Life & Health Theology

Meditations on Surgery IV – No colon!

January 20, 2010

Yesterday morning I had a colon: I no longer do. I guess I’ll need to learn how to punctuate better since that’s the only way I’ll be using a colon any more 🙂  I honestly don’t feel any different at all.

Jan 17th, 2008

The night before surgery I did a bowel prep, which is by far the worst part of the surgery (so far). Before going to bed I talked to all of my family (and got calls from tons of friends!), and then prayed with my mom. I slept pretty well actually — don’t remember what (or if) I dreamed.

Jan 18th, 2008

The morning of the surgery I woke up at 5:45am, took a shower, and then packed up the car for the weeks ahead (lots of comfy clothes!) Then my mother and I sang “Be Still, My Soul”, “I Surrender All”, and “Your Grace is Sufficient”, read Psalm 34, and prayed together. At 6:45 we left for Ann Arbor, I drove while my mom slept (she wasn’t feeling well). I listened to Shane & Shane’s album “Everything is Different” and finished the drive with selections of Jon Foreman’s solo work.

We got to the hospital around 8:15am, and as soon as I went to check in we were called back to pre-op (after a lively conversation about General George Armstrong Custer with the receptionist). I got changed into my gown and they put an IV in (although they had to stick me dozens of times and try both arms because I was dehydrated and my veins were hiding). Steve and Steve joked with me for a while and I played around speeding up and slowing down my heartbeat on the monitor. After that I met with nurses and the surgeon team and eventually my “Pain Team.” They put an epidural in my spine to numb my abdomen (yes, Shelley I took notes for you and Eric — that’s probably the closest I’ll be to understanding a woman 🙂 ) I’m a fan (primarily of epidurals, but women also — sometimes…) Pain really hasn’t been a big issue for me with it — and I’ve been pretty darn cognizant, so no one could pull any tricks on me.

After praying with Steve, Steve, and my Mom, they gave me some stuff to relax me and then they wheeled me back to the OR (which I took notes on as well, mentally). It’s a small white room with a bunch of white lights and a lot of scrub-clad folks. I had to slide onto the operating table from my bed, then they had one of my arms on this arm-rest off to the left, which was weird… They also put these massaging things on my legs, which were pretty sweet. They kept asking me about my full name, date of birth, and procedure to make sure they were doing the right operation. Then they asked me to take deep breaths in an oxygen mask and that’s all I remember.

I woke up in recovery in a good deal of pain right off the bat, but I was pretty groggy so I mainly remember waiting for the nurse to tell me to push the pain button. It was a lot of sharp, quick pains in my stomach. Both Steve’s and my mom were there and said I winced a bunch. I kept saying my pain level was a 6 (out of 10), and when it went to a 4 they took me up to my room. I didn’t have any real pain after that — epidurals work wonders!

I had a team of four nurses (two guys, two girls) lift my sheets over to my bed. I tried to make some jokes about helping and being light. In hindsight I realized that I missed my first opportunity for colon joke. I wish I had said, “Don’t worry, I don’t have a colon so I’ll be light.” I did, however, make a good joke about my incision when they first looked it (off the cuff, and loopy too) : “What?!? I thought he said it would be a lightning bolt!”

The rest of the night I got checked up on about every hour to make sure my vitals were OK. Oddly enough I still got a lot of rest. I felt like I took about 10-20 quality naps that night.

Jan 19th, 2009

Today has been practically more of the same. It seems that a nurse or doctor or surgeon comes in about every hour or so and asks me random questions. I usually say, “I’m doing great! My pain is nearly non-existent!” And, “my stomach feels weird.” The funniest thing is that sometimes the doctors or nurses come in groups. Usually one does the speaking and the rest just sit there and smile awkwardly. I get a big kick out of it. It’s kind of humorous, but laughing hurts my stomach, so I’ve learned not to talk (that becomes difficult when I talk to certain friends on the phone). Eric leaves me messages that really hurt my stomach…

I don’t think I realized until this morning that I actually had an ostomy. I couldn’t tell. I tried not to find out if I had a catheter or not, but I failed at that one 🙁 It is nice though, I don’t drink or go to the bathroom at all, but I think I’m getting more fluids in and out than ever before. The only problem is my throat and lips get tired. The other bad thing is that I had this NG tube up my nose that went down to my stomach to drain — that’s no fun. It feels funky every time you swallow. I got it pulled out this afternoon — not an experience I want to repeat often!

Other than that, the big event today was getting out of bed for the first time. I was surprised that they wanted me to get out within less than 24 hours from surgery. Apparently walking wakes up the ole’ bowels 🙂 I’ve walked twice today — one more lap to go before bed. Getting up the first time was a little crazy. Luckily the nurse aid was a big guy and could easily lift me if I fell (I think I might have crushed some of the other nurses if I fell — of course, I am a lot lighter now!) I felt like my stomach was going to give out or explode (sorry for the visual image) if I tried standing on my own, but I made it. My IV swivel pole was quite the ornery beast on the first lap, had a mind of it’s own, but I tamed it with the help of my nurse. Apparently you aren’t allowed to roam the halls without a sidekick while you have an epidural in.

Well, that’s about all I can think of, and I’m probably just rambling now. Denny Brogan visited and I talked to enough people on the phone that I had to charge it already. Tomorrow I get to have my first liquids to drink, and I’m going to get my bandage changed (which will apparently hurt like a banshee).

More later. Thanks for the prayer!

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