Hernia surgery – part one

The least exciting picture I've ever placed on my blog. Cork in a swollen tummy.

The least exciting picture I’ve ever placed on my blog. I call it, Cork in a blowhole. (I forget why the doctor in training wrote something on my stomach before the surgery. It’s not like I have a left and right belly button.)

Hernia surgery rule I didn’t know: you must be able to pee before they’ll let you go home.

Surprise.

So, for about four hours or so – time was a blur – I walked the floor of post-op, now completely void of other patients, and visited bathroom after bathroom, where I’d turn on the hot and cold water in the sink, then flush the toilet over and over, and hope to wake my bladder from its medicine-induced slumber.

At one point, while looking down at my left hospital-sock covered feet, a large puddle of water approached. The sink had overflowed and filled the bathroom. Oops. I blame the painkiller shot they gave me after surgery.

Hanging over me was the threat of a catheter insertion and overnight stay in the hospital.

Thus, with the clock ticking and the staff filtering out for their weekends away from patients with cancer and other surgery-required aliments, which made me once again realize how thin the thread of life and good health is, I drank bottles of water and juice boxes and talked to my bladder as if it were God, begging it to come through in the clutch and save me from having a rubber hose inserted in my penis.

Luckily, I had a heroic nurse who stayed after hours to give me a fighting chance. But despite that good luck, there was the opposite, like the fear tactics a less sympathetic nurse thought would help, like telling me how thick the rubber hose of the catheter was, and the giant poster in the bathroom stating how catheters are one of the leading causes of hospital infections.

In the end, I could not pee.

Urine fail.

Commercial Break: [Announcer Voiceover] “Say “hello” to Foley, the rubber snake plumbing pal you’ll wish you never met. He’ll enter what you always thought was a one-way pipe. You’re going to wish you were still asleep on the operating table because no amount of lube is going to help you ignore Foley’s presence in your most sensitive of body parts. You’ll scream like a baby every inch of the way.”

Yes, put down “Foley insertion” on my list of least favorite medical procedures – and the one that made me cry out loud.

But, best of all, thanks to my buddy Foley, I earned a night in the hospital, my favorite place in the entire world.

Thanks, Foley.

(Foley: You’re welcome, Jackass.)

To be continued.

 

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Revenge of the nasty, stinky rug

Readers of my previous post know that one of our labs puked on three rugs this week. The alien substance smelled so bad, and permeated a 3×5 rug in my office so deeply, that I had to throw the rug away.

I rolled it up and stuck it in the trash.

Who is that hiding in the trash can? It's the unknown jack-in-the-box.

Who is that hiding in the trash can? It’s the unknown jack-in-the-box.

Now here in Los Angeles we have nighttime trash raiders. I don’t mind them as long as they’re not trying to steal identities. But my other neighbors get really upset because technically it’s illegal.

I do, however, fantasize about hiding in the trash can, then jumping out like a jack-in-the-box when one of the “Jawas” opens the lid. Nothing like a practical joke that gives a poor person a heart attack while they’re stealing plastic bottles to put food on their table to make you feel better about your life.

Back to reality.

My wife was walking the dogs this morning when she saw a trash raider with a pick-up stop and take the rolled-up rug out of the trash and back to his truck.

Now, when I threw away the rug, it wasn’t a casual decision. If I threw away a rug each time one of our dogs barfed on it, well, we’d be rug-free and poor. But I suspect our poop eating black lab did just that – ate poop – and it created a toxic smell worthy of a government weapon.

No cleaning product was going to bring that rug back to life.

The trash raider, back at his truck, let the rug unroll. Big mistake. My wife said he immediately recoiled in horror, like he got hit by something. I’m sure after five days in the plastic bin and hot sun the stain was nice and ripe.

Even worse, she said, he must have gotten some on his hands because he was frantically trying to wipe them off on a section of the rug, while trying not to get too close to it.

Finally, he folded the rug and placed it back in our trash. Then he looked around in his truck for some water to wash his hands, but not finding any wiped his hands on his truck, got in, and drove off.

My only regret is not taking a picture of that rug for this post. Oh, well, that’s life.

Squashed – an excellent family game

I recreated the cube. My daugher, purple, reached the king. I had a red piece on each side. So when she squashed me, my other red piece went to the top next to the repositioning of the king. I then squashed my daughter and took care of my wife shortly after that. BTW, use the yellow mat or a tablecloth to play. We didn't because we like distressing our $100 Craigslist table. But you might not like the result of smashing pawns into the cube on your table.

I recreated the cube. My daugher, purple, reached the king. I had a red piece on each side. So when she squashed me, my other red piece went to the top next to the repositioning of the king. I then squashed my daughter and took care of my wife shortly after that. BTW, use the yellow mat or a tablecloth to play. We didn’t because we like distressing our $100 Craigslist table. But you might not like the result of smashing pawns into the cube on your table.

So there we were at the kitchen table after dinner playing Squashed, my 12-year-old daughter whooping it up and rubbing in the fact she won the first game. I  squashed (pun intended) my tweener’s happiness by winning the second game, leaving my wife 0 and 2. 

Now the object of Squashed is to be the last pawn standing. Simple, or so it seemed the first time we played and each of us took the simplest strategy of racing to the top of the cube to reach the king. Now reaching the king means you get to flip the cube to any side you like and squash other players’ pieces into the center of the cube, never to be seen again – or until the next game.

I realized during the second game that there is strategy beyond racing to the top. It isn’t the only way to play. The key: it helps to plan ahead. Hold that thought for minute. I’ll get back to it.

I’ve already established that my daughter is a terrible winner and loser. Hmm, where did she get that from? my wife likes to ask.

