Blown away by a blow out

I have noticed, in my all to frequent interaction with doctors, that many of them are a perverse lot. This realization dawned on me as one of said profession was sitting in front of me, performing an exam the likes of which I've never felt before, and sincerely hope to never endure again. "Oh yea, you definitely blew this out" he uttered. At once matter of fact, yet also clearly relishing the phrase. A combination of the examination, and rather unwelcome (though not at all unexpected) news left me with a rather pressing need to have a seat; my legs having become somewhat unsteady. In the grand scheme of health related problems, my "blow out" is relatively insignificant, merely an inguinal hernia. Requiring surgery, but reasonably simple to solve.

This brings me to the next segment of my story. The doctor whose job it will be to actually fix my brokenness (insofar as he is a surgeon and not a psychiatrist). The uncomfortable memory of my last exam weighs heavily upon me as I begin to discuss my problem. To my immense relief however, the surgeon is content to simply have me lay back and "bear down" (I had a sudden pang of sympathy for Ruth at this point, having had to do the same maneuver for both of our children's births). The doctor had informed me that sometimes hernias won't show up with the patient on his back, but the rather noticeable bulge popped up on my left inguinal region, right on cue. "Bear down again and I'll look at your right side." I comply. "Yea, you definitely blew out this side too." He said, doing a marginally better job of hiding the relish he felt at uttering the phrase.

Dealing with the sick and infirm on a daily basis, it is clear why doctors needs to rely on clinical detachment to get through each day. It is however, interesting to me how detachment borders on sadism for so many of them. Don't get me wrong, I'm not faulting anyone. I'm certain that, were I a doctor, getting to tell a patient the he's blown something out—but that it is fixable, would be the highlight of my day. I imagine it is difficult to be so flippant with the real, serious, and not infrequently terminal problems that so many of their patients face. So much news in the medical profession must be sugar coated, or at least delicately delivered, it must be a welcome change to be so brazen on occasion. 

So, this coming Valentine's Day I get to go in and be cut open again. I'm not really nervous, and I really don't think the recovery will be too bad. Certainly it will be better than living with these two occasionally painful and continuously irritating bulges for the rest of my life. I do feel a little guilty that my romantic day with my wife will involve surgery and pain medication rather than champagne and roses (like I've ever bought her roses anyhow, boorish sloth that I am). But Ruth excels at being understanding, and if she is disappointed, the hides it well. Besides I imagine I may find a way to make it up to her at some point.

Finally, the one thing that does vex me: if the surgeon could clearly diagnose me by such a simple examination, why did the fist doctor feel it necessary to subject me to such a painful and discomforting examination at the outset? I'm sure he had his reasons, and I know that the exam he gave me is the standard to check for smaller herniations or the potential of one. But It seems to me that there might have been a less unpleasant way to have initially diagnosed my "blow out." I do suppose though blow out is a fitting term, hernia repair sounds to be remarkably similar to flat repair. 

Postscript

I wrote the above on a plane going to Puerto Rico for vacation. I had the repair surgery three days after our return (which is today). I think I am going fairly well, considering. There is plenty of pain, but I'm drugged to a near stupor, so at least there is an upside :-) The downside is that coughing makes my entire abdomen feel like there is a whole brood of aliens erupting from my insides. Also the cat decided that that particular part of my body would make a good springboard. She is very lucky I'm a forgiving person, otherwise we would have had a brand new cat-skin rug.