Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Another entry in the Public Address Medical Journal

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  • Russell Brown,

    I know you're trying to be down with the kids, Russell, but dude, writing about genital surgery is so 2005!

    Superb. Love the birthday party, and this is genius:

    and then they pushed an oxygen mask down on my face, and I started freaking out, because it was like they were trying to smother me (which is dumb, of course - it's like they were trying to starve me to death with chocolate cake)

    Although in my case, the genitals were a route rather than a destination.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • Scott Common,

    Well congratulations on making it through Russell - I've been there myself a number of years ago, though not to the degree which you suffered.

    I managed to get two in the space of 3 months (which was not fun at all). However mine were quite small in comparrison to yours and as such I just had to tough it through and pass them (with some lavish amounts of voltaren to help me through). Didn't help that the pain also triggered a series of chronic migraines for me to go with it.

    I still find it incredibly difficult to describe the pain which I was in to other guys, there just doesn't seem to be anything to compare it too. When asked at the afterhours clinic (I never made it to the hospital) to rate the pain on a 1 to 10 I almost had a panic attack trying to express it to them - I believe I ended up yelling "2 to the power of 25" (or some such) when I couldn't make up my mind.

    Anyway - glad you're doing better.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 62 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    I still find it incredibly difficult to describe the pain which I was in to other guys, there just doesn't seem to be anything to compare it too.

    I go with "somebody put my left testicle in a vice" because that's exactly what it felt like.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Joanna,

    Although in my case, the genitals were a route rather than a destination.

    My genitals are a root AND a destination...

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 746 posts Report Reply

  • complacenta,

    dude what can i say
    ..but that was doggone *intelligible* from stern to bow


    and may i say i especially liked the reportorial snap
    granted to the doc's "Mr. Brown!"


    (could it be that he saw you as directly related to the likes of tee-shirt stars Mr Grumpy and Mr Happy et al?)

    Since Jun 2009 • 26 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    (could it be that he saw you as directly related to the likes of tee-shirt stars Mr Grumpy and Mr Happy et al?)

    Given that I had been both in the previous 72 hours, it's possible.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • David Haywood,

    I'd be hard pressed to judge whose account was more wince-inducing: Russell or Joanna. It's giving me post-traumatic stress disorder just reading this stuff.

    Very glad you're on the mend, Russell.

    Dunsandel • Since Nov 2006 • 1156 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    I go with "somebody put my left testicle in a vice" because that's exactly what it felt like.

    Erm... no, wait, I'm not going to ask.

    My genitals are a root AND a destination...

    LOLed. And then my brain yelled 'hey Jo, got root?'

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Erm... no, wait, I'm not going to ask.

    My safe word is actually a safe phrase: please get my left testicle out of that vice.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • tony palm,

    Where are all the blokes with their own kidney stone story ? Yes I had them a few years back . Yes at 3 am rolling on the floor. Yes the ambulance trip cause I couldnt stand up straight . Yes throwing up after the drugs took affect . But there the similarity ends thank God! I didnt have anything shoved up my penis! Sheez!
    Glad youre on the mend .

    auckland • Since Apr 2009 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • littlehigh,

    Nice post - and yep to the care thing.
    I have had my own encounters with Auckland Hospital A/E - the arrival late in the evening - wheel chair at the door - clothes peg on the finger and then the run down the corridor to find the man with the mask.

    It is both scary and totally calming - and in a strange way - life affirming.

    You can even learn to love the food.

    And definitely your grateful - oh man are you grateful!

    New Zealand • Since Aug 2008 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • Stuart Coats,

    I've always had problems with the "rate your pain on a scale of 1 to 10" question. Compared to someone who's been a bad crash, or who has kidney stones, the torn ligaments in my knee aren't that painful. Or are they? Every time I put any weight on my leg I end up on the floor rolling around weeping and clutching my left knee. So for me the pain is a 9 or 10, but for someone else......

    My father recently underwent heart surgery in Wellington Hospital and, like you Russell, got wonderful care from all of the staff there. Kudos to all of our public health workers.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 192 posts Report Reply

  • John Farrell,

    Thankfully my memories of kidney stones are 25 years old......the doctor thought it might be appendicitis, I remember fainting from the pain, and then it all stopped, when I passed the thing. Being able to eat, after 4 days impromptu fasting, was a wonderful thing.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 496 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Hosking,

    Quite liked this take on the pain rating thing:

    South Roseneath • Since Nov 2006 • 830 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    The surgical team were all groovy and conversational.

