Monday, August 13, 2007


Years ago, during an interview, NBA Hall-of-Famer Charles Barkley referred to his college days as "Psycho-Ceramic". The interviewer recognized psycho-ceramic as an example of a malapropism...the ludicrous misuse of words that sound alike. Unaware that he was being set-up, the interviewer chose to make the correction. Wryly, Barkley said, "I know what I'm talking about, I majored in Psychology and minored in ceramics!"

The actual term psycho-somatic means; a physical disorder brought on, or made worse, by one's emotional state. Nevertheless, most of us bastardize psycho-somatic to mean; an imaginary physical disorder.

Unfortunately for me, my recent discomfort and occasional pain were quite real. I waited about two months for it to go away but it didn't. I mentioned it to my regular doctor during a routine visit and he diagnosed it (correctly) as a hernia.

A hernia (in my case) is a hole in the gastric wall that allows a section of the intestine to poke through and sag into another body part. Until recently, repairing the gastric wall was a major operation. It involved cutting the patient open and as much as six weeks of recovery time. Luckily for me, with today's technology, they have the option to drop a scope through three small holes in your stomach, abdomen and navel. Then through the miracle of science, they "un-invasively" patch the hole.

I was told my surgery was routine and I went home the same day. They said that other than some constipation, that I'd be my same jolly fat self the next long as I didn't carry anything heavy. Well, it was a rough night anyway and there was nothing psycho-ceramic about seeing a certain pouch-like body part balloon-up like a blow-fish.

Fortunately, it was more scary to look at than painful. So I iced it down and thought I was okay. The next day, in addition to the expected general body soreness, the swelling returned but the ice had little effect. Later at night, I examined myself and was shocked to find that particular swollen body part had become entirely black and blue.

Fearing an infection, I called the surgeon and asked him if he left a screwdriver or a chisel inside me. He apologized for not mentioning this possible gory side-effect and assured me that it was nothing to be alarmed at.

I will have a follow-up visit with him on Friday. I am relieved and feel pretty good. I expect to be back at work on Saturday.

Hopefully, this ordeal and anything relating to it will never have to be mentioned in this column again.

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