Posts Tagged ‘hernia stuff’

Christmas Creep (or, “I am a filthy contrarian”)

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015

So I see a bunch of people on Facebook are, in addition to posting aggravating “simpler times were better/I am an 80s kid and it rocked back then” and “I’ma wear my Jesus on my sleeve and if you don’t like it you’re a horrible person” memes, and also the “parents should regrow their backbones and smack their children” ones (which led to me making a low-key but still kinda vocal rant on Twitter about how people who say “I was spaganked and I am okay” are not really okay at all because they were conditioned to think violence against children is acceptable, with the noticeable disclaimer that because of my background I am more likely to view such things through the lens of abuse. I blame my lack of post-surgery pain meds for that one because I am usually much better at holding my tongue).

Ugh, okay, fine. I don’t obnoxiously broadcast my atheism/asexuality… and this being the internet, my obsessing over cats seems to be well-tolerated.

Now we have the “Christmas Creep haters” and the “these awesome stores are closed on Thanksgiving” memes.

Oh dear.

The Christmas Creep haters can actually get pretty, uh, vicious in their hate. One is all “for every mention of Christmas, God kills a baby reindeer.” Overkill much? o_O I get that you kinda want to give Thanksgiving its proper time, and your aversion to the blatant commercialization of Christmas at the expense of its spiritual origins, but, damn. (Spoiler alert, Thanksgiving is heavily commercialized too.)

But I’ma be the wielder of unpopular opinions and contrarianism once more. I LOVE Christmas. Yes, I’m a filthy atheist and I freaking love Christmas. I fully embrace its blatant secular commercial aspects. For one thing… lights! Lights are shiny and happy and this is the one time of year I have no problem jacking up my electric bill to illuminate my tiny-ass synthetic tree (that I unfortunately need to replace due to aging, it’s breaking apart pretty badly). I love seeing the house lights on the rare occasions I am able to go out, and this year I intend to try walking around my block on a regular basis to look at them. While I live in SoCal, the land in which snow is something you would see more on TV/art than in real life, I like the winter-themed decorations in the stores and around the city. I will even happily stomach your blatantly-religious Christmas music since it’s quite pleasant to listen to. And, of course, Christmas is an excuse to eat eat eat and eat some more, candy and sweet breads and such.

(Loot is… a distant perk, I guess. About 10-ish years ago it might have been more important, but not so much anymore. I mean, it’s nice if I get something, but… no big, you know?)

So, yes, I am in favor of Christmas Creep. I’m not a big fan of Thanksgiving because first and foremost, I find turkey and most Thanksgiving food rather bland and unappealing. (Sadly the hospital food was NOT helpful in this regard, they kept pushing turkey and I’m all “uh no thank you, I was happier on the liquid diet since that way I got chicken soup”) This of course leads into the guilt trips over not liking turkey like “normal” people, which in turn leads to a lot of needless mashing of my depression and anxiety buttons. While in recent years that hasn’t happened so much because nobody comes over for Thanksgiving anymore, and we have opted to ditch turkey in favor of takeout like the filthy Americans we are… you never forget that stuff.

This leads to the second part, my distaste for people gloating about stores being closed on Thanksgiving. The original message, that people should be given time off to be with their families, is completely legit and I’m okay with that. But when you start gloating and shaming others because they shop at places that ARE open, that’s what I have a huge problem with, because you’re missing other sides of the story. For instance, some people don’t have families to spend the holidays with and/or WANT to work on that holiday, because they need the money (and maybe to get away from family. Yes, here I go, seeing stuff through a lens of a person with narcissistic parents.)

Also, I’ma go to bat for those of us who are chronically less-prepared, or just have shit come up and “oh, we don’t have enough food. SURPRISE MARKET TRIP!” If the haters had their way and shut down all the stores– ALL OF THEM– then we’d kinda be screwed. Surprise Thanksgiving Market Trips are, surprise, a common thing in my house because my mom is a LITTLE bit scatterbrained is known to forget to restock/get stuff even though she has apps to remind her. Yep. It would be nice if everyone were perfectly prepared and there were no sudden instances of “oh noes we are missing/don’t have enough of X” so all the markets can shut down for the day and give everyone the day off.

