Lessons Learned from Hernia Surgery

As part of my preparation for hernia surgery, I watched a number of YouTube videos which helped very much ally my fears.

So to chip in to others who will undergo this ordeal, I want to share my ‘lessons learned”. This post is aimed at people who, like me, may be absolutely terrified of going under the knife.

Just for the records, I have a bilateral repair with 3 tears and two meshes inserted by keyhole surgery.

  1. Don’t dither about having the surgery. There is no other way to fix a hernia. Do it. Putting it off for a few weeks/months make no sense whatsoever.
  2. It’s been a week now, and my major take away is that it is not all that bad. Is it a walk in the park? No. It hurts, but by far the worst part was the fear in my mind, which was of my own making.
  3. Don’t google and read about hernia surgery. There are many good sites, with lots of information, but very little is relevant. Having googled “hernia surgery” 3 weeks before my operation, I feared being denied surgery due to white coat hypertension, vomiting after waking up, severe constipation, inability to pee, inability to think straight for a few hours, severe abdominal pain, infection, sore groin pain and horrendous fatigue. None of this happened. Zero. The worst suffering I had came from too much information before the procedure.
  4. The night before the surgery is tough. Do breathing exercises, take a sleeping pill, and roll with the punch. The night before is a son of a bitch.
  5. Being rolled into the operating room is also tough. The few minutes you are still awake seems like an eternity. I counted backwards (in French) from 100 and never reached 70. I also closed my eyes.
  6.  If your blood pressure is normal at home (mine is 129/71), don’t worry about the count prior to the operation. It’s their job, not yours, to get your BP under control. (My BP was 190/100 when I checked in!)
  7. In the half day that you stay in the hospital for surveillance, talk to the people around who are suffering more than you. 
  8. Don’t be brave if it hurts. Tell the staff and they will help you. That’s why they are there.
  9. When you leave the hospital, focus on anything else except the pain. The pain is there, but it is bearable. Divert your thoughts.
  10. And good luck-if I did it with my preoperative anxiety level, anyone can.

It’s a week now. I’m driving, I have been to the beach, and I have walked one km a day since day two, each day adding on one kilometre.

It’s now six months after surgery. The scars are very small. almost invisible. There have been no after effects, no pain whatsoever, and I am glad to have this behind me.

 

 

 

 

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Presenting to an Israeli audience-10 guidelines

  1. Start at the end. Then explain how you got there. Otherwise the arguments you encounter  along the way probably mean you never get to the point.
  2. I know that you want to take questions and audience comments , but refrain from doing so, except at the very end, or for predefined short intervals. There is no problem in Israel to get people to comment; the problem is rather allowing the presenter to present.
  3. Constant smartphone usage by the audience is something you cannot defeat. Surrender.
  4. Be direct. Audiences do not pick up on innuendo all that well.Feel free to say things like, “I disagree” or even “you are wrong”.
  5. Present yourself by your first name, dress informally and don’t toot your own horn.
  6.  Delve into detail as needed to show your competence. Avoid sloganeering. Audiences are allergic to platitudes.
  7. If comfortable and appropriate, use humour.
  8. There is no need to control emotion when you present. Anger, passion and disgust are tolerated.
  9. Audiences tend to be sophisticated. So avoid speaking down, and any hint thereof. (The Israelis often say of those who speak down that “he thinks the sun shines from his ass”)
  10. If you have ground rules for your discussion, present them firmly. Be consistent because inconsistency is weakness, and you’re a dead duck if you cave in on your own ground rules.

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