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Repairs TO the Luthier

Posted by Chet Bishop on Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Repair Work!

History of Trouble

It has been an odd year-- I seem to have been on the sick or injured list way more than usual...and sometimes inexplicably so: belly pain, back pain, both at the same time, fever, no fever...and every time, it went away in a day or two.

Saturday the 18th of October, I had been scheduled to take a written code exam for the American Welding Society (D15.1 Railroad Welding Specification, for those of you interested in such things), about an hour's drive from home. Thursday, the 16th, at the end of the workday, I was sick again...belly and back, again, but no fever. So I stayed home and slept most of the day Friday, determined to be up and ready for the test Saturday morning.

I arrived early, and stood in line for 30-40 minutes, only to discover that my test had been rescheduled for the next morning. (sigh...) So I went home, called someone to take over the classes I usually teach on Sundays, and figured, "OK, ...Fine! I'll be there!" Meanwhile, I began to hurt again.

Ann was getting a little concerned, and she insisted I call the doctor. I didn't want to, because I figured it was a waste of money, (" ...and besides, it'll go away in a day or two.")

How Plans Change

But I went ahead and called him, and, sure enough,  he told me to head for the ER. (Ahhh, rats!) So we headed out-- it was about a 35-minute drive, and by the time we reached the exit-ramp for the hospital, the pain had increased dramatically, and had radiated all the way around my waist, at solar-plexus-height. By the time we got inside, I was really in a lot of pain. So, by 10:30 AM (the time the test would have been over, if I had not been rescheduled) I was in the ER, and by noon, I had undergone an EKG, an CT scan, an ultrasound, numerous folks looking, listening and feeling, a chest X-ray, and, ultimately, I had been admitted, and scheduled for gall-bladder removal. (sigh...gonna miss that exam!)

Well, it turned out that, back about three months ago, when I had thought I'd found a cyst or tumor or something, in my abdomen, that had actually been my gall bladder, so grossly distended that it was poking out through the abdominal that it could be felt and seen from the outside. It had disappeared again the next day, though, so I shrugged my shoulders and forgot about it. But there in the ER, it was poking out again.

Quick Response; Great Care

They scheduled me for surgery the following morning at 10:15. Ironically, the surgeon on call was the same woman who had performed the surgery four years ago when I had about a foot of my bowels removed. She walked in, gave me a conspiratorial grin, and said, "We meet again!" One of the nurses recommended, "Next time, why not just meet her at Starbucks or something..."

She is a very good surgeon, and fortunately she and her team were able to do the work laparoscopically; through 4 little incisions, as opposed to one big one...but they did tell me afterward, that the gall bladder was so big they had to partially drain it before they could get hold of it with the dinky tools they use for that sort of surgery, and, besides... they were taking the thing out through a 1" incision. The two surgeons agreed that it was "...the size of a small squash." I had no idea a gall bladder could get that big, but I am glad it is gone. I think I feel better already, and I still have a week before I can go back to work. Another great thing...the only stitches were internal-- they closed the skin itself with super-glue, so, no stitches to remove, and the scarring is minimal. (Not that it would have diminished my resale value appreciably-- I was a wreck anyway.) :-)

Every single person that contributed to my care at the hospital was a model of professionalism, compassion, and genuine care. All were completely supportive and patient, offering no criticism whatsoever, even though I must have kinked that I-V line 20 times, and set off the alarms, in my sleep. (Hard to sleep that way...know what I mean?) :-)

I am profoundly grateful for the excellent care I received.

All's Well...

They sent me home the next day, and I walked out feeling a little wobbly but otherwise just fine. I was off the pain meds in three days, and only used Tylenol and Advil after that.

The only bad thing is, I missed the written code exam, and the company I work for had paid $275 for me to sit for the test. I hope the AWS will be nice and just let me re-schedule. :-) Ah, well...

So... I have two weeks at home, and have spent a day reworking viola necks that were too thick (a recurring sin in my work.) I have a couple more to check, and then I may bend ribs for another five-string fiddle. I hope this gets me back in the saddle for a while. :-)

Thanks for reading.

6 comments on “Repairs TO the Luthier”

ChickenMan Says:
Wednesday, October 29, 2014 @3:36:28 PM

You make the third person I know of to have their gal bladder removed this summer, and one of them was only in his thirties! You might miss some fried foods but certainly not the pain. Glad to hear it was routine and without complications and I hope the exam can be rescheduled.

Chet Bishop Says:
Wednesday, October 29, 2014 @5:31:55 PM

Thanks! I will have to talk to the lady at work who authorized paying for the exam, and see if she can wheedle them into making an exception: the usual policy of AWS is, "If you are a no-show, you lost your application fee."
I hope they are reasonable enough to realize that when a person ends up in emergency surgery after they already tried to show up for the test, they are not being a flake. But I do need to just set that aside and let the two companies deal with it. It is not my money, and, in a way, none of my business. All it will do is make me worry. :-)
A really odd thing I learned through this, is that itching is a common symptom: so I thought "What itching?" I looked it up and it was specifically the upper back. My upper back has itched savagely for years...and doesn't now. I am really wondering how long this has been going on without my knowledge.

As you say, I am glad it turned out fairly routine, and that the thing is gone. Thanks for writing.


fiddlepogo Says:
Saturday, November 1, 2014 @10:17:38 PM

I'm glad to read the repairs TO the luthier went well!!!

Chet Bishop Says:
Saturday, November 1, 2014 @10:46:41 PM

Thanks, my friend. I am grateful to be on the mend. I did reach my limit today, I think...long day, culminating in a celebration of my in-laws 55th wedding anniversary. Nice, but we just got home, and I am pretty well beat. Anywho...needless to say, I am also glad that tonight is the "fall-back" to Standard time. Gaining an hour of sleep is always a good thing.

Chet Bishop Says:
Sunday, November 9, 2014 @9:54:55 PM

Ended up back in the hospital: turned out that they missed a stone that had already moved down the bile duct. Fortunately they were able to extract it through dextrous use of an endoscope and all its various attachments, so, not further surgery. Home again and seem to be improving this time.

Chet Bishop Says:
Sunday, November 9, 2014 @9:56:01 PM

BTW, the AWS kindly allowed the rescheduling of the test to next March, so we did not lose the money.

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