Having been married at Santa Monica Beach, CA in ’07, I’d hardly predicted how we would spend our anniversary nine years later. As we checked into the registration desk at the Denton Regional Hospital, the receptionist asked, “How can I help you?” I responded, “We’ve reserved the honeymoon suite and spa.”
After surviving an emergency open-appendectomy all-inclusive of [benign] tumors and seriositis (the inflammation of the tissues lining [a number of] my vital organs), a few months later, what I thought to be scar tissue turned into a golf ball-sized tear at the top of my 8-inch incision. Spring Break ’15 was spent in recovery after day surgery to insert a coffee coaster-sized piece of mesh to hold it back together. Over our recent Christmas break my daughter pushed the button to our hotel floor in the elevator and used the same pointed finger to identify a sizable lump showing through my skintight, Dri-FIT pullover. Sure enough, another slightly higher, ping pong ball-sized protrusion bulged out.
“What the hell are you doing back here?” my doctor quipped when he walked in to find me in his office (again). “I’m looking for another few weeks off,” I bantered back. Dr. Lester, is a well-respected surgeon by not only my wife and I, but by a number of other doctors, nurses, and friends (as I’ve since learned), has the very best in bedside manners and takes significant time explaining with patience. (See what I did there?) Suggesting I monitor it a bit longer to see if it grew in size, he theorized the weakened layer of tissue below the skin surface was fragile from the first significant operation. “I don’t think you realized how sick you were the first time. You had a major infection; we cut you deeply and pulled and prodded.” A few months later, I rescheduled an appointment having witnessed it growing in size. “I can assure you, it’s not from working out” I offered. “We do like to travel, and we pack everything we own into one suitcase because we’re cheap, and I’ve lugged that thing around at 50 pounds.” Interestingly, he shared, “Believe it or not, coughing and sneezing are as hard on the body as lifting,” he shared. My violent sneezes register as hurricane force winds on Beaufort Wind Force Scale, so that explains it. With the size of the tear and my innards protruding to the size of a golf ball again, surgery with a da Vinci® Surgical System robot, which looked more like Doc Ock from Spiderman 2 was scheduled. Because the robot is only available on Wednesdays, the date was set for the first opportunity I had after giving my TEDx Talk on Friday, May 20 (thus falling on Wednesday, May 25, our ninth wedding anniversary). Romantic, huh?
Why not June? Because I work year-round and June is the busiest month of my job cycle, shutting down one school year while readying for another, I couldn’t afford to miss the entire month of June as he suggested I might. If I don’t work in June, Denton ISD loses out on five million federal dollars; and that’s not really an option. The federal Title application, 50+ pages of forms to complete in intricate detail, is due in June. It’s followed by a 35+ page, byzantine, compliance report; and failure to certify and submit it incites the Texas Education Agency to “release the Kraken.”
All that to say, I needed to go under sooner than later. Going in, the plan was not to merely cover this second, additional, new found tear, which tore up past the prior one, but over the entire cross-section of the initial incision. Though I was under and didn’t get to see the mesh patch, I envision it to be approximately the size of a dinner plate. I requested a red one so I could sport an ET heart light, but while my request wasn’t honored, my belly is a bright shade of red.
My side looks as if I were shot three times at close range. With a scar running through my gut and three gunshot wounds on my side, I’m feeling a little gangsta. Doc says to expect to be out a month. I’ve an appointment for more details sometime next week.
In the meantime, I’ve got plenty to read and write about in the days to come, lots of time to rest, and some time to binge on some of the shows you all have recommended. Any other suggestions?