Amazon Needs A “Do Not Use USPS Button”

Mar 28, 2017 by

I have been largely homebound the past 10 months. I’m an Amazon Prime member. That means I pay an additional amount yearly for them to rush things to me. Over the past two years, that mostly has meant things arrived at my door via FedEx or UPS.

But over the past 10 months, Amazon shippers have gotten cheap. They’re relying more and more on the USPS and there is no other way to say it, their service is sub par.

There needs to be a button at check out that denies an Amazon shipper to be able to send you something via the USPS. It’s that simple.

Today I received notice of a package USPS delivered yesterday. The “Your Orders” function says it’s in my mailbox. I live in an apartment complex. I went to the central boxes. Guess what. It’s not there. It’s in the office. I then had to drive further down to the apartment complex offices and they’re out until noon. So now I’m going to have to make another trip down to the office. 

Did I mention I’m having back issues. I’ve had four major surgeries since August. Getting around is not easy. And THIS IS NOT THE FIRST ISSUE I’VE had.

I’ve ordered dog food for my Great Pyrenees since I’m not supposed to be carrying 50 lb bags of dog food. It took an extra week for USPS to get it delivered. I’ve stopped ordering it this way at all. Screw you Amazon. You’re going to lose business.

Then there are repeated issues with delivery that have been noted on Twitter.

Using Amazon saves money. Particularly on books. But they suck when they let shippers send stuff via the USPS. It gets screwed up most every time. And there needs to be a button on Amazon that lets a purchaser say don’t waste my time with the USPS.

Now to their credit, USPS on Twitter has been most responsive. Their local office has not. But this has gone on for months now and I’m really just about ready to cancel buying on Amazon. It’s no longer convenient and has become a huge pain in the butt.

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The Travelers — You Are Now A Spy

Mar 19, 2017 by

I recently had the opportunity to read Chris Pavone’s The Travelers, a spy thriller and a great example for anyone living on the edge of morality not sure if their actions can or will have consequences.

Will Rhodes is living on the edge and makes a costly mistake after making every attempt, well, a fair attempt, to keep from being persuaded to do something he should not. It is succumbing to that temptation that gives this story it’s thrust. The bad guys trick him and then begin to make him do their bidding, or else what he did will get out.

Mix on top of that the questionable operations of his employer and you have a four-hundred page thriller that leaps from one continent to another with guns, knives and bad guys a step ahead or behind, depending on where in the story one is.

Largely this is a page turner that hangs its hat on a couple of basic principles—obviously the one noted above—what can happen if you’re unfaithful to your spouse in a world of spies when your wife is a spy and you don’t know it—but the application is there for all regardless.

Pavone also explores the essence of society on page 208:

“Everyone is acting all the time.  Smiling and laughing, great to meet you, that’s awesome. Wearing this and not that, keeping quiet when you want to scream, saying things you know aren’t true. You do it every day … and you did it before you ever met me. We all dot. That’s what keeps society going. That’s what life is. Acting.”

“Organizations are like organisms. They have deeply ingrained survival instincts. Which isn’t surprising, is it? After all, organizations are made up of people, and people are motivated by self-interest. We’re all self-preservationists. First and foremost, what people want is what’s best for themselves. We want to survive, we want to flourish. We get jobs, then we develop loyalty to our employers, and our loyalty helps our employers achieve success, which in turn help people survive. It’s a symbiotic relationship.”

“The vast majority of espionage is committed for a very simple reason: money.”

The book obviously has some darker perspectives on humans in general, and that’s what helps supply the gasoline for the fire this book burns.

I don’t regularly read thrillers like this because I normally read books that seem to have more to say, but I read the book in the matter of a few days and am glad I did. If you’re headed to the beach in the next few months and need something that will keep you company in the sand, this is a great book to take with you.

ABOUT THE TRAVELERS

A pulse-racing international thriller from the New York Timesbestselling author of The Expats and The Accident

It’s 3:00am. Do you know where your husband is?

