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.

Wesley R. Elsberry

Falconer. Interdisciplinary researcher: biology and computer science. Photographer. Husband. Christian. Activist.