Monday, January 1, 2018

My First Hospital Procedure

John B. Marine | 1/01/2018 09:21:00 PM | | |
November 2017 was not an easy month for me. The passing of my grandmother followed by going to the hospital for surgery to remove an abscess and its infection has thrown me for a loop. Missing home and friends was an experience that really tested my patience. I do apologize for not being able to produce much content between these times. So now, I decided to chronicle my time in the hospital and the various thoughts I have to share. This is a rather special post for "John's Blog Space." Thank you for visiting my blog and this blog post. Let's get started!

NOTE 1: This entire blog post chronicles certain moments between November 12, 2017 and about November 24, 2017.

NOTE 2: Some of the material featured in this blog post may not be pleasant to my audience. You are reading at your own risk.

My First Hospital Procedure

This sets up the story. It began at a time when my grandmother passed away on November 4, 2017. In preparing for funeral services, I had to do some clothes shopping. I began feeling funny the Thursday I went clothes shopping. The day after was my grandmother's funeral. I began to feel a bit more uncomfortable. I began to note my scrotum enlarged and felt some kind of funny feeling in my groin. It almost felt like I had a baseball dangling. Some guys have an enlarged scrotum in much worse ways. There was even a show by a guy whose enlarged scrotum was large and weighed about 130 lbs.! I went to get some examination from an emergency care clinic, and I was told to get an ultrasound. So we went to another emergency care clinic to where I got my ultrasound done. Turns out, I had a condition that required me to go to a hospital. I then was loaded up into the back of an ambulance to a hospital.

What happened next almost seemed like a comedy of errors. The ambulance people were unable to get some advice from some of the doctors and nurses about what room I am supposed to be in or how to get there. Once I finally did arrive into my hospital room, I ended up arriving in my hospital room at about 4:40 PM Central Time as I saw the second half of the Houston Texans play at the Los Angeles Rams on the TV. As I was feeling horrible that I needed hospital support, I began to feel depressed and worried this condition was this bad. However, this medical condition wasn't as bad as my Texans getting destroyed in the 2nd half by the Rams after trailing 9-7 at Halftime. As if a single emergency care clinic could only do so much to treat whatever condition I had. To be reminded that I am loved and that there was loving concern, my mother [finally] found the hospital I was in. Since I was basically going to be in the hospital for some time, I basically needed to get adjusted to time in the hospital- including being fed. Initially, it took some time before I eventually got to be part of some meal plan. I was put on a regular diet, so it was okay for me to have almost any food I wanted offered by the hospital. Most of the diet plans instituted are for people who can't eat solid foods, have diabetes, etc. It was going to be some long time to be away from home, so I had to get adjusted to being in a hospital room while also learning the channel lineup on the TV.

Then came Monday, November 13, 2017. For the first time I can remember in my life, I was away from home by being in a hospital room. This was a time when I would be examined to find out just what is going on with me. Most of the real action took place that Monday night. Even before then, my mother came up to the hospital to check on me. She was off due to bereavement in my grandmother's passing. She even got to watch some TV. I had to be mindful that I don't want my mother to miss one of her favorite shows- "Judge Judy." So I made sure I had it on FOX 26 here in Houston so she can see "Judge Judy." Usually 7:00 PM Central Time on Monday night usually means I'm watching pro wrestling. But on this Monday, I had to go get another ultrasound and some extra diagnostic work. After having my diagnostic work done, I was carted back into my hospital room. My brother would arrive at the hospital a bit later to see me and see how I was doing. I was later told that I had some kind of abscess in my groin that required surgery to remove. Not sure if it was some ingrown hair or something. Around 11:30 PM that Monday night, surgeons arrived to take me to the surgery section of the hospital to operate on my groin area. I was given the stuff to where I would be put to sleep and not feel as much pain during the surgery process. I was returned to my hospital room still in my hospital bed. The good thing was that the abscess was removed.

Now the process of post-surgery work was to begin along with all of the recovery work.

