Not much fun... april 2015

I was admitted onto a surgical ward and at first the general thought was it was Crohns or Colitis.  The stomach was REALLY distended (medical for bloated...) and I wasn’t passing anything or wanting to eat because of it hurting so much when I did.  I was prescribed painkillers and steroids in the hope they would improve the symptoms and partly confirm to the doctors their diagnosis.

There was a slight improvement but after 4 days no real change so it was time to send in the camera!  

Hadn’t had a colonoscopy before.  

Didn’t really appeal.

BUT asking for the max sedation available made it absolutely fine, and I actually   found it really interesting to see the inside of your bowel!  There’s no time or option to be indifferent to what is happening, by then there had been so much affect and discomfort from my stomach over the last few months it was obvious something was up and needed to be sorted out.  You’ve got to get on with it and like a lot of things when you actually do them its not that bad, the thought is worse than reality.

Unfortunately the colonoscopy didn’t show anything, so the next day I had a CT scan which did show a blockage in the colon.  Next day another colonoscopy was planned and they were able to reach the blockage this time and confirm the problem.  At this point you cannot say what the blockage is, ie cancerous or not, but it has to come out so the next day (monday 20th April) they operated.

It was good to have had the definite problem found so it could be dealt with but quite a shock.  I’ve always been strong and healthy without any issues, I’m basically never ill!  The consultant explained the procedure and that they wouldn’treally be able to tell the extent of the tumor until they went in and started as to how much had been affected and would have to come out.  They said I would probably have to have a colostomy bag but until the actual op it couldn’t be determined what type (ileostomy or colostomy).  Hearing the news about having a colostomy bag is not ideal, but there isn’t much choice.  Again you’ve just got toget on with it.

I woke up to a big dressing stretching from my sternum to about 3 inches below the belly button and a colostomy bag on the left side of my stomach.  The consultant was happy how the operation went and that he had been able to take out about a foot of the colon and the surrounding lymph nodes.  

I was up and walking around the next day, with stomach pain now gone for the first time in a while!  The first time I had a shower was interesting but you soon get used to it.  I find now that showering is one of the nicer times of day as its the only time you’re free without having the bag on.  I seemed to be fine and recovered quickly over the few days in Hospital and was discharged on the Friday, my Mum and Dad picking me up and taking me back to their place in WestSussex to convalesce.   

We got back at about 9pm and after a 5 hour drive (with breaks to stretch my legs) I was pretty knackered so went to bed.  I got up about 9.15 on Saturday morning and went across the hall to the toilet.  Sitting down having a pee (you gotta do that, so much more relaxing...!) I had a sudden pain on the right side of the front of my stomach.  It was quite bad and I thought it was cramp that had come on for some reason from everything being fiddled with inside!  I got up and leant on the sink to try and stretch it away but it was seriously bad by now and didn’t feel like cramp anymore...

I stood still trying to take the pain for quite a few minutes before I was able to callout for help.  

Mum and Dad were having breakfast in the kitchen and ran down to find me standing naked in the bathroom, pants round my ankles, holding the area that hurt and semi bent double.  Not what they wanted to see!  They pulled my pants up and supported me back to bed.  

By now the pain was like nothing I’d felt before, taking a lot of focus and will! I had been given lots of medication to come out of hospital with so took all the painkillers I could as Mum phoned first a doctor then for an ambulance.  A first response ambulance arrived at about half ten (we live in the country) and I was able to be given some Morphine.  The pain was so bad it didn’t touch it and I kept asking for more but you can only be given so much over a certain period of time.  I could barely talk to answer their questions as the pain was so high and shallow breaths with one word answers was all they got, Mum and Dad fielding as many questions as they could.  

They quickly realised I was going to have to go in to hospital so phoned for another ambulance as there was no way I could sit up in the car they had come in.Once the other ambulance had arrived I was able to have more Morphine and theygot me on a stretcher and wheeled me out of the house and in for the journey.   More Morphine (and a bit of puking) during the journey to the hospital and I went in to A and E at about midday.  The pain hadn’t subsided at all and I could only tryand lie still, put a bit of pressure on the area and take shallow breaths.  Again I couldn’t really answer the nurses questions and just wanted as much pain relief aspossible to try and ease it.  

A consultant was called in as an emergency but was fairly confident it was a normal reaction to the operation and just something that would pass. I don’t really remember anything that well from when the pain came on first thing that morning so some has been told to me by Mum and Dad.  I was taken for an x ray from A and E and transferred to another ward where IV painkillers and antibiotics were started.  Then I had a CT scan as it was becoming apparent it wasn’t something that would pass due to the level of pain and duration it had been goingon for.  

The CT scan showed a mass of fluid in the abdomen and the consultant realised there had been a big leak.  The Small Bowel had burst leaking feculent matter throughout the abdominal cavity.  

Its funny how the brain works, although I was awake and aware through the wholeday I can’t really remember all of it by a long way.  I know where I went and the rough order of things but its very hazy.  I was given morphine from about half ten in the morning and I guess that’s a big part of it, though pain wise it really didn’t seem to have any effect.  By 6pm that night it was still VERY much excruciating!

They tried to get as much antibiotic and pain relief into me as they could but my veins were collapsing making it hard to get more IV lines in.  I went down for surgery (apparently having taken the anesthetist’s new record for amount of Morphine given over 20 minutes on the way to and from the CT... still didn’t touchit) and just wanted to be knocked out to take the pain away.  I went in for surgery at about 6.30pm so finally the pain was over.   

The consultant came out from the operating theatre to see Mum and Dad at about9pm to tell them it had gone ok.  The Small Bowel was perforated, they had to take out about 2 liters of fecul matter from the abdomen and had used 10 liters of saline to try and flush everything out.    

I didn’t wake up for 9 days.