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July 2006 Volume 4 Issue 11
Friday June 16, 2006, I had finished my last duties and cleared my classroom for the summer just prior to 1000 hrs.. In my mind, I was already visiting the local gym on a regular summer schedule. I was planning to plan all kinds of bike rides. By 1200, I was in the doctors office to see why I had started peeing blood.
A sonar gram was done and both kidneys showed to be good. Uh-ooo, the bladder didn't fair so well. The doctor wasn't sure but he was afraid that he had seen a cancerous tumor. He wanted to do a scope. I said ok. Now, you do know where he wanted to stick the scope; don't you?
And, I had thought the three times that I had it up the you know where were bad. Well, this time I was given only a very local anesthetic somehow. I couldn't see what they were doing. And, when one of the nurses saw the pain I was in, she grabbed my hand; for which, I'm still grateful. I thought what the doc didn't puncture, he was going to pull off. When he could not get the scope past my prostate gland, he scheduled me for a hospital visit, where it was confirmed that I had a stage one tumor in my bladder that had to be removed.
They scheduled me for an operation at 0730 on Monday June 26, 2006. Some time between the three doctor visits, we took my trike out for a ride. But, it never left the truck bed. I was just too stunned to ride. On Friday June 23, 2006, Dolores woke me and announced that I needed to do a ride so I could be writing about it while recovering from the operation. I called my biking bud, but he had too much to do in preparation for his move to do a ride on Friday. I told him that I planned to pick up the next day wherever I left off on Friday. He was not up for going far away and asked if I would consider a local ride.
After taking care of a few errands around Wuerzburg we headed for the Neckar River. By 1400 Nolan and I were having our pictures taken just before departing Granny and the Dakota at a campground in Neckarzimmern. The trail started off in front of a campground as a nice paved path. It soon ran into town where we wound up on the sidewalk. Passing a couple of little girls, one on a uni-bike and the other on a scooter, we stopped them as they were going into their house. They got their granny who explained that the bike path started up the road a ways.
Stopping to speak to a couple of Turkish men one could speak a little English; we were told the bike trial started behind his house. Going behind his house to the river put us on a partially graveled and grass weak excuse for a trail. This played out in about 200 yards and it was back onto the sidewalk. Riding past several places of business, we finally came to the end of the pavement between the river and the highway. Speaking with another fellow revealed that we would have to get onto the highway for about 500 meters before we would get to the bike trail again.
For me by myself, this would have not been too much of a problem. But, I really did not like getting into the highway with Nolan in the trailer behind me. But, up hill we pedaled. Then we pedaled some more. And at just about 500 meters there it was just up ahead on our right. Just up ahead on our left were two cops who had pulled over truckers at a roadside check.
Would they stop me for having a baby trailer on the highway? I didn't think so, because biking is such a big thing here in Germany. However, I was not sure till I rolled past them. Some more up hill. We were now on what amounted to an elevated sidewalk With the river on our right, the highway on our left and the rails running just to the left of that. There was just enough room for the trike a trailer with a few inches to spare on the left side.
I wondered what we would do if we met other bikers, which was very likely. I just hoped we wouldn't. But, that was one wasted hope. I saw him coming. I pulled over to the guardrail, the only thing between us and a twenty foot drop to the river down below. He slowed. I stopped. He was a tall gray bearded skinny, but muscular old fellow. He had to get onto the highway. I felt sorry; but what could I do? As we passed I heard him say something. I looked in my side mirror. He was attempting to cross over to the other side.
Soon the path widened out and more bikes met us without any problems. Then it was pumping up hill through, yet, another town. Nolan had to pee. So, it was on up the hill, across a street and onto the bike trial on the other side. I stopped and Nolan relieved himself behind some bushes.
Soon we came to a traffic light where the highway intersected with a street on the right. I sat there. The light showed no sign of turning green for us. Then I noticed the two little yellow boxes that contained the switch we had to push. No traffic was coming; and, I could see in all directions. I started to cross. My left fender caught and made the same loud snap I've heard time and again. But, the trike stopped. I was hung up on high center. I got off and pushed the button. My front wheels were in the street. Around the corner came a car. I told Nolan to get out and follow me across once the light turned green.
