As I lay on my couch at home after a night in hospital after having my indirect inguinal hernia repaired I am reflecting on a number of things.
Last night, I lay wide awake, even after the being completely knocked out for operation and then having a sleeping pill to try and help me sleep, I was pondering modern medicine.
Many people are very critical of pharmaceutical and the medical industries. I have had an underlying skepticism most of my life about both….. but as I lay there in the middle of the night reflecting on my life I realised that I owe my life to modern medicine and probably the pharmaceutical industry too, possibly a couple of times over! Big call? I know.
I was chatting to my mum post operation, and I knew I gave her a rough birth. I turned the wrong way, and the Doctor, from the Alfred, told her if it was 100 years ago both you and your son would have been dead! Life 1.
When I was about 12 I had terrible pains in the stomach that would not dissipate, after many attempted remedies at home. Mum got me to a Doctor and next thing you know I am in the Royal Children’s Hospital. With an hour or so to spare I had an appendectomy. It was about to burst, and the doctors said the resulting peritonitis would more than likely have caused death! Life 2
When I was about 15, I had a skate boarding accident with my brother, that resulted in me breaking both bones in my lower left arm. Both bones had come through the skin!
I remember coming out of Doctor’s clinic on way to Royal Children’s again and I ran off on the Ambulance Officers saying I would race them down on foot.
They had the last laugh when the Tutti Frutti drugs wore off and we were hitting bumps on the Tullamarine Freeway.
I remember waking up in the middle of the operation hearing my bones rubbing together as the the Doctor was trying to reset my bones. It took him two shots. He had to remove the plaster and go again. Maybe not my life there, but geez I cannot imagine the pain that would have been involved trying to do that fully awake? Life 2.2.
When I was 19, finally my sever tonsillitis that had plagued me all through my teen years, led to them being removed. I still occasionally remember what it was like for me to breathe when I had tonsils. I basically couldn’t. Not my life again…. but it felt like I was given a new life! Life 2.5.
When I was in my early 20’s I badly broke my ankle/leg playing my beloved indoor volleyball. Once again a number of doctor’s and surgeon’s got me right again! Life 2.7.
When I was in my late 20’s I could not get to sleep one night. My eye was so itchy! So itchy. Once I finally worked out in the mirror what was going on I was off to the Alfred again. I was a keen and State/National level Beach Volleyballer. We’d play all day Saturday and sometimes Sunday through the sun and wind. Well, this windy day saw sand flying around everywhere. Not just sand had got in my eyes, a piece os shell had too! I had actually pushed it into my iris and it was stuck! What they did with the machinery and pharmaceuticals that night saved the vision in my left eye! Not my life, but significant again! Life 2.9.
After a motorcycle accident where my left shoulder dislocated I was prone to it ‘popping out’ from time to time, even in bed when I was asleep! Well, one day, it popped at the kitchen sink after a sort of pushing off sink after a drink of water. There was no way it was going back in. Never felt pain like this.
Got to The Alfred again. Yep, they got it back in with some pretty strong drugs. Never felt relief like that in my life. The Doctor said a bad dislocation like that can be as painful as child birth! Ooooo. No thank you. Don’t know how you ladies do it? And, go back again! Life 2.95?
And, now sitting here after an indirect inguinal hernia repair, that I know deep down will transform my life and sport again. I just have not been able to do what I love freely, or without it impacting so many aspects of my life. This was done with keyhole surgery and with absolute precision. I remember waking up post operation looking around the room. So many doctors, nurses, medics, helpers bringing us all ‘back to life’ and helping us get to our rooms and making us feel comfortable. Amazing, amazing human beings! Life 3.0? Who knows?
Then, I sit back, now as a Vegan, and I know that possibly many, many a beautiful being probably suffered and died for those drugs to be administered to me. Is my life worth more than their life? At 43 years old I no longer believe it is, but you know what…. I sat there and had a prayer and was overwhelmingly grateful for every being that has lost or given its life, for my benefit. The gratitude overwhelmed me that it brought me to tears in the dark room in the middle of the night looking out at the moonlit trees blowing in the wind on Punt Road.
Today, I am ever so grateful for every surgeon, doctor, pharmacist, nurse, carer, receptionist, dentist, and any living being that has helped me to be here in recovery on this couch at home…. With my favourite nurse of all, my lovely wife and adventurer Natarsha Tremayne.
A big thank you to The Alfred Hospital. I was born there, I have been back on at least 6 occasions in times of need, and I have lived just 1km from you for the past 8 years. As one of the brilliant nurses and I were chatting about how we grew up as kids, the outdoor life, what we did after school and the difference in the modern day world, she said something quite profound to me……..
“I don’t think there were any less ‘bad’ people back then.”
You see Modern Medicine and Pharmaceuticals are good and bad. It’s not the ‘industry’ or the ‘drug’ or the ‘technology’ that is ‘bad’. It’s just some ‘people’….. And you know what, for the most part, I am optimistic that the good….. no wait, actually great things, great people do, far outweighs the things that go wrong.