Meet Will Rhodes: travel writer, recently married, barely solvent, his idealism rapidly giving way to disillusionment and the worry that he’s living the wrong life. Then one night, on assignment for the award-winning Travelers magazine in the wine region of Argentina, a beautiful woman makes him an offer he can’t refuse. Soon Will’s bad choices—and dark secrets—take him across Europe, from a chateau in Bordeaux to a midnight raid on a Paris mansion, from a dive bar in Dublin to a mega-yacht in the Mediterranean and an isolated cabin perched on the rugged cliffs of Iceland. As he’s drawn further into a tangled web of international intrigue, it becomes clear that nothing about Will Rhodes was ever ordinary, that the network of deception ensnaring him is part of an immense and deadly conspiracy with terrifying global implications—and that the people closest to him may pose the greatest threat of all.

It’s 3:00am. Your husband has just become a spy.

“I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.”

 

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The Emotional Craft of Fiction

Mar 9, 2017 by

Donald Maass is a literary editing GOD. There is no better way to say it.

I’ve now maintained a snail’s pace, using pen and stickies, to actively absorb every possible word of three of his books–Writing the Breakout Novel, Writing 21st Century Fiction–and now The Emotional Craft of Fiction.

During the fall, I took the Revision class offered by J. Suzanne Frank, the director of Southern Methodist University’s The Writer’s Path program. The go-to book Suzanne recommended for that phase of writing was Maass’ Writing 21st Century Fiction. What an amazing book it is. But….

Suzanne, whom I refer to as the Jedi Writing Master, didn’t know about this new work Maass published late last fall. Heading into back surgery last week, I had Amazon rush me a copy knowing the value of Maass’ work. Lord have mercy! At one in the morning yesterday I was photographing entire pages of Mr. Maass’ work, the part about the mirror moment–a term I’d only heard Suzanne use up until I found it in Maass’ book–and I decried she should just hand out the simple section on mirror moments where Maass says, “If you haven’t felt this emotion, essentially you don’t have a mirror moment!”

That was one of those sun-ray shining only on you during a dark, dank, cloudy day moments. My mirror moment in my present draft of The Voodoo Hill Explorer Club is heavy, but with the aide of Mr. Maass’ study suggestions it’s about to become a whole lot more intense.

Case in point: Kirk Carson, 14, has worked with his three closest friends all summer to build a the fort of his dreams in the woods off KI Sawyer AFB, (Upper Peninsula of Michigan), in 1977, largely in an effort to forget about his first true love, Rose Maxwell, dumping him for the base bully, Billy Banks, the son of the Wing Commander. While in the woods, the boys are met with a series of triumphs and setbacks, natural, self-inflicted, and mysterious–Lewis Luntz keeps saying it’s the Chippewa Haints who still roam the woods of Hiawatha–but what they don’t know is it’s a Soviet spy hiding out in the woods tracking the number of B-52s armed with nuclear weapons and by being in the woods off base, the boys have encroached on his hideout. The way it turns out, the spy has made it look like the boys will be safer under the leadership of Billy Banks and they vote to remove Kirk, and he feels their act is the ultimate in betrayals.

I have all that in decent shape in my MSS, but what I now need to do is the exercises in Maass’ The Emotional Craft of Fiction, to help my readers feel the utter agony and humiliation Kirk feels as he learns the other three have already made the decision, have invited Billy–and Rose–to their “secret” fort in the woods and everything he has worked for and dreamed of, has been ripped away from him like a scab.

Did I mention that the day before, Kirk was also humiliated by Billy Banks–coaxed into jumping off the Devils Ledge at Chimney Rock, a sixty-five foot plunge to a Little Laughing Whitefish Falls Lagoon liquid enema? Kirk has had two bad days back to back and so now it’s time to do some of the exercises Maass has on page 99–“Is your protagonist lost or seeing a way forward?” “What does it feel like to be suspended, lifted out of time, in a moment of pure being?”–I’m ready to write those answers.

The book is a GREAT read. I’ve had a dustup with some dude on Twitter the past few hours who is all bent up about marked/unmarked linguistics. You see I tried to respectfully convey to Mr. Maass that for me, he over uses the word BOTH when he links two items together with the conjunction AND. In my copy of the book, I simply began marking them out–there are that many. One of my peeves. There’s nothing wrong with the use of the word BOTH, but it becomes a visual stop sign with repeated use and many writers on my Heather Sellers inspired 101 book list do it, too. Other than that, I love Mr. Maass’ insight and his devotion to helping writers like myself learn more about the craft of fiction writing.

