23 February 2010
This picture might be close to what was the start of this whole business.
One early morning about the middle of January 2010 I was wakened by some sharp lower abdominal pains. These, together with some hand to the head low-grade fever and generally not feeling well suggested I should consult a few old and trusted textbooks: why did I do so much underlining in those days? This seemed to an optimist like me to be a first episode of diverticulitis though it did not respond to the usual antibiotics as quickly as the uncomplicated case should have according to the textbook, perhaps proving that what is taught in nursing school or online nursing courses doesn’t always reflect the realities of illness.
I was admitted to hospital (SVH) on day 5 of the illness, trying to put the bowel at rest and hoping that high doses of IV antibiotics would make things better. I was discharged from hospital about day 10, and finished off a course of oral antibiotics at home, staying on a fairly liquid diet. I had a relapse with a sudden fiery diarrhea, so started again on the antibiotics, which settled the bowel down again. This was now about day 18-20. My general surgeon was hopeful that the inflammation might settle down enough to allow a non-emergency colectomy. Alas, such was not to be the case.
In the early part of February 2010 I was watching TV in the early evening and waiting for my usual bland diet, when without warning I felt as if someone had stabbed me in the gut with a large serrated knife. The pain was relentless. Carol drove me to the Emergency Room where everyone, from low to high station, knew something was very wrong. The looks were sympathetic but knowing. CT scan confirmed the air and stool in the peritoneal cavity. My surgeon dutifully removed the offending part of bowel and cleaned things up as well as he could in the late evening and early morning. I remember the Grand Central Station hub-bub of Saturday evening, and the next thing I knew I was feeling fairly high and lonely in the recovery room early Sunday morning. That was as good as it got during the post-operative phase. I was in hospital for about another week, testing the patience of all the young nurses and aides of all kinds.
This is now 23 February 2010 and things are getting better, slowly, a little better each day.
This is now 15 March 2010 and things are getting better, slowly, a little better each day.
The occasional feces dribbling down the leg from a non-functioning colostomy is good for learning humility.