My Emergency Surgery With an Ostomy
I have Crohn’s disease that blessed me with my ostomy. The removal of my entire colon put my Crohn’s into remission. Well that lasted an amazing 4 years. Then the nasty little bugger came back and from May 2017 till December 2017 I was in an official Crohn’s flare. This was my first flare since surgery and it was very different than what I was used to. I was used to pain and diarrhea. Well, this flare was causing pain because of gas stuck in my small intestine. It was also causing obstructions because of the inflammation in my small intestine. Blockages or obstructions from inflammation are very different than a blockage from food. In my case, the only way to unclog or “fix” the obstruction is to go to the hospital and the nasty little steroid known as prednisone. So I was in and out of the hospital due to obstructions for 8 months. My family and I got so used to it that my husband stopped going with and I would just drive myself to the ER. At least I had a car to get the heck out of there when I was released a few days later and didn’t have to wait around for someone to come get me!
Then came December 20, 2017. I woke up and didn’t feel good. I assumed it was another blockage and had my husband drop me off at the ER at 3:30 pm. My ER was busy and I waited for 4 and a half hours till I was called back to a room. I gave the nurse and ER doc the run down and my history. After a CT scan the ER doc came in and said I definitely have an obstruction and he would be talking to surgery. Just then a critical patient came in and the doc had to leave. I was half asleep, thank you pain meds!, and had to ask myself if I heard him right. Surgery??? Why?? Half an hour later he came back and said my intestine was twisted and my surgeon was on call and on her way to the hospital.
I was caught off guard. I knew surgery could be possible and actually in June I had a consultation with her. I thought I would have time to prepare though and get my ducks in a row! Here we go again. My ostomy surgery was emergency so why would my body give me time to prepare for my next one!
At 11:00 pm on December 20, 2017 I was being wheeled into the operating room to fix my twisted small intestine. Thankfully everything went the best it could and at 1am I was being wheeled into my hospital room. The next morning my surgeon came to visit and told me about the surgery. She said she opened me up, took care of the scar tissue, untwisted my bowel and poked around a little to take a peek to see how my Crohn’s was doing. She said the Crohn’s looks a lot better than the scans looked back in June and she was optimistic that my medication was finally working. She promised me I would be out of the hospital in time for Christmas and asked if I had any questions. The only thing I was worried about it was eating some food! She said I could start with clear liquids and the next day she would let me have a low fiber diet if I tolerated the liquids.
Thankfully this surgery, although it was emergency and unplanned, went as smooth as possible. I work at a school and because my recovery fell almost completely on winter break, I only missed two days of work. I was able to celebrate with my family. I was able to watch my son open presents from Santa.
Thinking back I didn’t really think about my ostomy when I was told I needed surgery. I did request they put a convex wafer on after surgery but she just said, “We’ll put on what we have.” Yeah I woke up with a flat one piece bag. I quickly changed that as soon as I was awake and the anesthesia wore off. Thanks to facetime, my husband brought me exactly the supplies I needed and he helped me change my bag. It wasn’t a huge deal but I’ve had some bad leaks with flat bags so I just didn’t feel right till I had on my convex two piece. I was also very worried about having my wafer over my incision. My ostomy surgery was laparoscopic and my incision was pretty small. This surgery could not be laparoscopic and I needed to have a midline. I was worried it would be my entire abdomen. Thankfully it was not. It was a lot larger than my first one but it was not as drastic as I had envisioned in my head! Because I wear a two piece bag I was able to turn the wafer or baseplate sideways so it wouldn’t be stuck over my incision. I was worried if my bag was over it, it wouldn’t heal right and I would keep ripping it open every time I changed my bag. Crisis averted!
Yes there was pain but they gave me a pain pump with a button and that helped give me enough relief to walk around and get moving, which helped in the healing process. I was also given two prescriptions of different pain meds when I went home. I took them but tried not to rely on them. I mean, she cut open my stomach and played with my intestines, of course it’s gonna hurt!
Every medical situation is different. Every person’s body is different and reacts differently. This is my story about surgery with an ostomy. What’s yours?