Saturday, October 03, 2009

I Had Emergency Surgery and I am Now Fine...

I had surgery this past week.

Surgery sucks.

I am out of the hospital now and am able to think about what happened. Here it is:

I farted.....

and I pooped.

That seemed to be my "get out of jail" card. I did not say get out of jail free card. Because I have a high-deductible health insurance plan, I will need to get a third job to pay for this damn surprise surgery! But I was told that once I farted and I pooped, I would likely be discharged.

I am home. I am sort of standing upright, but it's difficult. I have about an 8 inch vertical incision in my belly running from my (bleep) to above my belly button. I have about 27 staples holding my guts in place. I am no longer on the meds, but I feel pretty good. And I will tell you what - dilaudid should be applauded, my friends! That warm feeling taking over your body before you feel like shouting "wee!" That's a word we don't use very often and we should. Wee! Or is it Whee? I don't know. It's a fun word.

What happened - I started feeling quite bloated a week ago Thurs. and thought nothing of it. Then on Monday I had more intense abdominal pain than I had ever had pain in my life. I wasn't sure if I should call an ambulance or wait it out or be driven to the hospital. The pain got so bad, we called am ambulance and they whisked me to St. Joseph Hospital (sorry, it's Sisters of Charity Hospital, St. Joseph Campus). At first, no one knew what to make of my pain - heart attack, gall bladder, food poisoning, kidney stones, appendicitis (sorry, had that 37 years ago) or gasp - pregnancy.

In fact, I recalled that I had a very distant cousin who didn't know she was pregnant until she went into labor. Since my pains seemed to be contractions, I rubbed my belly saying to myself "please don't be a baby, please don't be a baby." Sad, but true.

As a serious aside, from a health care standpoint, I was excited to note that they did ask about heart conditions. This is something women have been fighting for years - being taken seriously for heart conditions even when we are a spry and young 40. It was nice to not be asked if I was hysterical or had some stupid fight with my husband.

Back to the story....CT scan revealed bowel obstruction. It was suspected that the appendectomy I had 37 years ago had finally developed enough scar tissue to be dangerous and dangerous enough to snuff off my bowel, if you will. I was 3 when I had my appendix removed. My mother is often asked how on Earth she could have known that her 3-year-old had appendicitis. She likes to reply that she knew something was wrong with me when I stopped talking.

The doctor told me the scenarios:
-Worst case scenario would have been me sitting home working through the pain and perhaps not making it through the pain (death). He applauded me for showing up.

-Second worse case, the constricted piece of the bowel was gangrenous and had to be removed and my bowel resectioned. That would have given me a temporary colostomy. With the pain I was in, I thought, dude, I'll wear my bowel around my neck if it makes the pain stop!

-The constriction is easily taken care of with surgery and I go home uncomfortable but alive.

Thank God number three won.

One of my favorite things was my catheter. I know you must think I have lost my mind. Perhaps it was a lobotomy I had. While some may argue that I keep my brain in my bowels, alas, my brain was not affected. Catheters are cool. I always have to stop to pee so it was nice not to have to get up. I would lay in bed and say to myself, "hmm, I think I should have to pee by now," and then I would think "I guess I am." It's pretty cool.

Good news and bad news:
-My marathon training likely contributed to me getting out of the hospital and on my feet sooner rather than later.
-This was likely to happen eventually and better now with me young, sassy, saucy, and fit than later when I am old.
-This may happen again, but I know the signs and symptoms.

Suffice to say, I am recovering and this setback has not changed Pauline! You may applaud or grieve. The choice is yours.

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