Category Archives: A Dude’s Guide to Health

Stick-Assisted Perambulation Thanks To Surgical Intervention

There has got to be a better way of getting a close shave on my right knee.

Right now, the area above and below my knee is a baby-skin smooth surface, with only the slightest of stubble beginning to poke its way through. It’s also a swollen mess, but I guess I can’t get one without the other.

The other day, I went in to have what turns out to be my fifth knee surgery on the same knee. I recently added up the number of times I’ve gone under the knife and it’s appallingly high, especially for such a healthy-seeming dude.

I strutted into the out-patient surgery center this time so an orthopedist could do some carving and smoothing on both my lateral and medial meniscus. The meniscus is the shock-absorbing cartilage that prevents bone from bumping up against bone.

During the 20 years or so since my last knee surgery, I’d managed to do some more damage to the meniscus on both sides of my knee. I’m sure it was something that happened over time and in no way was influenced by my decision to learn snowboarding this past March with Hyper Lad.

Definitely no connection. Just can’t be.

Regardless of cause, I needed to go in and have the damage remediated so I could start walking without (as much) pain because, let me tell you, dudes, that’s getting to be a real pain in my fundament, as well as the knee.

So I’m back in the pre surgical waiting room and the nurse comes to prepare me by plugging in an IV and then whipping out the electric razor. Knowing what was coming, I just stretched out and relaxed while she got to work.

It’s become a depressingly familiar ritual, during which I lose all the hair around an op site and then have to tape my hands to my sides so I don’t scratch the wound open as the hair begins itching its way back to full length.

I decided that I’d go through this surgery with only a regional anesthetic as I’d been knocked out more than enough times already. Relatively speaking, I was somewhat clear mentally after the surgery (although maybe slightly loopy) so that was good.

However, the aftereffects of being chemically paralyzed from just above my waist on down was. . . strange. Looking down at my legs and seeing them there, but not being able to move them or even feel when someone touches them is an odd situation in which to find myself.

No sensation and no control. Post-surgery, the nurse tried to move me to a recliner as fast as possible so they could reuse the bed, so she tried to lever me off even though I told her I wasn’t ready.

She assured me my leg would support my weight and then swung both legs off the bed. I managed to stand for less than a second before collapsing over on her. Fortunately, a second nurse was there to catch us both and put me back onto the bed for more recovery time.

So, eventually, I was released and went home to relearn how to get around on crutches. I recovered enough to quickly move from crutches to a cane and that’s where things stand now.

No pun intended.

Still in pain, but getting better. Looking forward to the pain going away.

Now all I have to do is keep myself from scratching my knee raw from all the itchy hair growing back.

Share on Facebook

Charlotte Parent: Explanations Are In Order

Bedtime battles are a fact of life.

You’d think, as the young dudes and dudettes grow up, they’d stop fighting sleep so constantly. You’d be wrong.

Sure, tweens and teens are more likely to sleep through noon if left alone, but the odds are they also stayed up until dawn. So it’s not like they’re getting a lot of sleep, only timeshifting their rack time.

As much as we parents tell the young ‘uns they need more sleep, they just don’t listen.

But you might be doing about it the wrong way.

Today, over at Charlotte Parent, I’ll be talking about the thought that just telling your kids to go to bed NOW might not be the best way to make sure they get enough sleep. As usual, I’ll be blogging under our Stay-At-Home Dudes column name.

Share on Facebook

Choosing Electric Shocks Over Silent Contemplation

Hell, it turns out, isn’t other people.

According to some recent research, published in well-respected journal Science, a whole bunch of people would rather suffer through a self-administered electric shock than spend a measly fifteen minutes sitting quietly alone in a room by themselves with nothing to do.

As hard as it is to believe, yes, I’m completely serious here. I’m not sure I even could make up something as wacky as this.

 ouch2The authors found that “simply being alone with their own thoughts for 15 min was apparently so aversive that it drove many participants to self-administer an electric shock that they had earlier said they would pay to avoid.”

Would it, no pun intended, shock you to learn that of those those choosing shock over self reflection, there were many more men than women? If so, maybe you dudes should try and pay a bit more attention to what’s going on around you.

I mean, it’s long been a joke popular with the less-refined comedians that men have the sensitivity and feelings of a particularly large and dense specimen of rock. But still. . .

What are these people so afraid of? Is it being alone with their own thoughts? Possibly being disconnected from their auxiliary brains (or, as most folks know them, smartphones) for a while? Having no one else there to break the silence?

Considering that it was the entire purpose of this paper, the authors of said work do have a few opinions on the subject. (Okay, sure. It sometimes seems as if some of these papers are published merely so we’ll have someone new at whom to point and laugh, but definitely not in this case.)

“Research has shown that minds are difficult to control…and it may be particularly hard to steer our thoughts in pleasant directions and keep them there. This may be why many people seek to gain better control of their thoughts with meditation and other techniques, with clear benefits. Without such training, people prefer doing to thinking, even if what they are doing is so unpleasant that they would normally pay to avoid it. The untutored mind does not like to be alone with itself.”

So, in essence, what the study authors are saying is that people are so desperate to avoid thinking unhappy thoughts that they would rather subject themselves to electricity shooting painfully through their bodies.

If I can’t be constantly happy and thinking continuous happy thoughts, I’d rather be in pain.

That’s just. . . I mean, dudes. That’s crazy, right?

I can’t be the only one who thinks these people are in desperate need of a psychiatric intervention, can I?

Now, I know — KNOW — I’m not the most psychologically stable person around, dudes, but even I would have no problem sitting alone in a white room for a quarter of an hour. I mean, if all else fails, I’d probably just fall asleep.

Fifteen minutes? Sure. No problem. It’s when we begin to talk longer periods of time in solitary confinement that things start to get more than a little scary.

It makes me wonder if these people have ever managed to mature out of childhood, when a time out was one of the worst punishments that could be inflicted on a little dude.

You don’t have to love yourself (although you should), but at least learn to tolerate yourself.

Share on Facebook