Ok guys, so I said that as soon as I had the reversal surgery and was home, that I would post an update on my progress. So here goes..
I had my reversal on the 29th March after 2 cancelled attempts. My surgeon is great and after the cancellations, he didn't want any problems a third time, so a bed was definitely made available and he cleared his entire schedule for the day to perform my operation. I got to the Surgical Admissions Lounge at around 8am and was only waiting 5 minutes before seeing the Anesthetist for my pre-op chat. Everything went so fast and within half an hour of being there, I was tagged up, all done, changed into a gown, and walking down to the theater to get my Epidural and lines put in. I had to have a line in my wrist which I think was called an Arterial Line? It had some kind of wire put in and kept my rhythm, etc. This was performed by a junior.. I was given a few nips of local anesthetic and away he went prodding and poking trying to get it in. After a while, he gave up and someone else had to take over, but to be honest, I wasn't best pleased with her either as although she had done it many, many times, she shook like a leaf. I had my mom watching the whole thing and although I couldn't feel it, she said they had a right good dig when putting my epidural, etc. in, and that's the last I remember..
This time there was no, "Ok, start counting to 100 and saying goodbye to mom," etc. They must have just started the General Anesthetic and I was well away. The next thing I remember, I was all finished and lying in a bed in Intensive Care. I constantly had a nurse at the end of my bed, but I was well dosed up and I had an extra epidural and morphine pump just in case. After my initial Colectomy and Ileostomy in July last year, I was stitched back up, but this time after seeing my scar, etc., my surgeon decided to try staples instead. He cut my entire old scar out and stapled me back up really nicely and neatly with tight, close-knit staples. All in all, I must have had around 30-40 staples on my main wound and perhaps 10 or 12 on my old Ileostomy site. The surgeon said that the Ileostomy site would not be as neat as it was a round hole that had to be stapled straight, but it's not too bad.
I was only in ICU for one day before being moved to a surgical ward. The average expected stay was 10-14 days, and I spent a total of 13 days in the hospital. As expected, I did have my good and bad days. I had a bad case of Nausea and Vomiting, which wasn't helped by the fact that I was getting hiccups really easily, which also put added pressure on my wound. I had so many tubes and wires hanging out of me that it was difficult to move, and this led to me accidentally pulling my epidural line out. I was now left with just the Morphine pump, which I was using more often and obviously really did not help the whole being sick business. Again, like the last time I was in the hospital, I lost a shed load of weight, most noticeable in my face. I always grow a beard in the hospital as I hated my really sticky out jaw lines, etc. My eyes were sunken, and I didn't have a very colorful skin tone either. My rectal drain had a leak and had to come out slightly early, also my catheter got blocked and also needed to come out, so for the next few days, I was pissing razor blades.
Around day 5 or 6, I started needing to go to the toilet a lot more. I was constantly jacked up on fluids and was told to drink lots and lots and lots and lots.. This was hard as I was being sick so often and had no energy, but it needed to be done as I was losing so much fluid through loose stools. For the next 5-6 days, I was going to the toilet 15-20 times a day, and during my stay, I only ever managed to slightly catnap in the chair. Laying on the bed made my toilet visits more frequent, plus I could never get comfy on my old-fashioned, really hard bed. I began to get so weak that I got cramps in every muscle in my body. Again, like last time, my hands would cramp up wiping, and I wouldn't be able to push the flush handle down without putting all my weight on the handle. I also couldn't lay on the bed as lifting my legs to get on would result in calf and thigh cramps, and I'd be straight off and jumping around trying to get rid of it.
Things started to look up the last couple of days. Although still on fluids, I was on Loperamide to slow stools down and Codeine for pain relief, which also has some constipative effects which could have helped. The cramp had gone, I was eating a lot and had a massive appetite after not eating anything for over a week. Sadly, my eyes were bigger than my belly, and I could only eat small portions, but it was definitely a start for me. I was up and walking around a lot and generally felt a lot better in myself. I was really starting to get bored of the hospital, and I wanted nothing more than to get back to the comfort of my own home and eat good home-cooked food again.
The last 8 days of many bum wipes had left me with a few sores around my anus, and eventually, it cracked and I got a fissure. I can quite honestly say it was the most painful thing of the whole experience. Every time I go to the toilet, it feels like I'm pooing out red-hot daggers as the cut is so sore. I have been given a rectal ointment for it, but I can only use it twice a day, and toilet visits are still super painful. Last night was my first night back in my own bed, and I thoroughly loved it. There is a big difference between a 15 tog rated double duvet/bed and hospital issue single sheets/blankets. All in all, I managed to grab some good sleep with intervals to go to the toilet every 3-4 hours. It was the first time I've slept in 2 weeks, and I feel 10 times better for it this morning. I woke up at 9 am, had my pills, some toast and water, and felt good enough to post this blog.
It is now a waiting game to see how fast/slowly I regain my strength and get into a good toilet routine with minimal visits a day. It's strange, but every now and again, you can feel the food pushing through your gut and I guess going into the pouch. I have okay control at the minute and have not yet had any accidents. I can hold it for long enough to make it to the toilet, but always have a bowl handy just in case. To combat wiping and wiping and wiping and drying my bottom area skin out, I have been using 1 sheet of kitchen roll to dab the majority after excreting and then using baby wipes to clean up everything else afterwards. They're much softer than tissue paper and help keep that area moisturized a little, plus they're slightly cold and damp, so help relieve the fissure pain a little.
I understand that some parts of this may be a little in-depth, but I think it's best that people know all the details so they know what to expect themselves when having this operation. For me, it certainly hasn't been a walk in the park, but as they say, no pain, no gain. Everybody heals and deals with operations in their own way. My surgeon said that he performed the exact same operation on a woman the day before me, and she was home after 6 days!! Maybe I was unlucky.. I don't know, I'll keep you all posted as to my progress over the next couple of weeks, and when I can, I might add a few pictures of my wound so you can all see how it is healing. If this helps give a bit of insight to even 1 person, then it was well worth the hour+ it has taken me to type up, etc., and I wish anyone that decides to have the op the best of luck =)