Also ALSO: we statistically have some Canadian-born people that may have already done their Thanksgiving and wouldn’t mind being at work to pick up an extra shift? Just a thought.

Again, this feeds into my true complaint about it, that people either forget or are plain unwilling to consider alternate scenarios. Le facepalm!

I had my post-surgery follow-up appointment thingy yesterday, and the doctors (the surgeon who actually did the surgery, and a cute lady doctor who… well, I don’t think she was in the OR, but she was definitely someone who was involved in evaluation and analysis) removed my JP drain flask. I MAY have inadvertently called it a “jejunum-placed” drain rather than its proper name (“Jackson-Pratt”), oops. I was sent home with antibiotics because the little hole where the JP drain tubing was inserted was starting to get red, and the doctors were all “ruh roh, let’s stop that before a bad infection crops up.” Long pink pills (Clindamycin) are loooooong.

Gotta come back in a week to get the staples taken off, and then it’s just a matter of waiting for everything inside to fully heal.

Arrowhead is a pretty hospital. ALMOST as nice as Kaiser. (Kaiser does have mini-waterfalls in its enclosed garden, so it scores slightly higher there.) You can go to to achieve high class design.

On the way back, I was hungry, had some extra coin + coupons, and dammit, I was curious about the new All Day Breakfast menu at McDonalds, so I got two Sausage+Egg McMuffins (buy one/get one coupons FTW). And I got fries because fries are better than those tiny hash brown patties. When I got home I poured out some syrup into a condiment bowl so I could dip my McMuffins, kinda like a breakfast version of au jus. It was gloriously tasty, would very much recommend. :)

UNFORTUNATELY things took a tragic turn a couple hours later, as when I was moving my table that had my water cup and my ninja macbook Dinah, I kinda sloshed the water and some big drops got on Dinah’s keyboard, and I guess enough got in where the damage was critical. Stupid me! I should have closed her lid, but I was so used to doing this that… ugh. I dried her off and powered down and turned her upside down to let anything in there drain out, and tried to reboot her later that evening, but it was too late. Her “body” is in situ near my bed. :\

She’s 2 years out of warranty, and the current Mac Book models are way too expensive to even consider… so I’ma have to go without for the foreseeable future. Sort of. Rather than get a replacement laptop, I guess I’ll just fling my spending coin (the portion of my SSI money that I do my best to keep away from my mother when she drains me every month for bills) on the iPad Pro+Pen that’s supposed to come out later this month. I thought I was going to not bother looking into that even though it has tasty pressure levels and I can use it as a proper drawing tablet, but with Dinah broken, this suddenly became a more appealing option. I’ma have to piggyback on my mother’s Best Buy credit though, something I am not exactly jumping for joy over… but yeah. Definitely getting it in gold, because if I’ma get Apple, I may as well go Full Bling. :P

BECAUSE OF THIS (needing more coins, and having something to facilitate art), I will most likely be opening up Gourmet Ramen commissions soon. I was hesitant to do any commission work after being approved for SSI because of concerns about interference with benefits, but, screw it, it probably gets read as “beer/fluff money” and won’t count (and I don’t think the government cares enough to track recipients’ bank accounts in real time, that shit is probably expensive to do for not much reward).

Finally, today is Tuesday, which is yay because that means raiding with bro and Lazy Peons. Robert sent me a cute tell when he was logging out, “yell at me if I oversleep!” (Usually it’s ME who oversleeps…) I was all “I will (politely) yell at your phone. And then give it cookies. Because mage tables.”

