Tag Archives: Nurse

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.

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Stop Me, I’m Drooling: More Space Porn

Dudes, these are the types of pictures that are the reasons why I have plastic covers over my keyboard. I’m just not sure the MacBook Pro could withstand the dripping drool when I see these sorts of pictures.

For almost 25 years, the Hubble Space Telescope has been orbiting the Earth and sending back astonishing pictures of the rest of the universe. Time Magazine managed to corral 29 of the best images and put them up on the web. I found them. I couldn’t look away.

love seeing pictures from the Hubble Space Telescope that gives us a glimpse out into the wider universe, far beyond these few hills and this tiny wisp of oxygen wrapped around a hard, rocky shell, bathing in the warm light of a small, yellow sun in an unfashionable arm of a spiral galaxy.

They’re just so cool!

Pictures of space used to be nice, but they never really provoked this kind of lust in my young heart. I think mostly that was because the pictures were rather, well, flat. That is, because the resolution wasn’t that good from the cameras and telescopes, all the stars and stellar nurseries and suchlike looked like they’d been painted on a flat, black background.

Now, though. . . Now. . .

With the optics on the Hubble Space Telescope, orbiting above the Earth, beyond the atmosphere which distorts and ripples the waves of light traveling from far distant places, we get a real feeling of depth in these views. Looking at them, I get the feeling that they’re actually real! You know?

There’s a three-dimensionality to pictures like this one. I feel like I could fall through the screen and go screaming on to view this very picture in real life.


Look at the colors in this swirling heart of a spiral galaxy. Even better, look at the center of this accumulation of stars and gas. See the bright white area?

That’s the center of this particular galaxy. And, in the center, is where the stars are packed the most closely together, which accounts for the bright white aspect of it.

Here’s the thing, though, that to me makes this such an outstanding picture. It almost looks like the swirling colors around the heart of this galaxy are walls surrounding a bright object.

As if you could get near this and see the ridge of glowing colored gas surrounding the white center. It’s actually real.

It doesn’t get much cooler than that.

And then you skip on to the next picture and get your mind blown again. And again. And again.

I could go on all day. Instead, I’m going to just point you in the direction of the website with 29 of the Hubble’s best pictures and let you take a look for yourself.

Before I go, though, let me leave you with one last picture.

It’s of the Tarantula Nebula, so called because of the spidery limb-like protrusions in this collection of dust and gas illuminated by stars hidden within. Look. Enjoy.



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Blood Tales: Freedom

by Richard

We arrived at the Charlotte emergency room of Presbyterian Hospital late on a Saturday night. I spent the night there getting more x-rays to make sure I hadn’t broken anything other than my nose and being pumped full of IV fluids and blood.

On Sunday, I had recovered enough to be able to sit up in bed and wonder why TV stunk so much. Fortunately, USA Network had a marathon of NCIS, which, while consistently pretty bad, was at least better than anything else on that day.

Around noon or so, some lovely nurses came into my room and wheeled me down to a surgical floor to have my long-delayed endoscopy done, in which they were going to whack me out on various drugs and then stick a camera down my throat to see if they could determine from where and why I had been bleeding. Normally when I have these kind of non-major surgeries done, the medications take effect sort of slowly and allow me to know when stuff is going to start happening.

Not this time.

I was chatting with the nurse, watching her wave her hand in front of the slim camera that was soon to go down my throat and seeing the hand on the television monitor and, literally, the next thing I knew was that I was in another room with different nurses and had my wife, known to me as She Who Must Be Getting Pretty Sick Of This Kind Of Thing, sitting next to me.

They hit me with good news right away. They didn’t find any cancer or actively bleeding areas. They did see places where I had been bleeding, but nothing was going on when they went in there. Here’s what the doctors think happened. I’d been taking four Aleve a day to help with the shoulder pain. I’d also been taking one 325-mg aspirin a day. I’d also been taking one Plavix each day. Both the aspirin and the Plavix are a result of the heart attack and they work to keep the blood from clotting.

The doctors figure that the aspirin and the Aleve irritated the lining of my stomach enough that it started to bleed and, because I was taking Plavix, it didn’t stop bleeding for a long while. Which led to me losing about half of my blood volume.

Because they’re not 100 percent certain of this, I’m going to have to let them take a look up the other direction with their intrusive little cameras later this month, but that’s a worry for another day.

Right now, I’m on the mend. My hemoglobin count has risen to 10.3, which, while still low, is much better. I’m still tired like you wouldn’t believe and get out of breath just walking across parking lots, but, dudes, at least I can walk across parking lots.

I’m looking at this as a net positive in that I didn’t die and they didn’t find anything horribly wrong with me that was causing the bleeding. And, of course, it gave me another great story with which to make fun of myself and that’s always good.

So, as of this moment, I’m concentrating on resting and getting better. And any time someone tells me I have to take a nap, well, dudes, that’s a great time.

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