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Sometimes you have no choice but to ignore mom's advice Tom Basinski | Sat, Nov 06 2010 12:00 PM

My mom always told me not to overstay my welcome. I tried not to, but often did. Well, I did it again at the hospital.

I went in Oct. 4 for three to four days for some lower plumbing removal and the installation of a colostomy. The day I was supposed to leave I became violently sick and went to X-ray. The doc said I had a blocked, twisted intestine. So, they wanted to insert a tube through my nose down to my stomach, hoping the condition would remedy itself. I guess the person who actually knew how to do the insert was off that day, but they got it done by a committee of three, a procedure I'd rather forget.

Four X-ray sessions later and it was evident the tube wasn't unscrambling the intestine. So, the doctor paid me a midnight visit on the sixth day to tell me he had to operate. I could wait until Monday morning, or he could do it now.

Thinking there might be an operating room availability problem in the morning and, after a phone call to my wife, I said, "Let's get her done."

During my stay I was gratified and moved by the outpouring of cards, messages, plants, prayers and good wishes. You see, I don't exactly consider myself a popular person.

I finally came home on the night of Oct, 16. Because of the inner trauma to my bladder, it stopped working, so I wore a catheter to accompany me everywhere.

Slowly I am gaining confidence in navigating my colostomy "appliance." It was difficult at first, but I'm sure I'll get it right real soon.

I lost 23 pounds, my 11th grade weight when I threw passes and snagged rebounds for Flint St. Agnes. I still have no appetite, but force myself to eat. (Ain't that a switch?)

My wife deserves a medal for cheerfully and skillfully changing my dressings several times a day; a job that can only be categorized as "disgusting." I don't deserve her, but that's no surprise to many of you who know her.

I had a low-grade fever the entire time in the hospital. My doc said if my temperature rose to a certain level to go to Emergency. That happened Oct. 29. My son, a paramedic firefighter, had completed a 48-hour shift, followed by an eight-hour stint teaching at a paramedic academy. When he walked in the door at 5 p.m. my wife asked him to take me to the hospital.

I had good service at the ER. They took blood and urine and tried to find out why my fever was so high. It was an infection from wearing a catheter for a month.

I have found that I have become quite emotional during this month-long ordeal. Lying on the gurney in the ER I tried to thank my son for bringing me to the hospital when he figured he was going to get some food and rest. I broke down and sobbed uncontrollably. (Thank goodness it was a quiet sob so I didn't make a scene.)

My son is used to seeing Dad the disciplinarian, the umpire, the homicide cop and the guy who makes decisions. It threw him. He held my head and comforted me in a very touching way. That's the way it is with these damned sicknesses. You're often not yourself.

I went to a urologist Monday. I was happy when he said they would remove the catheter. Then, he said, "We'll teach you how to self-catheterize yourself." Good grief.

I don't know what my future is here at The Star-News. After this column I have two I wrote in advance that will carry into early December. After that, who knows? I hope I didn't overstay my welcome at The Star-News. God bless you all.

¥ ¥ ¥

On another note, retired downtown parking enforcement officer John Chavez died last week at the Chula Vista Veterans Home. Chavez was not exactly a public relations dream for Chief Bill Winters. If the meter said "expired," you received municipal greetings. After retirement, Chavez was a regular at the South Bay YMCA where he harassed the water aerobics instructors. His irascible humor was welcomed there.

Retired cop Tom Basinski will resume his column when he is fit.

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Karen S Says:

Mon, Jul 22 2013 07:04 PM

Your courage is inspirational, as is that of your wife. My father went through many of the same procedures with my mother changing his dressings and bullying him into following the doctors' orders. Unsung heroes all.

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