This is a post about testicles, as you may have surmised from the title. The term “testicular action” arose during a family vacation to Yellowstone National Park about ten years ago. Mr. Stuck coined the phrase when the boys noticed the stark difference between the momma bison and daddy bison. It has been in use in this household as a palatable euphemism ever since, especially in mixed company. Rest assured, I will handle the subject with care.
I raised two sons…past tensebecause I’m sure they absorbed just about all they possibly can of my motherly wisdom, and what hasn’t killed them made them stronger, or something. I tell you this because it has changed what I know about testicles, ten fold. I am outnumbered by them, and they influenced everything around me. In partial and humorous acknowledgment of that fact, some years back I bought Mr. Stuck a set of Bulls Balls (R), a molded plastic reproduction of your choice of either a human or bull scrotum that is meant to be mounted at the rear of your vehicle. (Great Christmas gift idea, by the way.)
I thought they were funny as hell (still do), and they prompted quite a number of comments and finger-pointing over the years. Eventually they either fell off or were stolen, so I may have to replace them with the 2nd generation style. My sense of humor. Anyway.
You may already know that I have two Chihuahuas in the house: Bo, the Epileptic Chihuahua, and Camo. Camo we got as a puppy a few months before we got Bo. Camo is a handsome devil and he knows it; he is also a tyrant and a hormonal teenager. He terrorizes Bo constantly. Bo was fixed long before he came to live with us, and he’s always on drugs, so he pays Camo no mind unless he’s near his food. Lately, Camo has been ‘overly attentive’ to Bo, leading us to again discuss (with vehemence) having him neutered. (Unlike our other pets, Camo was never fixed, because friends had expressed interest in him siring pups with their dogs.)
Which brings me to this: Neuticles, Testicular Implantation for Pets. Yes, you read that right. I thought Mr. Stuck was pulling my leg when he mentioned it. I had to look it up for myself. Sure enough, over half a million pets have been ‘Neuticled’ since 1995. Heck, they even have the below photo of the abundantly breast-tacular Kim Kardashian and her beloved Rocky as testimonial to how wonderful they are.
You can get a whole range of sizes, from jelly bean on up to real bull. No, I am not going to get Camo implants. To me, that’s money better spent elsewhere, and ridiculous, besides. But apparently it is perfectly reasonable for 500,000 other folks out there who may never have had their pet’s procedure done without implants.
To be fair, the company sells ear-stiffening implants and eye implants for pets, as well. I never realized there was a market for any of these things.
So last Tuesday, the 10th of December, I went in for my surgery.
We reported in at just after 7 a.m.; actually, I was standing just inside the building near the reception door waiting for Mr. Stuck to take care of the parking fare when the check-in desk called to ask where I was. I had been standing there a few minutes already, watching him through the window, but I hadn’t checked in because I was pocket-less and he held my ID and insurance card. Eventually man bested machine, and then he was standing next to me, handing her my driver’s license. We finished our paperwork and had just found a seat in the waiting area when they called me to prep.
At prep, all of the normal things happened: I was fitted with my bracelets, I changed into my hospital gown and non-skid, unisex tube socks, I settled into the gurney with a blanket (a heated-air blanket, even!) an IV was started, and my surgeon stopped in. In between, I met several nurses, a nurse-anesthetist, my anesthesiologist, a patient care technician or two, and the assisting doctors. I also said and spelled my whole name several times and confirmed my birth date to anyone who asked; in the fray I was also answering questions, the same questions I had been asked and had answered before: who is your doctor? what is he going to do?
I remember being rolled out of there into an elevator and then into the operating room. The last thing I remember is a nurse talking to me after emptying a syringe into my IV port and putting a mask on me, but even that’s a bit fuzzy in my mind.
I guess it took me awhile to wake up; I was two hours in recovery before I was brought to my room and Mr. Stuck was allowed to visit. Sure seemed warm in the room; I kept kicking off blankets and requesting ice chips and cold washcloths for my forehead. No fever, but I was just too warm. Besides my pain control IV, I was hooked up to a couple of monitors as well as oxygen, because my O2 level kept dipping. My respiratory rate is slow and always has been, and the monitor didn’t like that at all. Periodically, the respiration monitor (whatever it’s called) would go off because I wasn’t breathing fast enough and it apparently thought I had stopped. No, I was still breathing, just at my own, slow, pace.
Each time I hit the button to get more hits of Dilaudid, a cycle began: the narcotic entered my bloodstream; I would relax and drift off; the alarms would sound as my respiration slowed and my oxygen dipped; I would wake with a start and sharp inhale; the monitor, assured I was again breathing, would go silent (most of the time), and with my muscles tense and heart pounding I would again feel the pain and need the Dilaudid. Over and over and over this played out. The oximeter’s alarm was about four times louder than the respiratory alarm and sometimes the alarms wouldn’t cancel once my stats came back into their ‘normal’ zone, and I would have to wait for a nurse to silence them. This went on from the time I came back to my room until after 2 a.m. — about twelve hours! It was awful and it just wouldn’t stop. If the nurses were getting tired of the routine, and they were, you can imagine how I felt. When they called him, the doctor told the nurses that I was exactly the type of patient who needed those monitors on. I’m sure he’s right, but it was a long, sleepless night.
Around 2 a.m., the doctor allowed the alarm to be turned off on the respiration monitor as long as they got me a better cannula (the nasal oxygen tube) so my oxygen saturation would rise. Thank the Lord. I was able to get a few hours of shuteye until the resident doctors made their rounds some time around 6 a.m.. But at least I finally — finally! — got some sleep.
It took a long time the next day to get discharged, but we finally did, and we made it home after stopping to pick up my prescriptions. I suddenly took very cold and started to shake; even my teeth chattered. I had been so overheated in the hospital, but now I was freezing! This was the anesthesia talking. Mr. Stuck tucked me into bed with extra blankets and got me my medication. My belly was bloated and sore; I just wanted some rest. After a few hours, I awoke to rejoin the family.
I’m glad everything went so smoothly for my surgeon; apparently, chaos reigned (rained, too) at home. Bo, the Epileptic Chihuahua had suffered a couple of seizures. Number One Son ran his car out of oil. Number Young Son’s car has to quickly be rendered safe and drivable to give NOS a way to work. Mr. Stuck’s truck has been inoperable for several days, waiting for a special tool, because it is leaking fuel. But these are not things for me to worry and kvetch on; my job is to rest and get better.
Today, four days after surgery, here’s what I know:
Although at first disappointed that I didn’t get a heated-air gown, I found that the heated-air blanket is just as good.
I have five neat incisions from an inch to an inch and a half long on my belly, which is still a little sore inside. No tape, because I’m allergic, but all 5 healing nicely.
I am still burping from a lot of trapped air (‘scuse me), but I am not so bloated now, and I am sleeping well.
I’m not hungry, but I am thirsty, so I am constantly sipping small amounts of fluids.
Last night I didn’t need to get up and take pain medicine at all during the night. Yay!
I am tolerating strained soup, protein shakes, tea, jello, and water just fine.
Mixing ground-up prescription pills into your food and drink is worse than nasty, and I will stop doing it the very moment I can. Bad memories of marshmallow creme and crushed aspirin came flooding back. Mr. Stuck says Actigall is worse than anything I’m taking. I’ll take his word for it.
Omeprazole is my new best friend. After the couch and the heating pad, I mean.