I pushed the trike and trailer to the other side and upon the sidewalk. I wouldn't let Nolan back in the trailer till I could view the landscape. It didn't look good. The sidewalk ran out in just a few feet where I would have to traverse a makeshift dirt trail along the highway. I told Nolan to follow over to my right and get into the paved parking area as I rode along the highway. Once past this little obstacle, we pulled into a service station where we were told to go back to the light and turn left over the bridge and the bike trial would be on our left.
Getting to the light, we went left over the bridge. But the next road said nothing about a bike route. We took it anyway. Pedaling on, I saw a sign that said it was a private road. Then a couple of girls hollered at us and pointed ahead. I didn't know what they said but figured they said we couldn't go that way. So, I swung upon a sidewalk that lead through their garden and up to their house. They told me that I would have to go up the road I had been on and take the next left. It would put us onto a highway along the Neckar for about four or five km.. I didn't like it, but what else could we do?
The road proved to be very lightly trafficked; and, we soon came to the bike path that led us past a sports platz and guesthouse. After taking a few pictures, I was told that the guesthouse was open. So, guess who got his late lunch? That is right, Pa Pa. Nolan didn't eat; he was drugged, no appetite when on meds.
Asking for wurst and sour kraut, I was given an option of several types of wurst, but no kraut. If you are ever in doubt on what to order, never, I repeat never, ask the owner to recommend a dish. The two wursts I had were good; but they were not worth the five euro they cost. Dolores called me as we were about to eat. I told her we were at the sport platz in Heinsheim. We agreed she would pick us up at the next little town down river, Bad Wimpfen. The trip was fun. Nolan was great. He had been medicated. That is why he would not eat lunch. He read out loud and played with his game boy the whole 11 miles.
I started this write-up before my operation and did not feel like doing anything else till today. I've since forgotten most of any facts that are not covered above or in the pictures below. If you are interested, following the pictures below, is a small write-up and some pictures of my stay in the hospital.
My stay at the hospital:
The surgeon had told me that I could not eat or drink anything on the night of June 25, 2006. I was to not have any medication containing aspirin five days before the operation. When I don't eat heavy fats, I seldom have problems with acid indigestion. So, I must have had a fatty meal on this day. Sleeping on my stomach after a fatty meal increases my chances of having heartburn. Like a dummy, both of these I did.
At about 12:30 I awoke knowing I'd be suffering all night if I didn't' take something. I thought about the time frame and decided to chance it. I took an Alka-Seltzer. Just as it was going down, I remembered it had aspirin in it. So, now I had done two things I was not supposed to do. The latter is the one that concerned me. So, I decided I'd take the box to the hospital so they could see what I had taken. You know, the language barrier??
I was scheduled for the operation at 07:30. I arrived on the ward where I had been told to report at about 07:20. They sent me downstairs to the reception desk that I had evaded. So, it was back down the stairs. The lady at the desk spoke no English; so, it was up to my limited German. That proved to be of no use. She called for back up from behind the wall. About, five minutes later another lady who spoke English better than I spoke German came out. I explained my situation. I think the fact that when prompted by the non English speaking lady, I said ambulatory is what helped me acquire more opportunity to practice my German. Ambulatory means out patient. I had to be admitted. Well, the last time it was ambulatory.
She indicated that I should return upstairs. I shook my head emphatically, no. "I'm not playing the up the stairs, down the stairs game. Call someone on the phone and find out what I'm to do." I demanded. It was decided that I must walk around the partition to be admitted into the hospital first. It was not ambulatory. "Oh!! Ok..., the other day was", I thought rather meekly. "Well, it would seem that if you did things right, you'd type my name into the computer and, 'presto', out would come my schedule....", I sulled to myself.
Then came all the departmental visits I would have to make. I had to get an EKG; I had to get chest x-rays...Then I had to get my blood test. Then I had to get my blood pressure tested.... Uh..I think the doc messed up. No matter what I took the night before, there was not enough time to get all this done and then get an operation at 07:30. This was on Monday; so, I was scheduled for the operation at 0800 on Tuesday.
After all of this, I was escorted to my bedroom where there was already an occupant. I had been told that I would have to stay for five days. I was dealing them down to three. They allowed me to wear my street clothes, which were a pair of jogging pants and a t-shirt. As I was getting into position to write, I remembered, "Oh, this is a hospital bed. The head moves up and down. So, it was that I placed it in the old TV recliner position for better writing purposes and took notes.
