We arrived at the hospital, Jacob and I being the first to arrive and checked in. Whenever we have any type of surgical procedure, if I can have any type of control of where we sit, I pick the very back corner of the waiting room where we sat when my dad had his colon cancer surgery. It may be strange but it just feels comfortable and I always know where everyone is at. I figured that I would be waiting half the day before I was called back due to surgical delays since I had a later appointment but I truly didn’t wait that long. Within an hour and a half I was in the surgical bay in my gown and being hooked up to an I.V. I had expressed my concerns to my GI doctor, surgeon and anesthesiologist that I did not want an I.V. in my foot or neck like the last time. This time I was very lucky; my nurse was experienced enough to know by my skin type, hair and freckles that I would be a hard stick so she knew where to go. It took one stick and my I.V. was good to go! My family was allowed to come back and spend some time with me. Personally it is always easier to be the patient than to watch your loved ones being the one on the gurney. Before I knew it, my surgeon came by and ran over a few last details as well as the anesthesiologist. We said our goodbyes and my family left. They ask me a few last questions, administered some medication and rolled me away to the operating room. I was wide awake when I got there. They let me move myself onto the operating table. I even talked to them for a bit. They started hooking me up to some of the machines. Me, being a curious person medically was checking everything out. There was so much to take in. They placed the mask over my face and told me to start taking deep breaths and that is the last thing I remember.
My surgery lasted for around four and a half hours and I was in recovery for around two and a half hours. When I woke up in my room, the pain was horrible. I remember to the best of my knowledge moving onto my bed and realizing “oh my gosh, I just had surgery and no one told me it would hurt this bad.” I told the nurses how bad it hurt in a not so nice way. They had me on a PCP morphine pump which allowed me to push it every six minutes which was nice at the beginning to curb the pain.
By Thursday, I had started to come around and began to feel better. I had ate some jello, showered and even walked a few laps around the floor. Everything was looking up. Thursday night I started feeling bad. I started to experience some diarrhea and well as some increased nausea. My parents were getting ready to leave and Jacob was going to stay the night with me. I ask my mom to stay just a little while longer until I got to feeling better but that never happen. Not long after that I started vomiting every time I moved until two or three the next morning. It was horrible. Every time I would vomit, my abdomen would feel as someone was twisting it and sticking a knife in it; horrible, horrible pain. During this time, I did something I feel so terrible about, I sent Jacob home for no apparent reason. Jacob has always been by my side through thick and thin. He stayed every night but this night. Morphine is not a good drug for me; it makes me feel strung out and clouds my thinking. No more morphine for me please.
Friday morning a doctor from the GI department came up and ask what was going on. By this point my mom had been rotating bathing basins instead of those little curved basins. My mom told him what was going on and he asked what color my vomit was. My mom said that it was the same color as my diarrhea (sorry if that is TMI but it is relevant). This had already crossed my mind earlier in the night when I saw it come out as I was throwing up, lovely – I’m throwing up poop in so many words but I was too sick to care. My mom looked at me and told the doctor to hold on a minute and he could see for himself and sure enough he did. The GI doctor was very sympathetic and I ask if my GI doctor was in. Within a short time, my GI doctor was in the room telling me that there was nothing they could do for me except put in an NG tube down my nose. The vomiting was coming from where my system had shut down during surgery and everything had backed up and there was nowhere for it to go except up. The NG tube would suction it out. I agreed to it because I was exhausted and couldn’t take much more.
They sent two nurses in with the NG tube shortly after to place the tube. They placed a good amount of KY Jelly on the end of the tube and had me drink cold water as they stuck the tube up my nose and down my throat. It didn’t work very well. I started projectile vomiting. This happened for an hour. After several attempts, they got the tube down. It was one of the hardest things I have ever experienced. I have a horrible gag reflex so that didn’t help at all. I kept the tube in until Tuesday I believe.
From Friday afternoon until Monday afternoon, I really have no memory of anything. I have bits and pieces. I had a foley catheter and that posed a whole big issue with my bladder. The nurses wanted it out and wanted to do in and out catheters and I told them I would do it myself since I know how. I didn’t want them touching me (lol, the morphine talking). Later in the afternoon, I told them to leave the foley in because I was too weak. This kept on going until my surgeon stepped in and told them to leave the foley in (thank you!).
Another issue was where my organs had stopped and there was the possibility of an ileus (an abdominal blockage). They needed to do an x-ray to confirm this. I didn’t want to go (again, the morphine talking). They brought x-ray to me but it wasn’t clear enough so I had to go. At first they brought a wheelchair. Yeah, I could barely sit up; there was no way I could ride from the eleventh floor down to one of the bottom floors to have a series of x-rays – forget it. They came back with a gurney. I agreed to go and I thought I’d die as they transferred me from the bed to the gurney. It was the longest ride. They said I’d be gone ten minutes, it took over an hour. When we got down there I had to wait for a few minutes and I got to thinking, I was the youngest person waiting and in the worse shape from appearance. I felt as if I was going to die. The x-ray technician was really nice. He asked what I had done and had the look of “oh my gosh!” He ask if I could stand for three x-rays each taking one minute each. Three minutes, he would have to help me up and he agreed. I sat up on the gurney and I was done; there was no way I could stand up for three minutes. We had to do the x-rays lying down. It was all I could do to roll over to get the films under me and he had to help me roll over, it was really bad.
Monday a friend from work came but I had no memory of it. Monday afternoon I remember because I remember things started turning around. Jacob and my dad told me over the weekend I would sleep with my eyes open. They would look over and I’d be there but I wouldn’t be, I’d just check out. Several people visited but I have no memory of it. My mom said I didn’t talk, I just answered in moans and groans. I defiantly don’t want to relive that weekend.
Monday when I started feeling better, I realized that I had the tube and it became really annoying. I couldn’t look at the liquids that it was pumping out. It was too nauseating. Since I hadn’t vomited recently, they took the tube out on Tuesday. Every morning at 6:25, anywhere from five to seven doctors would come in and examine me. They ask me if I’d like to have the tube removed; YES! It was super quick. All I had to do was breathe out and it was out. That day I started on liquids. The next day my surgeon wanted me to move up a step on the gastroparesis diet; mashed potatoes, rolls and toast. Everything stayed down believe it or not. The deal was if I threw up, the tube would come back into play. I did throw up one morning when they gave me medication. They gave me everything in pill form except my Protonix and Colace. It was NASTY! I only threw up the medication so it didn’t count luckily.
My surgeon couldn’t believe how everything had turned around. One day I went to the bathroom thirty-five times but since then it has slowed down. I ate five meals in the hospital and each went without a hitch. I spent nine nights and ten days in the hospital. He released me under the condition that if anything went wrong, vomiting, abnormal pain, not going to the bathroom right I have to come back. I was sooo happy to be released.
The almost hour long ride home wiped me out. I didn’t realize how weak I was until I got home. Since then, I’ve over done it several times but I am getting some of my strength back. I realized that this would be a hard surgery but I never realized just how hard of a surgery it was. I went into the hospital weighing one hundred four pounds and came out weighing ninety pounds. My diet now consists of mashed potatoes, bread and a few chips for flavor. I have sneaked some sugar cookies in there, I couldn’t resist. I am still very scared of food. I do not want to have deal with the possibility of having another ileus. The whole bathroom issue is slowing down which is nice. The whole process will just take time to adjust to learning what works with my stomach and it will take time for the bathroom issue to slow down.