Pain just below my stomach, right side. Growing, I largely ignored it. Working a job and a half to cover the bills, you learn to get on with it for the family’s sake.
In stubborn denial, I refused to accept initially the possibility of a hernia, so I decided to wait for the pain to subside. I stopped lifting weights (for the most part, anyway) and decreased most of my aerobic activity. I couldn’t stop exercising totally though because I had lost a ton of weight, and there was no way I was going to sit around and get fat again.
But the pain did not go away. In fact, even after being careful, it was getting worse. I finally broke down and Googled hernia.
To be embarrassingly honest, I wasn’t 100% sure what a hernia was. I’m no doctor and never did I think I’d have to deal with one myself. I thought a hernia was strained muscles inside the stomach, bulging into a mass. So, when I discovered that an inguinal hernia is a rip in the stomach lining and that your intestine protrudes out of that opening, I was taken back, to say the least.
Then, after a 16-hour work day (day job: 7:30 AM to 3:30 PM; part-time job: 4 PM to 12 AM), I got in my bed. Laying on my back in the dark, I slowly pushed my own intestine back from whence it came. As Yoda would say, quite horrified, I was.
After a bit more procrastination, my wife took the reins and set up an appointment. That appointment led to an official diagnosis: bilateral inguinal hernia (two, my friends, two hernias on opposite sides) which led to a referral to a surgeon.
On the day of my surgery, I came prepared for a long day, fortunately. I arrived at the hospital at 2 PM. Surgery started at 8:20 PM. They wheeled my bed into the operating room and put me under. I don't remember a thing. When I came to, I was in a different room (the recovery room) and it took me a few minutes to remember why I was wherever I was.
The next night was when I felt the worst pain. My wife had been feeding me my prescribed pain medication and, in the middle of night number two, the meds wore off and I had to go to pee. I made my way to the toilet (about ten steps from my bedroom) and started shaking. I got into my bed, and I was still shaking from the pain I was experiencing.
Days passed, my wife continued to help, and things got better. I removed the thick gauze and tape protecting the area where the surgery was performed and discovered ten staples holding the area together. It took about four days before I had a bowel movement and I was scared to death. No way could I have pushed or strained, so I took some stool softeners and tried to be patient. After my first movement, I felt like I’d won the freakin’ Super Bowl.
At this very moment, I am still in the recovery stage. Next week, I have a checkup appointment with the surgeon. He will remove the staples and give me further instructions. I am sure I will have mixed emotions. By that time, I will be well on my way to getting back to work, but there is something else I haven’t told you.
At my first appointment with the surgeon, I was informed that operating on two hernias is generally never done because of the many complications just one presents. So, they operated on my most painful one. There is another one I most likely will have to face. When that will be? Time will tell.