18) Backyard Surgery - Terre Haute
This isn't one of my injuries but I was there and I think this incident deserves a mention. My car, a 1999 Suzuki V6 Grand Vitara, was starting to make some engine noise and so on 23rd July 2005 my friend Andy and I started taking it apart. Whilst getting the water pump pulley off the wrench slipped and he gashed his hand to the bone. Right or wrong, using a lot of antiseptics, we got the cut sewn up.
Preparation for surgery
19) Spider Bite? - Terre Haute
I woke up on 31st May 2006, with a sore left foot. First of all it just itched between the toes and I assumed that I had some form of athletes foot and so after washing and drying it spread the toes with Desenex which is an antifungal ointment. It itched most of the day but I carried on as normal. That evening I took my socks off and found my toes had started to swell and was starting to get very painful. The next morning, they hurt like hell and the swelling had gotten worse so I took some pain killers and started using anti-itch ointment. Patty and I took a look and saw that it looked nothing like athletes foot but there was a blister on my middle toe. During the day my entire foot swelled up and I started bathing it in ice water with a little hydrogen peroxide which helped a lot. It appears I got bitten some time during that first night by some kind of insect, probably a spider. Although the Black Widow is mostly confined to California a dangerous spider found around here is the Brown Recluse. We don't think it was one of those though as the wound, although painful, isn't as bad as one of those things can produce.
Not the nicest things to look at in normal circumstances here's some photo's of my feet. Don't worry about the scratch on my right foot that was done a few days previously and not very important.
See the swelling of my left foot?
My feet showing the swelling of my left foot and the blister on the middle toe
After a couple of days I went to a doctor to get the bite looked at. I ended up on a course of antibiotics, anti-inflammatories and pain killers. I was also told that soaking my feet in cold water was not the best thing to do, but he never said why.
On 7th July 2006, I got bitten again, this time on the toe next to the one I had previously got bitten on or maybe it's a reoccurrence of the original bite in May? The swelling isn't so bad this time, neither is it as painful but it's just as itchy. Patty, my wife, is worried as she's heard of people having things amputated after a spider bite but I don't think this is anywhere that serious. I used lots of anti-itch ointment and after the blister burst Neosporin antibiotic ointment.
20) Gall Bladder - Terre Haute
Sometime in late November / early December 2007, I started getting an ache in my lower back that spread around my left side just under my ribs. First of all I thought it was muscular but soon realised it was deeper than that. It came and went so, as usual, I ignored it. It got progressively more painful and so on 26 December, 2007, I went to see my doctor. A couple of days later I had an ultrasound scan and it was found that I had a gallstone and a hospital appointment was made.
I was admitted to Regional Hospital, Terre Haute, about midday on Wednesday, 9 January 2008. I was back home by 6pm the same evening - minus my gall bladder following an operation called a laparoscopic cholecystectomy. An open cholecystectomy is the old way of removing the gall bladder and involves an 8" incision but using laparoscopy all that is needed is four small holes in your abdomen. They gave me a series of photos they took during the operation and these are reproduced below.
I'm not that fat!
What happens is that they inflate, usually with carbon dioxide, your abdomen to give them more room to work
The right hand tool is holding back my liver whilst holding my gall bladder
The liver (dark red shiny organ) usually lies on top of the gall bladder (white fatty looking organ)
Cutting the gall bladder away from the liver
The gall bladder nearly free of my liver
A general view of my intestines
The gall bladder removed from my liver
My liver lying back down where it belongs
The operation lasted about an hour and then I spent another couple of hours recovering from the anesthetic. As usual, I was apparently very funny whilst returning to consciousness and Patty said the operating team were laughing when they wheeled me back into the recovery room. About an hour later I was able to walk around and they released me from hospital with a prescription of Vicodin - one of my favourite painkillers.
Dr Lim, who did the operation, showed Patty my gall bladder whilst I was still unconscious, the gall stone inside it was about the size of a marble - around 1/2" in diameter.
After the operation
After the operation the orginal pain was completely gone and the only incision that gave me any discomfort is the one down near my belly button which makes moving around a bit painful, but the Vicodin takes care of that. On Friday, just two days after the operation, the doctor removed the original dressings and replaced them with steristrips.