This is a very good book. I think, for where I am right now, the most important of the three and it could not have come along for me at a better time. Thank you, Mr. Maass. I’m looking forward to what you do next.

Oh, an by the way, Suzanne said yesterday she was jumping over to Amazon to order her own copy. Here’s the link if you’ve not already followed one of the previous: The Emotional Craft of Fiction

 

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Drawing the line on Facebook

Dec 12, 2016 by

I’ve been attacked this morning on Facebook, like the Japanese fleet 75 years ago in an early dawn surprise, by a woman who purports to be a Vet, who had the gall to question the one thing that’s as strong in my heart as my love of Christ–love of our country. This is my wall, and I let people spew their left-way of thinking in my threads all the time. A friend the week before told me she admired how I never get personal back.

But saying I’m not a patriot, that I don’t love America because I support a good man like Rex Tillerson and his willingness to leave his high-paying job at ExxonMobil to serve our country’s interests around the world, well then you’ve gone too far. I am a Christian first. American second. Me third. It’s been that way since Dad joined the Air Force in 1968 and we began moving around the country every few months. It grew stronger when my dad would sit on Alert for a week at a time, ready to leave us behind to be incinerated while he tried to penetrate the USSR and blow them to smithereens if it came to that.

I fight back tears when the National Anthem is played–Every time. I stop at the Mesquite Fire Department and tell them they have the flags backwards on Truck 1 because the US flag is always in the direction where you point when you place your hand over your heart. I am an American patriot in so many other ways. This is my wall. This is MY WALL and while you are entitled to voice your opinion, questioning my love of this country is where you cross the line. Or when you say I’m a bigot because I refuse to defy the teachings that are in the Bible. Or say I’m a racist because “of the company I keep,” then you have gone afoul. I have friends around the world and country because of how I was brought up–serving as a dependent of a B-52 pilot in the USAF.

I say I have a lot of friends, but the honest truth is I have so very few “close friends” because of the USAF. As soon as we grew close, one of us moved. FB has given me back many relationships that were ripped away as a kid.

I lost a middle/high school “friend” this year because of reasons described above–because I didn’t support someone who has committed a crime that would have my own father in federal prison, and I instead supported the alternative.

Albeit, the president elect would not have been my first choice. TBH, no one running I thought measured up. But Mr. Trump has been elected. Never mind all the stuff that Wikileaks dropped exposing collusion between the Democrats and the news media. Never mind the sin that actually transpired. No, we seek to blame someone other than the ones who were robbing the hens of their eggs.

Such is the sick state America and the Internet has fostered.

I will tolerate, what so many of my “Friends” who preach tolerance hypocritically DO NOT DO, but when you say I’m un-American, you have gone too far. And frankly, you can go F yourself very much.

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Rhizotomy, Meralgia Paraestheticas–Back and leg pain

Dec 1, 2016 by

Rhizotomy, Meralgia Paraestheticas–Back and leg pain

Now there are some who would say I should not divulge details about health issues I have endured. Privacy. HIPAA and all that. Employers or clients scouring to see what kind of a health risk I might be. But I take a different view. There are lessons to be learned from what I have been enduring the past six months and 24 days now and sharing them is helping others.

Today, Nov. 30, 2016, I had a rhizotomy (pronounced “Rye-zotomee”) performed on nerves in my lower right lumbar facet nerves. Essentially my pain doctor went in and cauterized the nerve endings that have been telling my brain I’m in significant pain following a chiropractic treatment in Mesquite, Texas on May 6 by a man who didn’t have a license issued to him until 14 days after he first treated me. (More about that in days to come.)

As of 11 p.m. the pain in my right leg, my doc did my right side today and in two weeks will do my left, the pain is greatly reduced.

I have chosen to share about the rhizotomy treatment because I basically found almost nothing about it online beforehand.

