Sunday, October 27, 2013

Week 41 - My Bowel Resection

TMI Alert! I get into some health details so keep reading at your own risk. : )

So, this week was all about surgery. Go figure. I was surprisingly not as nervous as I’d been the previous week, which seemed odd but I was happy about it. Maybe it was just that I was so focused on getting my pre-surgery list done that I didn’t have time to worry. Hmm…

I worked on Monday and although I anticipated a quiet day, I was slamming until after 5:00, which was probably a good thing. I ate my last meal before fasting and surgery when I got home and headed to the library for knitting. Tuesday was fasting and prep day but I had left lots of chores to do in the morning so it flew by. By 2:00 when I started drinking the prep, most everything was done. The prep was HUGE – a full gallon, which was twice what I’d had to drink before. It started out fine. It wasn’t as thick and didn’t taste too bad but there was a lot to get down. I went like gang busters until….
By 4:00, it had started to work but it also felt like it wasn’t going past my stomach anymore. I tried some kool aid powder and putting it over ice but I just couldn’t gag more down. I had to start taking antibiotics at 5:00 and it was all I could do to sip enough to get them down. It was no better by the 6:00 dose and things had stopped progressing. I called the doctor’s office and left a message. I hadn’t heard back and couldn’t drink anymore. Then at 7:30, I barfed my insides out. I hadn’t drunk any in more than 2 hours but still managed to hurl up plenty. It really was just sitting in my stomach. I called the answering service in a panic, worried that I was throwing up the antibiotics and they wouldn’t be able to do the surgery. I was NEVER going through this again! They finally called back and told me to stop drinking the stuff (THANK GOD) and to just take my 11:00 dose with water. What a relief. I got all the cats in, crossed the last few things off my list and went to bed.

Shockingly, I was able to sleep quite well and got up at 4:00 and drove myself to the hospital. I had to leave my bags in the car but took my knitting into pre-op and cast on a new pair of socks while they prepped me for surgery. The last thing I remember was moving from the gurney onto the operating table and wondering what all the people in the OR would be doing. Then I was in my room with all kinds of tubes coming out of me – IV, catheter (that was a first) and oxygen. Nora was in my room and had been there for the whole morning. My surgery had taken longer than they’d planned because they found something else wrong while they were in there and fixed that too. Apparently my colon had attached itself to my bladder so they had to carefully cut those apart and took more colon than the 6” they tattooed. How fabulous to get a BOGO on my surgery! And the colon that was attached to my bladder showed history of abscesses and a fistula was in the making. I’d clearly dodged a bullet.
Nora headed to work (such a great friend!) and Helen brought my bags from the car and ate her lunch in my room. I did everything they asked of me and so got them to take the oxygen off pretty quickly. Then I was walking the halls with my IV and pee hanging from a pole, which freaked out a little girl who was waiting by the elevator. I was ready for it all to be gone. The broth and jello they brought me for supper was heavenly and before I knew it, the day was over. Not that I got much sleep with every nurse in the place waking me up constantly to check something or other. But I had a promise that they’d take out my catheter at 6:00 a.m. so I had that to look forward to.

Tim, the night nurse who was absolutely adorable and asked me every time he woke me up all night, “Ma’am, have you passed gas?” was there minutes after 6:00 to remove the catheter. Yay! And yes, I was farting by now, which oddly made everyone happy. I convinced Tim to remove the leg massagers for good and then my IV long enough so I could get dressed. I was up in the chair all day, which felt great. Is there anything comfy about a hospital bed? Nope. I was much more comfortable up in the chair and it made it easier to get up for water (walking the hall to the galley myself) and general walking. They brought me more broth and jello, which was disheartening, but when the PA came, I begged for real food and got some cream of wheat post haste. It tasted great! Nora, who was back first thing, immediately went to Scooter’s in the lobby and got me a latte. Life was improving by leaps and bounds. Nora left and Darla arrived and spent the morning with me. I have the best friends EVER. I had a turkey sandwich for lunch (yum!) and had some downtime in the afternoon so got lots of knitting done. Helen and Brenda visited in the afternoon and then after dinner, Anne came. Jennifer brought me a frapuccino at 7:00 which was half-caff so I was up late that night. It’s not like I’d worked up any fatigue though and Friday I’d be going home.
I slept in a bit, ate breakfast (real food was tasting so good) and waited for the doctor or PA to show up. Despite not pooping yet, they were calling me their star patient (all I did was follow directions and get out of bed!) and consensus was that I’d be able to leave. I got the OK to go at 9:30 so emailed Nora and kept knitting. Nora called at 10:30 and we made plans to leave around lunch. She and Mary came up ~12:30 and we headed out. It hadn’t been bad and was a shorter stay than I’d thought but it felt good just to be outside. Mary drove me home and Nora drove my car. After they left, I unpacked and ate a bowl of cheerios. Even those tasted great. Then it was a matter of sitting, knitting and waiting for my newly svelte colon to kick in, which it did later that day. That accomplished, I just had to wait until 9:00 so I could go to bed in my own bed. I surrounded myself with pillows and fell instantly asleep. Then the phone rang at 9:30 and woke me up with a rush of adrenaline that had my heart racing in my chest. Seriously! Who could be calling me that late on the day I got out of the hospital. It was Helen, who had hung up before I could get to the phone. I listened to her message and then sat up for hours. If I could have read in bed that might have helped me get to sleep sooner but I read on my stomach so that didn’t work. I finally fell asleep at midnight. What a long day.

Helen called first thing on Saturday and I told her she should not have called so late and please not to do it again, after which we chatted for awhile. I was so exhausted that I didn’t do much more than sit and knit on Saturday. The phone rang in the afternoon, waking me from a trance (can you be asleep with your eyes open?) and it was Helen’s husband, who doesn’t like me on a good day. Well, he had taken exception to me telling Helen she shouldn’t have called so late and was in a screaming rage. He called me a f-ing selfish bitch and told me never to ask them for anything else again. I could barely follow what he was saying and struggled for a response but he hung up on me. I was in shock and scared – a man in a rage with guns 6 miles from me. Did Helen know he’d called? I had no way of knowing and was fretting big time. Now I’m sure being less than 24 hours out of the hospital, totally sleep deprived and fresh from general anesthesia wasn’t helping but still. Who does this? Sharyn and Ginny helped talk me down. Thankfully Helen called later that day, at which point I burst into tears. She had no idea he’d called and chalked it up to his meds. I was just so relieved that Helen and I were OK and now could sleep without worry, which I did at exactly 9:00. I didn’t sleep very well but certainly better than the night before.
Sunday was a pleasant day of knitting and feeling not too bad. I had plenty of food in the frig and was eating pretty normally. Things were definitely looking up.

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