Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Better but Belly Button

I am nearly all recovered from surgery! Yay! No more aches and pains related to it, of course the crohns still has all its nice aches and pains. belly button incision is increasingly not happy. It has gone from a nice mellow occassional ooze to a bright red yuckyness. No, nothing serious. Really it isn't, but you would think that since the other incisions are all but gone...this one could head that way too. Yuck.

On the plus side, the bathrooms at work upgraded the toilet paper and paper towels offered. The new TP dispenser is causing consternation among several women in our dept. (it rolls manically and by mid-day the tp is gone and we are left with a roll sitting on top of the dispenser.) No. I am not using all four rolls and covering it up with the new tp dispenser problem issue.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Back to Work

Back to work today. Belly button incision oozed a good part of the day. Other 2 incisions weren't delighted either. Muscles definitely didn't take well to sitting up today.

My office plant was all wilted over and half dead. Hopefully watering today will bring it back.

Busier than well something wretchedly busy today, catching up, looking on the ball. etc.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Follow Up Appointment and Path is Back

The nurse in charge of my GI doc called today with the pathology report. Benign tumor (with an evil sounding name) that could have grown to cause issues, just because it was in the way and stuff but is now gone so should be all peachy now. Yeah, they still would have wanted to take it out even if they had miraculously known without surgery that is what it was, but it still feels like a lot of fuss over a little mystery bump. Of course, it always felt that way to me. The thing is...75% of tumors in the digestive tract are not of the benign sort and even fewer are of the kind I had, so they like to check these things out.

Other news: follow up with the surgeon...well, he got called back into emergency surgery so he didn't see me. Nurse looked briefly at the incisions, said what I told her walking back: they look good, really good considering. She was horrified by my arm and the bruises there. Good thing she didn't see them right after the last hospitalization. I have to go back in 1-2 weeks so he can sign off on me. ARG. Call if my fever goes over 101. (of course, if my fever goes that high, they will probably get a call from the ER, since I am on those nice immune suppressing drugs that keep fevers from happening)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

One Week

One week and an hour ago they wheeled me into an amazingly large operating room. I have seen a number of them at this point and this one was HUGE.

Update: Instant breakfast went ok yesterday and I think vitamins sprayed on and artificial as they are, was a good thing. May try again today.

White rice with soy sauce went so-so, but at least made it to the morning before bathroom marathon.

ONE dorito with cheese (known as cheese n chips at this house) today-not so good. Immediately not so good-pokey in my gut owieness-which rots.

Incisions look good. Bruising is fading. Left hand no longer looks like I am trying out for the marshmallow man job or some other swollen fisted hand model.

Having trouble with really cold feet and sometimes cold hands as well as probably a bit of fever. Shhhhhh.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Jello has too much flavor. (note: this could be a problem with only handi-snack jell-o like substance. )

Egg drop soup with crispy noodles and a fortune cookie last night for dinner had me spend the next four hours in the bathroom or desperately running for it while trying not to fall on my face. I may never eat anything other than too much flavor jello again.

Bruises are healing.

Mouth tastes like crud despite tons of brushing because...well...I am not eating. sigh.

Monday, September 11, 2006

After Surgery

I am home after surgery. I actually got home yesterday afternoon. The surgery went well. Gi doc was able to grab the mystery bump with the colonoscopy. Surgeon cleaned up scar tissue (from appendectomy 12 years ago? from Crohns? From some sort of girl part source? no idea) through the lap. They thought I would be able to go home the same day but it quickly became apparent this was not happening.

Pain control was a big issue as shaking everything up down there made the crohn's unhappy as well as all the jiggled parts screaming at everyone that they didn't deserve that sort of invasion, not to mention the parts that got sliced and diced. Oddly enough, you can't go home if you pass out from pain.

Then my blood pressure dropped way low. So, then I had to stay until it stabilized into something more normal but still lower than normal.

The mystery bump is still a mystery. G.I. Doc wouldn't say without pathology report coming back, which will be mid-week some time. So, for right now, it is a "cecal mass" still.