Before this, a month ago today, my doctor did a very painful procedure where I remained awake and he put a probe into my hip trying to find my Lateral Femoral Cutaneous Nerve, LFCN for short, and put pain killer in the nerves in both sides of my hip. A warning about this. When we got home that morning I took five steps from Dad’s car and my legs gave out from underneath me and I fell square on my bottom. The discharge information says to have someone assist you while walking, but they didn’t do enough to emphasize you won’t be able to walk the rest of the day. I fell twice that day. It was thought that I might have meralgia paraestheticas up until I didn’t respond well to the injections that day, and following a less than pleasant EMG the next week, where a neurologist stuck fine needles into my thighs and then ran electrical current through them.

Two weeks after the LFCN injections, we did nerve blocks on the nerves that got cauterized today. The relief was about 10-12 hours and then BAM! I hurt again.

The rhizotomy, so far, has seemed to help significantly. Like I said, in two weeks we do it all again, this time my doctor is going to address nerves on the left side of my lumbar facets.

My nurses said it was going to feel like a sunburn burn in the muscles of my back. I don’t exactly have that yet. I have been icing on and off throughout the day. My doctor said I could take ibuprofen tomorrow. Not today though. He said the discomfort, (doctors don’t say the word “Pain,” they say discomfort) would feel like I’d been doing yard work and I had a sore back. I suppose tomorrow will tell me more about that.

The procedure took about 45 minutes today. There’s a doc in the room making sure the doc frying my nerves doesn’t hit a motor nerve, just the sensory nerves that are supposedly causing the pain.

So far, since May 6, 2016, I have had a three-level laminectomy of my S1/L5, L5/L4, and L4/L3 vertebrae, had a ventral hernia repaired, had the LFCN injections, an EMG, had the lower lumbar facet nerve blocks, and then today’s rhizotomy. I’ve also had two MRIs, a CT scan, and a wonderful experience where I drank nuclear stuff while standing in front of a real-time x-ray machine. That and I’m still in pain. The hernia needed repair beforehand, but my spine doctor worried about doing more surgery on my back before having it fixed.

I have had six doctors work on me in this time period and I have had five treatment plans, including physical therapy. There have been times of late when I’ve been in so much pain I wanted to go to the ER, but chose not to because then I would have had a seventh doctor and six treatment plans.

Over the past six months I’ve had a range of meds, most of them did not work. First was hydrocodone, then the strength got increased. Flexeril, but I was taken off of it because I have nerve pain, Flexeril is a muscle relaxer. I’ve been on Lyrica. It did nothing. I’ve been on Cymbalta. Nothing. I’ve been on more hydrocodone, the 10/325 kind. Nothing. The EMG doctor put me on Tegretol. It made me tired and gave me bad headaches. I came off of that, too. Regrettably the only thing that has actually worked to reduce pain has been Fentanyl patches and Percocet. Both opioids. Fentanyl is 100 times stronger than morphine. Even with them, I’ve still been in pain. My “give a damn,” has just been reduced about the pain.

Tonight, my right leg feels much better than it has in months. It didn’t even start hurting until the day after my back surgery on Aug. 11. Up until then, my left leg had been the only one in pain. After surgery, that stopped for a while, then I had, and have kept the pain, in both legs.

I’m hoping and praying the rhizotomies work. If not, the next action is for them to install a wire along my spinal cord and attach it to a device that keeps pain signals from getting to my brain. Not really a solution, meaning what ever is causing the pain, can’t seem to be stopped.

My doctor says the rhizotomy could last from six months to six years. Internet sites say two months to 24 months. It will be frustrating to see which is more accurate.

There’s not a lot of information about having a rhizotomy on one’s lower back on the Net. If you’re needing one or about to have one, I hope this helps. I received another comment today from someone who found my post about ventral hernias helpful. I hope this is the same.

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Maybe Aaron Sorkin Was Right in The Newsroom

Nov 10, 2016 by

I’ve seen Aaron Sorkin’s letter to his daughters about Donald Trump’s victory on Tuesday night. Maybe he should go back and binge watch his HBO TV series, The Newsroom this weekend and remember what all he had to say in it.

