Thursday, June 08, 2006

A Barrel of Monkeys

Posting is going to get light over the next week or so.

The hip surgery I had been afraid of is scheduled for Monday morning. It approaches with the inexorability of a freight train. Because of this, Medical Science took me off the anti-inflammatory drug that was relieving the swelling in my hip-joint, as it has the side-effect of hampering the coagulation of the blood.

I took my last pill yesterday morning, with the result that the swelling and inflammation returned with a bullet today, rendering me a whimpering puppy by this afternoon. Med. Sci., buttonholed in his office, phoned in a Vicodin scrip for me. Now I sit in an inarticulate, unfocused fog in front of the TV. Narcotics, I've observed before, don't make you stop hurting so much as they make you stop caring that you're hurting, which is really not the same thing at all.

Folks, I don't mind telling you, this one scares me a bit. The last five years have been a run of spectacularly bad medical luck, running the gamut from kidney stones (three lithotripsies and one stent emplacement), to ass cancer (three fistulotomies and one procedure that's so new and experimental I don't even know the name of it) to a pilonidal cyst (one cystectomy -- unnecessary, it later became apparent) to a torn rotator cuff (two arthroscopies). None of them gave me the shrieking fantods as badly as this one has.

I'm always nervous before medical procedures -- who isn't? -- but this one's really pretty horrifying. No sane person would actually volunteer to let someone take what basically amounts to a Black & Decker drill with a sterilized half-inch bit and bung it four inches into their thigh and up into their femoral ball. But that's pretty much what I've done, to try to save my hip-joint. I've had plenty of time to think about it, and I've talked myself into a pretty bad place. I keep fingering the place where the incision will be made, and... Thinking.

Watching back-to-back TiVo'd episodes of House certainly didn't help matters.

Some days back, Wonder Woman roasted a chicken. If usually falls to me to carve the thing, and I began by the usual method of separating the drumstick from the thigh, and then the thigh from whatever passes for a pelvis in a bird. As the tip of my knife found the hip-joint, I gave it a twist to separate the bones. As they came apart with a little snap I'm afraid I freaked a little. Nausea. Sweat. Irrationality. Tears.

A chicken on a roasting-pan. That's what age makes you.

Boy, I'm more fun than a fuckin' narcotized barrel of monkeys, ain't I? I better get myself to bed & settle down for some kaleidoscopic eyelid movies and some Jacob's Ladder-quality nightmares. I'll feel much better in the morning.

Hey! They got Zarqawi!

40 comments:

Mike Kretzler said...

Good luck, Neddie.

Akatabi said...

You write better on Vicodin than 99.9% of the rest of the blogosphere sober. Hang in there, Neddie.

Ronzoni Rigatoni said...

Fear not, laddie. Thanx to the benevolent influence of the American Ass'n of Trial Lawyers, surgical science approaches perfection these days. After five trips there in the last five years, the local hospital has hung a brass plaque over my now-reserved bed. One more time, and they name the ward after my insurance company. Oxycontin is indeedy the drug of choice, but it does make you crazy.

fgfdsg said...

All the luck in the world Neddie.

My stepfather had a similar procedure done with his knee and he said it was more the idea of what they were going to do that was unpleasant rather than what they actually did. It's insane, but if you can get through the arse cancer I'm sure you'll take this in your stride.

Hopefully Bobby will update us when you're in the clear

roxtar said...

I'm sure you'll be fine. I hope you'll let us know if there is anything we can do. Books? CDs of obscure music? Exotic food and drink? Let us know.....

blue girl said...

Good luck, Jeddie. We'll be thinking of you! Like Roxtar said, anything you need, let us know.

Some cans of Chunky Beef Noodle, maybe? Some old National Geographics? Anything at all -- you can count on us!

Kevin Wolf said...

Surgery. No fun. But it was coming out from under the laughing gas afterword that was most unpleasant to me. Odd.

You'll be fine, Neddie. I'd say best of luck, but I don't think you'll need it.

Will Divide said...

My cousin got one of those new hips last year (in his early 40's ) and he's right as rain.

frankly the mere thought of ass cancer lent a severe moire effect to everything I looked at this morning. You are a stronger blogger than I, dvwxdyv.

And if you are taking pills, don't forget the vodka.

helmut said...