I haven't eaten yet really. Jello, broth, a graham cracker that made me most unhappy and a roll that mostly came up almost immediately. My hands and feet are swollen. My left hand is very swollen but looking better. The i.v. infiltrated. I told them to do something about it when it started to hurt, but they flushed it and claimed it was fine. Two hours later when it was all swollen and gross they acted like I had not ever mentioned this to them. Arg. It really just looks awful, not hurt, though typing is making it a bit owie in a stiff sort of way. Lovely bruises on my arms from failed iv attempts.

Biggest annoyance (other than never imagining this would hurt like the dickens) has been having trouble peeing. It is better now but at first, getting the muscles to work right to pee was not happening at all.

Biggest hospital annoyance: LOUD people. My roommates had loud visitors. The hallways were full of loud visitors. I was massively annoyed by the 12 or so yo boy hanging out in the hall when they wanted to transfer me from the gurney to the room. Uh...I know my butt is hanging out and I don't really want to flash that kid. He needs to go into a room or proceed quickly to a non patient part of the hospital.

Another annoyance: nurse arguing with us about my daily meds because they weren't on the order. I definitely need the imuran or I will be back here with more serious issues than this really soon. That nurse also had a hard time understanding what I was saying, a propensity for not answering questions about meds (sorry but I am going to ask what you are giving me and why) and 3 days into this fun still thought my partner was my mother.

What was interesting about the one roommate with the loud visitors was that she complained that she wasn't in a private room because I had to go to her side of the room to use the bathroom and the toilet flushing was loud.

The hospital kitchen is being remodeled so the meals seem to have taken a turn for the worse for visitors as well as patients. It was just as well that I couldn't eat because the boiled cauliflower and fried, mayonaise and gravy doused items that appeared on people's trays made my powdered broth look inviting. I don't know how they expect people to make healthy dietary choices when they can't offer them on a hospital tray.

Good things: nurse in surgery recovery was very good even though she had this thing for kissing my forehead. TLC in the hospital room. (even though I never stayed awake for a whole show and frequently had no idea at all about it) Finding out that the OR prep nurse had a colostomy and used to like ginger ale but gags when she sees it in the grocery store now too.

Below is the picture of the lap incisions. There are three. You can't actually see the one in my belly button. The small red line toward the middle at the top is the first. The third is the red line in the middle of the brownish (betadine) area at the bottom. They each were covered by a band-aid, with very little blood. (They traced the outline of the blood on the bandaid so they could tell if they were bleeding, and they definitely didn't bleed much.) The bottom bruise is pretty nasty but the incisions seem to be healing well.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

A Wedding Dress for the Tummy Troubled

The Toilet Paper Wedding Dress collection...made from toilet paper.

Diagram of Mystery Bump

and possible cut.

The red x is vague and now that I am looking at it probably on the wrong side of where the appendix is shown. I had my appendix out right before my son turned 1 and so that isn't there...unless the mystery bump is actually crohns inflamed appendectomy leftovers. (could be) Red line is also approximately where they will lop off intestine if they can't just lasso the mystery bump with the colonoscopy. I wish I knew where the doctor's funny little sketch was, I could scan that in.

And...just in case you weren't sure what the cecum did...
The cecum, the first part of the large intestine, is a sac with a closed end. It occupies the right iliac fossa, the hollow of the inner side of the ilium (the upper part of the hipbone). The cecum, also spelled caecum, is a pouch or large tubelike structure in the lower abdominal cavity that receives undigested food material from the small intestine and is considered the first region of the large intestine. It is separated from the ileum (the final portion of the small intestine) by the ileocecal valve (also called Bauhin's valve), which limits the rate of food passage into the cecum and may help prevent material from returning to the small intestine.

In humans, the cecum's main functions are to absorb fluids and salts that remain after completion of intestinal digestion and absorption and to mix its contents with a lubricating substance, mucus. The cecum's internal wall is composed of a thick mucous membrane through which water and salts are absorbed. Beneath this lining is a deep layer of muscle tissue that produces churning and kneading motions.

The structure and function of the cecum varies in other animals. Vertebrates such as rabbits and horses, which live on a diet composed only of plant life, have a larger cecum that is an important organ of absorption and contains bacteria that help digest cellulose. Animals that eat only meat have a reduced or absent cecum.