Here’s a few sobering thoughts about the news business that should be considered after Donald Trump’s “surprising victory” in spite of the efforts of the news media to collude against him:

–Maybe we don’t need to have news 24/7 on cable channels. Perhaps needing to fill all hours of the day with advertising and something new to say isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. It certainly isn’t easy work to come up with NEWS, so we get mindless, unintelligent babble from hacks with agendas to fill up the space, to say the things that the network wants said, not news.

–Maybe Aaron Sorkin got it right in his HBO series “The Newsroom,” one that was despised by the mainstream news media who scoffed at his call for a return to genuine journalism where the facts are what drive stories, where double- and even triple-source verification is practiced, and where tough questions are asked of those who come on TV shows, not where professional hacks get offered cream puff softballs where they can speculate or drive their own agendas. At the end of the pilot Charlie Skinner, the news director of the fictitious news channel in the series says, “You know how we used to report the news? We just decided to.”

–Maybe there needs to be less reliance on social media in the news business and the pursuit of factual information. Maybe instead of relying so much on Twitter and Instagram and Facebook, news agencies should go back to paying JOURNALISTS to gather information. Maybe the model of not paying those who actually went to journalism school and relying on what you can get for free isn’t working out so well after all. Who knew….

–Maybe temporary heads of a political party shouldn’t be a regular contributor, paid or otherwise, unless all ties have been severed. Maybe there should even be a length of time between when a person left a paid position with a political party, campaign, or lobbying group–you know, like a person leaving government can’t come back the next day as a lobbyist. Donna Brazille comes to mind.

–Maybe someone should really weigh the value of the integrity of political polling in this day and age now that most people don’t have landlines and many, many people hang up when they get called, and we step back and do a hard, harsh look at the practice of exit polling as was done after the 2001 debacle in Florida.

–Maybe news agencies should give less credence to claims that “The Russians illegally broke into our servers,” and actually look at the value of the information that’s being presented as fact and then ask for someone who is denying the integrity of a hacked email to produce the original material, unaltered.

–Maybe when a guest ponders “what am I going to tell my children?” the answer is that not everyone in real life gets a trophy just for playing and sometimes there are victories and sometimes there are defeats in life. It’s a good lesson for all children to learn, no matter how old they are.

–Maybe the news business needs to get off the focus group bandwagon and start presenting news to Americans so that the American populace, whom the East Coast elite view as too stupid to make a fair and balanced decision, are allowed to do just that–because they did in this election cycle in spite of all the efforts of the MSM to influence the election.

–Maybe just because you’re good at singing or acting in Hollywood you don’t have the street cred to tell the rest of for whom to vote.

–Maybe news reporting should once again be focused on the facts, not the bent agenda of the editorial department, the publisher, or advertisers.

–Maybe, and just maybe, it’s NOT the job of journalists to decide how Americans should vote. Maybe it’s actually the job of the electorate to decide. (I know, that’s a frightening thought for so many in the news business.)

–Maybe the American people aren’t as stupid as the NE elite think–that maybe jobs, the economy; the ever increasing costs of health care–the rising costs of Obamacare premiums–ones that were promised to stay low; terroristic threats to our country; gay-marriage; maybe those things actually matter to Americans and aren’t something to be dismissed openly by the NE elite.

I’m certain, fairly certain, little is going to change in the news business as a result of Tuesday. Instead of trying to see that things need to change in this industry, there will continue to be the perception that Americans–the ones who voted and turned the map red, that the red voters are the ones who need to change.

The fact is we all need to change. There has to be a coming together as a country. We can not continue to stake out our positions on polar extremes and have the pendulum swing back and forth every eight years and expect for things to improve. The anger over the past eight years came out Tuesday and those who kept calling someone racist, bigot, sexist, and all that other crap got knocked back, though probably not for long.

But wouldn’t it be great if out of all of this, the news media “just decided to” report the news?

 

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Ventral Hernia Repair–What to Expect

Oct 5, 2016 by

I had a ventral hernia repaired in my abdomen Sept. 26, 2016. Today is Oct. 5. It’s nine days post-op and I am posting this information because leading up the my surgery, I surfed the Internet for information about what recovering from a ventral hernia would be like and I have to tell you, NOTHING was helpful nor accurate.