    Aren't they just. When I was having the op where my skull was being put back together, there was a delay because my anti coagulant was working too well and more blood tests were required so while waiting for results, out came the cds. "Pick some music Sofie, it may help the op if you like what we play." then another 30 mins for a paediatrician cos my veins are the size of a 5 year olds. "Pick another cd Sofie, we may be sometime. Would you like to see your jaw muscle?"Whaddya mean noone told Sofie we took out the jaw muscle?Never mind it's been out a month and we will put it back before we bolt you together. Now, another cd?"Turns to the paediatrician, "how about her index finger?" By then I didn't know whether to laugh or cry :)
    Good to know you are on the other side RB. It's all up from there. :)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Morgan Nichol,

    I hope this doesn't come across as condescending and such, but are *all* New Zealand women alarmingly good writers?

    Nope, only a very small minority - just like the men.

    Auckland CBD • Since Nov 2006 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • Woz at the Skybatch,

    Great post. And great support; I love this community (even if I mostly only read).

    Best wishes for your ongoing recovery (and future wine choices).

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 12 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Prince,

    A lovely piece of writing about your experience, thanks for sharing, Russell. As a Recovery nurse I laughed at your memory of Recovery, some patients wake up well and some wake up...less well. No-one will be thinking any less of you, it's an everyday occurrence.

    "So for me the pain is a 9 or 10, but for someone else......"

    A good point Stuart, but remember this, it is all about YOU. It doesn't matter if it is a stubbed toe or a broken leg. We can't measure your pain so therefore we can't judge it, but we might look at the other little signals. I may be slightly sceptical when you tell me the pain is 10/10 and you are sitting there resting comfortably. However, you won't be able to see my scepticism, I might just give you 1mg of morphine instead of 3mg... if I was wrong, you get another 3mg in 5 minutes time anyway. If you are snoring soundly in 5 minutes time then you will probably wake up on the ward again, forgetting you ever met me. My work is done.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2008 • 12 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    There is only one person in my whanau who has both endured a prolonged labour (plus 36 hours, with an epistiostomy at the end - please excuse spelling) and the experience of having/being operated on for gallstones, Succinct summation of equivalence of both experiences?
    "Sooner die than either ever again."

    Best wishes for full recovery Russell, and no reoccurrence ever again.

    May I add my voice to people who've experienced St John's/ED recently?
    Everybody I encountered was connsumately professional, yet involved,
    and compassionate, and forthcoming with information. I think from this experience, and much else for other whanau over the past decade, that our hospital system is *bloody good* -despite the worst efforts of the politicians-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Zippy Gonzales,

    First heard of catheters from a flattie at the time, Bob the Roo, who had one stuck up him for an STD check. He fainted as it entered through the out hole, so to speak. Best excuse for condoms I ever heard.

    As for third world service, a mate was travelling in Africa with his missus and his brother-in-law. Bro-law gets something viral or some stuff. Hospital was so backwater, travel insurance support was non-existent, cash now or he dies. Bro-law lived after large hard currency transaction. THAT'S Third World. Or the US.

    All the best for a speedy and painless recovery, Russell.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 186 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Thanks, Russell - the frankness hereabouts about health matters is most welcome. Great to read stories that say how it really is - and aren't about miserable systemic failures for a change.

    our hospital system is *bloody good* - despite the worst efforts of the politicians

    No doubt partly down to those pollies investing hugely over the past decade in things that affect quality of the patient experience (and community-based primary services, promotion and prevention) - but which don't show up in the hospital throughput figures to which some weak thinkers reduce the whole health system.

    We have bloody good people working for all of us, and they cost a lot to keep.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19719 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    Islander - these days gall bladder surgery is easy - they used to open up your entire stomach wall and you'd spend a month recovering. These days they go thru your navel - I walked home the day after I had mine out.

    The pain when you have gall stones and have an attack is what's evil - a lot like what Russell describes he went through - but every other night until you figure out it's fats that trigger it (one person in Wanaka who gave me a full fat latte when I asked for trim is still on my shit list .... I got a night of agony from that) - compared to one night of that pain the surgery and recovering from it was easy.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Sacha - read my comment re pollies as "prior to 1999" and "post 2008".
    As someone who has nurses & GP i te whanau, I'd *love* to see the millions poured into the HUMAN side of the health system and, frankly, fuck all the stadia-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Understood. But where would Kiwis practice to become trusted without such shrines to the sporting gods?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19719 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Ur, it's tempting to say -at last resort, within their local hospital!

    But - what the media say we trust through their slidey wee minimal opinion polls, and what we -as 4million+ citizens of ANZ - actually do trust...that cold uprushng wind? From the gap between the 2-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

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