|Growing Old is Not for Sissies|
My wife, Alma, finally got home from Seattle shortly after Labor Day after over three months of treatment for multiple myeloma at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. She is feeling a little better with each passing day but still tires very easily. I’m not going to dwell on her illness and recovery with this entry. I’ve pretty much covered all of that over the past year – from the uncertainty caused by not knowing what was causing her vertebrae to fracture and compress to the diagnosis of multiple myeloma, to the frustration with the insurance company and then the cancer treatment. She’ll be going back to Seattle for a few days in November for follow-up and maintenance.
So, Alma’s home, her progress is good and she has survived a form of cancer treatment that many others have not (we just learned this from another myeloma survivor recently). Life should be getting back to normal, right? My boss told me I have 40 hours of vacation time coming that I have to use before the end of the year. All right, vacation! I’ve been planning this for months now. I can virtually feel what I’m going to do on this vacation in my gut! I chose the week carefully because I work in a small office and I wanted to keep any disruption to a minimum. I got everybody’s blessing to take the week of October 22nd off. That done, I spent all one morning the previous week making my reservation.
Early on the morning of the 22nd, my wife and I headed out for a destination that is all too familiar to us both for the beginning of my “vacation.” We’re headed for the same day surgery unit of Kadlec Hospital in Richland, Washington. I have bilateral hernias that can no longer be ignored. I was referred to a surgeon by my doctor who smells of garlic, speaks with an accent I cannot quite identify and who has a name that is completely unpronounceable. The surgeon is a nice young man who cannot be more than 16 years old. He explains that he likes to do hernia repairs using laparoscopic surgery where he cuts three small holes in the abdomen and pulls the wayward intestine back where it’s supposed to be from above. That sounds fine to me because I had misgivings about having a teenager wielding a sharp knife so close to my, ahem, family pride. And since there are hernias on both sides, well, let’s just minimize the cutting “down there.”
Since I had pre-registered at the hospital the previous week, I checked in a little before 8:00. Was wheeled into surgery a little after 9:00 and was back home in my own recliner a little after noon.
Those of you who have read my posts about my kidney stone a couple of years ago may well wonder when I’m going to learn that medical procedures involving my plumbing are going to be very painful no matter what kind of fancy name they make up for it. I’m hoping that my next vacation is far, far away from any place that has “hospital” or “clinic” as part of its address. But at our age, maybe that’s just what we can come to expect from now on.