Ventral Hernia surgery is no picnic.

Ventral Hernia surgery is no picnic.

My Dallas surgeon initially had my procedure set up as outpatient. Even the morning we arrived at the hospital nurses were still telling me I’d likely be going home because that’s how it was listed. My pre-op nurse from a few days before said that would not be the case, and even my doctor had begun by the Thursday before to say I probably wouldn’t be going home the day of. Now why that was not changed, I cannot explain. I asked late last week and didn’t get a clear answer. It’s somewhere between working with insurance and “everyone reacts differently.”

Things To Know About Ventral Hernias

A hernia happens when part of your abdominal muscles rip and tissue from deeper inside your gut punches through. In my case, the hole was 6 cm by 5 cm and a mass of tissue had accumulated under my belly button, stretching it to a disgusting look. All in all, the mass was 16 cm by 10 cm. This was NOT cut OUT of my stomach. No, it was crammed all back into the hole and then a mesh was placed over it and sewn into my abdominal muscles.

This was all revealed via a CT scan the week before surgery. This involved drinking the bariatric lemonade (there are other flavors) and then having an MRI done of my lower abdomen. A few days later they had me return to drink some of the pasty, fizzy gag-inducing radioactive stuff so they could watch me swallow in real time. The doctors were looking for a hiatal hernia during the upper GI scan, but thankfully nothing was found.

The CT scan also showed an inguinal hernia, which needed repairing, too.

Surgery

We were told beforehand that surgery would take an hour and a half and recovery would be another hour. I went back to surgery at 0730. I had not regained my senses until about 1430 (2:30 p.m.) roughly six hours later.

My surgery was done laparoscopically. Four incisions were made around my stomach so they could put hoses in for tools and to inflate my stomach with CO2 so there was room to work around inside. Because of the displacement from pushing the 16 x 10 cm mass back into my gut, my doctor also did something of a tummy tuck around my belly button with a three-four inch cut going up and down from my navel south. So there are five cuts. They weren’t sealed with stitches but with new fangled high-powered glue. Amazing. (I say all this because sometimes this is done with “open” cuts, where more like a C-section, a long incision is made.)

Recovery

I was taken up to a room in the hospital and put in one of those horrible Hill-Rom beds that is like an inflated bean-bag. Whenever I got comfortable and thought I had good support, the damned thing shifted, like it was deciding what was better for me. And when I tried to get up all the rest of the week, it was a horrific experience because I didn’t have anything solid to use to push off of—it was like trying to climb out of a pile of leaves. The Hill-Rom bed is the WORST bed possible for hernia recovery and someone should really re-think this. I will do a separate post another day on how sucky the Hill-Rom bed is.

Nurse Ratched wasn't my actual nurse, but one of the ones who treated me could have been 1000 times nicer.

Nurse Ratched wasn’t my actual nurse, but one of the ones who treated me could have been 1000 times nicer.

The night of my surgery, the head nurse of the floor (hereby known as Nurse Ratched) was in my room demanding I get up out of bed. She had two orderlies come in and try to PULL me up out of the bed, which only produced screams of 12-13 pain (the scale only goes to 10—10 when you think you’re going to pass out). Finally one of them defied orders to pull me out of bed and walked out of the room.

I was on morphine every two hours for a day and a half. Even with every two hours, I was still in 7-8 abdominal pain. Then they moved me over to hydrocodone. It did little to relieve pain as well. Be ready for that.

After Nurse Ratched’s episode on Monday night, by the time I figured she’d be coming on Tuesday morning at 0700, I was doing all I could to move my left leg and then my right leg over to the side of the bed so I could sit and then stand. I wanted to do it on my terms and Lord forbid be pulled again.

I was told that the more I got up, sat up, and walked, the better it was going to be for my abdominal muscles. Nurse Ratched was off the next two days and I never had her assigned to me again. She did explain to me Thursday evening when she was trying to restart a badly-placed IV that never ended up working, that she’d been concerned about my developing pneumonia and that’s why she had been so insistent on my getting up out of bed.

