Monday, May 21, 2012

Under the Knife

The word surgery is based on the Latin "chirugiae" meaning "hand work."

Some of the earliest known surgeries include ceasarians and istrpanations, a procedure in which a small hole is drilled into the skull. Evidence is found in prehistoric remains dating back to Neolithic times that many early surgical patients survived, if not thrived, following these early surgeries some nine thousand years ago.

Later, the Ancient Greeks decided the practice of medicine should be more specialized, with physicians treating different diseases or parts of the body, as documented by Herodotus.  And let us not forget to mention Hippocrates who stated in his oath in 400 BC that general physician must never practice surgery -- those are to be conducted by specialists.

All of this is a rather long preamble to remind those who know and inform those followers who do not that both "J" and "L" of J and L Research and Exploration have been "under the knife" as it were, within the first four months of the year, and thought this mini-milestone bore reflection. 

For Laureen, it turned out to be a fairly simply surgical procedure.  Happily, as she has had a series of major and minor procedures over time; this turned out to be one of the easy ones. But as with all surgical procedures, this one was approached prayfully, with solemnity and cautious respect.  A trusted surgeon, a well-stocked recovery home (chicken soup, crackers, comfy clothes, etc.), and all the appropriate phone calls and visitors were received.  There is absolutely nothing to ease the soul before going into the unknown like knowing one had to opportunity to hug, to say "I love you," and know that someone who cares, will be there waiting for you. With John taking off time from work to make the first several days more comfortable...the worst she had to contend with was boredom and noisy puppy dogs.

For John, this was his third surgery and he truly dodged the bullet on this one. A relatively common procedure, a simple hernia, possibly two, became three hernias and a benign tumor.  The one hernia, which had eluded detection, had all but ruptured and could not be repaired in the modern conventional method (mesh, etc) but required more serious intervention.  The surgeon spent three and half hours restoring the torn and twisted body to a semblance of health.  John's hopes of returning to work in just under two weeks vanished along with what was left of his pride upon hearing he had had a rather negative reaction to anesthesia -- apparently demanding to be freed from his hospital bed and have his clothes returned.  One never knows how drugs will affect you.  Kids, just a reminder, as Nancy Reagan said, don't do drugs -- Just say NO! 

But this was a surgery that almost didn't happen.  The cardiologist had his doubts -- and the anesthesiologist almost cancelled the surgery because of a bad stress test.  Yet, when Dr. Rivera, the surgeon, reported how lucky we were to have caught the one sneaky hernia before it completely ruptured and led to much more serious complications, the perspective changed. Such is always the way is life -- weighing risks versus benefits.

We've come away with the keen awareness that as our daughter stated, any, every surgery is serious. One simply never knows. Laureen's was expected to be more serious - luckily, it was simple.  John's was expected to be simple - it was far from it. Every sunrise, every phone call, matter. The visits, calls, cards from friends and family before and immediately after surgery meant a lot. And calling again, to be certain that patient and caregiver were both well - meant more than most of you will ever know.  And more than we hope you ever have to experience.  We thank our daughters and their boyfriends for visiting before the surgeries to make sure the house was in order and sending us off with happy thoughts. We thank our daughters, sisters, mother, for the many phone calls to make sure that both patient and caregiver were well, and for your offers to help.  Though they will probably never read this blog, John of J&L would like to offer his thanks for the support and care to a complete stranger whom he hired to do some construction projects about the abode and this man stood reassuring him that everything would be fine, not to worry about the job or the billing until John became stronger.  Obviously the bill was paid upon completion, but the kind thoughts had been placed in the open by this wonderful individual.. And a strong thanks to a part of the J&L team, Paul who is always there for both of us, especially for John on this latest adventure below the surgeon's steel.

From J & L we just want everyone to realize that health is more important than anything else on this round ball we refer to as earth since it is our health, if we keep it strong and viable, which will allow us the many opportunities in the future to complete research and began the exploration of the many marvelous things surrounding us. 

And is not that what life should be about?