In January of this year, I noticed that I had a bump near the groin and it was not really noticeable during the day, but more so at night. When sitting and reading in the evening, I could feel it and it was to say the least unpleasant and slightly painful.
So, I decided to consult a GP (Consultant Nephrologist/Physician Dr. Kok Lai Sun) at Gleneagles who rapidly saw that it was a hernia, and she directed me to Dr. Saye Thiam Khoo. We met in late February and early March, as both Dr. Khoo and myself were going abroad, it was decided that my operation would take place upon returning in mid-April. After checking, Dr. Khoo informed me that indeed, this unpleasant bump was an “inguinal hernia – maybe it wasn’t that exactly at the time, because it is called that (if not mistaken when it is of a larger type. Mine grew to become that !) Luckily, the stomach outer skin prevents things from going further outside….
Dr. Khoo proceeded to inform me how the operation would proceed and what would happen. As I am not at all versed in such biological things, suffice it to say that 3 “holes” would be made into my belly, the largest one by the belly button (for the camera) and a special sheet (I forget the type and weave of it – as there are different ones for different situations) would be inserted in that area – and even though it is not a “major” operation (it felt major to me, I can assure you ! – as I am totally helpless when I see blood and/or wounds) it is delicate and requires great dexterity and professionalism. I was also told that there would be some “fasteners” that would tie said woven sheet (woven special carpet ?!) to the surrounding part of the belly/organism. In older days, a knot would be tied around the offending “hole” to shutter it, but that is not terribly effective, whereas the woven material allows the stomach wall to become strong enough to block the access to the wandering intestine that is looking for some sun !
The usual precautions are taken before the operation, of course – thus certain tests have to be performed beforehand, etc. I was told that my operation would happen on the 11th of April of this year. Fasting from midnight the night before, and arrival at the hospital at 7 AM. (I was lucky, as a good friend brought me to Gleneagles on that morning – nice to have some moral support ! ). The operation was due to commence at 12:30 if I am not mistaken. Duly prepared with the appropriate tubes, pills, and signed documents, I was rolled into the operating theatre and only remember a few moments before going under. I woke up in my room a bit later – as I recall, the op took about one and a half hours if not mistaken.
It was a bit painful, moving in and out of bed (not pleasant at all the first and second day – for going to the loo…). In the evening, Dr. Khoo came to check on me, and said that things looked normal and that the operation had gone very nicely (I was given the pix, but can’t look at them!). But one is given painkillers, so it is all right, and one should not move too much anyway. The golden rule is not to exert oneself for the first month. (lifting heaving items, etc.etc – to make sure that the inserted material does not start moving around).
I stayed at the hospital 3 days, including the arrival day if I recall correctly. Every day, Dr. Khoo checked on me, and said he was happy with the result, and the “webbing” ( this is a joke, I mean, the special woven piece of synthetic cloth) was not moving, thus Dr Khoo was happy and said that I would be fine. There is a very high success rate – in the high 90s if I recall correctly. Clearly, experience and professionalism make for the excellent conditions of the operation (and the staff and equipment at Gleneagles) and there is some responsibility on the patient, to observe the injunction that one does not exert oneself for the first month. It is true, that in the first couple of weeks after the operation, sometimes there were some strange “feelings” (sudden pains, that lasted seconds) but that is quite normal, and over time it all disappears. (possibly coughing, making movements that cause the muscles in said area to extend themselves, etc.)
It is easy to ask any question to Dr. Khoo who will explain in great detail the different aspects of the operation, even giving you a piece of the woven special cloth to take home with you, to familiarise yourself and become comfortable with the idea of having said material implanted into your lower stomach/groin area. Last but not least, Dr. Khoo’s excellent disposition and humour, make for good companions when you are about to be operated on! It is most reassuring. I also want to thank his medical assistant who was very kind, just as the doctor was, and those all involved in my stay and recovery at Gleneagles Hospital. The nurses (day or night) were always most helpful and pleasant, responding to one’s requests or needs.
It is now 6 weeks approximately since the operation took place, and I feel completely normal (no pains at all) and my hernia is totally gone! It was gone right after the operation !!