As most of you know from Amanda’s updates (1 & 2), I was rushed via ambulance from our house to our local hospital (about 15 miles away) very early Monday morning with the most intense, painful abdominal pain and referred/deferred left shoulder pain I have ever experienced. Jason met me there, and stayed with me while IVs were put in, pain medication was administered, and scans were done to find out what the HELL was wrong with me.
Diagnosis: perforated ulcer. Essentially, a hole in my small intestine, just below my stomach pouch, which allowed the contents of my stomach pouch (whatever acids + the small sip of water I had at 3am that blew everything open) and intestines to flow freely into my abdominal cavity. Also discovered during the tests: my pneumonia was much, MUCH worse than Urgent Care thought, with my right lung so full of fluid it was barely operable and on the verge of collapsing.
Solution: emergency abdominal surgery ASAFP to close the hole and clean out my abdominal cavity.
I was transferred via ambulance to my bariatric surgeon’s hospital, where she and her team had already been notified and were scrambling to get an operating room and all the tools and supplies they would need for surgery. Jason, Dan and the kids arrived shortly after I was stashed in an ER room and given more pain meds (when the problem is something as serious as a hole in your intestine, suddenly they’ll load you up with all the IV-administered pain medication you could possibly want).
One of my bariatric surgeons came in, confirmed what the other hospital found. Told me the surgery would be within the hour. Told me that it would be open (vertical), and I’d have all sorts of tubes – N, G, X, Y, I don’t even know. I dissolved into tears and begged them to consider at least trying laparoscopic, since they could always quickly convert to open if the tiny incisions done via laparoscopic wouldn’t allow them enough room to work. The surgeon agreed, and promised that my surgeon (his partner) would do her best.
I hugged and kissed and said my I-Love-You’s to Dan, the kids, and Jason — at this point I was honestly terrified of the very real possibility of dying from the cesspool that my abdominal cavity was no doubt becoming. They left, and I was left alone for a short amount of time while the OR finished getting ready.
I don’t know how much time passed between when Dan, the kids, and Jason left, and when I was taken to the OR. During that time I was in and out of it, and shortly before I was wheeled to the OR I started vomiting.
Once in the OR, I saw my surgeon, she hugged me, promised she’d fix me right up, and then, after getting onto the OR table, having my arms strapped down, and an annoyingly-small oxygen mask placed over my face, and a very brief taste of whatever medication they were injecting into my IVs…I was out.
I was in the hospital for four days, and on a shit ton of fluids and antibiotics, not to mention painkillers, anti-nausea meds, and Tylenol for fevers on Tuesday, and Imitrex for a migraine on Wednesday. Dan brought me home on Thursday afternoon.
Can I just say that there is nothing dignified about surgery and post-op recovery? Here are a few lowlights:
- Tylenol suppositories
- Someone in the OR had the fun task of stripping off my underwear, complete with a cloth menstrual pad, and bagging both in a bio-hazard bag
- I had no underwear until Dan brought me some on Wednesday
- When Amanda came to visit, I was peeing on a commode
- I both peed & pooped on a commode just one hospital bed width away from Jason (fortunately for BOTH of us he was sleeping)
- Dan washed me in the hospital
- He’s also helped me pull up my underwear and pants
I’m really tired and achy, so instead of writing more here, I’ll leave you with the link to the post I wrote on That Fat Chick tonight, which goes into the bowel perforation/surgery/recovery in much more detail: Recovering From A Perforated Bowel/Ulcer
Lastly, but most importantly: thank you for the well wishes, the comments, the tweets, the donations, everything. Especially the donations… it’s true that we are currently without health insurance. Dan has a job interview on Monday, which he set up before any of this happened. But you know how it goes with timing and Murphy’s Law. Fortunately, the hospital is very understanding, and is working with us to secure financial aid and catastrophic health insurance (something our state offers, apparently) to help us get through this financially.
I am doing my best to take it easy, and give myself time to recover, both physically as well as emotionally.