Monday, February 23, 2009

Colonoscopy and "Situational Neurosis"

Huzzah, I can eat and drink again. I completed my colonoscopy; no cancer, one tiny doodad snipped off that they'll check out. If it's nothing, I'll be back in five years. If it's precancerous, I'll be back in a couple of years.

I got a bit nervous when I had to put on the patient robe to prepare for the colonoscopy--it started seeming real then. But I was completely unaware of the procedure. They opened the tap into the catheter for my arm for the anesthesia, and I was out within a few seconds; when I woke up, I thought the colonoscopy hadn't even happened yet.

The most annoying part of the colonoscopy was drinking the stuff that flushed out my system the day before, and having my system flushed out. It wasn't awful, it was really more an annoyance. Not eating for 36 hours also wasn't great, but wasn't terrible.

Before the procedure, I chatted with the anesthesiologist, who said my pulse settled down to the 60 to 62 range before the operation--before going into martial arts eight years ago, my pulse was somewhere in the 70s. Blood pressure was 135 over 90, which I thought sounded worrisomely high, but he said no, it was fine, even though I was in a situation of "situational neurosis." I said I liked that term, I'd never heard it; he said another term might simply be "anticipatory anxiety."

He said my oxygenation level (measured through a clip on my pointer finger) was 100%, so that was good.

So: Don't fear the colonoscopy, folks.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Middle-Aged Milestone

On Monday, I will reach (celebrate isn't quite the right word) a middle-aged milestone: I'll be getting my first colonoscopy.

I'm actually overdue by two and a half years--I was supposed to get my first at 50.

From everything I hear, the procedure itself isn't bad--I'll be knocked out. But I'm not looking forward to tomorrow, Sunday, when I can't eat anything, and eventually will have to start drinking junk that clears out my inner plumbing. Newspaper columnist Dave Barry once described it something like: Have you ever watched the space shuttle take off? Well, imagine your body is the space shuttle.

Two hours of martial arts class today, following one hour each of the preceeding three days. I had to finish by doing 100 pushups, which I completed in four sets, not the three I hoped. My arms feel like they're made out of lactic acid.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

"It feels like you're back"

The antibiotic I started taking Sunday a week ago seems to be doing its job. I made it to four hours of martial arts training this week, more than I've been to for a while. It was hard, hard training, and I can feel how I've fallen behind on push-ups in particular, but I made it, sweating buckets, through each class.

On Saturday I took two classes in a row. In the second, I grappled with Larry, my friend who had ACL surgery about a year before I did, and who now has his black belt. He's a much better grappler than I am; adding to the difficulty/novelty, I was trying the class without any brace. (I learned I should wear knee pads, the pressure when kneeling directly on my incision scar is painful.) At the end, Larry was very complimentary, saying I had properly gotten out of all his attempts to get me in locks or arm bars, and that I had also done my share of attacking. "It feels like you're back," he said.

This is very encouraging because grappling is the part of my school's curriculum that I feel the least skilled at.

Later that day, my wife asked me how I was feeling, and I said something like, "Pretty healthy." She smiled and said it's the first time she's heard me say that in weeks.

Maybe I am back.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Doctor, Doctor, Give Me The News

I'm going to one of those seven-day-a-week doc offices today, Sunday, because it's been four weeks since my cold and I still have sinus pressure, congestion, a cough, and low energy. I suspect sinusitis piggybacked on my cold. The continuing low energy has made it hard to do more than minimal training.

I like my regular doctor, but she doesn't have office hours on the weekend, and it's very disruptive to try to take time off from work to see her during the week.

Meanwhile, in other doctor news, my buddy The Hulk got two MRIs of his left knee and leg done AFTER his black belt test. His leg was swollen, his leg kept buckling, and he had knee pain going into the test. Turns out he had a torn meniscus in two places; a torn ACL; a bone cyst; and possibly a torn hamstring. He took his grappling test despite this damage, and was told he didn't pass because, once again, at age 60, he was relying too much on his tremendous physical strength and not enough on technique. He was in pain throughout the test. He was understandably disappointed by the results. I can't blame him, he should get a frickin' medal just for showing up and not getting submitted.

He can't get his ACL operation done now because he's the owner of a business, and given the economy, the business could go under if he weren't there interacting with and retaining clients every work day. He might get a meniscus operation since the recovery is much faster.

Here's my hat off to The Hulk for his courage and persistence. I hope he takes care of himself.