Friday, September 18, 2015

On why I was in the hospital

From: Michael "Panther" Green
On why I was in the hospital
September 18, 2005 4:59 PM

So, uhm, yeah.

It seems that there is this great big huge rule for guys when they turn 50. Some, like Scotty, think it should be done earlier. He's biased, because he's almost done with his last chemo.

You have to get a colonoscopy.

Now, the procedure to get this done, is quite simple. The day before, you fast. Nothing but clear liquids. Double check the medication against the list the doctor gave you. The night before, you drink a half gallon (or thereabouts) of this nasty tasting stuff. In the morning, you drink the other half gallon. The effects of this gallon of nasty stuff is that it cleans you out. Your poop is not only almost nonexistent, it's clear liquid! Then, you go into the doctor's office or outpatient office, strip to your birthday suit, and lie down on a gurney. An hour or two later, you wake up, put your clothes on, look at the doctor's face as he talks medicalese and points at pictures and paperwork, and go home.

Piece of cake!

Hold yer horses, pardner.

I'm – believe it or not, and I'd like to not, thank you very much – 50. I get the notice that I need a colonoscopy. I get a phone consult with Doctor, go down and pick up the gallon jug and powder to mix, and wait for the big day.

I drink every last drop. Well, I might've missed a couple. Nasty stuff. I go to the office – it's outpatient – and get hoisted onto the gurney and get stripped, and I'm out.

I wake up a couple hours later, as expected, but with a problem: They said I wasn't cleaned out enough. The next time – and they make sure that I knew that there was going to be a next time – I was going to have to fast for two days and drink TWO gallons of this… Stuff.

Well, to make a longer story shorter – nah, let me keep going.

One of the things that you aren't told about, one of the things that's not in the literature, is what's left behind after this procedure is done.

Air.

Yup. The process uses air. I don't know how, but when they stick that little camera up your backside, it leaves air behind (sorry, I couldn't help it).

There's a big difference between what happens when Joe Schmoe walks around and what happens when Jim Schmoe wheels around. Joe lets some of that air right out the door. Clean living, don't ya know. Jim, well, can't. Especially when he's a C-level, complete. It just kind of builds up. And builds up.

I went back to bed when I got home (I'm still dripping from that cleanser); well, there's a line from _Monty Python & The Holy Grail_ that fits the situation.

"I fart in your general direction!"

For a solid minute.

Roll me on the bed a little bit more and:

Another solid minute.

Unfortunately, there was air that still did not release itself to the light of day. And that pressure kept building until – because, you know, I can't feel it – it was causing vomiting. And that was – the amount anyway – why I spent last night at Walnut Creek Kaiser Hospital. Today I'm feeling much more happy. No vomiting, haven't noticed any huge releases of air, but that's okay!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Balancing

OK, just another couple of videos. These were taken March fourth. The guy who's working with me is Ian, who had just told me that he's leaving on the 19th...

Have I mentioned that I'm not real good with change?

So, the first video is "seated freestanding wall." I've posted pictures of that before. That obnoxious noise at the very end was the fire alarm. The yoga place next door is getting set up, and I think the contractors are a little bit sloppy. But hey! The local fire department is, literally, six doors away!

video
The next two -- well, try to ignore the fact that I look pregnant. It's the whole "lack of muscle tone" that I developed over the first few years. Those six pack abs? Mine look more like kegs. The machine that I'm on is called a "Total Gym." I think Chuck Norris was a celebrity spokesperson for them at one point. It's a good machine for doing knee bends on. They also generally have me doing some arm exercises. This isn't arm exercises.

And yes, it's a lot harder than it looks.
video 


Now, on this last one, it's the last 30 seconds or so that I'm proud of...

video

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

SCI-FIT Changes

Major changes are happening at SCI-FIT, which I (of course) am leery of.

Leigh left during Christmas break. Moved back to Texas; apparently she had been really missing her family.

Friday, when I was in, José told me that he's leaving in May. His wife is four months pregnant, and her company offered her a position in Dallas, which is only a couple of hours travel from their families.

Today, when I was finishing the FES bike, Bianca told me that she's leaving the end of next week. She's been doing the same thing, basically, for the last 10 years; seven of the last 10 years has been as a facilities manager. She mentioned that she's been talking to Berkeley Bionics and Restorative Therapies. RT is the manufacturer/dealer of the FES bike. Berkeley Bionics is working on exoskeletons.

That leaves Jerry from the people that opened the gym.

Ian and Brent were hired in November, I believe. Over the last couple of weeks the gym got an intern, Britney. She's just on Fridays and Saturdays until her classes finish off in May, then, apparently, full-time. I'm not sure what's going to happen with her in the fall. A guy named Chris just got hired, too. I don't know anything about him. And another guy is supposed to start next week. I don't remember his name, but he apparently has a background in massage therapy. Both Ian and José say he reminds them of José.

So, the entire gym staff, basically, has completely changed since the last time you were here.

I'm not good with change. The good thing is, I suppose, that I very rarely work with Bianca. And that there are periods of overlap...

Monday, December 20, 2010

New Video!

Oh, I'm real proud of this stuff! Let's see if I remember how to post them...

video
 That's a LOT harder than it looks! And then I did the same the other direction. This was the second time that I've done this particular exercise without assistance. The first time, my pectorals and whatever is the name of  where the pectorals attached to the arm hurt for three or four days.

video
 This exercise isn't so bad. Well, depending on the angle. This one is all arms and shoulders. There's another exercise that looks very similar, except that it's all abdominal muscles. Again, not terribly difficult:

video

Oh yeah, all the videos in this post were taken December 17, 2010. Just so that you can compare them with earlier videos.

