I have no explanation for these disparities, other than it might be due to the skill of my surgeon and the others at the hospital.
My wife thinks one chief cause might be that I was more obedient to the doctor's orders. G., for instance, went back to work about a week after his op. As I am not employed, I wasn't under the same obligation. Mainly I rigorously observed the doctor's instructions not to lift anything heavier than 15 or 20 pounds, a restriction that he later extended so that I ended up under that constraint for six weeks. Luckily it was before I would start having to do my regular cutting and hauling of firewood. Still, when you live in the woods, a 20-pound weight limit is a severe constraint, but somehow I managed to stick with it.
One result is that where before I had little interest in exactly what things weigh, now I do. So I need to find something that I can use to weigh any manner of objects, up to about 55 pounds. Fifty-five has become my magic number, both in driving vehicles and in lifting things.
A few weeks ago a third neighbor, H., the gun guy, offered to sell me what would ordinarily be a great deal -- a perfectly good 21" CRT computer monitor for just $25. At first I jumped at it, but then I got to thinking, and a few hours later I cancelled the deal. I had reminded myself that I already had a 20" monitor and a 21" one, not to mention a 19-incher, and handling them had probably gone far to opening that tear in my abdominal wall. They were all well up into the 50- and 60-pound class, and H.'s monster promised to weigh even more. I saw no sense, the great deal aside, in having something that would encourage the 15 percent chance of a second intestinal bulge developing on the left side.
G., who is always ready with medical horror stories to drop on me, told me about a female acquaintance who recently had the same hernia operation that we had undergone. She runs a business teaching people to ride horses, and she went back to demonstrating it much too quickly and she reinjured herself in the same spot, and now she has to go through that hernia repair business all over again.
Just the thought of that makes me cringe, in spite of how well everything went for me.