nightmare so you may have to hang in for a part three.

Earlier this evening I sat down to watch the evening news with my dear husband and after minutes of squirming and shifting to settle my antique body in the most comfortable position in my recliner I was attacked by a bout of the chills. Asking Frank to pass me an afghan to cover up with, led to a ten minute ritual of having my temperature (99.5) taken, popping a couple of aspirin, and being wrapped in not one but two fleece throws with my feet propped on a heating pad. After a few minutes of freezing I promptly dozed off and began seeing car crashes, gas leaks and small children jammed under busses as the narrative from the local news began to circle across the wide screen of my dreams.

The bad news is that this has become an almost daily occurrence over the last few weeks. It all started back at the beginning of the month. Following our return from our anniversary trip Frank and I worked on setting up a canopy on our deck to provide some shade from the summer sun. We got all our new patio furniture in place and were ready to get started on planting some baskets and pots with several flats of annuals when we realized we needed a few items from the hardware store.

The next morning I was rushing to get ready so that I could make the trip to the hardware store before my scheduled nail appointment. I got tangled up in my own slacks and ended on my backside on the floor. Ignoring my bruised elbow and scraped knees I headed off to the hardware store. Once there, I realized I had a very painful spot in my midsection. By the time I got to the checkout lane I had a hard egg size lump that was getting more painful with each step.

After a phone call to my husband I ended up rushing home so that he could take me to our doctor’s office. From there I went straight to a hospital in the city, where surgery was quickly scheduled. What I expected to be a simple thirty minute procedure ended up taking almost four hours. I awoke to find that I had a 9 by 11 sheet of Teflon mesh implanted in my gut to repair not one, but five, ventral hernias.

After five days in the hospital, I came home with a circle of seven incisions in my mid section all supported by a tight elastic binder that was reducing my waist measurement by several inches and making both moving and breathing a challenge. I was given a lengthy list of don’ts that left little argument as to what was on the approved can do list (almost nothing). I have a reputation for being the “Queen of non compliance”, so this time around I decided to follow the instructions to the letter. First, my husband was so concerned that I did not want to worry him and I knew that he would be watching me like a hawk so I would not have succeeded anyway. And secondly, I felt so bad that I had no choice but to acquiesce, even when it came to needing help with the most personal and embarrassing of hygiene chores.

I was just starting to feel almost normal, while finding small parts of the day where I have the energy to attempt a few simple tasks ( like updating this blog), when suddenly I found myself back at square one again. The one time I followed the restrictions to the letter and, really tried to follow the doctor’s instructions it did me no good. Two days ago I told Frank it felt like I still had a knot right where my hernia had been. Frank did some feeling around and agreed that he was sure that I still had at least one hernia and possibility two that he could feel. He pressed hard on one lump and there was a sudden expulsion of gassy air noises and suddenly the hard lump was gone. Frank was sure that he had just reduced one of the hernias.

Monday, I was back at the surgeon’s office to learn that I had developed a pool of fluid between the new mesh and my skin that prevented the doctor from being able to feel anything but that pool. He agreed that I probably still had a hernia that they either missed or that somehow managed to escape from the mesh but it would be at least two weeks before everything from the first surgery was healed enough to be able to do another MRI to determine the true extent of my current situation.

So now I am in a holding pattern. Limited in what I can do so as not to make matters worse and facing the uncertainty of whether the entire procedure will have to be redone.

So hang in for part three of my current good, no make that my really bad news.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Good News, Bad News (part one).

The last time I set down to write we were getting ready to celebrate our first wedding anniversary with a little trip to St. Genevieve, Missouri. That was over a month ago, yet in some ways it seems as if it was a lifetime ago.

I started out to write this in the format of one of those old comedy routines that followed the “That’s good. No, that’s bad” format but soon realized that it would go on for a dozen pages. So I decided to just give you the “Good News” and the “Bad News” all mixed together the way it happened.

The good news is that we had a lazy, relaxing, and very enjoyable anniversary trip. St. Genevieve, Missouri is a short sixty miles south of St. Louis on the banks of the Mississippi river. The town is about 250 years old and was the first permanent civilized settlement in Missouri. It is also the only Original French Colonial Village left in the United States. A quant, laid back small town where all the modern comforts and conveniences are hidden behind the architectural charm of an old world village. Despite the constant rain and flooding in most of our area the weather even cooperated and let the sun shine. All in all it was a perfect place for two old romantics to stroll hand in hand enjoying the unique town, many interesting shops and each other.

We stayed in an old 1882 hotel that has been lovingly restored to its original beauty and converted into a comfortable B&B. Complete with period antiques, warm fireplaces, delicious food and very gracious host all within walking distance of everything of interest in town. This was our first stay at a bed and breakfast and the bad news was that we discovered that we are not the B&B types. We would have been more comfortable at a traditional motel. The really bad news was that my dear Frank came down with a small bug and had to spend a big chunk of one day in our lodgings.

On a lighter note, I will tell a funny that happened to us. In one of the shops we tried a sample of some very nice (and pricey) French lotion made from goat’s milk. Frank and I both liked the lotion, so we went back to the shop and purchased a bottle. The next day my back was itching, so my dear husband went to apply a liberal coat of the new lotion, when after a few minutes of rubbing he could not get the lotion to absorb into my skin we checked the bottle to discover (bad news) that we had been given the wrong bottle and he had just covered my back in body wash. It made for a fun time in the shower washing away all the soap.

After leaving St Gene, we spent a couple of days with one of Frank’s oldest friends who lived in a neighboring town. The good news was we had a pleasant visit but the bad news was that I forgot to pack our sonicare toothbrushes so we had to make a return trip several days later to retrieve them. But, that even turned into good news because we stumbled on a shop that was having a fantastic sale on patio furniture, so the trip actually more than paid for itself.

I am going to continue the rest of the story in a part 2 that I hope to have posted in a day or so.

You will not believe what happened to me next.