My First Hospital Procedure: Post-Operation

After experiencing surgery, I was basically drowning in antibiotics just to treat the infection this abscess produced after my surgery. I was still ordering meals just to say nourished, but I was really beginning to miss home. However, I couldn't be too depressed or homesick because I was in a place of healing. I was still mostly a mess regardless. This abscess triggered some kind of infection that led to me feeling so bad in my groin area and my scrotum enlarged. So this began a process of being strapped to an IV Unit and having to have antibiotics streamed into my body. I also had to have my other daily medicines to be taken care of in addition to my antibiotics. I have had high blood pressure, and I was even prescribed Pepcid AC to help in the healing process. This meant seeing the nurses poking needles into me just to get strapped in. If I wasn't getting accustomed to the different nurses already, I would be. Some of the different nurses and personnel mostly ranged from nurses and physicians to those who simply checked in to do inventory. That even included some housekeepers and those who wanted to do quick surveys.

The Healing Process.

At times after the surgery, I had to have dressing in my wound to try to recover. This usually meant having gauze with some kind of solution get stuffed into my wound to help aid in limiting the blood and to try to naturally recover. The nurses would come in to change my dressing and even change up the linens on my hospital bed. I even felt the pain as the dressing was changed. One point, changing the dressing felt like ripping up jeans by the seams. It hurt like crazy! It also doesn't help having so many hairs down there that just makes the pain feel worse.

I had to make sure that I had the IV Unit was disconnected if I had to use the bathroom or take a shower. At this point, it was all about trying to get this infection treated. My mother still would come to the hospital if she was able to each day. She even called the hospital room each morning and each evening. Anything to not feel like crap or feel alone helped me to feel better each day while I was in the hospital. My mother would even would console me and kiss me before she left my hospital room as I was trying to recover. All the while, I did get to enjoy a lot of shows I didn't usually get since my parents dropped Dish Network and went to Sling. Mostly, stuff like ESPN. There were moments where I was feeling awkward trying to get up. I had to be careful getting up and walking around. In addition to walking around, I had to wear these yellow socks that were good so that I didn't slip and slide trying to walk around. I was able to use the bathroom and sit on the toilet. I felt to bad trying to use the toilet at times. The nurses even warned me to be careful and take my time getting up out of my bed. At times, I even used a urinal for when I have to urinate just to be safe and not have to use the bathroom in my hospital room. I feared often times the dressing would come out or get wet as I was trying to use the toilet or the shower. Speaking of showering, I had some kind of plastic wrap around the IV unit needle to make sure that it doesn't get wet as I showered. I had to also be careful not to wash the groin area too much to where I could possibly spread the infection. Everything went pretty okay.

Missing Home and Its Comforts.

One other way I was missing home was because I was unable to sleep on my own comfortably without having being checked on my nurses. It would probably be about 11:00 PM trying to sleep, until having to be checked on at about 3:00 AM or 4:00 AM. At times, nurses would come in to check my vitals. So I would have some nurses draw blood from me at times. I even had my blood pressure checked at these vital times. A bit later in my hospitalization, I sometimes used a respirator to make sure my lungs were still functional and that I could breathe properly.

I waited until about 7:00 AM usually to order breakfast and even brush my teeth. Brushing my teeth meant using supplied toothpaste and brush, and I also used mouthwash. I usually would just watch the morning news and maybe some SportsCenter. The food I ordered for breakfast arrived mostly in at least 45 minutes. Unlike a lot of my days at home, I welcomed the sunlight into my hospital room. I also just got to see cars drive by looking out the window. The room service people were very kind to call me if I wanted to request meals now or for later. I mostly follow the recommended times of day to schedule my meal plan for each day. Usually, these were my times of requesting meals:

• BREAKFAST: around 7:00 AM
• LUNCH: around 11:30 AM or 12:30 PM
• DINNER: around 5:00 or thereafter

I was missing home while also wondering when this infection would finally die down. Instead, I was watching a lot of shows like Dish Nation, The Chew, Harry, and (I'm afraid to admit) Judge Judy. My mother still would come to the hospital if she could just to see me in the afternoons. Since I was in the hospital, it also meant I got to enjoy watching college football- which I am a big fan of. I almost felt a bit spoiled with all of this trying to make sure I remained entertained and not think so much about when I'm going to eventually be discharged. I sometimes had to have some kind of snack when the room service dining was done for the day. So it meant I had to have something to keep me fed to avoid being hungry. That something? Snickers bars. The moment I felt hungry at night, I would eat a Snickers bar to stay fed. Since Snickers talks about "you not being you when you're hungry," I began to admit Snickers really does fill you up just enough to justify this slogan.


