THE OPERATION

I scheduled the operation for January 13, 1998 and had the pre-op about 4 days prior to the surgery. I arrived at the hospital at 10 am and put into a bed at 11 am with an IV put into my hand. My anesthesiologist came by in 10 min. and told me he was going to give me something to make me relax and injected a tranquilizer into the tube connected to the IV and that was the last I remembered till I awoke. The latest technique at that point in time was to insert a disposable balloon in the cavity below the belly button and inflate the balloon with about 13 mm of Hg pressure (direct inflation with carbon dioxide was used at one time but for adverse side reactions now a balloon is used). An incision of about 1/2 inch is made directly below the belly button and a puncture mark 3-4 inches directly below that to allow for the insertion of instruments carrying the synthetic mesh payload. Immediately upon awaking, I was made to stand and walk but had difficulty walking as my left leg was almost useless. One of the requirements prior to being released is that you urinate and that was not a problem.. I was put in a wheel chair and put into my car (no, you can't drive as you are still groggy and in pain). At home I ascended the stairs one foot at a time and got in bed ... the pain medication made me sleepy and I sleep fairly well, considering! Basically, I only had pain when I moved. The pain was the most the second day, a little less the third day and even less the fourth day. It took about 3-4 days after the operation before I could move my bowels (that is normal). As long as I stayed in bed on my back it didn't hurt, however, when I moved or tried to get out of bed it HURT! The first two days I had to urinate in a bed pan and couldn't get to the bathroom 10 steps away because of the surgical complication with my leg. I couldn't put any weight on the leg and if I did I would fall.

COMPLICATIONS

By ten days to two weeks most of the pain associated directly with the surgery had gone, but I had complications in that 1) I couldn't lift my leg even a few inches and I had severe pain on both sides of my groin as if a rope was digging in the area and was being tightened. An awful feeling. I should not have had these complications and they were so severe I made an appointment with the surgeon three weeks later and told him to remove the mesh from inside me. Later, I discovered most likely during the surgery the mesh was put over the nerves to my leg and caused me the problem. The associated pain from my leg and tightened rope feeling lasted about a month (seven weeks after the operation). To help reduce the pain and soreness I used ice packs in the area for about 2 weeks). It took me almost two months before I could walk without the feeling of dragging my leg. Remember, I chose the laparoscopic technique because I thought it would be less painful and I would be up and around in a few weeks. WRONG.

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CONCLUSION

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