Tuesday, February 20, 2007


This is going to be a graphic post, just a warning.

Last week when Ell and I were trying to dig out our cars and driveway, I felt a little pain above my groin. I knew what that pain was. In the winter of 1996 I got a bad cold. Coughing, sneezing, runny nose, the works. I was working at the nursery and was outside most of the day, so the cold lasted almost six weeks. As a result of the cold, I developed a inguinal hernia. It's a tear in the stomach wall above the penis. The hole normally comes from the constant pressure on the groin muscles from sneezing, coughing, blowing your nose, or strained bowel movements. I had been doing all but the last one for six weeks straight. Anyway, if the hole in the stomach muscle gets big enough, some of the intestines and colon can slip through it into the nut sack. I was young and poor without health insurance, so I never had it looked at or repaired. It hurt pretty bad when I was digging up trees or anything using a shovel, but other than that I kind of forgot about it. It got worse and bigger when I stocked drywall for 4 and 1/2 years, but still kind of painless. I was married in '97, and it didn't effect my sexual performance, so I didn't care that I had a grapefruit sized ball sac. The only real side effects of having your intestines where your balls should be, are finding pants that fit, and never having solid stool. In fact, I spent 4 years having what could best be described as diarrhea when I pooped.

Skip ahead to 2002. We finally had health insurance, horrible though it was, and we decided to get my hernia checked out. We were referred to a doctor who turned out to be one of the leading specialists in hernia repair. He was a Canadian who came to the Cleveland Clinic Health System to perfect his trade. He took me as a patient, and in September of 2002, he operated on the largest hernia the Cleveland Clinic had done that year. Not something I'm particularly proud of. Even though he specialized in surgeries with about a one week recovery time, the intensity of my hernia and the operation put me up for about a month and a half. But it worked. Besides a stretched-out ball sack and a depleted sex drive, I was back to normal.

Then last Wednesday, as I shoveled out snow from underneath my car on the fourth or fifth time it was buried, I felt a tear right where my surgery scar was. It was a minor pain, so I kept working. Stupid, huh? It took four hours but we got both cars out. The pain was bearable, so I took it easy for a couple days. I cut some firewood, we had a party on Saturday, and I vegged out on Sunday. Monday morning I was off work for President's Day, and I ventured outside early to cut some firewood. The pain in my groin intensified to the point I almost couldn't stand up. I took a shower, and sat down in my lazy-boy to take it easy. That made the pain worse. I couldn't stand up straight, so I lay down in bed. Even worse. The pain was taking my breath away. I couldn't move at all. I crawled to a chair and tried to tell Ell I needed help. I couldn't talk or focus my eyes or even breath. The pain was horrible.

Ell was worried that another hernia had happened and that there was some strangulation. That meant immediate surgery or possible death. I'm glad she's gonna be a nurse, but that was information I didn't need to hear. She made some phone calls and somehow got an appointment with the doctor who had done my surgery. I don't how she did it, b/c he usually has a 2 or 3 month waiting list. We drove the hour and a half to Cleveland and I hobbled into the office. He felt and probed and pushed on my nuts, the scar, and my groin. He told me it wasn't another hernia or even a tear in the repairs he'd done on the previous one. He said I probably had a rather significant tear in the scar tissue. Like a muscle cramp, that scar tissue needed to be worked out and stretched. So he told me to do exactly the opposite of what I thought he'd say.... "Stay busy. Keep moving. Keep active."

So despite the fact that the pain sometimes comes in waves so strong it takes my breath away and I cry out, I'm trying to move around and stay busy. It sucks, but hopefully it makes it better. I'll let you know.


Blogger Adrienne said...

Well...that was a lot of information, but anyway, feel better soon and maybe you should invest in a shoveler!

What a bad way to spend a long weekend.

10:28 AM  
Blogger Adrienne said...

Man Uses Robot to Plow His Driveway
MIDDLEBURG, Pa. (Feb. 16) - The wintry blast was a perfect opportunity for Bill Lauver to put his robot plow through its paces.

For three years, Lauver has often done snow clearing from the comfort of his living room, watching from the window as the converted golf cart with plow attachment plies the drive while he operates the remote control.

"It's funny, we'll see people look at it really strange, and my husband will be standing in the window," said Lauver's wife, Sue.

Lauver said the plow is a converted 4 horsepower electric golf cart, geared down for a slower speed and more power to shove snow.

The plow can handle 6 to 8 inches of snow, Lauver said. "This snow is a bit hard on it because there was freezing rain last night. It's a bit crusty," he said Wednesday.

Lauver tosses around ideas for some other projects, possibly a remote-control lawn mower or snowblower, but he had little encouragement from his wife.

"I want him to get some exercise," she said. "He's always controlling everything by remote."

Just happened across this and thought, "Now, that is what Sam needs.

10:43 AM  
Blogger Andrew said...

Hope you feel better, so you can get around to acting yourself.

12:06 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Your balls scare me! And the fact that you always have pain but don't tell me when I really want to know, that scares me too.

12:07 PM  

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