Wednesday, October 14, 2015


I recently required an incisional hernia repair in Port Alberni.  Of course, I went to Dr. Ferguson's office, my surgeon that had performed the previous two hernia surgeries 12 years ago (which ultimately caused this new hernia).  He is a surgeon with an excellent reputation, but obviously, even his surgeries are not perfect - or maybe it was just my body getting older and starting to break down.

Because this surgeon is quite busy and almost ready to retire, I was transferred to his associate, a relatively new and young female surgeon.  I found her very straightforward and told me that I should definitely have the surgery before leaving for Mexico in two weeks.  I agreed, and did not want to explode while living in a 3rd World country.  We scheduled the operation for about two weeks before my flight.  We both felt that this would give me just enough time to heal for traveling, but unfortunately not enough to lift heavy bags.  I made these arrangements with the airline.

The day of the operation, which is a traumatic enough day as it is, I arrived at the hospital only to be told that my surgeon was in the operating room with an emergency patient.  Would I mind waiting about 4 days and postponing my operation until Monday?  What could I say, someone may be dying in the operating room as we speak.  I said sure, and spent the weekend trying to mentally prepare myself to be cut open on purpose.

The day of the surgery was as good as could be expected, and everyone treated me kindly and with respect - answering all my questions.  When I awoke in recovery, I felt relatively fine, and the nurse told me that everything was successful, and I could go home after the doctor inspected me and I went to the washroom.  I used the washroom and changed, and my son from Nanaimo took me to my old house in Port Alberni (being purchased by my second son), to recuperate for at least the next day or two.

Once I got settled on the couch and we started watching movies, I started drinking lots of water.  We had purchased T3's in case I needed them, but once I came off the anesthetic, I only required regular Tylenol.  This was about 2 PM, and my younger son came near the couch where I was trying to relax, and he asked where the blood on my sweatshirt had come from.  I pulled up my shirt and noticed that the inside of it was covered in blood, and so were my track pants.

Off to emergency.  I almost passed out while giving information to the receptionist (telling her I was not on any blood thinners), and was rushed into a bed.  The doctor on duty asked me what had happened and I explained that I had surgery that morning by Dr. Vanderputten, and the incision had now started to bleed badly.  He told me she was still in the hospital and he would page her.  Meanwhile, he pushed around the incision area after removing the gauze and bandages covering the wound, and could not get the blood to flow again.  The the surgeon arrived and did the same.  She was in two minds about whether she should open me back up, or re-cover the incision and send me home to relax.

She decided on the latter, and back home we went.  Within a half hour of laying on the couch, I again started bleeding.  Back to emergency to check in again, this time bleeding all over the hospital floor.  In emergency, my surgeon immediately came in and called the male nurse (Daniel I believe) and decided they would have to open me back up and see what the problem was.  Because I had eaten, they decided to do a local anesthetic and re-open the wound right there in emergency.  I was scared, but had to get this fixed.  Anyway, after being cut open again, she could find nothing wrong with her surgery.  She asked me about blood thinners I think, but I said no again.

I was stitched and bandaged up again and sent home, everyone scratching their heads.  After lying on the couch again, I noticed some minor bleeding, but decided to dab it with paper towel until it hopefully stopped.  It did stop in about a half hour, and my decision was to then lay still for as long as possible and try to fall asleep.  Hopefully I wouldn't quietly bleed to death during the night without my son even noticing.  My oldest son returned to his home in Nanaimo and said he would call to check on me the next day.

I survived the night, and the bleeding completely stopped.  I decided to do a search on the internet about natural blood thinners the next day, and discovered that I had been taking a natural blood thinner for the past few days.  Because my family has a problem with kidney stones, my daughter had discovered that apple cider vinegar, in small doses, dissolved these stones.  I had been taking a few teaspoons of this for about a week before my surgery.  Smart.

Anyway, the point of my story is that I also went online to see if I could find any information about my surgeon.  I did, and most of it was negative.  Some saying she was uncaring, others saying that she was inexperienced and even bordering incompetent.   I had to disagree, and feel she was extremely professional and caring at the same time.  She was as perplexed as I was about the bleeding, but she did everything she could to discover the problem, while at the same time, trying to ensure I was OK.  Both she and Daniel were the best as far as I was concerned.

Any surgeon that operates on me must first be competent and professional.  I don't need to be treated with kid gloves and definitely don't care about their bedside manner.  It is the results of the operation that I am interested in.  This surgeon was great, and possessed all the traits that I require and I have the utmost respect for good surgeons.  I can't imagine what it would be like to cut someone open.  Every body is different as well as the problems these bodies encounter, and performing this myriad of surgeries must be difficult and challenging at the same time.  One month later - everything is healing great.  Thanks.