25 March 2015

Laparoscopic Inguinal Hernia Surgery

That's what I got last Monday.

Here is some information about the procedure.

http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/laparoscopic-inguinal-hernia-repair

I saw Dr. Clayton Hackerman at the Polyclinic on Broadway. This was my first surgery ever (and only my second time under a general anesthetic) and I am extremely pleased with how it went.

ASIDE - when I first met Clayton I noticed he had a bit of cauliflower ear. Since you never know whether or not this is the result of an injury or a natural condition I shut my mouth. Plus I was thinking to myself, "How did this guy have time to do any MMA while going to medical school...?" Then just now I read his Polyclinic bio and see he's a fan of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Mystery solved. :) And kudos to you Dr. Hackerman.

Here is a rough timeline and redux.

  • Somewhere around 20 February I noticed things were not right. At the time I thought it was a recurrence of my sartorius injury that I had last fall.
  • Two days later things were definitely not right. I had pain in my hip/lower abdomen but brushed it off. I had just logged my first 60-mile week of the year (up from 40 miles the previous week - oops) and I was feeling like things were finally starting to fall into place.
  • On 27 February I saw Neal Goldberg at FootWorks PT. It took him all of 10 minutes to tell me he thought I had a hernia. I resisted... but scheduled a visit with my doctor Oren Townsend.
  • What followed was a series of timid recovery runs on the treadmill and on 1 March I tried a long trail run and was in actual pain. Uncle. Time to stop running.
  • On 2 March (my first bicycle commute in months!) I saw Oren and he was unsure. There was no obvious hernia that he could find with a physical exam so I scheduled an ultrasound to confirm/deny. Plus Oren felt some inflammation so I was still clinging to the tendon/ligament/muscle theory.
  • In the meantime I was enjoying riding my bike. I had been missing it anyway so it was a nice change of pace. Luckily this caused me no pain whatsoever.
  • On 13 March I finally had my ultrasound. The diagnosis (I thought) was tentative and not definitive. Perhaps hoping for a miracle I hopped on the treadmill one more time on 14 March. It didn't feel good.
  • On 16 March I talked to Oren and he confirmed the hernia after having spoken with the Radiologist. Rats. What's next? Schedule a consultation with a surgeon to see if fixing it is warranted and what my options are.
  • On 18 March I met with Clayton and I decided to get this fixed. He said I do have a hernia and it would only get worse over time so it was an easy decision. Especially since just walking was uncomfortable these days. As I left the consultation I scheduled my surgery and what do you know, there was a cancelation and I could get in next Monday!
  • On 23 March I had my hernia fixed.

My experience at the Polyclinic was awesome! It deserves a more detailed breakdown.

  • I showed up at 11:30 for what was a 12:30 appointment. Incredibly they were running ahead of schedule so after filling out some intake forms I was let in around 12:00.
  • The intake nurse took me to a tiny closet of a room, gave me a few consent forms (the ones where you acknowledge that surgery and anesthesia can result in permanent damage and death, that sort of thing) and then after I had changed my clothes I was introduced to the operating room nurse and my anesthesiologist.
  • While in the closet the intake nurse took my pulse and blood pressure and expressed concern over my resting heart rate which was hovering around 40. Yes!
  • The operating room nurse walked me back and I felt like I was stepping into a lit tanning booth, it was bright! Hilariously, they were also blasting loud rock music! I wish I could remember what was playing... :)
  • The operating room nurse helped me lie down on the operating table and I learned the anesthesiologist was an ultra runner! As he put the IV in my arm we chatted about great, local events.
  • Lights out. I'm guessing surgery started around 12:30.
  • I woke up around 1:15? I felt so good they called my father right away and he picked my up at 1:45 which was 15 minutes ahead of my scheduled checkout time.
  • While in the recovery room the nurse told me to disregard the constant alarm that was sounding, it's set to go off when your heart rate drops to 35 and mine was fluctuating between 34-40 depending on how much I adjusted my blankets.

It's now two days after my surgery. Monday I took two pain pills (Oxycodone-Acetaminophen-325 tabs) that were prescribed just in case - I'm a bit of a wimp honestly and did not want to be uncomfortable. I also took some Ibuprofen Monday and Tuesday and will most likely take a bit more today. And I iced my abdomen Monday and Tuesday, that might have helped the most.

At the risk of too much information I'll also cop to taking a stool softener (Docusate Sodium 250 mg) gel cap Monday and Tuesday. That was also prescribed and let me tell you it makes total sense. The general anesthetic - and perhaps the pain medication to a lesser extent - block you up and the last thing you want to do when you have just had a hernia repaired is strain. Luckily my body bounces back pretty fast and I eat a ton of natural fiber so as of today I have a lifetime supply of stool softener in our medicine cabinet.

It's been one loooooong month since I have run! Boo. Here's to coming back properly and not dorking myself up yet again. And here's to cycling which has saved my bacon (read: fitness) more than once.

4 comments:

Jesse Nofziger said...

Martin, no shame about admitting the other stuff you take! When I had my collarbone surgery a couple years ago the painkillers do wreck you in more ways than one. I got off of things as soon as possible. I don't know how the druggies do it!

Martin Criminale said...

@Jesse - thanks! I was off everything they prescribed for me in 48 hours so most likely (and as usual) I'm probably making a mountain out of a molehill...

Fins said...

Thanks for sharing. I assume they used the mesh? How're you feeling now? Also, what was the pain comparable to after the surgery? Have heard sleeping is tough, as is getting up and down from bed/chair (basically anything using core).

May have to get this done, a bit worried about a foreign thing like mesh going in.

Martin Criminale said...

@Fins - yes, they used a mesh and I'm feeling fine! I took about three days off of everything and then went for a walk. Two days later I was riding my bicycle easy and after two weeks I went for an easy run.

I was not able to exercise hard until about four weeks after and it took about that long for me to be able to do serious core work as well.

Until a week or two ago there were still some stretches that felt like they pulled my abdomen too much and although you can get back to light activity after one or two weeks and moderate activity after three, the healing process continues on a cellular level for three months I have been told. That said, this was VERY non-invasive and in retrospect I didn't need any pain killers at all. Do take it super easy for at least three days and exercise caution for the next three weeks. I had no trouble sleeping or getting into/out of bed.