The 3rd Time Is NOT A Charm, Trust Me ;)

2012-10-27

[headline_arial_small_centered color=”#000000″]There Is No Bad Day[/headline_arial_small_centered]

I had a reprieve then for 30 minutes or so.  And then they informed me they needed to do a CT scan in order to get a better look at what was going on in there.

I didn’t think I could do it.  I knew from the CT scan a week and a half earlier that I would have to drink about a half gallon of liquid and I was petrified it would burst me apart to even try.

They said it had to be done…so they gave me the fluid and I started choking it down.

After succeeding with one of the two bottles, I simply couldn’t force myself to drink anymore.  The nurse kindly allowed me to forego the second bottle and they wheeled me to the CT scan room.  The bladder pain had not come back yet, so I had CT scan in relative peace and returned to my room to await the results.

But by the time I got back to the room, a third wave of pain began.  This time my guts felt like they would were exploding.  Soon I would find out that was literally true.  But in the meantime, it felt like the exploding of my bladder, but now encompassing my entire abdominal area, and even worse than the bladder if that is even possible.  I screamed for help again.

“Am I going to die??!”  I panted panic stricken to my nurse.  “Is this what it feels like to die?”

They had no real answer for me.  So I kept screaming.  And I kept asking.

Then suddenly an explosion of diarrhea filled my man-diaper and spilled out all over the bed pad.  Burning hot pain like fireworks shooting out of the already overwhelming internal fury of explosive agony.  They helped me rip the diaper off and then I had to squat on the bed to force out more onto the pad.  They helped me off the bed and onto the bedside commode.  But nothing more would come and I still felt like I was bursting inside.  I tried to stand on the edges of the commode for a better squat and the nurses would have none of that.  “Sit down!”  They demanded.  “I need to squat!”  I yelled.  “It won’t come out!!  OW!  OW!!”

Finally I forced out a large pile of toxic waste and they helped me back into bed as the explosive pain eased off slightly.

How is it possible that this just keeps getting more intense?  Nan and I were convinced that something more than Ulcerative Colitis was wrong with me…this was different than everything we had been told and read about Ulcerative Colitis.

Nan had to go home to coordinate a new babysitter for the kids, and soon I found myself alone, for a long while.  It felt like an endless while, alone in my cubicle in the ER, waiting to learn my fate and hoping for some answer.  There has to be some solution to this!  I moaned, dejected, dangling from the last remaining strand of hope left in me.

 

[headline_tahoma_small_left color=”#000000″]Drum Roll Please[/headline_tahoma_small_left]

Finally the Doctor and nurse came back with the findings from the CT scan.

“Your colon is perforated in several places.  You need surgery as soon as possible.”

“Please!  Anything!”  I thought.  “Something!  Thank you!”  Finally we are getting somewhere.  Finally they are acknowledging that something is actually wrong with me…as if it weren’t obvious enough from my uncontrollable shrieks of pain all morning long!  But at least we are finally getting on the same page and they aren’t trying to send me home!!

“Yes!  Please!  Get me to the operating room.  I don’t know how much longer I can live with this pain.”

I texted Nan with my limited energy:

 2012-10-27

But I had to keep waiting.  It was now 9:08 in the morning.  My throat was parched and they wouldn’t allow me any liquid before surgery.  My body ached, and my bowels throbbed, still feeling like they would burst apart any moment.  Nan rushed back to the hospital to be with me.

They had given me drugs through the IV, and perhaps that was helping, but I couldn’t be sure.  I prayed and begged for them to get me to the operating room and put me under.  Put me out of this misery!

Soon they wheeled me into the operating area where I met my surgeon.  He explained that in all likelihood he would need to remove my entire Colon, which I had no idea until recently, is the same thing as my Large Intestine.  He further informed me I would then have an ostomy bag:  a plastic bag taped to my belly to catch the feces directly from where they would eject my small intestine through a hole they would create in my abdomen.

“Is that the only option?” I asked.  The surgeon assured Nan and I he would do everything he could to save my colon but that it didn’t look promising at all.

Then he left Nan and I alone to consider the situation.  There was really no choice at this point.  I had a perforated colon in multiple places, a now deadly toxic situation, that needed to be stopped fast.  We said a prayer to God together, imploring Him to guide the surgeon and bless his efforts that I would live and the operation would be successful.  We cried and I could see the fear in Nan’s eyes.  Nothing I could do to comfort her, I just told her “It will work out.  I need to have the surgery fast.”  I desperately needed to be put under and stop the painful agony.  She told the surgeon to move ahead, and I learned later, mandated him in no uncertain terms to save my life.

I managed to scribble a mock-signature on all the consent forms, and they brought in the anesthesiologist.  “Please, just put me under!”  I thought, and said to them.  “Please put me out of this misery.”  Soon they placed the gas mask and I felt myself slipping into relief.  “Ahhhh….thank you!  Thank you!”

 

Here’s a facebook post from Nan that afternoon while I was under the knife:

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October 27, 2012

We have had a crazy day. Aaron woke up at 3:30 am in searing pain, called the ambulance and went to the ER screaming and wailing. I was left home with my four sleeping kids and began to pray and call friends relentlessly until someone finally picked up and rushed over to my house so I could go be with Aaron. One test led to another and now its 9 hours later and I am sitting in the surgery waiting room to hear how surgery went. They had to remove his entire colon because it was clogged and perforated. Definitely one of the most stressful and scary days of my life. I hope it gets better from here. Awaiting good news from the surgeon…

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[headline_tahoma_small_left color=”#000000″]Awaking To More Pain[/headline_tahoma_small_left]

The anesthetic relief was short lived…I felt jipped!  It felt like only a few moments of relief, then I was awake and in pain all over again.  This time it was different yet again.  The exploding sensations were gone and replaced with throbbing and aching all over my stomach, along with mental fog and delirium.  I couldn’t move or even shift at all without pain.

“The surgery was successful.”  I managed to comprehend that sentiment from someone in my loopy, half-conscious state.

I soon learned they had removed nearly my entire colon.  The surgeon said about half of it was paper thin and watery and it nearly crumbled in his hand.  Destroyed and irreparable.  He had to remove it or I would not live.

He left the bottom 20 centimeters where it turns to rectum and exits the body, and he just sewed that part shut and capped it off.  His plan once I heal, to re-connect the small intestine to the rectum.  But for now, the ostomy bag would be a permanent fixture for me unless they can successfully reconnect me later on.

Whatever works!  As I became more coherent I felt immense gratitude for continued life, for no more explosive pain, and for a surgeon who had high confidence that I would truly heal now.  According to him, my problem had been resolved!

But I wasn’t anywhere near being out of the woods.  Supposedly ‘healed’ since they had removed my colon, the thought gave me hope momentarily.  But why was I still in so much pain?

Oh yeah, major surgery.  I forget.

I guess it does take a toll on you when they slice open 8 inches of your stomach, remove 6 feet of deteriorating organs, sew your intestines to the wall of your stomach, and then re-connect it all with stitches and super glue.  On top of the previous catastrophe, that makes for a decent sized trauma to the body.

OK, I can deal with that.  I can accept that there is a recovery period I suppose.  Thinking rationally and clearly on heavy doses of pain drugs and high trauma proved difficult.  I learned later that Nan and some friends had been with me all afternoon after surgery, five or six hours.   I vaguely remember any of it.  They say I was out of it, sleeping on and off all afternoon.  I’ll have to take their word.