By the time I was trying to get out of bed Tuesday morning, I felt like a huge bit of phlegm was accumulating in my chest. That spurred me on, as well as thoughts of Nurse Ratched, to get up. I began using the spirometer every hour, too, to ensure I was getting air deep into my lungs.

Sitting Up and Drinking Lots of Fluids

I was not hungry nor thirsty Tuesday and into Wednesday. My IV was still pumping saline into me, so I was getting fluids, but my urine output was dark and about 100-150 ccs. One of the nurses went and got me a big hospital mug filled with ice and water and told me I had until she left that day to drink two of them. This was not easy to do.

The other thing that was going on here, as explained by my doctor, was that my intestinal track was asleep. It had pretty much shut down so as food was going in, it was backing up. This was in part because of the pain meds, but also because of the anesthesia and the shock all of this brought to my system.

I did not want to have a BM and they kept asking if I was passing gas, which I wasn’t and didn’t until Thursday. Any one just reading this might say that’s too much information, but I wish I’d known all this going in.

My doctor also would say, “tomorrow we will talk about when we send you home.” That didn’t mean I was going home the next day. That meant we were going to talk about when I might.

The BM was a significant factor, but so was my incredible pain, AND I was distended in my stomach. That’s a nice way of saying I was bloated and with the bloating, they weren’t going to send me home, either.

I’m Home Now

A week and two days later, I remain in a fair amount of pain. I received a call from a nurse at the hospital yesterday who was asking about how I was doing on my meds and I told her I was trying to only take the hydrocodone at night and using Tylenol during the day. Because of a back injury in May, I’ve had to take it regularly for pain. A fusion of my back is now tentatively set for mid-December—when I will be able to handle lying on my stomach again for four hours. .

My nurse said to worry about hydrocodone dependence in a few weeks.

“A ventral hernia is a serious surgery,” she said. “You’re not going to be sore for just another week or two, but probably at least another three weeks.”

I told her, “Yeah, and no one really told me that going in.”

“I know, but that’s how it is. You need to take your meds. If you’re taking meds because you’re in pain, that’s different than taking pain meds because you’re not.”

Binder and Spanx

I have a binder for my stomach which I’m supposed to wear the next two weeks. I also have a back brace because of a three-level laminectomy on Aug. 11. Yesterday I received a 2X Spanx T-Shirt for men, and I have to tell you, it works better than either the binder or the back brace. I highly recommend the Spanx shirt. HIGHLY.

I’ve included a picture to the right. I hate how I look these days, but it was worse before the hernia repair because there was an extra bulge I no longer have. This pic might be seen as negative by some but for me, it’s a personal victory.

A Spanx for men 2X shirt holding my all in, giving needed back and stomach support following two significant surgeries.

A Spanx for men 2X shirt holding me all in, giving needed back and stomach support following two significant surgeries.

So I’m on meds still. It still hurts to get up and down out of bed. I’ve been walking at least one mile each day to help with stomach and back muscle stability. And I’m taking my hydro again every 4-6 hours as prescribed.

Conclusion

Maybe you will do better with a ventral hernia than I did. The surgery results according to my doctor are “Great.” The pain from it all is more than what I was led to believe it was, but more in line with what I had suspected. I never accepted the thought that sewing a mesh into my abdominal wall was going to be a picnic. It has not been, but I am on the mend. From all accounts, if your doctor is going to do your surgery laparoscopically, celebrate. I know two friends who had the open version and somehow what they endured is even worse. One friend had a 24-inch incision. I have five—one about 3-4 inches long and the others are each about one inch in length. If you’re not ready to get up out of bed the first day, don’t. But you do need to get up and sit and walk. You do need to drink fluids and to eat and eat enough so that eventually your intestines will push all that’s in you on out. Don’t be afraid to ask for the pain meds. And at one point, they make it so you have to ask for them and in your stupor, you may miss that. Having someone in the hospital with you also helps because my floor was so busy once I hit the call button—BTW, the one on the Hill-Rom bed didn’t work—it took a good 30-40 minutes before my nurse would appear, staffing was so tight.

With the Spanx shirts I feel better and with the big bulge off my stomach, I think I look better, too.

I hope this helps.

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