Best of luck, Ned. I'm in need of a new hip myself and empathize with the difficulty of your decision. But, in the end, you'll be sporting the shiny new hip and running through bucolic meadows and I'll be creaking up the stairs.

I'm with Rocky and Blue Girl - anything you need.

Jeremy Cherfas said...

I'd pray for you, Ned, but we both know that wouldn't do a damned bit of good.

Chuck Champion said...

And stop watching House for the duration!

XTCfan said...

Heh ... yep, Jeremy, as the prophet said, "Nothing fails like prayer."

Remember, Ned, your goose -- or, rather, your chicken -- won't be cooked while they're cutting and drilling, so you'll hold together just fine. Be patient, and your body will heal itself. Nature's pretty cool that way, if you let Her take Her course.

Just to let everyone know how strong our Ned is, we're taking Freddie and some friends tubing on the Potomac tomorrow to celebrate young Fred's bday. Ned asked me to help, since he'd be on painkillers while overseeing this Wild Bunch, but I've got to agree with what my wife said: "I'd only be worried if he wasn't on Vicodin while taking seven 13-year-olds down the Potomac in tubes!"

Employee of the Month said...

Heal fast friend.

Neddie said...

Thank you, everybody. It's wonderful to receive such comfort and support from...a...bunch of people I've never actually met. Weird, this Interweb thingy, ain't it?

Ronzo: I was given Oxycontin once, years ago. I hallucinated and vomited for 24 hours -- not a particularly desirable thing when you're recovering from ass-cancer surgery. There was a time when hallucinating-and-vomiting would have been just another Saturday night at the frat-house, but no more. No more.

(One thing needs clearing up: It wasn't cancer -- that's my jokey way of avoiding discussing what it actually was, which was so disgusting and weird that I can't actually bring myself to regale my readers with it. But it puts a flaming arrow through the eye of any stupid notions of Intelligent Design. Any Designer who authored a major excretory structure such that this particular thing could go wrong with it would be taken out behind the Uni Fieldhouse and shot.)

Thanks for the offer of "anything I need." Please deliver, by earliest post, Evangeline Lilly, a hot-tub full of whipped cream, a case of poppers and a lid of the finest sinsemilla: I could work with that.

cleek said...

Good luck, Neddie.

darwin524 said...

My prescription:
Take two Vicodins,
one Magical Mystery Tour ,
and imagine Angelie Jolie as your nurse.

dwgs said...

Thanks for making me google evangeline lilly ned, that was not a waste of time. still and all, if your hippal region is going to be so delicate and painful don't you think you should appoint a proxy for certain activities? since everyone else is being so generous i don't see why i shouldn't volunteer to do my part. i await your command.
bon courage and i look forward to hearing the tale once you're up to it.
ahem.

Chuck Champion said...

I got ya covered on the poppers ... anyone else?

ghost dawg said...

ach. You are too young for such travails, Neddie. I know 'cause I'm too young and you're little older.

on the /anything/ front, I'm sitting here in Humboldt county, but nobody's yet figured out how to cram the little nuggies down the broadband.

if there were an address out there for Neddie, it is remotely possible that different idiots might try to send anonymous donations. (It has been known to occur.)

An Upstep or a Downstep said...

Considering some of the challenges you faced, pshawed, and dismissed in the past, you have not a worry in the world, except that Evangeline Lilly, a hot-tub full of whipped cream, a case of poppers and a lid of the finest sinsemilla thing.

My thoughts are with you.

xzgnirph-the sound you will make while dipping miss Lilly into whipped cream after a particularly large bonghit of sinse...

Playboy Millionaire said...

I will be entering 4 8 15 16 23 42 every 108 minutes for you (into the DharmaTel computer of my heart).

Love,

Aaron Fistula

P.S. Seriously, take care, be well, and if your doc's as good as I hear he is you'll be doing the cretin hop in no time.

mark smeraldi said...

Hope it all goes well. Mine's so burnt out they're going to saw it off and implant a trailer hitch in Sept. Truth to tell, I'm pretty fatalistic about the whole thing, as the status quo is no bargain at all.Looking forward to reading you soon.

fred wickham said...

Get well. I love your blog.

Blue Wren said...