Absolutely no regrets in dragging him into Lazy Peons. Probably one of the best things I’ve done in WoW, and we’re all better for it. He seems happier having more people to talk to, he gets to be an Orc, I have more reason to play my Horde people, and the guild overall likes him. We just gotta get him to talk on Vent, so people will believe me when I describe him as being a blend of David Hayter and Will Smith (complete with “oh HELL no”).

Quit Your Belly-Aching… Oh Wait

Sunday, November 1st, 2015

Three words: Incarcerated Ventral Hernia.

or, “why Yoshi kept having to go to the ER since late August”

I… think I was kind of aware that a hernia was forming since last year I noticed a small mass forming in my belly, but it wasn’t causing any problems then, and unless it’s acting up there isn’t much that can be done.

Except in June (and more intensely as of August) it DID. I’d gone in thinking a bunch of things, that it was a UTI, that it was my appendix, that it was a bowel obstruction, and while two of those three were true, they were influenced by a larger issue.

Earlier in October, the ER doctors were all “you should probably investigate elective surgery, have your doctor issue a referral to the surgery clinic.” Um, sure, that’s a good idea! I’d like to not have to keep going back because I ran out of hydrocodone (aka Norco aka the pill that keeps the pain away) and I imagine the ER and medical/surgical wing doods are sick to death of me bouncing back, so I did exactly as they said. My primary doctor, however, was very much “WTF are they thinking, making you wait? They should really do the emergency Premier Image Cosmetic and Laser Surgery!” he said that there had been way too many clinical negligence cases lately.

But we kinda have to work within the confines of the insurance. This is Medi-Cal after all. I don’t have to pay for any of it, and never properly paid into it by working. I struggle every day with the guilt, with feeling that I don’t deserve the help I have (Medi-Cal, SSI, disability status, etc.). So, I feel like I didn’t have room to really push the issue and go along with what was asked of me.

The Friday evening of the 23rd, though, the shit hit the fan (oh man that’s incredibly appropriate given what we’re dealing with). My medicine was no longer effective. I thought it was because I took it after eating dinner rather than before, so I tried to just tough it out while waiting for a delayed activation… except it wasn’t happening at all. I couldn’t sleep at all that night, despite trying different positions or even taking additional medicine, and eventually I started getting nauseous despite having anti-emetic medication in addition to the hydrocodone. Oh dear.

So after briefly telling my brother what was going on over’s IM/global tell thingy, I go back to the ER yet again. The surgeons are called to look me over and they’re all “oh shit, this hernia is incarcerated, we gotta open her up right away.” Do not pass go, do not collect $200.

Was it scary, the thought of emergency surgery? …no, not really, since there wasn’t much time to think about it. Since it was Saturday, and surgery isn’t usually done on weekends, it’s not like I had to wait long, I basically had a full emergency surgical team ready to go. They wheel me into the OR, plop me on the table, push the anesthetics and I wink out within a couple minutes.

No, it was AFTER the surgery was done that’s hellish. I wink out and wake up in the ICU not only intubated (2 attempts, I’m told, and the roof of my mouth is kinda shredded and tender as a result for the time being) but also with that infernal NG tube and TWO IVs (one is a backup and said backup ended up failing) and EKG leads. Yeah, I’m wired up alright, like I’m on my last legs! And I’m in the big BariAir fat person bed, which I would later learn is not very comfortable at all despite everyone’s assertions, and not designed for free entry/exit like the standard beds.

The respiratory therapist doods had to give me a steroid to drop the swelling that had formed in my throat (as a result of intubation), and it took two days to get the tubes out. And let me tell you, the dreams I had while drifting in and out of consciousness post-surgery ranged from depressing to outright scary, and I couldn’t vocalize anything I felt until after I had been extubated. It all hit me with the force of a Mack Truck, and I really wish my mother hadn’t been so victim-blamey and dismissive and most definitely”poor-me” when I broke down that evening. Argh.

