January 2012 – Began blogging here on WordPress; the slow climb up the learning curve for the WordPress system has been fun and, at times, a bit frustrating. The visitor chart, below, shows that my visitor count has climbed to about 550 for December.
Looking back toward the whole year from today, 01 January 2013, what I recall (mostly) about 2012 is health care. During this past year I have enjoyed just about all the health care that I can stand; I have had more of it during 2012 than the rest of my life combined.
Of course, health care was not all that happened during 2012; there were a few, more enjoyable events, but let’s start at the beginning . . .
Having been diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer in January 2012, after having biopsies taken, being CAT scanned, bone scanned, and X-Rayed numerous times, I was scheduled for surgery in February, 2012; thus beginning my fall into the abyss of “old age”.
February was dominated by preparation for surgery which included several blood tests, a special diet, and a “patient training” session at the hospital.
On February 29 at 11:00 AM, I was admitted to the hospital for surgery, which was to take about four hours. There was, of course, time consuming “prep” to be done once I had completed all the paperwork required for admission.
The surgery actually took almost eight hours because of “complications”.
The day following surgery I was released from the hospital, after spending a night in a hospital for the first time in my life. This is not something I want to experience again, ever!
When released, I had two tubes attached: one tube for draining blood and other bodily fluids from the abdomen and one tube for draining urine. The tubes drained into plastic bags which needed to be emptied periodically, 24-7.
When I finally exited the hospital I was not feeling all that great, but the sun was shining and I was feeling little or no pain because of all the meds administered before leaving the hospital, and I had a prescription for more pain killers and antibiotics.
Fortunately, I needed the pain killers for only one week, and the antibiotics worked just fine – no infection ever developed. That’s the good news.
I was scheduled for my first check-up in mid March when stitches and tubes would be removed.
During the first few days of March I learned to appreciate wearing a skirt instead of pants in order to accommodate all the plumbing.
Yes, there are photographs.
No! I’m not going to show them to you.
They are not pretty pictures !
I also learned to live with the tubes and plastic bags by strapping the bags to my legs instead of carrying them with me in a plastic trash can.
Unfortunately, the first thing discovered during my mid-March post-op check-up was that one of the tubes, the one from a hole in my abdomen near the belly button, was supposed to have been removed BEFORE I was released from the hospital.
Oops. Oops, indeed !
The boss nurse, technically a “nurse practitioner”, was appalled by the extraneous tube, and removed it as gently as possible, which produced a genuine Ouch!
After the other tube (for urine) was removed, I was on my own regarding bladder control.
To make a short story even shorter, it turns out that I am a member of an elite group; about 12% of prostate cancer surgery patients do not regain complete control of their bladder after surgery. Thus I have become a user of Depend for Men underwear and/or Poise pads.
My wife thinks it amusing that I now know, and can relate to, “women’s problems” – up close and personal.
Oh well – – at least I can once again “wear the pants” in the family. (Actually, I kinda liked the skirts – but don’t tell anybody! )
Although things will never be completely back to normal for me, life goes on, and we humans are adaptable creatures.
Beginning in late March, I started walking about four to five miles per day, just to keep the juices flowing. This has become a pleasant morning habit, and I have settled into a walk that I call the “Django’s Loop” first thing every morning.
April through June was spent catching up on my reading, and learning to blog here on WordPress. I still have a bit of work to do in both these activities.
In July, I began my 78th trip around the Sun on this damp dirt ball we call home. My wife gave me a new telescope for my 78th birthday, and we are both enjoying learning to use the telescope for astronomical and terrestrial viewing. I’m trying my hand at astrophotography, but so far not doing very well at it.
Be that as it may, we are both like kids with a new toy – learning about astronomy, etc.
The Curiosity Mars landing on August fifth was the high point of the whole year for me. I have been a fan of our “space exploration program” since before NASA existed, and I think NASA represents the flowering of space technology, not only for the U.S.ofA., but for the whole world. Others are catching up fast, and in some areas exceeding NASA, and that is a good thing because the whole world must get involved in order for us to do any serious space exploration, but that’s a story for another day.
The remainder of the year was spent doing fairly routine, ordinary activities, such as gardening, taking care of the animals (two and a half cats, two dogs, and two ducks) and doing routine maintenance chores.
The most exciting thing that happened recently is that I was able to climb up into the large avocado tree in the rear garden, and trimmed a few branches.
There were a couple more visits to see my doctor(s) during the latter part of the year, and nothing very exciting came of that. My recovery from surgery is about as complete as it ever will be, so I’m looking forward to doing things other than health care stuff in 2013.
Happy New Year to everyone !
- The Facts About an Enlarged Prostate (everydayhealth.com)