Monthly Archives: October 2004

More Adventures in Recuperation, #4

This promises to be a long, slow climb out of the hole. I’m having continuing pain associated with digestion and elimination, but according to my surgeon I am progressing as expected.

The ileo-anal diet is one calculated based upon how little trouble the food causes below the stomach, not how good it tastes or how appetizing it is. While my surgeon says that it is a set of guidelines, he is encouraging me to stick to it pretty closely for the first month. Tonight’s meal: roasted chicken, sweet potatoes, asparagus, and toast.

Today was my best day in a while. I’ve been trying to sleep a fair amount, which is partially due to escaping the pain I get on movement. But movement, such as walks in my neighborhood, is also good for my recovery. In any case, I was awake most of today, and the pain was not as intense as yesterday. I have been able to put in regular hours via telecommuting for the past few days.

Diane’s parents, Sam and Marguerite, are visiting through Sunday morning and have been helping make sure I eat and have someone around. We all watched “Run Silent, Run Deep” on DVD this evening. While it wasn’t Marguerite’s favorite among the possibilities, it is a pretty serviceable submarine adventure.

My evening dose of Vicodin and Benadryl is kicking in. I will try to post again soon.

More Adventures in Recuperation, #3

It’s Saturday, and things are changing.

The NG tube came out on Friday. I went off the patient-controlled analgesia on Friday, and onto oral pain medication. I’ve been on a “full liquid diet” so far.

This morning, the rectal tube was removed, so now I’ll be traipsing off to the restroom quite a bit.

The doctor who looked at me this morning thinks that the rash i’ve got is due to something besides poison oak. He’s going to try to locate a dermatalogist to have a look, but they are rarely here on the weekends.

I’ll probably go home Sunday or Monday if things continue to go OK.

More Adventures in Recuperation, #2

Today was not my best day. I started the day getting a sponge bath and change of IV site. While sitting in a chair and having a couple of sites unsuccessfully tried, I got a bit nauseous, then light-headed. I got back in bed and they hooked me up to O2, which helped. Something I haven’t mentioned so far is that while everything else is going on, I’m also having my first reaction to poison oak. Diane and I had gone hiking last Wednesday and run into some poison oak. I took a shower when i got home, but that apparently was not enough. I have the worst rash on the inside of my forarms, and some rash on my abdomen and thighs. This complicated IV siting, too.

I’m getting topical cortisone cream for the rash, which has meant that I’ve often put my cream-covered arms up and grabbed the lift bar over my bed. Around lunchtime, I nodded off and my right arm dropped onto my abdomen, which did not help things.

We’ve been clamping off the NG tube, then retrying later to see if things are moving. This afternoon, things had not. I’m trying again this evening. If things do get moving, I can have the NG tube removed.

The Foley catheter came out today. Other output seems to be indicating normal progression on healing.

More Adventures in Recuperation, #1

I’m now resting in a hoospital room. The surgery covered everything at once, so as long as the re-introduction to food goes carefully, all should be well. Dressings from the stoma and incision sites were removed and replaced this morning. I’ll be going on sips of clear fluid. The NG tube is still in, which make this harmless. My surgeon said he was able to visibly identfy the nerves on the right side of my rectal stump, and that it usually only takes enervation from one side to make things work correctly.

Surgery Day Today

I’ll be going in for surgery a bit later this morning. I’m supposed to be at admissions at the Kaiser Permanente Walnut Creek facility at 5:40 AM. I’m on the early schedule for surgery, so I should be in surgery somewhere around 8AM. I was told the procedure itself takes 219 minutes, so I should be going from surgery to post-op sometime around noon.

As usual, one of the less pleasant parts of surgery is the preparation. I got to take a couple of doses of Fleet Phospho-Soda and then a 10 ounce bottle of magnesium citrate for the clear-out. There was a fair bit of stomach upset on this, but I’m through that now.

The surgery is an ileo-anal anastomosis with reservoir. This is what is known as J-pouch procedure, and will hook me up so that my internal plumbing is more or less normal again. The surgeon tells me that there is an 80% chance that everything can be accomplished in a single procedure, but a 20% chance that they would need to do the hook-up with a loop ileostomy to give the new reservoir time to stretch into position. This is apparently a risk of being a tall person and having this done.

The anesthetist went over the plan with me the other day. Apparently, they had some difficulty intubating me the last time I had surgery, so this time they’ll be doing a fiber-optic guided intubation. I’ll be sedated but awake for this bit, and they say they’ll spray the back of my throat to numb it before running a fiber optic tube into my windpipe, to be followed by the usual breathing tube. I’ve been assured that the stuff they will give me thereafter will cause me to forget this part of things. One may only hope…

Once I seem to be back in the land of the coherent, Diane will bring me a computer. So this may be what you hear from me for a couple of days. After that, I should be able to post updates here. It will be interesting to see how soon I get to the point where I can function with the computer, since I am not on steroids this time around.

It is expected that I will be in the hospital for seven to ten days, and then back home for further rest and recuperation. Initially, I’m told that I should expect 15 or more bowel movements a day until the new reservoir stretches a bit. Eventually, this should drop to perhaps a half dozen bowel movements a day, which is on the high side of normal, but looks like a to be desired outcome for me at this point.