I'm Having Abdominal Pains - 07.17.98

Just about 3 months ago, I started having pain in my lower abdomen. It started innocently enough after a stressful weekend of biking and playing basketball, so at first I thought it might be some sort of injury (me being partially out of shape) and attributed it to activities. At the time, I had also added a couple more difficult stretches to my routine, and again thought that this might be the source of the problem.

After a week of the same sort of pain, I finally started looking for other things that it could be. I was really hoping that it wasn't something that would need medical attention, but every day that I woke up, it was still there, and finally I decided that I needed to see a doctor.

I went and he told me that I may have something wrong, but I should see a specialist to make sure. His answer was so inconclusive that I knew that something was probably wrong. I booked an appointment and went in to have someone specialized give me a look over.

I went, and after getting checked, was told that I had two small tears in the lining of my abdominal wall (the technical name for it was an "almost hernia" since nothing had really herniated, but it would probably eventually become one if I didn't have it fixed). Plus, it's sounds more cool to say, "I have a tear in the lining of my abdominal wall" than it does saying, "I have a hernia." The doctor then explained to me the procedure they went about for fixing it.

First, four small slits are made in the abdomen (one directly below the belly-button, another about 1.5 inches below that, and two about 9 inches apart (about 4.5 inches on either side of the lower slit)). In the lower slit below the belly-button, a tube would be inserted and my abdomen would be inflated with carbon dioxide. In the slit directly below the belly-button, a small scope would be inserted, which would transmit a picture to a video monitor in the operating room. The slits on the sides were where the actual repairing tools went in. It's kind of like a big, bloody video game. It would be a best-seller no doubt.

After scheduling a time for the operation, I counted the days until it would happen. I had had surgery before, so I wasn't all that nervous about it all. I simply wanted it all to be over, so I could hopefully heal up quickly and enjoy the rest of my summer.

The big day came and my mom drove me to the outpatient area of the hospital and I signed in. Everything went very quickly and I was soon in a pre-op / recovery room, changing into the standard hospital robe and booty-socks. I sat back on the bed and the nurse came into the room and went through my medical history with me again and talked with me for a bit. She then hooked up my IV and got everything running smoothly with it.

It was then that the first of two very funny things happened (pre-surgery). The nurse started running through the list of post-operative activities that I was supposed to refrain from. I was not to lift anything over 10 pounds for the first 2 weeks, then my weight limit for the next 2 weeks was 30 pounds. She then told me that I could start light activity after 2 weeks, including biking or jogging, but I should limit it to what I felt like I could do. After a few seconds, she then said that I shouldn't have sex for two weeks after the surgery. I told her that I didn't have to worry about that and she, my mother (who was sitting in a chair in the same room), and I shared a (somewhat strange) laugh.

The next funny thing happened soon after that when the anesthesialogist came into the room and asked me about whether I'd had any problems with anesthesia before. I told him that I'd gotten sick once before, then he said he'd take it easy on me so I didn't get sick again. After this reply, he then went into detail about how he had had the same sort of operation as I was about to have. Then, in all sincerity, he told me that his testicles had swollen to the size of tennis balls and turned black for a day after the surgery, but that it wasn't that abnormal for something like that to happen. Hardy-fucking-har. I was laughing my ass off after that one.

Then it was time for me to go to the operating room. I wheeled off the bed (the anesthetic was starting to settle me down a bit) and started scuttling down the sterile hallway. When I got into the room, there were 5 nurses milling around, but my doctor was not yet there. I slid up onto the table and got situated while everything was getting finalized around me.

Finally, my doctor came in and one of the nurses put the last dose of anesthetic into my IV. It felt warm going into my arm and I could feel it as it crept up my arm. I thought it was just getting to my bicep when I went under.

When I came to, the nurse was already asking me if I wanted something to drink. It had been a good 12 hours since I had ingested anything (liquid or solid), so I ordered a cranberry juice on the rocks and looked around the room in a daze. I was feeling some pain, but the medication was taking care of it pretty well.

After I had finished off a couple glasses of juice and a water, I needed to use the restroom (little did I know that this was all part of the plan). I managed to waddle my way into the bathroom and lower myself down onto the toilet all by myself (the only time people get to see me naked is when I'm out of it). When I finally did go, I felt a burning sensation quite unlike anything I'd ever had before. Wondering whether this was normal or not, I asked the nurse. She told me that I had had a catheter, but they hadn't told me so I wouldn't worry about it. Again, I was laughing my ass off.

After waking up a little bit, I plopped down into a wheelchair and they rolled me down to the front. I climbed (painfully) into the car and was on my way home only 7 hours after I had checked in that morning. I fell into a light sleep, happy that it was over and my anatomy had managed to keep its correct, but small size.