Jittery Nedster...
Having been through a scary-ish surgery on my wrist to remove a big wad of arthritic spludge from between the bones just last year, I certainly identify with your case of nerves. But in the end, everything worked out mostly fine for me, and I'm sure it will be the same for you -- on a rather larger scale. My thoughts are with you, Mrs. Ned and the kids, and of course, with Evangeline of the sinsemilla-enhanced whip-ped cream. Yay for Vicodin -- you're gonna be just fine, friend. Can't wait for the live-blogging.

Ronzoni Rigatoni said...

Ah, Nedster. Oxy is not to be fooled with, and probably explains Limbaugh's dementia. My hallucinatin' about shooting the goddam cats off'n the roof led my dear daughter to flush the whole friggin' prescription down the terlit. A Miami Customs pal who knows something about "street value" told me she flushed my lottery ticket away. Demerol with a splash of Maker's Mark.
Schmooooth. You WILL be OK.

Neddie said...

Aaron Fistula!

HAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAA!

That extremely cruel joke will be understood by approximately 0.000000003% of the entire population of the universe, but god-DAMN that's funny!

Fred W.: Wow. The feeling's definitely mutual! Check it out, folks. Bookmarked with extreme prejudice.

Blue Wren: Oh! Hi there!

Ronzo: The terlit's exactly where the remaining 59 Oxys went. Man, that was ugly.

mjs said...

I am sure you'll be fine. Don't let the anxiety get to you. Dwell on the mundane until Monday...

Linkmeister said...

You'll be making layups on the local hoops court in no time, I'm sure.

cope said...

OH MY GAWD!! NO, NEDDIE, NO!!

You are so totally doomed. Survival of this particular medical procedure (developed by a distraught Black & Decker salesman needing to boost his sales) is successfull only .3% of the time.

Please accept Jesus Christ as your own personal savior RIGHT NOW! Draw up a will and pick out a good picture of yourself for the obit (maybe that one of you in college hugging that puppy you used as chick bait on the quad).

And the pain...Lord, the days or even weeks you will linger, shrouded in an impenetrable shroud of blindingly intense suffering. Believe me, when it finally comes, you will embrace sweet, sweet death.

All I can add is that I am glad it's not me.

The Viscount LaCarte said...

Listen Ned, you're going to be fine. May science and technology be with you.

Anonymous said...

Hey Ned,

Boy, I landed on your blog in an oddly timely fashion. I'm a long time Hiller - we have corresponded before. I got AVN too, and went throught the hip surgery thing. Please write me if you want to discuss - tgslack@comcast.net. I have alot of reassuring news for you, but would rather discuss it privately.

Matt said...

Oy, Neddie -- I'm sorry that I came to this post so late. The time for pre-op good-luck wishes is past, but I hope that everything went well and that you recover quickly. My thoughts are with you.

Highlander said...

Ned,

I like your writing a great deal, even if you are an ornery son of a bitch I otherwise frequently disagree with, and worse, you enjoyed that dreadful V FOR VENDETTA movie, which... well, never mind.

Still. I like your writing, you think analytically, you have worth as an individual. So I've just spent some time putting an impulse into the ether for you. You're going to be fine.

Believe it.

treepeony said...

Here's to the blessings of the morphine drip. Good on ya, Neddie dear.

blue girl said...


I like your writing a great deal, even if you are an ornery son of a bitch


I like that!

It's Sunday eve, Jeddie and I wanted to stop by and say that I'm thinking of you and to tell you don't worry and try to get a good night's sleep.

Good luck!

Kevin Wolf said...

Gee, Blue Girl and I sometimes think alike.

Here it is, Monday morning and I had to stop by again and - yeah, I'll say it - best of luck.

Looking forward to post-op, drug fueled posts.

Paul said...

Hip surgery is really bad for syntax when you type with your toes.

...Hope it all went well (as you are now squirming on the post-op recovery gurney, with nurse battle as yelling at you to stay still).

-- Mammatus

nash said...

Best wishes, Neddie -- I second the sentiments about your writing.

--nashtbrutusandshort
Categorical Aperitif

Matt said...

Sending good vibes your way today . . . good vibes!

Scorpio said...

When pre-op unmedicated pain is as bad as post-op paid will be, it's time to do it. I have friends who walk so well after hip replacement, you'd never believe they had surgery.

Sigh -- one day I'll be in there for the same thing myself. At that time, you can just send my words back to me and I'll see if they taste good.

Best of luck.