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My adventure with emergency surgery

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
* warning,this contains graphic and humorous comments on diverticulitus;hey,if I lost my sense of humor,there was going to be a problem!*

Well,it's been a whole four weeks since I had a little vacation in the hospital.I woke up on a Saturday morning to get ready for work and had a cup of coffee.Same day as always,you know?

Within an hour,I had the worst abdominal pain [well,pain in general] that I have ever felt,and I have a very high tolerance to pain.Dentists don't scare me.. but I knew this wasn't normal for me,so after literally crawling up the stairs to wake my husband [I could not even yell;couldn't draw a deep enough breath],it was off to the Doc In A Box [one of those immediate medical places] a mile up the street.

You know,I found out real fast that people can really be ...uh...incredibly rude and selfish.I was literally laying on the floor,moaning like a porn star and other people are in there with the sniffles,reading "Woman's Day" and just glaring at me.Think anyone said "Do you want to go first?" Of course not...Strike One for my faith in humanity.

Husband got me in before three people,though...so in I went.

Long story short,they thought it was either gall stones or my appendix.So they call the hospital and tell them that I'll be there shortly.

After 14 hours,tests,lots of drugs [which didn't make a dent in the pain] and a temp of 102 and vomiting the whole time [NEVER get sick in a CAT scan!]..oh,and basically hallucinating for about half of it,I found out they were going to operate.Cool...let's get it done and make me better.

I wake up to find out that my colon ruptured and I had already been septic for a few hours before I even got to the hospital.How did that happen? Well,it was a fluke...could have been something as simple as a sunflower seed husk that ripped it open like the hull of the Titanic.Seems I was also close to dying were it not for the fact that they operated when they did.They also removed a foot of my colon.

yup,that's a sobering thought.

But the worst was yet to come: I then get told that I have a colostomy bag and will have it for up to six months until I heal and then have another surgery to reverse it around December.

Jesus,I'm a healthy 35 year old woman...how did I get a freaking colostomy bag?! That was a hard one to deal with...it really messes with your head for a bit.

And then six weeks off from work...oh kill me.Even after three days off I'm ready to go back.


Four days in the hospital,no solid food for nearly 8 days [meds made me really sick..lots of fun with 14 surgical staples going down your gut,too!],post-op depression,no sleep...just generally a horrible experience.Being home was worse than the hospital,because all the things that normally comfort you become an unpleasant reminder of how awful you feel.I slept on the couch for two weeks..hated it.

But I'm doing better;still slightly stooped over because walking is kinda rough on me.Eating has become unpleasant simply because it is a ritual in itself: I have to be sitting up straight and I feel every bite of food travel through me and sometimes it just hurts.I'm guessing that the weakened state of my abs has me feeling sensations that normally I would not have.And after that,I have to go for a walk and drink some mint tea [seems to settle things].

and it's the only time I regret having a Mustang...jesus,getting in and out of that thing for the next few weeks is gonna be rough!

Then 14 hours goes by and I get to deal with the bag...look,all of you who can have a normal bathroom visit,rejoice...because with this ostomy,it's the first two to three hours of your day and it involves quite a bit of waiting for your system to get done.THEN you can leave the house or get on with your day until 24 hours later.It isn't fun.It also involves gloves,soapy water and being on your knees in front of the toilet.

But I'm alive and it's temporary...some people have this for the rest of their lives and I can't fathom that at all.

I go back to work in a couple of weeks and am going to have to be careful,obviously.I've never had anything happen to me that I couldn't just take an Advil and go back at it...abdominal surgery is different.I'm guessing at least another couple of months before I'm close to where I was,but then I have the other surgery in December and more illness-inducing meds,surgical staples and six weeks off again...so I'll get better to get right back to where I was!

Can't be fired for poor job performance because then I could sue my employer for medical discrimination...:lol:.I have the scar and the bag to prove it,too.

But as soon as I'm well,I'll be moving on elsewhere because no one [and I mean NO ONE] called,sent flowers,even made the token gesture of "Can we do anything for you?" Yes,my two friends there helped me and visited,but nothing from my two chefs above me or from the company itself.I've been in this business 18 years and have never seen such a lack of caring,but there seems to be a lot of that in this world.Strike Two for humanity.

