DR. DAVE HEPBURN | MARCH 6, 2013
After a rewarding summer of safe sexy cycling (Spandex completes me), I was ready to start hockey season in the best shape I’ve been in since my days in the NHL. (Sect. 16 Row L)
First game: October 1.
First period: Wow, no need for oxygen/Dilaudid/EMT.
Second period: Still with great wind so to speak.
Third period: The game is a barn burner. I’m skating hard while others start to fade. Sean Gorman, a bad guy (other team), takes a shot. I make a stupid decision to knock down the aforementioned bad guy’s shot with my little finger, snapping it like a 27 year old pretzel in the Gobi in July during a drought around a very intense bonfire. Finger instantly turns 50 shades of Minnesota Vikings, so I go to the bench, wipe some snow off my skate blade and pack it around my busted pinky. But we have only three D-men so there’s no pulling the chute today. My next shift, the very same Mr. Gorman comes down and dekes to the right. I bite like a starving mackerel. It would be the last bite for me in a while. Catching an edge, my entire body hyperextended, bent backwards at the hip like a breaching humpback, a slim well-conditioned whale, I might add.
I felt a tearing on the left side of my body from my rib cage to my left knee. No ice will fix this. I came out for the next shift very uncertain and sure enough, I tried to pivot and nothing moved. In addition to tearing most of my abdominal muscles and my groin I had also severely herniated myself. Gorman, you destroyed my entire hockey season in one game. I know where you live and I have large syringes. Try to get some sleep.
After a couple of months of physiotherapy, parts of me were improving, but the hernia, as pointed out by the astute physio, was preventing me from getting there. So I went to see Al Hayashi, one of the most skilled surgeons this town has ever seen. More importantly he does pediatrics and given my failure to ever seem to mature, he can help my booboo.
I had a sports hernia, a Gilmore groin hernia named after the doctor who described it, Dr. Hernia. So I was booked for a Gilmore repair, which, today, two days after the surgery, feels like a Gary Gilmour repair.
Surgery day and, after a little manscaping, I was wheeled down the hallway to the OR, my gown seductively flapping in the wind. Me and my less than happy Gilmore, shifted on to the table in a demure and modest fashion (why bother), looking forward to the new anesthesia. Come for the surgery, stay for the gas. Anesthesia a few decades ago meant counting to ten but, this time it was “Take a deep...” I woke up in recovery with Dr. Hayashi leaning over the bedrail saying that it was one of the biggest ones he’d seen. My groggy “What about the hernia?” earned me a wife-slap and I was out again.
Hernias are those lovely pesky bulges that can pop out of our groin, our navel and several other places in our abdominal wall. Due to a weakening or tear in the muscle, the innards tend to pop out at the most inconvenient times and places like Dairy Queen during a Peanut Buster Parfait sale. Often we can pop them back in, only to have them pop out again, potentially providing entertainment for hours. On rare occasions, they may not be pop backable and may get stuck and incarcerated or strangled, neither of which are pleasant sounding words like petunia and playoffs. 27% of men and 3% of women will get a groin (inguinal) hernia. Repair of these is one of the most commonly performed surgeries in Canada. While there has been some debate about the need for every asymptomatic hernia to be repaired, eventually most will become an issue and need repair. Most will enlarge in time.
While many surgeries these days can be done via keyhole (hernias included) often the most successful approach for a hernia is to do it externally. A mesh, like a netting, is usually inserted to help strengthen the repair, prevent recurrence and possibly allow you to catch shrimp in an emergency. More importantly it prevents the bowel from spilling out of your crotch, getting stuck in the spokes of your bike, all the while absolutely ruining the whole come-hither purpose of wearing Spandex...in the first place.
Dr. Dave's book The Doctor is In(sane) is now available for those with a sense of humor and half a sense of health. Learn more and meet Dr. Dave or contact him at www.wisequacks.org.