Sunday, November 16, 2008

home again, home again, jiggety-jig-jig

Caution: Photos below may be disturbing to some viewers! But to me, they are completely interesting and never gross me out.

Top left: Hernia and bowel obstruction.
Right: That light colored wormy-looking thing is my appendix which is now in a petri dish in some lab being tested.
Bottom left: It shows the fleck of staple and the adhesion after it has been clipped to free the intestines.

First off, let's just say that I have thought, once or twice in my life, that I have had a looooong and crappy week here or there but never have I had a week like I just experienced and boy am I hoping never to experience one like it again. I returned home yesterday afternoon to recover from emergency surgery on Friday morning. All that pain I posted about earlier in the week wasn't what the doctor thought it initially was because I was supposed to feel better soon after I saw her Monday. On Thursday when I was still not feeling better, and was still in agonizing pain, I called my doctor and she sent me to the ER for a CT scan to see what was going on because I had developed some symptoms that were concerning to her. When I arrived at the ER they found I was dehydrated but could not explain my pain since my blood counts were better than good. CT showed the fluid in my abdomen had substantially increased since Monday, when they first thought I had the cyst rupture, to the point where it was up by my kidney and liver on the right side. Before I go any further, let me say that drinking contrast is not like drinking an ice cold glass of lemonade on a hot summer day. Yuck! That crap is nasty. Anyway, they could not see a lot on my scan because I was too small. Then I wasn't sick enough as per the blood work and I don't even know what else but I couldn't seem to make the doctors happy since I wasn't a clear-cut case. Clearly there was something wrong because I was in so much pain, I was nauseated and I had no appetite which is what led to the dehydration in the first place. So from the scan they determined my appendix was not visible and decided that maybe my appendix had ruptured which would explain the horrible pain I had. The general surgeon was called so my doctor and he could consult with one another and decide what to do next. At first they thought I would go directly to surgery but around midnight (at this time I had been in the ER for 10 hours) the surgeon decided to be conservative and put me on antibiotics and see how I felt the next morning. Actually I was okay with that because he was looking a little beat up and had just come from a surgical case right before he got to me and I was thinking he needed some rest before he cut me open. I don't want my doctor to be tired and bleary-eyed - I want my doctor on top of his game. So around 1:30 a.m. I was finally taken to a room. Eric finally went home around 2 a.m. after I was settled. They gave me an Ambien to help me sleep but it didn't work. I had delusional dreams and have vowed to never again take that stuff and I now see what all the talk about Ambien is about. That is some crazy teeny-tiny pill. Of course there were the vital sign visits every few hours and then the surgeon came in bright and early to find out where I was at. The pain was still there so he concluded we would proceed with exploratory surgery to see what could be going on. He was not convinced my appendix had ruptured with the blood counts so good but knew something was going on. Something told me before we even left for the hospital Thursday afternoon that I would be there for the long haul but that isn't the first time I have had these type of feelings, they happen all the time, and if I would just listen to them my life would be a whole lot easier.

Friday morning around 11 a.m. I was wheeled to surgery, again, in the hopes that they would find something to help me feel better but something not so terrible that I could recover from. They were planning to remove my appendix one way or the other so that would never be an issue and to check everything else out. Besides, Dr. London said it would be dumb to be there and not remove it and then eventually have the need to remove it down the road. What they found was that I had developed a hernia, I had a bowel obstruction which explained the symptoms I had developed Thursday and I had a little fleck of staple that had flown off when I was stapled during my last surgery. It seems as though my intestines had developed an adhesion for some unknown reason and with all the room in my belly after my previous surgery the intestines were making their way around there and got stuck so they clipped it and freed it up. The fluid was removed and was partially from my previous surgery and fluid that seeped out of the intestines. My appendix were fine and had not ruptured but was removed and they removed the fleck of staple. The surgeon checked everything else and everything looked splendid. This surgery was only about 80 minutes long, quite a difference from the four hours I spent in surgery five weeks ago. It was related to my previous surgery but nothing my doctor did wrong. It was a complete fluke and I was the girl with the lucky number!

Once I woke up in recovery I instantly felt better. I could tell the abdominal pain was gone, but that could definitely be due to the drugs. No, honestly, I could tell I felt better and I was ready to party, seriously, and I had the nurses in recovery in stitches themselves. I was told that recovery this time around would be slow. I have three incisions like the last time, two of them in the same spot as two of the prior incisions and one in my Cesarean scar. In fact, the words from my surgeon is that my body actually feels like it has had 5 surgeries even though I have only had two but because the first one was so major with complications and the second so close to the first it will take a while to start feeling like me again. The doc said I could have lived with this for a while longer but it would have been a graver situation at that point. I quickly graduated from a liquid diet where Gummi Bears are part of that strict liquid consumption to a regular diet full of red velvet cake!

So here I am, a bit of de-ja-vu, back in my recovery spot if you will, in bed with all the pillows I can find, my bucket of drugs and crackers, my jug of water, all my magazines, the Eclipse and Breaking Dawn books, my laptop, my phone and the remote. I am temporarily out-of-order and bummed I was unable to prepare for this little fork in the road. No clean house or fridge full of food for the family. The laundry was caught up before I went to the ER but when I got home there were loads of it which Eric got to do. Just one of those times when I have no control over anything and while I was busy making other plans life decided to happen. At this point I am so grateful that I am feeling better, although the surgical pain is really kicking my ass this time around. I spent so much time this past week feeling bad I can honestly appreciate feeling good and I am grateful that I will be okay. And while my house cleaning will have to wait, as will the supermarket, it's only a temporary pause in the story of my life.


donnaj said...

Ans when i see you again, i'll show you the drug-induced text msg's you sent me...and you'll see when you passed out too! Glad you are on the road to recovery!

Shan in Japan said...

Sheesh, Traci! Glad you are home and recovering again. I think your lucky number has been called up enough for now. I hope your recovery is going well and you aren't going out of your mind yet:)
Take care, I'll check in on you later!:)


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