I wish to put on record some of my experience as a hernia patient. I have undergone five right-side inguinal hernia repairs the first of these surgeries also included the left side. My condition is probably congenital; as a university professor and administrator I do not do the heavy work usually associated with those who suffer from hernias. I venture to say, though, that all hernias hurt about the same.
The first four operations were conventional procedures; that I had a general anesthesia (spinal), was in the hospital five to seven days, then home for about four weeks before returning to work. Each recurrence consisted of a tear lower down the right side; mesh was inserted during the fourth repair.
When I found that I needed a second repair, I read up on and inquired about the so-called Canadian method. Frankly, I was dissuaded from it by those I now realize knew little about the method. Furthermore, I knew of no easy access to a surgeon who used the method here in Cleveland.
When the time came for my fifth repair, my internist referred me to you and you explained your methods, very similar to those I had read about more than 10 years earlier.
Moreover, you described my need for a reconstruction of the abdominal wall, a procedure more complex than the ordinary hernia repair. You told me the procedure would take some three hours.
My experience the fifth time was a world apart from my earlier operations. Surgery on a Monday from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. was followed by an hour in the recovery room. I was then taken to a regular bed and told I could dress after I was able to go to the bathroom. I was offered assistance. I found, though, that by the time I had the urge for the bathroom, I felt quite fit enough to walk there slowly. Then I dressed, and called my wife and son to come for me.
I was home by 5:30 p.m., and would have been home sooner had my son been able to leave his office earlier. I walked to and from the car, and up the few steps into my house. By the middle of the next day I no longer needed the medication prescribed for pain. On Friday, I was able to drive. On the next Monday, I spent a few hours at work. By Wednesday, I managed the full day’s work.
It was soon difficult to remember I had surgery. There was no lingering pain or twitching; and most importantly for me (since I had very severe headaches after each spinal anesthesia) I felt no after effects from the anesthesia.
I am happy to offer you these recollections of my experiences, in the hope that others needing hernia repairs will appreciate that there is a difference in procedures.
Louis G. Pecek, Ph.D.
Assistant Academic Vice President
John Carroll University