Robots In My Belly
I'll be the first to admit it: I'm a giant geek. I tried once to set my geekdom aside and that ended very badly. I need to get a tattoo or something to permanently identify myself as a geek so I'll remember not to deny who I truly am. Richard Stevens, the mad genius behind Diesel Sweeties, once twittered: "show me a problem that can't be solved by technology and I'll show you a problem I don't care about." This is one of my favorite quotes ever and it really summarizes my thoughts on the universe. Like I said, I'm a massive geek and also a somewhat budding technologist.
Unfortunately, I suffer from some physical and mental issues that technology can't solve yet. I'm bipolar and I suffer from various gastrointestinal drama that you really don't want any details on. Often I find myself frustrated that there is no real solution to these issues apart from whatever new medication the pharmacy rep brought in today. In the last few weeks, though, I've been facing a new issue, one which can be solved with technology.
Three weeks ago, for the first time in my life, I voluntarily walked into the Emergency Room at the local hospital. My abdomen was hurting in ways I'd never experienced before. The pain was almost unbearable and, despite my generally high pain tolerance, I was having a hard time coping. They drew blood and ran tests and took x-rays and other medical magic. After a few hours, they sent me home with some anti-cramping meds and an official diagnosis of 'shrug'. I wasn't dying but they couldn't find a cause.
Since then, I've gotten a new gastroenterologist, had new tests done, been radioactive for a few days, and continued to live with some pretty nasty pain. We've identified a problem though and Friday morning, technology will hopefully solve that problem. At 07:30 EDT, my doctor will make four incisions in my abdomen, insert three robot arms and one camera, and remove my gallbladder. That particular organ of mine is operating at 21% efficiency due to a valve failure in the bile duct. It's inflamed and causing all this recent drama.
There are a few technological fun bits here. First, robot arms! Laparoscopic surgery is pretty neat and I approve of any surgery involving remote control robots. Second, I have an awesome doctor. He signed off on taking pictures during the surgery. Now, I'd love to have someone in the room, filming the whole thing and liveblogging or twittering every step. Unfortunately, due to hospital regulations, I have to settle for photographs taken by the staff which normally would be used to protect against malpractice lawsuits. I pressed for a full video but apparently they only roll video cameras when something goes wrong during the procedure.
On Friday morning, I plan to twitter my entrance to the operating theatre. After that, I'll be out of the universe for a few hours. In theory, I'll leave the hospital around 10:00 EDT and head over to my parent's house where they can make sure I don't immediately die. When I'm conscious enough, I'll twitter my survival. I don't know when I'll have the official photos from the doctor. I'm going to take a flash drive with me just in case though. I might be able to convince my parents to take some photos of me going in and coming out too. We'll see. When all the photos have been gathered, I'll drop them in Flickr and drop a post for everyone to see.
In case my emotions aren't making it through the ether, I'm really excited and I'm looking forward to this surgery. Even if I have one of those horror story type recoveries, if this surgery accomplishes even half of what we think it will, I will be a very happy boy and will feel much better going forward. However, if you are so inclined, keep your fingers and flippers crossed for me on Friday morning.