For several years doctors had expressed concern about my hernia. But I never had it looked into … that is until the last week in November (right before Thanksgiving). Around that time I felt some minor discomfort in the lower abdominal area, and finally decided to follow up on my doc’s referral.
Presented with my cycling plans for Summer 2011, the hernia specialist convinced me to schedule surgery sooner than later. I had to weigh completing a 3rd consecutive R-12 (36 straight months of cycling a 200k or longer event) against minimizing problems that could arise ‘round PBP time (1200 km from Paris to Brest and back next August). I opted for the latter, and scheduled the “hernia repair surgery” on December 1.
The surgeon made it sound like no big deal. Minimally invasive “bilateral laparoscopic” is what he called the procedure, and I was under the impression I’d be back to my old biking self by the end of the month. When a nurse called later with specifics about the operation, and asked “You have scheduled time off work, haven’t you?,” I got the first hint that this was bigger, more time-consuming deal that initially envisioned. The bigger-deal-ness was confirmed when I was later told that I would need to be driven home from the hospital afterwards, and that I should have someone stay overnight during my first evening at home.
It was painful to get in and out of bed, and in and out of a car. Other than that, I was basically okay, as long as I didn’t lift anything. After a couple days of Vicoden, I switched to Advil and Ibuprofen, which I continued to stay on for quite a while, especially after Laurel Leverton convinced me that it was important to control was inflammation in order for healing to occur. I returned to host the Sunday tango practica on December 5th (but only as host and DJ, as Megan taught the lesson), and to work on Monday the 6th. I tried bike-commuting to work about a week later, but the lower right abdomen felt a little funky afterwards. Many nurse-type friends put the fear of God into me about not aggravating things prematurely, saying that the messiest procedure is often the second surgery, to repair a first one not taken care of.