Several months ago I started having pain in and around my groin area. At first I thought it was a pulled muscle or some such thing, and really paid no attention to it. In January it started to get worse, with the pain radiating up my side into the intercostal muscles, those are the ones that wrap around and through your ribs and make it so your chest wall can move so you can breathe, and down the inside of my thigh. By February it was so bad that I couldn’t cough without feeling like I was going to pass out, and for a smoker that is bad news.
In February I had an appointment with my primary care doctor and told her about the problem. She did the standard “turn your head and cough” exam, and said that she couldn’t feel anything. She set me up to see the doctors at the surgery center, and have them check for any problems. A month later I was at the center getting checked out. In actuality it was a quick referral. Most of the time it takes several months to get into one of the other clinics at my local public hospital.
I had the dubious pleasure of having two doctors take a look at my delicate problem. One was a surgical intern, the other the attending. Both were very efficient in their exams, perhaps too efficient. I have had checks for hernias before. Back in the old days you got to line up at the start of the school year and school nurse checked you out before the start of P.E. I guess it was the school’s way of protecting itself in case you pulled or blew something out. I don’t know if schools even have P.E. any longer, but if they do, I hope they stopped the hernia checks. It was always an embarrassment to be lined up with 30+ other guys and having the school nurse checking your nether regions. Made it so that I always hated to go to the nurse’s office later in the year.
Back to the doctors. After both of them rammed their fists up my intestines to my throat, I got the verdict. “We don’t know.” The attending did say that he thought I had what is called a “sport’s” or “sportsman’s” hernia. I would think that you would have to engage in some form of sport to have a sport’s hernia. With all the problems I have just getting around, the most physically taxing thing I have done in the past three years is trying to get up off the floor when I have had a fall. Maybe they can make falling down an Olympic sport. I’d probably be a gold medal winner, or at least the bronze.
The attending is going to set up an appointment for me to have a C-Scan or MRI of the area so they can get a better idea of what is wrong. If it is a sport’s hernia he said that they would go in, and as he put it, “kill the nerve” running through that part of my body. He told me that the nerves would basically reroute themselves over time, and I would be back to “normal” in about 3 to 6 months, maybe longer. I know I should have asked him exactly what he meant while I was in the office, but I was still trying to catch my breath from having his fist shoved through my abdominal wall. When I got home, and finally could see straight I looked up the nerve that he was talking about. TheFreeDictionary.com medical section explains the ilioinguinal nerve: “origin, lumbar plexus—L1 (sometimes T12); accompanies the spermatic cord through the inguinal canal; branches, anterior scrotal or labial branches; distribution, skin of scrotum or labia majora, and adjacent part of thigh; modality, general sensory.” From what I am reading on this particular nerve, I don’t think I am going to like the idea of “killing” it. I’m hoping that he only means a nerve block that will give me some relief for a few months.
The upside to dealing with this is that it is a distraction from the other nerve problems. Granted, I still have major problems with controlling where various parts of my body go, and I still tremor like crazy. But all I have to do to take my mind off of these problems is move a little to the right with my torso, and BAM! it feels like someone just kicked me in the crotch. I haven’t decided which is more annoying, not having motor control over my right side, or having the feeling like my right testicle is going to fall off.
I guess I will have to see what happens after the scan and whatever they are going to do to me to see if things get better. Right now I am just packing myself in ice trying to freeze the irritation caused by the doctors. I do have a question for anyone in the medical profession. Why is it that when my primary care doc examined me, SHE was gentle and I didn’t feel like I was going to be turned inside out. Yet, when the surgery center docs, both males, examined me, it was like I was in Mengele’s lab being subjected to torture? I think Freud would have a lot to say about this.