POST-OP DAY 3: Sleeping Bowels

Today, Sunday, I began feeling alert, Post-op Day 3.

Ah, wellness! I’m starting to come out of the fog; anesthesia flushing from my brain and system! No more IV fluids. More tests passed, more tubes removed. Right now, for example, I’m only hooked up to my iPhone. More and more, the hospital staff are leaving me alone (not that they weren’t all lovely people, I just wasn’t in the mindspace to make friends), and I will probably be free to go home tomorrow, the 12th. Poor Matt went home with a terrible cold which cropped up after his flu shot, so we are currently ambulating in different places. Boy did he miss me!

So, why am I still in the hospital? There is one last thing that I hope will not turn into a major complication. My bowels are still not passing anything, liquid or solid. In 2012 this same thing happened a couple of times after surgeries. My sleeping bowels took an incredibly long time to wake up, from days to weeks, and it is frightfully uncomfortable. I was ill-advised at that time to start eating “whatever I want” immediately following surgery, and that resulted in lockdown of my bowels.

This time I knew better, so I stuck with a liquid diet for the first three days.

The staff has advanced me to solids foods, but while I could use the nutrition, I’m afraid of compaction!cactus on rock wall

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MEAT FLAP

What do I make of this?

 

I posted some graphic photos at the bottom of this. For anyone who has a sensitive stomach, do not scroll down to see these shots.

 

Enjoying a contented, easy day of post surgery rest and relaxation, I had no stress, Matt had made sure I was comfortable and was now onto the work that he’d put on hold to be with me through surgery day. I was being ever so cautious and gentle with every movement so as not to stress my abdomen.

 

He had volunteered to change my surgical dressings, which were to stay in place for 24 hours post-op. Oh, my angelic husband; he was installing an air conditioning unit, and when it came time I carefully removed the dressings which had soaked up a good amount of fluid from the wound. What I found, I just couldn’t comprehend. I thought, “Did the doctor forget to stitch me up?” There was a surgically clean gash about 2-1/2 inches across my abdomen looking at me like a piece of raw, flayed steak, and underneath that, some kind of matted mass of gauze.

 

Matt dropped what he was doing and rushed over while questions were reeling through my mind and my mouth. I didn’t feel so well, and sat on the bed to allow some nausea and light-headedness to pass. As Matt prepped new dressings, he explained that the doctor said that this would be the only way this sort of wound would heal, “from the inside out”, and not to panic, it would be ok.

 

I lay down on the bed while Matt used some rudimentary tools to pull the gauze from underneath the meat flap, which did not want to let go where it was holding on. Oddly, it did not hurt, yet I was in shock from the sight of the gore.

 

Matt turned on my camera phone and handed it to me and said, “We should film this. Here, take some pictures!” Oh, Matt! I couldn’t think of anything I wanted to do less… yet, I knew he was right, I mean, isn’t this a once-in-a-lifetime event, dealing with a live wound on his wife’s belly? So I obliged, making a pathetic mug for the camera, which didn’t take much effort.

 

After several minutes of gently tugging, the gauze finally pulled free and Matt finished dressing me with the fresh materials.

“I can’t believe they let me do this,”

he mused, referring to the medical staff sending him home with the responsibility of keeping the flesh clean and alive. I couldn’t either. Doesn’t it seem like something a trained professional should be doing given the risk of infection, or flesh necrosis? It seemed like a big responsibility for my husband to take on for me, let alone for me to do on myself??

Baffled, I am!

The hissing in my ears from the shock of the ordeal finally wore off and I napped until dusk.

I felt better when I woke up, but was extra-cautious of my movements now that I knew I had a meat flap to protect!

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Grossed-out

Grossed Out

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franken-bunny

Yeah, kind of like that!

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meat_flap

Meat Flap

pathetic_mugs

Our Very Most Pathetic Mugs

gauze_extraction

Gross Gauze Extraction

14 DAY – POST OP UPDATE

Day 14 Post-Op, 4th day home.

Well, it’s Wednesday today, I came home from the hospital on Saturday, so it’s 4 days now that I’ve been back home. Although I am still not doing much, today is the first day I feel like a whole human being! I knew as soon as I woke up, because I felt crabby! Not because of any one legitimate thing, I just felt crabby. Then I realized that it was *precisely* because my body was feeling better that I could feel truly crabby rather than sick, or achy, or pitifully tired. Just run-of-the-mill crabby. That thought made me happy.

Doctor visit

The follow-up appointment with Dr. Childs went smooth as silk. Although I was fatigued as hell from the drive in to Santa Monica, and was holding back some aches and pains, she said everything looked healthy and was well on track to recovery. I asked about the back ache I had been suffering from since the first surgery; that was most likely due to how much time I spent on my back while in the hospital. I asked about a perpetual yawn feeling in my ears; that sounded like some kind of congestion. So nothing really unusual about the recent surgery and recovery to report. I’ll see her again in 2 weeks.

Out with the old…

Matt changed my illiostomy bag this morning. It was starting to stink, so it had to go. I had a sample from the hospital (my new shipment hasn’t arrived yet), so thank goodness for the back-up. The bags should last up to a week, just being emptied and flushed out occasionally. Each of these can easily be done in the toilet and in the shower, respectively.

I stood in the shower pulling away the stickum patch from my skin, cleaning, then letting the water run over my stoma. It’s really a nice looking stoma. I should enter a stoma beauty contest, at least my tummy looks nicer than some other stoma patients’ tummies.

Matt had prepared the space in the bedroom where he could work. I laid on the “operating table” (bed covered in sheets and towels). He analyzed my stoma, then disappeared for a few minutes, and had the new bag edited with the hole cut for my stoma to fit through. He turned on all the lights in the room, donned his glasses and went to work. We had a handy DVD from Hollister (the ostomy manufacturer) playing in the background. Matt peeled the backing from the sticky patch and I oriented the bag, then on it went! Just like that, and it was fresh and clean. Then “Phbpbpbpbp!” Excellent timing, the stoma had just started spitting again.

It’s not like I have muscles to hold in sounds and stools like a rectum does. So when I have to “go”, I “go”, irrespective of who’s around, where I am or what I have to say about it.

So when the stoma talks, no one’s around but Matt & I, and we just chuckle to each other because we both know the monumental journey I just went through to get to a sputtering stoma.

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