The first week of going through a slap chop.

(Click on photos to see them larger.)

Things start pretty fast if you are scheduled for a morning run. You get to the hospital and into the surgical pre-op staging room. Here you get to meet all the wonderful people like your nurses, assistant anesthesiologist, anesthesiologist, surgeon and more. Each of which you will end up forgetting. They ended up putting the IV in my foot, which I hear is rare, as they would be flipping me around like a short order cook making pancakes through the procedure. One of the final things that happened is my surgeon came along with his purple crayons and did some impressionistic art on me.

Anyways, shortly after this I was wheeled away and honestly taken to what I assume was the surgical theater, after this photo was taken, I don't remember a thing that happened to me.

It's one of the most jarring things I can think of in life, coming out of a fog where you just feel lost and cheated of your time on earth. Before you open your eyes you can think of nothing but a void, no dreams or thoughts happened. To me, I just ceased to exist at this time. I was pretty out of it, but I remember my mom telling me that things didn't exactly go as planned. The surgeon said he wanted to do a perfect job, and to do so required him making the planned surgery go from 3.5 hours to 7. And in this time he took away 10lbs of skin and repaired my abdominal muscle wall. I later found out that scheduling was pretty upset at him because there was another procedure lined up after me, and he bought the nurses for me and the patient after a bunch of pizza to make up for the long hours!

Due to the time I had been out and under anesthesia, and the amount of work he did on me and took away from me, the doctor ordered that I remain overnight. He was worried I'd have some severe pain as well as a lot of recovering to do from the trauma I incurred (thankfully, I only lost 1/2 unit of blood. How do they measure that by the way?). Next thing I remember from my brief moment of existence in the surgical recovery room was waking up in the main hospital. It was here I spent the next 20 or so hours where I thankfully had some of the best nurses looking after me.

As nice as it is to be waited on and taken care of by professionals, I wanted out of that place. I despise IV's and the burning they leave in your hand, and the thought of the infection found there just gives me nightmares. Though, they did prepare a pretty solid clam chowder... While my blood pressure kept dropping on each vitals readings, it finally stabilized as long as I kept my compression binder on. Walking a bit with the nurses and getting a brief checkup from the surgeon I was finally discharged! The ride home was full of cursing each bump and pothole the wonderful city of Sioux Falls takes pains to maintain. But I made it, and into what ended up being the most wonderful recovery bed and chair that I lived in for about three days.

Since then I've thankfully progressed enough to consider myself more or less independent at my own apartment, just needing assistance here and there from my roommate. I'm surprised by the pain to be honest, if I'm not up and about I'm really quite comfortable if not for the er, well severe (medically worrying constipation), I'd be quite content. I thank my surgeon so much for his expertise and the techniques he says he uses to minimize the pain the patient feels after the ordeal. I still feel like I am pulling my skin tight when I stand up straight, like I am wearing a body suite a size too small for me. But it'll stretch in time. In the meantime, I'll leave you guys with this, my first comparison photo I made since my ordeal. All my bandages exist still here and the swelling won't go for weeks or months from now. But it made me cry. Finally, I am seeing a body of a person who I feel like was on the inside, and not some costume on the outside.


  1. Awesome story, Andrew. All of us at DSU are very proud of you! Keep us updated on your progress and hopefully we'll see you at a DSU Alumni event this spring/summer.

    -Josh Pauli

  2. Andrew i am very proud of what you have done and have known your dad he would have been there all the way and giving encouragement.

    1. Appreciate the very kind words!

      Thank you Mark!

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