Yeah, okay, she got it from me, which makes for a battle royal each time we play a game.

And the third game of Squashed was a classic battle. My daughter wanted nothing to more than to squash me and win.

She was in good position to do just that, with one pawn left that was much closer to the top than my two pawns. But I grew up playing board games, not video games, and knew it was time to school my daughter in the art of “non-digital gaming.”

Like a compulsive gambler whose horse is 10 lengths ahead with the finish line in sight, my daughter giggled and jumped about, taunting me with her knowledge that she was a sure winner.

I have no problem busting self-esteem in my house when it comes to games. It’s good to learn what defeat tastes like early in life. So, I moved both of my pieces sideways to opposite sides of the cube.

This is an exact quote from my daughter to my wife: “I don’t know what Daddy thinks he’s doing.” That should have been her first clue something was up, but certain victory clouded her tweener mind.

And when she reached the space next to the king, she chose to squash me instead of her mother. Oh, the glee and joy of certain victory in her face when she left me with one piece – one piece which just happened to be next to the new location of the king. You see, when you flip the cube the opposite side comes up and the king gets moved to the top. I planted my pieces on opposite sides so no matter what, one piece would be in the position to squash her on my next turn.

“Daddy can’t do that,” she said to her mother, her certain victory crumbling like a 6-month old chocolate chip cookie. I almost felt bad for her. Ah, not really. I was happier for my own craftiness.

I finished her off, then my wife and became the Squashed King with a 2 and 1 record.

The next morning I rubbed it in and left a note for her on the cube: “You were Squashed.”

So, a high recommendation for the game Squashed. It appears simple the first time you play it, but gets better each time. I got my money’s worth alone during the third game – “I don’t know what Daddy thinks he’s doing.” That’s right, Honey, even I don’t know what I’m doing sometimes, but this time I did. Ha.

Broncos beat the Chargers and my daughter calls me a . . .

Whack-a-do.

That’s what she called me after the Denver Broncos beat the San Diego Chargers. We were eating dinner and I was giving instructions to both her and my wife to remember exactly what they wore during the Broncos game so they could wear it again the following Sunday for the showdown with the evil New England Patriots.

You know you have the best wife ever when she makes a Broncos pom pom for the dog without a Broncos collar. Love.

You know you have the best wife ever when she makes a Broncos pom pom for the dog without a Broncos collar. Love.

“What? You want us to wear the same thing we wore today?” she said, as if I’d just asked her to eat kale at every meal for the rest of her life, which is funny because it feels like a lifetime from the moment we ask her to eat her kale to when she actually takes a bite.

“You’re a whack-a-do,” she said.

“Is that good or bad?” I asked.

“Well, it’s better than a cray-cray nutcracker.”

Tweener code, it’s never boring. I rue the day she calls me a cray-cray nutcracker, a term her friend invented for who knows what reason.

I need to order a tweener decoder ring on Amazon.

Regardless of my daughter’s protest, all three of us will be wearing the same clothes on Sunday at noon when the kick-off takes place.

Fortunately for the ladies of my house, they will get to wash their clothes before the game. I, being an OCD purist, will, with the exception of my Labrador boxers, be wearing the same clothes in their pristine, unwashed condition: my old Broncos t-shirt under my orange Manning jersey, Broncos lounge pants, vintage Broncos logo hat, and orange-trim running shoes, no socks.

Yes, whack-a-do sounds about right, whatever it means.

My 2013 Christmas in Pictures

This is a very heavy metal clamp. On December 23, I broke my rule of walking barefoot in the garage. I just needed to readjust the clamps on some Birdseye Maple. Just take me a second. (See next photo)

This is a very heavy metal clamp. On December 23, I broke my rule of never walking barefoot in the garage. I just needed to readjust the clamps on some Birdseye Maple. Why wear shoes? I thought, as it would only take me a minute. (See next photo for aftermath of my poor decision not to wear shoes.)

This what a toe looks like when it's fractured in three places, like dropping a rock on ice. Luckily the doctor was in on Christmas Eve morning. I was one of many patients there who has broken a toe the night before. I can also add that when it happened it hurt a lot, making me nauseous for a minute. Afterward I walked a few miles on my treadmill and was amazed how much it hurt. Yes, I'm an idiot.
This what a toe looks like when it’s fractured in three places, like dropping a rock on ice, crack. Luckily the doctor was working Christmas Eve morning. I was one of several patients who had broken a toe the night before. I can also add that when the clamp scored the direct hit, it hurt – a lot, making me nauseous for a minute. After it happened I walked a few miles on my treadmill and was surprised how much pain a toe can cause. Yes, I’m an idiot. Now I have a walking boot, which I haven’t really used much, choosing instead to limp around as punishment for being so stupid.

When you put me in charge of decorating the Christmas tree this is what happens: The Broncos ornaments get prime placement and a lucky troll joins the party.
When you put me in charge of decorating the Christmas tree this is what happens: Broncos ornaments get prime placement and a lucky troll joins the party.

Santa brought my daughter a giant Jaxx beanbag chair. However, it's really the world's largest dog bed.

Santa brought my daughter a giant Jaxx beanbag chair. However, it’s really the world’s largest dog bed.

This is my Christmas haul. Once again, I made out like a bandit and am the luckiest person in the world.
This is my Christmas haul. Once again, I made out like a bandit and am the luckiest person in the world. My daughter also gave me a hip California shirt, but it didn’t make the picture because it’s in the wash. I did tell my wife that she didn’t need her own stud finder because it’s pretty easy to find me. She rolled her eyes (yes, it’s a miracle she married me). That’s it. Another Christmas spent outside the hospital. Winner, Winner, holiday turkey dinner. Happy New Year.