By Joe Novak
I recently had a Para esophageal hernia repair and I survived it; not that I was worried, but my wife was. The Sunday before I went under the knife, more than a dozen parishioners at our Church came up to me and said they were praying for me; very humbling to say the least!
The surgery was planned as a laparoscopic procedure and I was hoping that they didn’t need the knife. My wife asked me if I was going to be “knocked out” and I said, most likely. I do have a high threshold of pain but that would exceed my limits.
“I am glad,” she quipped, “at least you won’t be given the surgeon directions or advice.” This woman knows me way too well.
The morning of the procedure I was not dreading it I was more dreading not being allowed my cup of Joe in the morning; that was excruciating. “Stop whining,” she said, “you can skip one day and live to tell about it.” I didn’t get to eat and a family member says I am “angry” because I am hungry. There is a scientific word for this: “hangry” and medically it is caused by one’s blood glucose level falling to a point that it affects the brain, which is very dependent on glucose to do its job. Statistically, every American consumes 129 pounds of sugar a year. I can tell you for a fact, it’s not reaching the brain by the looks and actions of most people today. I am tucking that bit of info away in case I ever need it. I normally blame my stroke for my misdeeds and now I have one more defense tool in my arsenal of dumb excuses. Who knew that science could be complicit to a screw-up like me? Geriatrics, a stroke, science and low glucose could keep me out of jail someday. I only need a sympathetic judge who had a donut for breakfast.
The week before my procedure, a priest friend took my confession, anointed me with holy oils and I attended Mass and communion. I thought I was good to go! Friends invited us to Hundley’s winery, where the bar girls are just too pretty. Lord forgive me, it must be low blood sugar or the wine. I was, however, a perfect gentleman and didn’t embarrass my wife, who tolerates a bit of window shopping. Her rationale is that I resemble the dog that chases cars; what would he do with it if he caught one? Point taken.
I am at home recovering and it will not be painless or quick. I have a 5-inch incision down the center of my chest with four holes below my ribs where they stick the “chop sticks” (Laparoscopic tools) they use to do the repair. I can’t imagine the recovery time if they had to cut me completely open.
The surgeon came to visit the next day and asked how I was. I said, “I think I was on the wrong end of a knifing and a drive-by shooting. Looking at all the scars and I am assuming my swimsuit modeling days are over.”
“I am glad we left your sense of humor intact,” he said as he headed out the door. Then he added, “Don’t laugh, it’s going to hurt.”
Joe Novak retired from PGS,Inc. a manufacturing company he sold in 2005. He has written more than 150 articles for The Middlefield Post and is active in his community and church. Joe’s articles are based on his life and business experiences and though he tries to be as accurate as possible, he recommends you contact an expert or professional when in doubt.