Sunday, May 22, 2005
Mister Answer Man: Special Surgery Edition
Dear Mister Answer Man: In the most recent post to this blog, guest blogger John McGowan wrote that your wife, Ms. Answer Woman, described your emergency appendectomy as “hairy.” What, exactly, is a hairy appendectomy? —R. Hagrid, Hogsmeade
Mister Answer Man replies: Thank you for asking! In its never-ending battle against postmodern jargon and all forms of fashionable nonsense, this lucid blog encourages all its readers to question unfamiliar theoretical and medical terms that serve primarily to obfuscate a clear understanding of things as in themselves they really are. But in this case, a “hairy” appendectomy is actually a fairly transparent description of an appendectomy in which the inflamed appendix ruptures as the surgeon is removing it from the body. Because the appendix is filled with millions of fine cilia that, under ordinary circumstances, aid in the digestion of foods such as quinoa and burgoo, its rupture results in an operation that is quite accurately characterized as “hairy.” Fortunately, due to the development of hand-held vacuuming devices such as the Dust Buster® and the Dirt Devil®, cleanup of “hairy” appendectomies is now a much simpler, safer affair than it was in the days when surgeons had to pluck all the stray cilia out of the peritoneum with a pair of tweezers.
And now for a serious word or two. Thank you all so much for writing in with good wishes and get-well-soons. It was a most cheering welcome after a scary and weird four days. I’m now home and mending, though I still have a cute li’l Jackson-Pratt drain sticking out of my stomach (it comes out Tuesday). I’ll be back when I have more energy and self-possession, but in the meantime, please give a big shout out to the remarkable Janet Lyon, Ph.D., former R.N., and world-class caregiver, and to Nick, for stepping up when some stepping-up was much needed. And, as always, hugs to Jamie, who wisely advised me to come home right away.