They love you on the clock,but off the clock,you're on your own.Corporate B.S.

But I'll have the fastest colon in the south,**** it..it's practically new!

So,I hope everyone is in good health at this time! I need to go start the eating ritual now...:lol:
"Sometimes people can be oh so dense"

The Pixies
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"Sometimes people can be oh so dense"

The Pixies
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post #2 of 18
Sorry to hear about your experience. Had something similar and a friend wouldn't even bring me a toothbrush to the hospital (hospital had "run out").

Hope you feel better. On the bright side of the colostomy bag... you have a really nasty weapon to throw at someone if they get out of line. :eek:
post #3 of 18
You have my best wishes for a fast recovery! Having surgery is the pits, but you also have something else to adjust to- and, with all going well, temporary. I hope your experience is helpful to someone else. You never know.....
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***It is better to ask forgiveness than beg permission.***
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Moderator Emerita, Welcome Forum
***It is better to ask forgiveness than beg permission.***
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post #4 of 18
(((((((AtlTournant))))))). Wow how awful, and you seem a caring, warm, and cool person.
Please come in often and let us know how you feel.

I had my first colonoscapy six years ago at 58, doc said I had the colon of an eighteen year old, I would have picked something different!
Nan
post #5 of 18
i hope you feel better soon. i can relate as i recently underwent emergency gallbladder removal and i know what that pain you're describing is - fortunately for me i only had to wait 6 hrs. in the emergency room before removal. sometimes it's a good thing to be allergic to so many things - puts you right to the front of the line when you can't take pain medications.
i also wish you luck in finding a new position and hopefully it will be soon.
and try to enjoy the rest of your time off.
will you be going back full time or part-time? you may want to ease back into it, like you say they can't fire you for medical.
kathee
post #6 of 18
I understand your situation, as a while back, I once invented an inflatable stoma plug for colostomized people. Those who have to wear the bag have to be very careful about the area around the outside and just inside the opening, as the chyme is rather acidic and can cause necrosis of the tissues. Good hygiene is terribly important.

But you are very lucky it is only a temporary situation. As you pointed out, those who have to keep the stomal opening permanently, used to sometimes have a cobalt ring implanted just beneath the opening. Then there was this cobalt magnetic plug that was held in place by magnetism. I'll never forget the picture of the guy after 7 years, his stomach where the opening was had stretched so much that the plug was facing the ground.
The plug weighed 7 lbs as I recall. Anyway, the idea was to eliminate (no pun intended) the necessity to wear the bag. You just pulled the plug, so to speak, and empty the collected contents (like opening the valves on a dam).

Good luck!

doc
post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the support,folks!

Thank you all for your kind words and experiences! My husband and I have had more support from online communities [he's on a Packer board] than we have from friends of 15 years.Kinda sad,really.You definately find out who really cares for you when something happens.

I've given away I don't know how much money over the years to friends or co-workers in tight spots,made meals,cleaned many a house etc for anyone who needed it,helped people move...it just kills me to hear "let me know what I can do" when you know 1 out of 10 actually will stand by the offer.I don't understand that at all.

Don't write a check that your butt can't cash,you know?


All things considered,I'm doing better than expected.I had youth and good muscle tone on my side and I'm healing faster than I could have guessed.I also think my anger at this even happening to me [and how the company reacted,or didn't react!] made me really push to get up and moving.I got out of the hospital two days earlier than planned and was walking not even a day and a half after surgery..okay,I was walking like a human apostrophe,but I was walking!:lol:

But I have never felt sorry for myself at all because things can be worse...this is just "one of those things" and you deal with it.Any day above ground is a good day!

my next project is to write a song to The Kinks "Lola",but using "Stoma"...ah,wacka wacka!:crazy:
"Sometimes people can be oh so dense"

The Pixies
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"Sometimes people can be oh so dense"

The Pixies
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post #8 of 18
Atl,
who was your doctor...have similar problems...had a great doc
in atlanta named Jeff Kamean....Keep active...force yourself to
eat...you just got to....send your husband out to get whatever
you think you would want...getting back into eating will be the hardest thing...good luck...I've got a date with a couple of nurses and the old
garden hose scope in a week or two...used to bother me, but now
its just....you know...mild humiliation....good luck.
post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 
My surgeon was Dr.Werbel at Gwinnett Medical Center in Duluth...great guy.The whole staff was really nice,actually.They said I was one of the funniest patients they had,all things considered.I'm a born smart-a**,so it wasn't hard to make a joke when they came in every two hours to check temp,blood pressure,etc.

