Richard Tocci

Richard Tocci
Just when you thought it was safe, I show up...


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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Follow up on The Patch, and Alex's Pants

It's been about a month since my surgery, and it's gone well. I have no pain in that area anymore, and the hernia is clearly patched. I feel no movement at all from other parts behind the abdominal wall. That itself is the biggest relief I have.

When I went to get the boys for my weekend, about 10 days after the surgery, Alex was crying and in timeout on the couch. I took the opportunity to show him the incision; it was still red and swollen, so I was sure it would make an impression. He looked at it with a mix of awe and horror, which is precisely what I was going for. Then, I laid the ground rules:

No jumping on me at any time
No head butting, punching, kicking, or otherwise attempting pain to my belly
Hugs from the side only
And most importantly, I was not picking him up for ANY reason AT ALL.

Consequences from violating these guidelines would be severe. He behaved the entire weekend and did not once violate the rules. I'm very proud of him for listening. Then again, it WAS a shock to see the incision, so I figure horror had something to do with it.

Fliss was concerned about my picking up Hayden when she saw me stand up from the couch, but Hayden can stand on his knees at a height that facilitated easier lifting, and I used my arms to lift him and not my legs or back. That's a lot harder than one might think. It's amazing how much our abdominal muscles actually work; thus the reason they are called The Core.

So now, a month later, I feel no pain; standing, sitting, and lifting are no longer issues; and it just feels much, much better overall. I'm glad I got this done sooner rather than later.

When I went in to get the surgery, the anesthesiologist came in to brief me on what he was going to do. I talked to him on the phone the night before when he went over what I could and could not eat or drink, and after what time. I noted a very pronounced Texan accent. Imagine my surprise when a short, Oriental man walked in with said accent. He announced "This is the castration, right?" I learned a long time ago that the best way to handle a heckler is to go along with his joke, so I replied "Ah, fuck it. I've had four kids. Do what you will." I thought the medical student who was present to view my surgery was going to laugh himself to the point of choking, and the nurses all laughed too. Once the drugs started, the last thing I remember was complimenting the drugs.

The next thing I remember is waking up. Within 20 minutes, I had my clothes on and I walked out. No wheelchair, no pain meds, nothing. I got my meds on the way home (Vidodin and a stool softener, because the LAST thing you need to do is push or strain, you see), but I only took the Vicodin one night. Other than that, I toughed through it. I'm just not big on pain meds if I can deal with pain. Also, I became very acquainted with oatmeal and Mexican food for a while.

Sitting down on the couch was a challenge. Getting up was even more of a challenge. I just took it easy when using the couch. Sitting in my work chair, I found myself sitting straight up in proper posture so that I wouldn't need to strain to stand from a relaxed or reclined position. Sleeping was bad for the first 4 days, but got better after that. As I said, it amazing to realize how much these muscles did for you all the time.

There are a couple of things I want everyone to know. First, Rachel Hughes drove me to my surgery, picked me up, and returned me home. Oh, and she works for the surgeon that performed the procedure, so I got in to see him quickly. I cannot thank her enough for helping me get this surgery done. Her husband and my best friend Jeff Hughes was also a great help, including making me laugh mere hours after surgery (you bastard! :) ), reminding me that payback is, indeed, a bitch.

Last but not least, women that give birth to children by C-Section - I have a greater respect for you than I ever did before. Giving birth is hard regardless, and I always had respect for women and child birth, but I can identify with the abdomen part more than natural birth, and I only had a one-inch incision. That put me in pain for 14 days easy. Fliss, I'm sorry for making you laugh an hour after giving birth to Hayden. I can assure you - I learned my lesson.

Next up - bionic knee and ankle!


Conversation with Alex today after arriving home from the store:

Dad, looking at Alex running around the house in his boxers; of course, I asked the wrong question: "Alex, did you take off your pants?"

Alex, confused look on his face: "No."

Dad, confused as he sees no pants on at all, but rather plaid boxers: "Alex, you are in your underwear. Wear are your pants?"

Alex: "Dad, I didn't take off my pants."

Dad, frustrated: "You are standing right in front of me, and I see no pants on you. Wear are your jeans?"

Alex, wide eyed: "Oh, THOSE! I took those off and tossed them on the floor in my room!"

Apparently, pants and jeans are two different things. I'll have to remember that the next time I ask such an obviously stupid question.

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