Warning… contains some medical graphics and discussion of medical affairs – not photos. Shouldn’t be a problem but some people get squeamish about surgery or talk about hernias.

Today I went in for surgery to fix an inguinal hernia.  I am now down for a week or two for mostly rest and no significant physical effort for a month. I may have developed this hernia in part due to severe coughing from my recent bout with some horrible virus I acquired from students but I think some tree trimming was the final straw. Let’s just call this the gift that keeps giving.

I am convinced that schools are really the government’s secret bioweapon labs. They brew up horribleness and then delete the one critical gene that makes the virus lethal. That way they don’t risk wiping out the entire population with it. But they keep it damaging enough that we’ll go to the doctor who will then report it to the CDC where the labs will then get the data to evaluate the effectiveness. Students are used as vectors, teachers are guinea pigs.  Parents either can’t afford to keep the kids at home while sick or have drunk the Koolaid that says it is a virtue to go to work even when you are ill. A diabolical and foolproof plot!

Inguinal hernias occur when part of the membrane lining the abdominal cavity (omentum) or intestine protrudes through a weak spot in the abdomen — often along the inguinal canal, which carries the spermatic cord in men.

Before the surgery, it was an irritant. After a couple of miles of hiking, the left groin area would get sore.  When I’d laugh or cough or sneeze (or poop or pee) I would have to press on the tear in the abdominal wall to keep my intestine in. Couldn’t do any lifting. Sometimes it would pop through on its own and I’d have to poke it back thru the hole.  Pain radiated down to my left testicle.

They put me under what is called “twilight anesthesia“. Basically, that is a light drip of Propofol (Michael Jackson’s sleep aid of choice) in the IV, plus some Tylenol and some Gabapentin. Technically you are “awake” but in a hypnotic state – sedated and unable to form any memories. Then they shoot the area they are working on full of a local anesthetic. That way I don’t need intubation or breathing assistance and the risk of adverse reaction to the drug is minimal.

It feels like you fell asleep instantly and woke up instantly feeling refreshed with no dreams or memories of what happened. Your concept of time passing is completely tied to your brain’s short-term memory storage and when it is gone a lifetime could fly by without you being aware of any passage of time or having any memory of it. I wake up within a minute of when the drip is turned off, clear-headed but a little dizzy. A half-hour later they had me up and walking around but I think I could have done much earlier.open-inguinal-hernia

I am back home now. There is a powerful dull ache in my left groin area. They stitched the abdominal wall back together and reinforced it with a mesh. Ice packs, no showers, and Norco for 48 hours. Hoping this is an example of short term pain leading to long term benefit.

Later in April, I went to Orthopedics to look at my epicondylitis, aka “tennis elbows”. That right, plural. Both elbows have gotten extremely painful. This is caused when the tendon that connects the back of your hand to your

The pain of tennis elbow occurs primarily where the tendons of your forearm muscles attach to the bony prominence on the outside of your elbow. The pain may result from tiny tears in the tendon.

upper arm gets damaged. at the point where it goes thru the elbow.

It seems I injured them months ago digging a ditch and boring a tunnel under the wall in front of our yard to get a water line to the strip of lawn between the sidewalk and the street. (Recently aggravated it with the same tree trimming that aggravated the hernia.)

Despite many visits to physical therapy and various different supports, it isn’t improving. This is a surgery I’m not sure I want. They cut out the damaged section and sew it back together. This shortens the tendon and limits your range of motion. There is a long course of PT.

Fortunately, there are various injections and ultrasonic tenotomy to be tried first. It is possible another 6 months of regular PT might improve it as well. (Or not.)

After that is resolved I am afraid I’ll have to go to war to get my knee replaced. Kaiser doesn’t want to do it until I get closer to 70. They claim it is because the knee will wear out and they don’t want to replace it again. (I think it is really that they hope a percentage of their patients will either die or become so inactive they won’t need the knee before then. Never hurts to kick someone else’s can down the road.) OTOH I think I will heal much better now than I will 8 years from now. I also understand that artificial knees are much more durable than in the past and 25 years is now the rule rather than 15.

Products like this one give me hope for continued mobility as I grow older.