And you know what I ate first thing I could? Thai food...not "Thai hot" like I normally eat it [don't want to melt the bag..lol],but it was still good...I'm chowing down regularly;appetite isn't affected at all,just the going down part:lol: Ginger tea from Trader Joe's really helps,too.
"Sometimes people can be oh so dense"

The Pixies
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"Sometimes people can be oh so dense"

The Pixies
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post #10 of 18
Gwinnet is Great!!!!Grew up around Ponce and Moreland Avenue.
Worked for Buckhead Life(Pano) for over a decade....Miss the old Atlanta,
but, its undoubtably still one of the finest towns to eat in...have you
tried Rathbuns new restaurant "Steak" yet? Real standup guy...super
nice and a real natural....If you don't mind me asking....where were you
working? Take Care...
post #11 of 18
Atl I wish you all the best and my sympathies for all you had to go through. When I was a kid my father had to have a colostomy bag (back in the 60's) he's gone now but to this day I feel badly for all that he had to go through. However one day it did go away and there was no more bag and no more issues. So this too will pass (pardon the pun :eek::D) I wish you all the best for a quick passage of time for you. Hang in there!:beer:
My latest musical venture!
http://myspace.com/nikandtheniceguys
 
Also
http://www.myspace.com/popshowband "I'm at the age when food has taken the place of sex in my life. In fact I've just had a mirror put over my kitchen table." Rodney Dangerfield RIP
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My latest musical venture!
http://myspace.com/nikandtheniceguys
 
Also
http://www.myspace.com/popshowband "I'm at the age when food has taken the place of sex in my life. In fact I've just had a mirror put over my kitchen table." Rodney Dangerfield RIP
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post #12 of 18
I'm sorry you had to go through all this and can only imagine the pain it caused. I hope you heal quickly and the next surgery is easier on you!
post #13 of 18
ditto what Alli wrote.....how quickly life can turn on a dime....good luck with the second surgery.

One of the most talented sous chefs around town (worked Inn @ Little Washington, Blackberry Hill (?) HI etc...) just had knee surgery, thought it would be like his girlfriend's artho out a couple of weeks then better than new......NOPE, they had to put in stem cells to create more cartiledge, he's on crutches with no more than 10# pressure on his bad knee....hooked up to a machine 8 hours during the day (3 hour increments) where the machine moves his leg in a gradual bend. Basically bed ridden for 6-8 weeks. Then they look at it and decide if he needs a "new knee" if this doesn't take.

But for the grace of God.....how many of us have knee issues? I went in for x-rays a few weeks ago and they came back saying slight arthritist in my left knee. um....ok...just go on like nothing's wrong.....um....ok......
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #14 of 18
Atl, WOW what an ordeal. I am soo glad you have such a great attitude, and approach to your present situation. Positive attitude will help immensely in healing and dealing with the whole ordeal. As a melanoma survivor I must agree with you on the comments regarding "friends"

Prior to my diagnosis and subsequent protocol we had 4-8 couples over to our house EVERY weekend for drinks and dinner, baby monitors lined the picnic table LOL... Once I got home from a pretty intense surgery NOT ONE BOTHERED TO SHOW UP to offer any type of assistance to me or my wife (at the time)... offer to cut the grass or anything...heck it was a major ordeal just to get off the couch to go to bed! The thought STILL aggrevates me when I think about it. I have learned that those "acquaintences" are just that... shallow, uncaring people. Fortunately I have learned to become VERY CHOOSY when it comes to GOOD friends. Now 20+yrs later I have several that I could call on for absolutely anything at any time and I KNOW they would come runnin... and I for them. I am a wealthy guy just for that.

The experience also taught me that it takes very little time and effort to let people know you care and genuinely want to help in any way...and goes a long way making a person in need feel just a bit better, even if it is for 30 secs standing at their door handing them dinner. Some of my sweeties friends have said ..you are lucky he is such a compassionate man...I dont feel that at all I just want people to know I do care

So I offer you this, of course your health at present is not the best and I am sure you will have your "moments" ...but you are finding out some lessons that most never give a moments thought about... One day you will look back on this as a positive part of your life, and become a better person because of it...odd how things work isnt it?