Speaking of being discharged, I just wanted the moment to tell my mother that I'll be finally discharged. Just when I get my hopes up that I can return home, I get held up some extra time. There was one point where I was starting to feel depressed that I am being held up for longer rather than return home and get back to things like blogging and making content online. I even felt like I needed to tell my social media profiles that I have been in the hospital for at least a week.

One of the worst feelings was missing out on being at home with my family on Thanksgiving. So that meant I had to make my own Thanksgiving dinner. I went ahead and ordered as lunch: a roast turkey breast, cornbread stuffing, and a Sprite. I don't have cranberry sauce or anything. It was basically my Thanksgiving. Good news around Thanksgiving was that I was beginning to feel much better and didn't have to have antibiotics streamed into me so often. I went from injected antibiotics to oral antibiotics in my recovery. All the while I was still held up as it was mostly because of a high white blood cell count. That really was part of the reason why I stayed in the hospital for a number of days. I wouldn't get discharged until it went down.

Then on about November 24, 2017 (Black Friday of 2017); I got the word from physicians that I would be discharged on Black Friday. I immediately told my mother that I was ready to be discharged. I wouldn't leave the hospital until I got some extra medical supplies to help treat the wound in my right groin area where the surgery to my abscess took place. After being in a hospital bed for so long, I was finally taken into a wheelchair ready to go home, but not without getting some prescribed material from a pharmacy. Even though my hospital wardrobe was mostly medical gowns, my cute yellow socks, and sometimes some medical mesh underwear; it felt great to wear actual clothes again prior to my official discharge. I knew I could slowly return to going back to normal when I got into my mother's car and saw a Porsche Panamera right in front of me. I then started seeing more interesting cars going from the hospital to the pharmacy. Since I was a little hungry, I went to Burger King to get a chicken club sandwich. That would be my meal going home from the hospital.

I have felt a lot better returning home. Just had to make sure to get up every now and then and walk around just to stay fresh. I even checked all of my social media profiles and the various online communities I was a part of to let everyone know how I was doing. It also made me want to make some online stuff already since my time in the hospital. I actually planned on doing this blog post about my hospital procedure long ago, but I never completed it and released it until now.

Though it was a long time returning home, it felt good to return back to normal while also being free of this abscess and its infection. Now on to some stories from my time in the hospital not related to the surgery. That is the next section.

My First Hospital Procedure: Other Thoughts and Moments

This section of this blog post relates to certain non-hospital related material. Mostly thoughts and other moments. Here are some extra notes as well as some lighthearted material:

• The first thing I was thinking was that the confusion early on was just sad. My mother even felt disappointed that one of the nurses was writing something down on a napkin, mostly feeling a lack of professionalism.

• When I was watching the Houston Texans game at the Los Angeles Rams, the Texans were down 9-7. As the Texans were getting hammered by the Rams, I almost felt like the whole 2017 team needed more therapy than I needed. The 2017 NFL season was a lost cause for the Texans anyways with all the injuries. It was just painful to watch- despite myself being in pain before getting the surgery.

• The remote to the TV had an extra speaker to it so I could hear what I was watching in mono sound. It was cool to me because it meant I could specifically hear certain things and details than I would miss with stereo sound.

• I got to communicate with some of the hospital staff quite well. One of the cool ones was this guy who was a Star Wars fan as well as a gamer. We had some chats about gaming and stuff at one point. It is always great when you get to come across people who can relate to or get along with. Sadly, his nose was broken late in my time at the hospital. So I had to hope he would be alright. I also did my impression to him of the sound bit as sports commentator Joe Buck announced the Houston Astros winning the 2017 World Series over the Los Angeles Dodgers. Great guy.

