Monthly Archives: September 2004

Bush, Kerry, and Television

When President Bush answered a question about the situation in Iraq, he answered with a statement about how he kept up with the developments by watching them on television. I was waiting for Kerry to respond with something about how it was a mistake to rely upon the reactions of a commander-in-chief whose closest experience with combat comes via a cathode ray tube half a world away from the action. Nothing like that in Kerry’s response.

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Blood Does Tell…

Tyler Hamilton, Olymic gold medalist, may lose that gold medal. A test newly implemented at the Athens Olympic Games came up positive in Tyler’s case for “blood doping”. Apparently, athletes involved in endurance sports can obtain a bit of a boost by adding some volume of red blood cells to their system. The test to detect this has been used in human medicine to detect hemorrhage between fetus and mother, and is claimed to be highly reliable.

Check out the news story for more details.

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Progress Toward the Next Surgery

Here’s the update… I had a fistulotomy back on Sept. 2nd to prepare for the big ileo-anal anastomosis with J-pouch operation in October. The cut was a bit over an inch long and had a pretty heavy drainage for a week-and-a-half. I’m now about two-and-a-half weeks post-op, and drainage is pretty minimal now. The pain was well controlled with Vicodin and Valium, and I pretty much was off those by ten days post-op.

Now I get to look forward to the main event, scheduled for Oct. 8th. My surgeon thought my post-op progress from the fistulotomy put me on track for the October surgery, though the time is a bit on the short side between the two.

The expected post-op sequence following the October surgery is seven days in the hospital, where I will get IV fluids but otherwise nothing else going into the gut. Then I’ll have the usual (!?) three weeks of no lifting, stooping, or bending at home. There will be two to three months of a very restricted diet. This wil also be a period of adjustment to the J-pouch, which will start with a lot of bowel movements per day, reducing to something like four to six bowel movements per day eventually.

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Post-surgery, and things are well

The fistulotomy went fine. About the worst part was getting the local anesthetic, which was a series of injections. Somewhere along there, they upped the IV sedation, and the world went away. Waking up post-op, I wasn’t feeling a thing from the surgery site.

My surgeon told me that there was a lot of old tissue (right, the thing has been around since 1994), so there was a goodly amount of scraping. But all appears well for going ahead with the surgery in October.

I have pain medication to deal with the discomfort now that the local anesthetic has worn off and instructions on dealing with things while I’m healing. It’s good to have that particular chapter of my life come to a close.

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Surgery: I can’t have just one

Living with an ileostomy sure beats dying without one, but all in all it would be nice to have my internal plumbing work more like it does in other people.

I have a date for the big chunk of surgery to do this (the ileo-anal anastomosis with J-pouch) of October 29th. But in order to be ready for that, I have a smaller outpatient surgery to be done sooner. Tomorrow, September 2nd, to be exact.

In 1994, I got a fistula at my anus. In the years since then, the same fistula has become more active with flare-ups of the colitis I had, then closed up when the flare-ups subsided. But for the big procedure coming up, my surgeon wants to get rid of this once and for all, by fistulotomy. The lining of the fistula is flayed and healing allowed to occur from the inside out, sealing the fistula for good. The anesthesiologists called me yesterday, and indicated that I would get sedation plus a local anesthetic for the procedure.

The major concern is whether the fistula is a complication of colitis or of Crohn’s disease. Fistulas are more commonly associated with Crohn’s disease. If the surgeon determines that this is due to Crohn’s, then the big surgery would be contraindicated and I’d just have to put up with the ileostomy. If not, then I have several weeks to heal up in preparation for the surgery in October.

I’ve already picked up the medication my surgeon prescribed for post-surgery. This is, after all, sure to be a pain in the a**.

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