Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Post Hernia Surgery

On August 19th I finally had surgery to repair an ingruinal hernia.  It was an operation that I had put off for about 2 years.  I've been recovering for a week now and I have a few pearls of wisdom to impart.

My surgery was laparoscopic and it is described well on WebMD, in my opinion.

I have to mention that, as someone new to the whole hospital experience, several things happened post surgery that were unexpected.  Firstly, I left the hospital with a tube inserted into my abdomen which provided a continual dose of pain killing lidocaine for the first 2 days of recovery.  I also received four prescriptions for drugs for pain, swelling, and nausea.  Secondly, there's the bloating and constipation.  Laying in bed with my body partly sedated for days led to some backup in the pipes, so to speak.  Only drinking plenty of water and coming off of the lidocaine and other pain killers gave me some eventual relief.  Thirdly, I had no idea that I would have a breathing tube and a catheter during my surgery.  I never saw either but the anesthetist told me about the breathing tube and I felt the results of the catheter later in the day.  It felt like I went to the hospital to get a hernia fixed and I left with an STD - ouch that burns.  Besides the burning it took far longer to urinate than I ever thought.  It was an event.  Pause the movie because this is gonna take a while.  The breathing tube left me with several nights of acid reflux.  So that's what  they mean by general anesthesia.  The final thing I noticed post surgery was the swelling which was not so much at the surgery site but more around my waist.  Eating normally and being completely sedentary spiked my weight to about 156 lbs. or about 8 lbs. above my current weight.  That's 29 lbs above my 2011 Ironman Florida (IMFL) weight of 127 lbs. and 24 lbs. above my 2013 IMFL weight of 132 lbs.  I had to buy new larger pants before going back to work and lets face it, body weight matters when trying to me competitive.

Ultimately, I'm glad that I finally got this surgery done.  It works well into my plan to compete in the 2016 Ironman Chattanooga race in 13 months.  It also makes me more inclined to prevent any future activities that might cause another hernia.  I'm almost 100% sure that this hernia was caused by sneezing after an open water swim session in a local lake.  In the future I'll be sure to have plenty of nasal spray on-hand.  Past practice has shown that using this product cuts my sneezing episodes from dozens over a 24 hour period to about 4 sneezes within the first hour after coming out of the water.  It should also remove the errant flesh eating amoeba from my sinus cavity, hopefully

On the bright-side I got to sit on the couch and watch the first two seasons of Vikings and the first season on Strike Back.  I'm trying to fill the void until Game of Thrones comes back on TV.

I know that this type of operation is not a big deal in the whole grand scheme of things especially when others are confronting far more serious health issues.  I'm just happy I didn't say something stupid while I was sedated or, if I did, no one said anything afterward.

Thanks to my surgeon Dr. Winger and the staff at Peidmont Fayette Hospital for the good care.

Sorry, no pictures!    

Thanks for reading.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Kayaking the Hooch - Part 3

For at least the last two years the Chattahoochee Riverkeeper (CRK) organization has hosted a three part Discovery Series of guided paddling excursions down the Chattahoochee River.  Susan and I completed part 1 of the series last year but were unable to join the other two parts of the series until 2015.  We completed part 2 of the series last month.  This is my report from the third and final part of the series on Saturday, August 1st which starts at Johnson Ferry and ends at Paces Mill.

I brought along my Garmin 910XT watch, Garmin Virb Elite video camera, Olympus Stylus Tough 6000 camera, and Samsung S5 cellphone to capture the trip.  Most of the images were taken with the Olympus camera and only a few with the cellphone.  All four devices are water tolerant to varying degrees.  The map below was captured with the 910XT watch which was left on for the duration.  I captured several snippets of video with the with the Virb and this time I've included the various data metrics for speed, distance, etc.  I neglected to do that in the Kayaking the Hooch - Part 2 report.

Per my Garmin watch, this trip covered a distance of 7.31 miles and took just under 3 1/2 hours to complete, start to finish including breaks.  The whole trip was 7 1/2 hours for Susan and I.  We left home at 7 a.m. and returned at 2:30 p.m.  It was a long day but what a treat.  The north side of Atlanta is sooo nice.  Beautiful homes, landscaping everywhere, friendly people, plenty of safe, clean recreational facilities, restaurants, shopping, etc.  Susan was so content that even after stung by a bee during lunch she smiled afterwards.  Not surprisingly, Susan had packed some Benadryl in our lunch bag.  She took a pill to minimize her reaction to the sting.    

We arrived at 8 a.m. at the put-in location at the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, Johnson Ferry unit, North entrance.  We unloaded our boats by the ramp to the river and waited.

Unloaded - Wait here!
While Susan and a few others waited with our gear the rest of us caravanned to the take-out location at the Paces Mill Palisades Unit park off of Cobb Parkway.  There is a mandatory $3 fee for parking at the park.  Fortunately there is a credit/debit card machine if you don't have the correct change.  After we were assured that all those who were planning to join us had arrived, we loaded into the trolley and headed back to the put-in location.  The road distance between the two locations was about 9 miles or 20 minutes drive time due to traffic.

The trolley
Our guide, Ranger Jerry Hightower took the trolley ride as an opportunity to address a captive audience with tales about the river.

Trolley ride
Back at the Johnson Ferry ramp we finished any final prep before departing.

Final preparations of the group's gear 
Ranger Jerry and trip organizer Tammy Bates addressed the group and went over a few safety tips.   They also introduced the other volunteers that would be accompanying our group.

Safety briefing
The video below is the start of the trip.  It begins at the Johnson Ferry boat ramp and covers the initial 11 or so minutes of the trip.

Here we go!
During the previous trip I used the waterproof case for the Garmin Virb.  I elected to forgo that added protection on this trip.  The little amount of water that splashed on the camera was well within its IPX7 rating which is defined as "Withstands incidental exposure to water of up to 1 meter for up to 30 minutes."

My kayak watch and camera setup
A brief lecture stop
One of the CRK volunteers
Ranger Jerry told the group about how the Union Army used the area to cross over the river to engage the Confederate Army during the Civil War.

Ranger Jerry telling stories about the river at Sope Creek

Ranger Jerry and another paddler
Susan taking a picture
A muskrat den
Another CRK volunteer
Jerry giving some directions before lunch
Stopping for lunch on a small sandy beach
The list of animals we saw during the day includes; ducks, geese, blue herons, a kingfisher, and turtles...and dogs.

The ducks have learned to beg
Lunch break
It wouldn't be a party if someone didn't get wet!
A fellow paddler in a long boat - 17' long
Watching someone jump from a rock into the river
Awaiting further instructions
The I-75 bridge over the river  
The take-out at Paces Mill
Although this is the end of the Discovery Series of paddling excursions for Susan and I, it should be the start of other adventures.  The Chattahoochee Riverkeepers have other, longer and more challenging trips later in the year.  

See all the pictures from the trip here.

Thanks for reading.