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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

A Good News Tale beyond the Operating Room

I have been away from my word processor for a while to allow me time to get through an emergency major medical operation, the need for which I discovered by accident. I described the build-up to this situation in my blog of the 8th of July, 2017 which I titled “My most important blog to date.” That was a cautionary tale that highlighted the fact that the body is always under potential attack from the silent killers, and our mission, if we choose to accept it is to be aware and ever vigilant to spot the attackers and to deal with the threat aggressively.
In my case I was feeling just fine, in fact I was congratulating myself for being in such good condition for a man of 77 years. I have prescriptions for both reading and long distance glasses but in general I get through each day without resorting to the use of either. I am modestly overweight but I am fully independent in getting around. I eat moderately, sleep well and visit the toilet regularly, so what could go wrong?
The first week in June a low level pain developed in the right side of my abdomen but after taking Pilatus exercise the pain became intense. I backed off Pilatus and the pain went quiet, but then later in the month it came back with a vengeance to the extent I thought I needed to go to emergency as it might have been my appendix. Before leaving the house I made a stop in the toilet where I discharged the most amazing amount of gas. The pain mostly went away immediately, so no, it was not my appendix.
The pain continued as a kind of background noise so I decided to ask my GP to diagnose what was driving it. By the time I got in to see him the pain had left me entirely, but I persisted in trying to determine what that was all about.
My doctor sent me to have my blood, urine, and crucially my faeces analysed and the report came back that I had blood in my faeces. That was a problem that required the intervention of a specialist who referred me for a colonoscopy; and discovered that for approximately the past five years I have been growing a cluster of polyps within my colon that now posed the threat of blockage and cancer. The hospital was adamant that it had to be removed immediately, and on the 27th July, three weeks to the day I underwent surgery.
This was the first time for me for such a major procedure. I have had surgery before for a bunion correction and a broken leg, but nothing like this. All went well including the part where I came out from under the anaesthesia and endured the aches and pains of recovery. The surgeon was well practised and is highly regarded and the professional staff of the hospital maintained an eye to detail.
The main point I want to make is that as stoic and accepting of the protocols as I was the one source of great comfort to me was the presence of my wife in my room. Even if she was simply observing to know that she was there for me, in spite of the fact that the staff managed to make me feel human made all the difference. For me that was priceless and it is the principal point I hope you will take away. When a family member finds themselves in hospital they can feel alone and confused, but a family member who is there who simply brought in a good measure of love helps the healing process go so much better.
The other point is that certain medical authorities are conducting a campaign wherein they send around letters urging that you send in a sample of your poo for testing. In spite of the unpleasantness of this if you simply refuse on that basis you may be signing your own death warrant. 
Presumably you would rather not do that.
Copyright © 2017
Eugene Carmichael

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