Now, here's the real fun one. This is the one that tells me that the work I've been doing for the last 16 months is paying off...

video

The Gym is proving to be a Real Good experience. I'm still not expecting to be able to walk, but I think that, in a year or two, a manual wheelchair might actually be feasible.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Surgery, Part Two

 OK, I got the stitches off! And I've got a handful of pictures to show how not pretty it is.

What the pictures are showing is, basically, the stitches out and, I guess, something like a butterfly bandage over the wounds.

Then, I have a couple of small metal splints, one on the base of the thumb where the thumb meets the  palm of the hand, and the other on my index finger. These are held on by medical clingwrap.
Here's a bit of a better view.

What they did with the index finger... In nonmedical terms, my index finger had stiffened up, and wouldn't  bend. Somehow, they were able to cut the finger open, and play with the bones and loosen them back up.

There were some good parts about the stiff finger, like being able to poke things, but there was enough bad things that getting it loosened up would give me more mobility.


 Here is a better view of the two splints.

I'm supposed to, three or four times a day, unwrap the splints and move my finger and thumb around. Physical therapy, basically.

Oh! In this picture you can kind of see, on my wrist, where they took some skin for a graft. It's a bit more obvious on the next picture. And yeah, it's gonna be a little difficult to wear my wrist brace for at least a couple more weeks.
I think one of the good things about all of this is that I can't really feel any of it. They still gave me some pretty dandy pain pills, though. Well, they gave them to me when I woke up from surgery, but that's close enough.

The next time I see the surgeon is a month. The little butterfly bandage things are supposed to just gradually fall off. The splints, though, I supposed to keep on until the next time I see the doctor.

They also said nothing about physical activity, so I've kept going to SCI-FIT. The trainers have had no problems lifting me in and out of the chair and torture devices; they have just kept away from the hand. I am in hopes that I'll be able to start using the hand at the gym in a couple of weeks, after the butterflies have fallen off.

I'll take pictures then, too. I was going to take pictures after they cut off the cast, before they actually took the stitches out, but I forgot the camera at home...

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Surgery

Hospitals are wonderful things. Hospital staff are wonderful people.

Thursday was such a wonderful day.

Thursday I had my left hand operated on. That part wasn't so bad. I was unconscious.

But getting there at 6:45 in the morning? Am I a morning person? Especially since this means getting up an hour beforehand. Really, am I a morning person?

And they don't even let you have anything to drink after midnight!

So, there I am at 6:45 in the morning, checking into the waiting room. That takes less than five minutes. Then, I wait.

Until 9:15. That's when they let me into pre-op, to get on the gurney, and get changed. About 25 minutes of 10 I see the first of four, I think, doctors. The anesthesia was injected into my IV line about five minutes past 10, and I'm out.

The next I know, it's 20 minutes past one and someone is yelling my name. Well, not actually yelling, but you know what I mean.

Uhg.

And I was back home at 4 PM, with my hand wrapped up twice the size and get a really sore throat. I hate it when they stick tubes down my throat.

It's now two days later. My throat doesn't hurt anymore. My hand, though, has some twinges. Not too bad, just enough to tell me that something happened.

Oh yeah. I love the wound care instructions: "cover the hand and bandages before taking a bath or shower." That's it. Cover the hand. I called to make certain that was all; it was. I'm supposed to be getting the stitches out on the 24th. I'm glad I have a poor sense of smell, because I think my hand is going to stink by then...

I'll try to post pictures on the 24th. Of course, you see how on top of things I've been so far...

Friday, April 23, 2010

Landscaping

(Edit: this is being posted Thursday, May 13 at approximately 1 o'clock in the morning. The only reason that I can think of for this post to have an April date is because that's when I started it.

So, back to the story at hand!)

My mother has been after me for eight or nine months to get pictures of my home. I've stalled quite a bit, because I wanted to have a surprise for my Life Day party, near the end of April.

It's now May, my party was very nice, so here are some pictures.

What I'm going to do is show how the landscape looked when I bought the place, and follow that with how it looks now.

We'll start with the front yard.
They took out the bushes near the windows, and a couple of other bushes. The walkway from the driveway to the front door was barely 3 feet wide, and it had a sharp 90° turn. The bushes themselves crowded into the walkway... All in all, a tight squeeze for my chair.

The new configuration has a 4 foot wide walkway that is more fluid, more flowing, with curves instead of sharp angles. I also had the idea to put a border of river rock on both sides. It looks good now, and I have a feeling that in a couple of years, when everything grows in and fills in more, it's going to look fantastic.

What can I say? A dead patch of grass (well, it hadn't been watered in quite a while), more shrubs around the edges. And a 2 inch height difference between the cement and the grass.

This is looking better! You can't really see it in this picture, but the ramp that you see attaches to a deck in front of two sliding glass doors. The grass is green, some shrubs have been disappeared, and the grass and the cement are at the same level.

Shrubbery! Which didn't look good. Most of the shrub disappeared, and some hummingbird and butterfly flowers appeared. Actually, the flowering plants got planted all around the border to the grass.

You can kind of see the deck in this picture. And the ramp. I'm planning on having the white pergola (that's the overhead shade type thing) replaced with natural redwood.

Now, this! This is my joy. This is what it looked like, originally. A big empty space, covered by wood chips. Ever tried rolling through wood chips with a wheelchair? Not really something you want to try. The wall that you see there? Nothing to stop the sunlight from beating down on it in the summer. This was all kind of... What does Ron Popeil say? "Set it and forget it!"

Like I said, this is my joy. A nice wide cement pathway with a curved flow to it. A pergola, that I tried giving a little bit of an Asian feel to, along with the bench. A kimchi pot or two for ornamentation. In a couple of years, grapes.
And yes, in the background is a waterfall.

It's very peaceful back here. I've managed to fall asleep back here a couple of times already, and I'm looking forward to doing that again.

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