In Honor of Prep...Bathroom Quiz

What Your Bathroom Habits Say About You

You are a giving soul. Way too giving in fact. You often get stuck doing the dirty work that no one else will do.

Your idea of fashion is jeans and a t-shirt. Clean, if you're lucky.

You have the perfect blend of confidence and class. You're proud of who you are - but you don't broadcast it.

In relationships, you tend to be very romantic and demanding. You'll treat your partner like gold, but you expect a lot in return.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

What the Doctor Doesn't Tell You

about getting ready for a colonoscopy. Ok, about getting ready for bowel prep. About 18 hours before prep is to begin...depending on your appointment time and doc's rules...they leave out an important pre-prep step.

The doctor or actually the "scheduler" at your g.i. doc will probably give you a long list of do and do n't do instructions when you get your marching (to the bathroom) orders. These involve things like drinking lots of water, not eating red foods and not taking aspirin in the days leading up to your prep. Check your own instructions for your particular doctor's rules.

What they don't tell you to do is this: clean your bathroom. This may seem counterproductive, after all, you may get it a bit messy during prep. (especially if you vomit, some people do) However, cleaning the bathroom, the night before prep, is a very, very important step. You will spend a lot of time in there. You will feel wretched. When you feel wretched, bathroom crud will annoy. Important details: sit on the toilet and look around. Anything you actually see from the toilet should be wiped down or washed. This includes the wall, light switch, toilet paper roller thing, grout lines, door, etc. Nothing like focussing on odd dirt specks while hoping your guts settle down a bit. You will not feel like wiping them while in prep. You should do this important step yourself, do not foist it on some unsuspecting family member, friend, or cleaning lady. You do not want to growl about their housecleaning during prep or during those nice hours after anesthesia when you are not permitted to sign important documents. It isn't nice.

You may also wish to stock magazines for the bathroom at this time. Food magazines are not a good idea. Vegetarian Times=BAD colonoscopy/bowel surgery prep reading. Books likewise=bad colonoscopy prep reading, particularly if they are of the literary type or the sort you have to follow. I have heard that the Uncle John's Readers are good for colonoscopy prep, but have not tried this method. There are also some intriguing toilet seat shaped books at Barnes and Noble that I look at every so often that might be suited for prep. Magazines really do seem to work well for me. Reader's Digest, Entertainment, other sorts of light, non-food reading.

The up side to all of this is: prep is the worst part. Cleaning the bathroom means you will have a clean bathroom and a productive way to spend your time the night before you start prep!

Look! The Future is Here

Look what I am doing tomorrow! Well, actually, the surgeon involved likes to start things off with a bang, so tonight (despite going to the bathroom 7 or 8 times today) I get to take two of the laxative tablets. Then tomorrow...more laxative tablets (generic Dulcolax) and the bottle of wal-phosphate (generic phospho-soda).

Then on Thursday, I get to bathe with special soap. (ok Dial, but they gave me my very own hotel sized bar this morning at pre-admission.) Then, go to the hospital by 8 am, where I will commence waiting for at least 2 hours. (Surgery isn't scheduled until 10). Then, colonoscopy, guided by laparascopy...culminating most likely in a bowel resection followed by a couple days in the hospital followed by two/two and a half weeks at home before returning to work if all goes well...which it may not because of course this is Crohn's and well, Crohn's and resections don't go smoothly a significant part of the time. (as he hastily reassures us that he hopes it will this time)

Sigh. I will be out of sick leave by Monday afternoon. Hopefully, the rest can be worked out with vacation time (not much more of that than sick leave) and a dispensation to work from home. (cross your fingers).

Meeting today with the surgeon was in his office...not in an exam room. That was made up for by a four room extravaganza in admitting at the hospital, complete with bright red hospital bracelet I was worried I would have to wear until surgery. (I don't, they made a second one) The blood draw was the easiest in YEARS. I asked her if she could do the i.v. on Thu. LOL.

Worst part will be missing open house. I never miss school stuff, ever.