• At one point, I joked to a housekeeper that I needed prayer to get this pain out of my system. What she did later surprised me and made me respect her- she said a prayer to me. We held hands while she provided this seemingly impromptu prayer to me. She was very nice. And so when she would come in to do housekeeping, it was great.

• Housekeeping wasn't entirely good though. There were about three times me and my mother would request the bathroom toilet get cleaned, and it finally was cleaned about a day later by a housekeeper.

• About three different times, I noted helicopters flying onto the helipad of the hospital to bring over patients in their hospital bed. I even was able to get out of my hospital bed to see one patient come into the hospital from the helicopter.

• Some of the nurses were helpful and encouraging. Not to say they all weren't though. There was a point where I was feeling depressed that I was being held over for longer than I was. One of those nurses was able to help me regain my happiness and calm down.

• Almost every nurse was helpful, but one seemed very confused. In order to draw blood while hooked into an IV unit, most of the work was done to my left arm. One nurse started drawing blood to my right arm and even to my right wrist. It felt even more awkward trying to rest and even move about with the IV unit drawing from my right arm as opposed to my left. I think she even was trying to tape up my groin wound strangely. I was... squeamish at best.

• I have been in the hospital for a total of 12 days. But really, since I was discharged after 4:40 PM on that Friday, it was *officially* 13 days I been in the hospital, and it was about 4:40 PM on a Sunday that I made it into my hospital room.

• One of the things I did before returning to my content producing online was devote my newest blog, "John's Life Space" in loving memory of my grandmother. That blog features my discussion of life issues and offer advice to help others. You can visit JLS later in this post if you are interested.

There is one more bit of lighthearted material I have to share, and warrants its own section. So go to the next section!

My First Hospital Procedure: Food

This requires its own section. As much I hated being cooped up in a hospital bed and being drenched in antibiotics to battle an infection, one thing was great for me being in the hospital- the food was bomb! I had to get all set up and everything for my first day. I was on a regular diet, so almost anything I ordered was fair game. There was a service called "At Your Request Room Service Dining" from a company called Sodexo, which I didn't know was a French company. People could request meals at different times of day. You could even have (for example) breakfast for dinner or dinner for breakfast. I checked off the different food items I tried out while in the hospital. What you will see here is all the different food items I tried out. So here goes...

--- Breakfast Items ---
• Juices and Fruits:
apple juice, orange juice

• Morning Fare:
Cholesterol Free Scrambled Eggs, Buttermilk Pancakes, Buttermilk Biscuit and Country Gravy

• Create Your Own:
Breakfast Sandwich

• Beverages:

--- Lunch-Dinner ---
• American Comforts:
Grilled Lime Cilantro Chicken Breast, Macaroni and Cheese, Roast Turkey Breast, White Fish (choice of Salmon or White Fish)

• South of the Border
Grilled Quesadilla - Chicken

• Grill Favorites
Grilled Chicken Breast Sandwich, Chicken Tenders

• From the Garden:
Side Salad - Creamy Cole Slaw

• Specialty Sandwich and Wraps
Spicy Ham and Swiss Flatbread Melt (delicious! Old World style flat breat filled with smoked ham, Swiss cheese, plum tomato, and spicy brown mustard. The "spicy" comes from this sandwich having jalepeños in it, which I found out one time I ordered it), Wraps: BLT, Grilled Chicken Caesar

• Accompaniments:
steamed broccoli, seasonal vegetables, cornbread stuffing, French fries, Macaroni and Cheese

• Desserts:
Baked apple crisp, Cookies: chocolate chip

--- Mindful by Sodexo ---
• Clear Liquid:
Juices: apple, Carbonated: Sprite

• Full Liquid:
Juices: Orange

Because I would be unable to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family back at home, I basically made my own Thanksgiving meal. So what I did was order roast turkey breast with some cornbread stuffing. I was mostly feeling better before eventually being discharged from the hospital the day after Thanksgiving. Some of the food and drink items were healthy choices. I didn't mark which ones were the healthy choices.