Oh and it gets so much better, you see, because that bed doesn’t let me get in and out so easily, and it was such a huge pain to get a bedpan in after they removed the foley catheter, so… yeah. I couldn’t exactly get up to use the bathroom and was frequently buzzing the nurses for cleanup. They were really nice and professional about it and never once complained to my face, but I get really anxious about that stuff and hate bothering people over it and it definitely did not help my post-surgery depression.

They also attempt to put a CPAP mask on me and, uh, I was just not having any of it. While we got the settings enough to be bearable, I was having some pretty bad claustrophobia and I was already extremely stressed out because of everything, so that was stopped and they decided keeping me on supplementary oxygen was good enough. I still have a sleep study booked, so we’ll try calibrating that again under better circumstances.

Eventually I got moved to the usual med/surgery floor for less-invasive monitoring. (In a private room, thankfully, because of the size of the bed.) I get put on a clear liquid diet, which I am okay with because I get lots of chicken broth, and on the last two days I get upgraded to regular solid food (not renal, not cardiac, not diabetic, but the “normal people” food with a notation about keeping pineapples the hell away from me). I am told I need to be cleared by Respiratory, Occupational and Physical Therapy before I can be discharged, and those happen rather quickly– despite having been in bed for almost a week, I didn’t weaken much and didn’t get dizzy or anything when I sat up and could walk just fine, so they let me go home Thursday evening.

Right now I have a JP (jejunum-placed) drainage tube connected to some kind of Fisher-Price-esque flask that’s supposed to collect whatever fluid-stuff that formed from my stitches. I have staples in my lower belly (ew) that are supposed to be taken out along with said JP flask in a couple days– tomorrow, potentially…? And we’re looking at least a month before I’m fully healed, so, uh, more pain pills! Woo!

But, yeah, that hernia bullshit (huh huh) is officially fixed. Yesterday I got a letter from the AlphaCare doods (the actual insurance underwriter) that said that the consultation for what would have been the elective surgery wasn’t until December. There is NO EFFING WAY I would have been able to hold out that long, even if I had unlimited hydrocodone and all the morphine I could guzzle. It’s true that if this had been done laproscopically it would not take as long to heal, but… them’s the breaks, I guess. At least the doctors fixed me, even if it was a less graceful method.

Uhm… aside from that, I don’t feel as lopsided in my belly, and I notice that more when I’m sleeping because I used to kinda tip to the right. (It has the unfortunate side effect of not letting me easily swing my left leg up to rest on my bed while sitting, since now my guts are more evenly balanced rather than there being deflated on the left side. Oh well, I’ll get used to having to try a little harder there.) Because of the heparin shots I got (standard practice if you’re hospitalized, it prevents blood clots from forming due to reduced activity, otherwise you have to take dangerous blook thinner drugs, which can cause side effects. You read about them at the bruises from all the IVs and blood draws are taking longer to heal, and it’s especially tender in my wrists because they got needled a lot. :P

For the more medically-technical-minded, or those bored enough to google, it was an open repair (approx’ 8-inch incision that barely avoids my navel). Thankfully nothing necrotized despite repeated paralysis, and it was supposedly a simple “push everything back into place and cut away the newly-formed tissue” repair job with no mesh needed, surprising because when it comes to fat people getting hernias it is very rarely this easy. So, uh, lucky me I guess.

Man, I don’t even want to THINK about how much all this would have cost if I didn’t have insurance. Yay Medi-Cal, because I probably would have been rendered medically bankrupt several times over.

I’m already back in the raiding saddle, of course. It doesn’t hurt me (more than the passive/always-on “oh hey, I have stitches and they’re kinda sore” pain) and being able to hang out with Robert and my raid groups keeps me from dwelling on how otherwise I’m a giant sad sack. :P I joke that I didn’t need a Halloween costume, I could be female Gorefiend or Patchwerk because of my grotesque stitched tummy. And, of course, the JP drain flask provides additional spooky factor, heh.