From my human, CC:
A year has passed since my colectomy surgery that has given me Mr. Stoma. It’s definitely been a crazy year of figuring out how to live with a new permanent “roomie” but it has been one of the best things that I have done (not that I really had too much choice at that point).
Back to where I left off with my hospital story, they ended up hospitalizing me for a week before actually performing the colectomy since they weren’t sure how well I would handle the surgery in the shape I was in when I arrived at the hospital.
My veins were total crap and it was pretty much impossible to get an IV or even a blood sample out of me. Thankfully I was able to get a PICC line installed in my arm. BEST. DECISION. EVER. We later wish it had ended up being a 3 port line instead of a 2, but it all worked out. But, since they were hooking me up to TPN (Total Parenteral Nutrition) and taking several blood samples each day as well as IV pain meds, this was really a God send.
After our first night in the nice sleep studies room, we were kicked out in the morning and moved to some sort of hospital cattle corral holding area. Which for me was pretty much the end of a hallway that had a sheet in front of it. It was pretty horrible. My poor husband just had a folding chair to sit in and sleep in. I had a little port-o-potty by my bed after I finally convinced the staff that even though I know the restroom was just across the hall, I wasn’t going to make it (I had plenty of experience with this and I really didn’t want to spend my hospitalization by crapping in their hallway every hour – especially when I knew they had portable toilets available). After a couple of days in this location, our surgeon came to visit and mentioned that he hated this spot and I got a room pretty soon after that. Yay!
I was moved up to the GI floor and the staff there was FABULOUS!!! They didn’t look at me like I was crazy when I told them I couldn’t make it to the actual toilet and had a clue when it came to taking care of my wound issues, etc.
So, it was a week of tests, getting my stats back to a decent level, sleeping, getting my butt wounds taken care of, sleeping, narcotic meds, sleeping, freaking out my husband with my random drug-addled ramblings, and getting “fitted” for my new ostomy site. There was some frustration with communications which caused some anxiety at the time but it worked out.
My actual surgery ended up taking quite a bit longer than they thought because according to the surgeon, my large intestine “melted like butter” when they tried to remove it. Generally not the condition you want your internal organs in. I’m probably really, really lucky it didn’t perforate on its own.
After the surgery was an experience I would prefer to not repeat. I think my nurses got switched around and I think I kind of fell between the cracks. I remember lying there for a while with no one coming by to check on me and my pain meds were starting to wane. I remember trying to call out to folks as they passed but after having tubes shoved down my throat for hours all I could do was hoarsely croak at them, which they didn’t hear. Finally someone stopped by when I was about to have a breakdown – I was probably crying by this point because I was uncomfortable and really pissed and had just been gutted like a fish. I asked to see my husband and they actually let him come back to the recovery area to visit with me for a few minutes (which I don’t think they normally do – but I was really unhappy). I believe when I saw him my exact words were something along the lines of, “Get me out of this hell hole!” Which I’m sure did nothing for his stress levels. But, they weren’t letting me out of recovery until my pulse rate went down, which took FOREVER. Probably being pissed off didn’t help. But, I think I was in recovery for around 4-5 hours, something like that before they finally….FINALLY released me to go back to my normal room. I went into surgery at 2:30pm and got back to my room at 12:45am.
I was very thankful to be back in the hands of the staff of the GI floor after that. I don’t particularly remember much – lots of drugs. Liquid diet given to me – yuck. And who decides that RED Jell-O is a good option for someone who just had GI surgery. Seriously.
But, enough of this for now. While the surgery recovery wasn’t the most pleasant experience, the surgery seemed to go well and I now had my new friend, Mr. Stoma. 🙂