Tag Archives: men’s health

The toll of working shifts

January
January is turning out to be a very busy month for my better half. One of the guys he works with, has had to go out of town for a few weeks which means overtime, six extra shifts this month. Now that doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you work twelve hours (he is paid extra for breaks and lunch since his job does not allow him to leave the boiler room), and then throw in a few extra, your body becomes completely messed up. This week alone, instead of working just two nights, he did four, and without any days off, he is switching to days (Sunday is considered a day off since the shift started Saturday night). Thus, he worked Wednesday night, Thursday night, Friday night, and Saturday night, and tomorrow morning he will go in for a twelve hour day. Basically when he came home this morning he only slept for three or four hours, because he will be going back to bed tonight so he can get up and go to work in the morning.

Hubby and I have been together for almost thirty-one years and he has always worked shifts. Way back when, he used to work a completely insane schedule. The shifts comprised of working seven-eight hour days, two off, seven afternoons, two off, then seven nights with three days off. This rotation gave him one weekend off a month. I found it to be particularly difficult on me also; I had three kids all under the age of five and if it wasn’t for the help of my mother, I would have went crazy. Afternoons were the hardest, feeding the kids supper, clean up, cleaning them up, and putting them into bed. I’m pretty sure, I went to bed right after the kids. My one saving grace, my kids were (and still are) sleepers. All loved a good twelve hours of sleep, so bedtime was at 7 p.m.

Throughout the years, hubby has worked all different rotations, with each new job he started, there was always a new schedule to get used too. One benefit I did enjoy was him having days off during the week. On those days, he could and would gladly take kids to school, swimming, or soccer, giving me a break. When it is just you and the kids for days on end, you feel and are in some ways a single parent, because even if hubby was home, there were days he was just too exhausted to really do anything, or he was sleeping.

Hubby has worked his current shift rotation for quite a number of years, and as it worked out, he wasn’t here for Christmas, boxing day, or New Year’s eve. On Christmas, we all woke at 6 a.m. to open our gifts, then middle child drove dad to work while the rest of us went back to bed (actually I stayed up, and started work on the dinner since we were having company). When the kids were small, it was a lot more difficult; waking kids early, or having them have to wait until dad gets home, is hard when all you want to do is open presents. The kids were troopers though, and would wait, asking every few minutes, “is he on his way home mommy”, kind of like the “are we there yet”question.

The one major bonus of night shift, especially when the kids were (are) in school, is well, sex. The kids weren’t home, so the parents played!

Latest news on my husband’s light mastectomy

Earlier this week, hubby had his follow-up appointment with the specialist who did his surgery. All had went well and the non-cancerous mass, otherwise known as a Gynecomastia was successfully removed from my husband’s right breast. As a result of the surgery though, he had built up quite a large amount of fluid, (occasionally, a doctor will put a drainage tube in the breast, but in my husband’s case he did not think it was necessary). Yet, he did think there was quite a bit of fluid which needed to be taken out.

Next thing we see, is a very large syringe, which the doctor immediately jabs up into the breast. How my husband didn’t yell some profanity is beyond me, because if that had been my breast, well, I wouldn’t be able to write the words. Either way, the syringe is in the breast quickly filling up with fluid, when the doctor asks his intern for another barrel, then another, then another, then another, well you get the drift. After all the fluid was drained, hubby figures the doctor removed about a tenth of a litre. My husband’s breast is now deflated and he is now left with a dent. He is not impressed. A scar fine, a dent not fine.

After we leave the office, he turns to me, and says “With all your technological gadgets, why on earth did you not pull out your cell phone and record this?” I respond “Well I was so taken aback by that needle being rammed into your breast…… f***, really?”

My husband’s surgery

This past Friday, hubby went in for surgery on his breast, a light mastectomy were the exact words the anaesthesiologist used, not something a man or woman wants to hear. It was back in August of 2012, that he first noticed the lump, we called, well actually I called the doctor immediately and he saw hubby the next day. An appointment with the specialist was made, thank goodness we/he did not have to wait long for that appointment either. A biopsy was taken with the specialist telling us there was nothing to worry about. Yet, it wasn’t until the next appointment that the doctor explained hubby had what was called a Gynecomastia (for those not familiar with the term, it is enlarged breast tissue). Hubby could leave it, or if it bothered him, he could have it removed. We decided, he would have the lump removed because it hurt when he tried to lay on his right side for any length of time or if someone grabbed his breast (that would be me, in those, you know, weak moments). As it turned out, the gynecomastia became much larger, so to have it removed was the right decision.

On Friday, I dropped him off in front of the hospital for his day surgery. The children (23, 20 & 18 years of age) were not impressed that I had just “kicked him out of the car” (hubby’s words). The twenty-three year old had bused in the night before, while the other two, being away at university could only wait for updates from mom by phone. I reassured them that their father would be fine without me there, and the hospital would call if there was a problem which there wouldn’t be. I also reminded them, that I had been by myself when I had had my back surgery (yes, their father would have been there if he could, but the kids were very young and we didn’t have a babysitter). I was a horrible wife they all decided. 

Since I had dropped him off at 8:30 a.m., and the operation wasn’t until 10:30 a.m., I knew it would be hours until I heard anything. About two hours after his operation, I phoned the hospital only to be told that he was still in recovery so they would not be able to give me an update yet. I reassured myself and the children their father, my husband was fine. Another hour went by, the phone rang, hubby was doing very well (huge sigh of relief) and I could pick him up in about forty-five minutes, but to bring a wheelchair. A wheelchair? Apparently the hospital prefers patients be wheeled out, rather than them walking out on their own. Thank goodness the eldest was with me, since I walk with a cane and there was no way I would be able to push hubby in a wheelchair.

When we arrived at the hospital, we found hubby doing amazingly well. The first words from my lips, not hello, but “they gave you morphine, didn’t they?” Hubby smiled, and said “you know with my eye’s closed, there are all these really cool colours”. The eldest laughed, all was fine. She texted her brother and sister, while I got his prescriptions and instructions from the nurse. Hubby sat in the wheelchair and the eldest had a hoot pushing her dad to the van. Now the real fun begins, he is home, off work for two weeks. So which one of us will do the other in first?

Light Mastectomy