Monday, December 01, 2008

Giving more than my share of thanks

Pancreatitis. Oh-my-God pancreatitis. Pancreatic cancer. Esophageal cancer. Colon cancer. Rectal cancer. Undifferentiated cancer with metastatic disease in the abdomen. Melanoma. Really, really bad melanoma. Cholecystitis. Choledocholithiasis. Cholangitis. Gastric cancer. Bleeding gastric ulcer. Bleeding duodenal ulcer. Perforated duodenal ulcer. Appendicitis. Perforated appendicitis. Diverticulitis. Diverticulitis with abscess. Perforated diverticulitis. Perforated diverticulitis with septic mesenteric venous thrombosis. Post-CABG ischemic bowel. Incarcerated inguinal hernia. Stab wound to the abdomen. Cecal volvulus. Mid-gut volvulus. Small bowel obstruction. Small bowel obstruction with gangrenous bowel. Alcohol withdrawal with DTs. Boerhaave's syndrome. ITP. Hypersplenism. Ruptured spleen. Ruptured diaphragm. Incarcerated paraesophageal hernia. Achalasia. Traumatic brain injury. Massive trauma with hemorrhagic shock. Massive trauma with hemorrhagic shock and DIC. Carcinomatosis with bowel obstruction. Postoperative wound dehiscence. Postoperative bleeding. Postoperative pulmonary embolism. Spontaneous adrenal hemorrhage. Breast abscess. Breast cancer. Abnormal mammogram. Colonoscopic perforation of the bowel. Traumatic pneumothorax. Iatrogenic pneumothorax. Multiple rib fractures with hemopneumothorax. Flail chest. Respiratory failure. Ulcerative colitis. Ulcerative colitis with dysplasia. Ulcerative colitis with invasive colon cancer. Crohn's disease. Crohn's disease with enterocutaneous fistula. Alcohol or drug dependence complicating surgical care.

Yup. I have seen them all in the past 12 months, and more. And even though it's a little past the official "date," I am certainly more than happy to give thanks that neither my family nor I have had to suffer from any severe health problems in the past year. That is, until my brother the Googlemeister decided to break the cardinal rule of Christmas decorating --- never, I mean never, get the stuff out of the attic until after December 1st! So, in addition to the above, I can now officially state that today I am thankful that I am not my brother:

For the uninitiated, there is a fracture extending up from the elbow (which is dislocated) linearly in the humerus, basically splaying it out like a tripod. Fortunately, he's way smarter than me, and doesn't have to make a living with his hands (he'll have to switch from a keyboard to a Blackberry for a while, though). And as bad as this fracture is, what he doesn't know is that it could have been worse. Most folks tend to think of fractures only in terms of the broken bones:
Those that play tennis know that there are a host of muscles and tendons in the area. However, there is a little bit of expensive real estate here as well, mainly the artery and nerve trunks heading towards the lower arm and hand:

One of those shards of bone could have easily lacerated an artery or nerve. So, all in all, I have to say I need to "give thanks" yet again, on his behalf.

So, my dorky little (over 40 still doesn't count) brother, best wishes for a speedy recovery!