I wish you the best and hope you have a speedy full recovery.
Scott B
MISC

As far as the Kitchen goes, it is a long, long day that is never really over, you just go home at some point
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Scott B
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As far as the Kitchen goes, it is a long, long day that is never really over, you just go home at some point
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post #15 of 18
AtlTournant, you sound like one h**l of a woman! And a funny one at that. :roll: That's a lot to have thrown at you out of the blue. A friend of ours suffered years of ulcerated colitis and finally had the first of several surgeries and has had a temporary bag for nearly a year. He didn't do any where near as well as you. It sounds like your humor and fabulous attitude as well as your health got you through the worst of it.

As for friends and colleagues, when my husband had to be hospitalized 8 months ago I found out how wonderful some people can be. But I think I've learned that asking "what can I do" may not be the best approach. Volunteering specifics seems better. The second time I brought David home, our neighbors had prepared dinner for us and brought it over so we could relax with it. Some others asked if they could shop or go feed the cats while I was at the hospital. It really meant a lot.

Anyway, I'd be on your team any day :D! You rock lady!!!:bounce:
Emily

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"If you are not killing plants, you are not really stretching yourself as a gardener." -- J. C. Raulston, American Horticulturist
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Emily

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"If you are not killing plants, you are not really stretching yourself as a gardener." -- J. C. Raulston, American Horticulturist
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post #16 of 18
Thread Starter 

Another thanks to fellow posters!

As I said before,thank you all for your kind words;it really does mean a lot to me.

I guess I should mention the unsung hero in this whole thing: my husband,David [we both have one,phoebe!].

We're one of those couples who's been together for a long time;18 years and counting.We started dating when I was 17 and he was 23.Hey,I was a very mature 17 and my mom loved him,so no problem.

I was working at a pizza place and he was at a record store next door and he managed a band.He'd come in for coffee and that's how it all started [awwwww!]:lol:

Well,he was in that hospital room with me for all four days [they let him sleep on the couch in my room] and he left only to take a shower and go make phone calls and whatnot.He got really good at unplugging my I.V pump so I could walk around the hospital floor,knew where to find extra towels,crushed ice,etc....

At home,he was the ultimate trooper because I still had 5 days of having to check my temp every two hours to see if an infection set in.He'd set an alarm and for the full 24 hour cycle,he was right there with that thermometer.He also did the same for my medication;didn't matter if it was 2pm or 2am;that man was there and never complained.

For 9 days he was never more than 15 feet from me.While I was camped out on the couch,he was sleeping in a chair.Normally he's a heavy sleeper,but the slightest sound would have him up and alert going "What do you need?"

At my worst when I couldn't shower like a normal person,he'd put me in a chair on the patio and wash my hair with the garden hose;a hairdresser he is not,but he tried! It was in the 90's when this happened,so the cold water felt good.

And he would try to tempt me with as much food as he could from all of our favorite places.
I knew I was feeling better when he was driving me crazy...:D

now I'm mobile and can bend,get up,drive,cook...generally am back to being me.I hate to not be able to do what I want,so I'm pretty happy that I'm almost "normal" and am looking forward to getting back to work [I need the money!] by next week.I could care less about the company at this point;),but I need to be working because that's just the way I am.

It will then be an exercise in self-control to keep sarcastic comments to myself if anyone says how glad they are to see me,like "Oh yeah...I could tell by all the freaking phone calls you made to me when I was gone for 6 weeks! Go f**k yourself and I curse your colon so you know what this was like! And I hope your bag explodes in public while it's full!"

I promise;I'll play nice.
"Sometimes people can be oh so dense"

The Pixies
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"Sometimes people can be oh so dense"

The Pixies
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post #17 of 18
Wow! Wishes of a speedy recovery to you. My former chef had that too. Unfortunately he had a recurrence.
post #18 of 18
Thread Starter 
Jeez,kuan..are you trying to jinx me?:)
"Sometimes people can be oh so dense"

The Pixies
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"Sometimes people can be oh so dense"

The Pixies
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