I admit I was a bit spoiled by being on a Regular Diet and trying out these various food and drink items. My mother even joked that the hospital food was making it tough for me to get discharged from the hospital! But what else do you expect when you got some good eats? The hospital food was bomb, mates! :D

Now with that lighthearted material out of the way, I learned some serious things about this experience in the hospital. That will be the final section of this blog post.

My First Hospital Procedure: Lessons Learned and Final Thoughts

There are some important takeaways from this experience.

Lesson Learned: I Am Loved.

Some time as I was able to return to being on social media, I received an overwhelming amount of comments from my Facebook friends and family. People noticed I haven't been around for some time since my time in the hospital. I was so pleased so many people commented to me in my return home. Prior to discussing my hospital experience, I received many comments when I mentioned my grandmother passing away. So many people offered their condolences to me in the wake of my grandmother passing away. Usually, the only real time I get so much comments from my Facebook friends is usually when it is my birthday. I was pleased that so many people missed me and that I was so respected.

I didn't need people to assure me that I mean something in their lives. However, it was nice to know that people do care about me and do regard me in such a positive light. Even people who usually don't react to my posts or communicate with me offered their love. You mean something to people. For me to get so many positive and heartwarming comments just made me feel special and loved. Again- I didn't need any proof that I am loved and that people actually read my stuff, but I was pleased to know my presence in this world is a great one and that I mean so much to various people.

One thing I do not take for granted is love among my family. Just the fact my mother would call me almost every morning and almost every evening while also coming up to the hospital shows I have a loving and supportive family. It also meant I never should feel alone or unloved regardless of what conditions I face. This was a reassuring feeling.

Lesson Learned: Psychology of Hospitalization.

Being cooped up in a hospital is a terrible feeling. You are away from home and others. Remember, though- the hospital is a place of healing. There are people who have injuries or certain medical conditions that prevent them from living life comfortably and free. So when you hear of people who have only so long to live, it becomes depressing because you know you have only so long to enjoy what life you have. Therefore, it is great when individuals do their part to help people in hospitals by offering happiness and hope.

I mentioned at one point feeling depressed that I was in the hospital for an extended period time. There was nothing I can do about it because I was still being taken care of to get back to normal health. I ended up feeling great I could return to doing what I love and living my life again instead of being attached to an IV unit or needing surgery to remove some abscess and treat its impending infection. If you have the chance to uplift the spirits of people in hospitals, do what you can to help people feel better.

Salutes I'd Like to Share.

I take nothing for granted. I want to say I am thankful to have a loving family whom are concerned with me. Most people have families and famiiy members who can't stand each other. I am thankful to have a loving and caring mother as well as love from my brother and some of my other family members. I am pleased so many people have shown concern for me as I was away for so long. Even people on Facebook who normally don't communicate with me shown their concern either when my grandmother passed away or when I was in the hospital for almost two weeks. Most of all, I want to thank all of the hospital personnel and all of the nurses and physicians who helped me to recover from this surgery and the horrible infection to my groin area.

I now feel mostly normal again. I couldn't have felt happier and healthier had it not been for the loving support of family and friends, and also for the nurses and physicians who helped me to feel better. I am eternally thankful and grateful for all of the loving support in getting my life back to normal.

Final Thoughts.

As terrible as it is to have had this infection, what had to be done had to be done so I could return to living life normally. While I had to deal with the passing of my grandmother, life happens. This all was part of a 2017 that meant a lot happening to me in my life- dental work to remove a tooth and a cyst, Hurricane Harvey, my grandmother's passing, and being hospitalized. This has been a rough 2017 to say the least. Yet still, I counted my blessings and remained positive. Getting love and respect from my family and friends in trying times is enough to encourage me to remain strong and keep doing what I love. And for that, I am truly grateful.

That is the conclusion of this blog post. I say this often to my sincere and loyal audience, but I really mean it here:

Thank all of you for your loving support. I love all of you.

And also thank you for reading this blog post! Take care and be well.

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