On The Road To Recovery

by Cliff Ravenscraft on January 11, 2009

in The Old Pursing A Balanced Life Podcast

Recovery Road Image
Original image found here. I modified image based upon Creative Commons License.

It's been a few days since my last few posts. In reality, this post is a conclusion to the previous posts titled, “In The Hospital,” “Scheduled For Surgery – But Frustrated!,” and “Now I’m just P—ed Off!” If you've not read these previous posts, I'd really encourage you to read them to get a full understanding of what this post really means to me.

So here I am, a few days and I'm still alive!

In the last update to my last post, I mentioned that I really felt that I could trust the GI Doctor that had come to visit and talk with me in the hospital. You will recall that based upon what he was seeing in my test images, he didn't feel that I really needed the ERCP. However, at the same time, he said that he could tell something was in my cystic duct and that the surgeon really felt as though the procedure was absolutely necessary. After talking with me, my GI doctor spoke to the surgeon one final time and they both came back and said that the ERCP before having my gallbladder removed would be the best thing for me.

Wednesday morning, they took me back for my ERCP. My GI doctor said “It's a good thing too.” He told me that my common bile duct was absolutely clear. However, there was a gallstone that was blocking my cystic bile duct. He went in and made a small incision and squirted some sort of solution into the duct twice. The second time, the stone dislodged and flowed out of the cystic duct. He was able to capture the stone and remove it using the scope.

Had this procedure not have been done, I would have had my gallbladder removed and I could have had this stone come out and drop into my pancreas which could have caused hepatitis, pancreatitis, or even death!

In essence, I hope that all these blog posts serve as a wake up call to anyone that ever goes into the hospital that you understand exactly what it is that the doctors are communicating to you. If you don't understand, make them re-explain everything to you. If something doesn't sound right, don't sign any consent forms for procedures until your doctor convinces you that it's the right thing to do in light of the risks.

When it was all said and done, I finally had to put some faith in a doctor's opinion. I'm very thankful that that doctor accepted the opinion of the surgeon in this case whose opinion on whether or not I needed this procedure was different. My intervening in the matter did two things. First, opened up the realization that the second doctor I had seen had completely overlooked the the scheduling of the ERCP procedure. Second, I was able to get two doctors with different opinions to have direct communication with one another rather than indirect conversations with a nurse assistant as the middle man.

After my successful ERCP and short recovery period, I was wheeled back to my room. However, I was not there for long as we were made aware of an opening in the surgery schedule. Just before they put me under, I was able to talk to the surgeon. Stephanie was with me. I asked him if they would be willing to remove my appendix as well while they were in there. I was informed that they used to do this all the time but they don't do it without a request any longer. So I requested!!!

The doctor informed me that the removal of the appendix would require at least one additional incision. Now I was still quite a bit loopy from the anesthesia from the first procedure and Stephanie said that I had them all cracking up laughing when I asked if there was anything else that they could do while they were in there. I'm told that I even asked if they do liposuction.

Of course, after the endoscopic procedure, I still had my socks and my boxer shorts on. When they noticed this before wheeling me back for surgery, they told me that I'd have to remove my underpants and socks before doing the surgery. Stephanie says they were planning to give me some privacy to do this but before they were even done speaking, she said I hopped off the bed, pulled off my boxers first and then took off my socks and hopped right back up on the waiting room bed as if it were no big deal.

Stephanie said she'd never seen me so relaxed before but that it was funny to see just how casual I was about everything. And when I came back from my surgery and was in the recovery room, she was told that I simply had the entire staff in that area of the hospital cracking up with all my jokes.

Of course, I have NO IDEA what jokes I would have possibly told them at this point. But I'm sure I was having fun telling them.

After an eventful Wednesday, I was given Percocet for pain management. By Wednesday evening, I was up and walking around. Even under the use of the pain meds, I felt a bit of the tightness in my belly and in my throat.

By Thursday morning, I was ready to get out of the hospital. I don't know if I could take any more of those needles that they kept coming at me with. I saw both the surgeon and the GI doctors who cleared me to go hope. I called Stephanie and a few hours later, I was laying back in a chair in my own living room, sleeping with the help of the pain meds.

Amazingly, I have this extremely large bottle of Percocet tablets. However, I noticed that on Thursday evening, I was already feeling much better than I had felt on Wednesday. I had taken some meds Thursday overnight to help me sleep, but Friday evening was the last time I felt the need to take them. I think I had only taken the percocets a total of four or five times at most over the course of time since being home from the hospital.

On Saturday, I actually ventured out of the house to go to a social media meetup to meet with other folks who are interested in podcasting, blogging, twitter, facebook, etc. I probably stayed about an hour longer that I should have, but overall, I did extremely well. Not to mention I made some decent possible business connections there.

Today, Sunday, I made it out of the house to go to our weekend worship service at Watermark Community Church. We had a great sermon this morning and a great song to give a perfect ending to the message. I'll be looking forward to putting that podcast out later in the week and listening to it again.

People asked me several times today.. “How do you feel?” I feel I'm running at about 85%. I'm not completely back to feeling like myself. I'm hoping that my motivation to get the ball rolling again comes back and comes back strong. Of course this “time off” has really give me a lot of time to evaluate many things about myself. There are many things that I hope to change when I do get back into a new routine.

I hope to spend more time with family. I hope to release more Almost Daily Devotionals. I hope to get back to my walking/workout routine, I hope to get back to producing consistent, quality podcast content. I hope to see the number of those who become Plus Members increase on a consistent basis and so much more.

I am thinking about going back into the studio to start back to work tomorrow. I think, however, I'm going to limit myself to like two hours straight and then maybe take a break and then work for another two hours, another break, and then a final two hours. I may try that this week so that I can ease myself back into this. One thing is for sure, I'm going to have to take it easy so that I can continue to heal and recover from all that my body has gone through.

I'm on the road to recovery. It's not the way I had planned to start the new year, but I'm glad to have this behind me and I think that this extra time to evaluate my priorities will prove to be quite beneficial to setting the direction of what I am going to be doing in 2009.

Thanks everyone all your comments here in the blog over the past few days. I've read every single one of them and they were very encouraging to me as I was in the hospital.

Thank You!

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