I inquired about breakfast and was given a roll with jelly and butter with a cup of coffee. So much for the health food at a hospital. The fellow who was next to me, was making a real nuisance of himself by buzzing the nurses station every few moments for this that or the other. Mostly he was having them to produce bills for his phone usage and arguing over each call, for which there were many.
I would dose; he would wake me with a phone call he seemed to never be able to do correctly and would summon the nurse. I'd dose, someone would wake me to go here or there. I'd return and be woken again, and again. Finally lunch. This was some type of processed meat with gravy and stuff. "Really healthy low fat." LOL.
I'd get up and walk around. Then dinner time came. This was bread, butter, sour cream three pieces of processed cold cuts...I tried to stay awake until about 2200. I had been given a pill for sleep which I saved till then. I know that must have been a mind altering drug, because I, almost immediately, fell in love with the angle who gave that morsel from heaven to me.
June 27, 2006
Last night's crew said they would wake me at 0600 for a shower before my operation. I awoke at about 0600. They never showed. I showered. My room mate had all of his things all over the place. The head nurse had reminded me several times that I could put my things in the closet. I'd rather keep them on my side of the room in the suitcase. I didn't want to bother him; and , I didn't want them to think I was going to stay the full five days. Just cut it out and send me home.
Again, my room mate grabbed the foot of my bed as he passed. "If this continues after I have my operation, it just may become a point of contention", I thought, as I watched him hobble to his bed. I remembered that when I had my first hemorrhoid operation, one of the patients on my ward, next to me was a black fellow who had been shot in the abdominal area for dating a white woman. That was in Georgia in 1974. I had thought we had gotten past that. At any rate, despite the fact that I felt sorry for him and her, I had to tell her that she had to stop bumping my bed. When I relayed this to an older fellow, he said that when he had his done there were several on the ward who had the same operation and they started kicking one and other's beds just to aggravate each other.
Looking up at one of the bags that fed into the tube going into my left arm, I got curious about the little beads forming in the liquid and wondered why they lined up behind each other. Then, I remembered that the nurse had said they were now putting electrolytes into my system. This never ceased to amaze me until the bag was empty.
My neighbor at 66 years old was hard of hearing. He couldn't hear his phone when it rang. When I'd get his attention and point to his phone, he never understood that I was pointing because it was ringing. He continuously pushed his table over into my area. With the limited space available and because he had strewn all of his clothes every where, I reacted to this as an invasion into my space. I sometimes got the idea he may have been trying to annoy me so I'd request a change in rooms. I wondered if that was why there was a vacancy before I arrived. "Did he run the other fellow off so he could have a private room for the price of a double? Well, he ain't getting rid of me", I vowed. Then I remembered, I should not be thinking that way. I had no idea about his condition.
I spotted the hospital chapel the day before. It was it at the door of the urology ward just before mine. After all the department visits, I went to the chapel. That was one of my trips walking around the hospital the first day. Though I'm protestant, and the hospital is Catholic, Missions Clinic, I felt at home because it is God's house. Yesterday, my biking bud, Michael, called.
As they wheeled me into the operating room, I remember the anesthesiologist numbing my back to insert the spinal. Then I remember them sliding me sideways back onto my bed and wheeling me to my room. I remember the nurse putting pain medication in my tube and feeling "grooviest". I've told at least one anesthesiologist that I'd marry her if she would bring the drugs home.
After the operation, my principal came by sometime during the day and visited with me for a while, and then my assistant principal called to see how I was doing. I missed my wife, but rested in the knowledge that she was near and would be coming to see me. She visited the day of the operation and saw the high fat food I was getting. The next day she rescued me from hospital food with rice and broiled chicken and salad.
I convinced them to let me out after three days. I'm still sore and the wound in my bladder is starting to pull as it heals. I've had folks praying for me. My dad, who is a retired minister, and 81 years old and still raising Arabian horses, gave me 1John 5 to read. If you are currently going through something like this, that passage is a source of assurance. You may also read Daniel 3: 16.
My brother Floyd showed the most love one can show for another; he requested prayer for me. For those of you who are praying for me, thank you ever so much. They think they may have to put in six weekly medications via the scope. Or they may have to go in an cut some more. We'll see. May God bless and keep you and yours.
Archie L. Tucker
Archie L. Tucker
publisher 'Bent Miles
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