Some say that the measure of a man is in what he accomplishes.  Others counter that it is in what he attempts.

Some say the measure of a man is in dollars, and others in friends.

Some say the measure of a man is in the length or quality of his life.

I say the measure of a man is in milliliters.

I had my surgery three weeks ago today, and it didn’t turn out exactly the way I had planned.  They took out the 14 inches of my large intestine, yes, but the doctor wanted to make sure that the big old thing would heal.  Can’t heal if it’s in use.  Gotta be in use if it’s connected.  If it’s disconnected, the eating output has to go somewhere, right?  So I ended up with a temporary ileostomy, where the end of my small intestine empties into a bag instead of into the large intestine.  I have a second surgery pending, that will put tab A into slot B and hook everything up pretty much the way it used to be.

I’m looking forward to that.

While I was in the hospital (4 1/2 days), my input was measured, and my output was carefully measured.  This is both liquids and solids, if you catch my drift.  The solids weren’t (and aren’t) very solid.  It ranges from a thick paste to a pretty thin liquid.  For the first week I was at home, I had to measure my “solid” output.  The doctor wanted to make sure I wasn’t dehydrating, since extracting liquids is the job of the large intestine, and he was off slacking.

I’m back working now, at home, and I’m getting my strength back.  It’s not all there yet, even after three weeks.  Yes, I think I should be Superman.  We have a treadmill at home, compliments of a neighbor who left it in the trash because they couldn’t use an Allen wrench to adjust the belt.  On Saturday, I jumped up on it and thought I’d go at my old walking speed of 4 miles an hour.  It didn’t toss me off the back of it, like in a cartoon, but it came close.  I settled for 2.5 MPH, and did an hour at that speed.  Very good exercise, but slower than I would have done before the surgery.

On the whole, I don’t like hospitals.  The one I was in did a great job of taking care of me.  I never felt neglected or in any way abused.  What I did feel was sleepless and tired.  They would wake me up in the middle of the night for getting blood pressure and temperature.  They were concerned about my blood sugar being too high, so they stuck me multiple times per day (night).  The head resident would stop by at 6 in the morning to see how I was doing (I’m asleep, Ryan), and the surgeon would stop by at 7.  I don’t think I got more than two or three hours of uninterrupted sleep while I was there.

There are times when I wish I was rich, and could afford to go to a boutique hospital.  One where they would coordinate their night-time visits to maximize my sleep.  One where they have real food instead of hospital food (although it wasn’t bad, at all, once I got to eat it).  The boutique hospital would only carry current issues of magazines, and would have more cable channels than I could browse through in a day.

I don’t think this boutique hospital exists, and I sure couldn’t afford it if it did.  But there’s one thing I know: they wouldn’t care about milliliters.  Well, they would, but they would shelter me from it.  Nice people in this fantasy hospital.  I like them.

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