This originally was posted yesterday (Jan. 5) on my Facebook page; repeating here… but doing a follow-up here today (Jan. 6).
Dear friends, family, and followers:
I will be incommunicado for much of tomorrow (Friday, Jan.5) because of surgery at Queen’s Medical Center at 7:30 a.m.
Reason: I will be removing my gall bladder, which was a problematic organ in early August, when I was hospitalized. My doctors then found abscess in the bladder, which also infected my liver. I had fever, not able to eat, and only wanted to sleep.
At that time, my doctors t wanted to do a laparoscopic procedure to remove the gall bladder, but when they checked my Queen’s history, they discovered I had to stents inserted in an artery near my heart. The concern was that the bladder removal might affect my heart, so upon release, I had to check with my cardiologist if it was sensible to proceed, albeit belatedly, with the bladder surgery.
My cardiologist cleared the surgery, acknowledging that if I were to do this, now was a good time. My high blood pressure was under control, an EKG test was AOK, and after the summer hospitalization, I had lost 16 lbs. (Confession: A few pounds returned).
In my situation, timing is crucial. If I wait a year or two, the bladder issue could return and likely be challenging to my health again.
Lower back pain aside, I’ve been feeling great. I just completed a six-week, two sessions per week, rehabilitation session at Ortho-Sport in Niu Valley, working with my trainer to strengthen my legs, particularly my sciatic right leg.
As mentioned earlier, the two-week hospitalization resulted in occasionally wobbly legs, so I’ve been utilizing a walker since, enabling me to walk without falling. I have a cane for back-up, too, but I hope someday soon, I will be able to comfortably walk without the walker.
Handicaps don’t heal quickly. Every day, there are challenges, with ups and downs, like mountains and valleys.
Exercise is key, so I’ve been doing what l’ve learned at home.
I’m still a work in process, but the past few months have been a satisfying learning experience.
My wife has been an angel of a caregiver, and a true partner in the recovery process.
My surgeon is upbeat about the bladder removal; he wanted to get the bladder out two weeks ago, but I wanted to enjoy the holidays before tending to recovery process.
Today was hectic and filled with must-do. Got a haircut. Did my last Ortho session. And met with an Abbott fella who put my back pain-related battery device on “surgery” mode to proceed with the surgery.
I am ready for lift-off.
And I hope to be back to my usual tasks at the computer, for columns, chats and more.
So, wish me luck, and perhaps, like Dionne Warwick sings, share a prayer for me.
GLADDER THAT THE BLADDER’!’S GONE
Dear friends, family, and followers:
I am back. Home, after a 12-hour trek to Queen’s Medical Center, for surgery to remove my problematic, infected gall bladder.
Grateful to all of you, who’ve expressed concern and best wishes, along with prayers. Such support is helpful when your life and well-being are in jeopardy.
Left home at 4:45 a.m. yesterday (Jan. 5) to be at Queen’s by 5:30 a.m. check-in and pre-surgery rituals. Arrived home around 4:20 p.m., weary and happy all went well.
Well, not everything, but no complaints this morning (Jan 6.)
My appointment was at 7:30 a.m., and I was in the OR about 3 minutes later.
My hopes were in the hands of Dr. Steven Nishida, who did the robotic procedure and anesthesiologist Dr. Edward Leone, who put me out pretty quickly. I was in the recovery room at 11:30 a.m. (I was up and a tad groggy but glanced at the clock).
My wife Vi drove me to the hospital, and was in the waiting area, grabbed a quick lunch, and a nurse called her to enable to join me in the post-surgery cubicle. She has been a real angel in my journey toward wellness. Thanks, honey.
I was a bit hungry, not having food since 7:30 p.m. the night before, so a nurse brought graham crackers, saltines, and two tiny cups of juice – my brunch, so to speak – and I nibbled and sipped for the first 15 minutes or so.
I am a believer that life has its best and its worst. I experienced both, in minor degrees, and Queen’s is like a hotel for broken souls, as I mentioned when hospitalized in August for 10 days. I am on the mend, happily, and will continue by recuperation in the weeks and months ahead.
With tongue in cheek, I made note of the good and bad, of my experience, perhaps to inform future surgery patients what to expect.
Worst things first: Those open-back hospital gowns are still in place, and no one looks good in one, so it is what it is. The nurses make you pee before you are whisked to the OR on the gurney, but at least in my corner, you’re asked to make shi-shi in those plastic urinals and hang ‘em on the bed’s rail. Because you enter the hospital with your bladder, but leave without it, the most frustrating ritual is to urinate into the aforementioned jug. In the first hour, I could only trickle, halfway up to the first plateau of 100 mg. I asked if it was enough, and the answer was no, I needed to deposit 200 mg. The nurse on duty, Keli, said my body was resistant since the bladder was removed, and it’s tightening up – like a turtle putting its head into its shell, or one of those plants that shrivel and close up when you touch it. The wisdom was spot-on; there was tough resistance, and she retrieved more juice and cups of water, until the final hour, so the flow finally happened. A gentleman waiting across me earlier, who was in for knee surgery, had Dr. Nishida do his gall bladder removal five months ago. He said he couldn’t shi-shi till 7 p.m., so I was relieved – pun intended – that I was able to leave hours earlier than him.
Good things last: While Queen’s is a maze – hallways and corridors are like Grand Central Station, doctors and nurses and aides, scurrying to tend to patients – and this is amazement, for sure. Oh, and you never know who you’ll meet: My friend, Ligaya Stice (she is a doctor, who was on duty at Queen’s), but she also is executive director of the I’m a Bright Kid foundation, where I am a board, and she’s also a former Miss Hawaii. Thanks, Gaya, for stopping by and sharing your aloha.
Tip: Ask for socks because your feet are cold, my pre-op nurse quicky delivered a pair of socks in neon yellow, a new color. She opined, the yellow matched my wrist band which flagged
me as a fall risk since I now need to use a walker. Not certain what else she said – that socks of red, green, and blue are also stocked. Because I left home so early, my morning paper had not yet been delivered, but at the hospital, a volunteer (believe her name was Millie), said she had an extra copy and offered me to read it, later passing the paper to another patient.
If you’re surgery-bound or had a procedure done recently, you should share impressions to perhaps enable others to check in with confidence and – no matter the hospital – return repaired and on a journey of wellness. Doctors and nurses are first-responders who help heal the wounded or the ill.