Hello markham87. Welcome to the MAO site. 20 years of constipation would indicate to me that this is a 'normal' state of affairs for your husband and it is little wonder that his colon decided to give up. Having a reversal may well have had the desired effect of seeming more 'normal' for him but one should ask the question- was that more 'normal' really desirable.
There are many advantages to seeking medical help and I wouldn't knock it too hard. However, you don't say whether they told him what caused his constipation in the first place. Taking out part of the colon and prescribing laxatives may well help with the symptoms but this approach often does not address the original underlying problem. People like us can only guess at what might be wrong so everyone's individual guesses can be as good as the next person's. Obviously, diet can play a part in what goes through and what might get stuck in the system but the sytem itself might be sluggish for one reason or another. Because the passing of faeces (or not) seems like a mechanical problem many people see the solution as being mechanical/biological and these aspects need to be investigated. There are however, alternative theories on why people get problems with their guts and this is to do with 'gut feelings'. Many folks know full well that the way they feel affects the way their guts work. People who worry a lot often suffer with gut problems. Sometimes, the worry is imperceptible, as is the case when they are stressed at work or home or simply within themselves. At times the individual's are not aware that they are stressed at all because they don't view themselves as such.Others think that they can work their way through stressful periods and sometimes they can. The problems often arise when the stress is low level yet chronic. this is when the whole body re-adjusts to the stress levels and compensates by very basic fight, flight or freeze responses. Because the gut is part of the autonomic nervous system, it does not react in the same way as the tangible nerves of the body's outer framework. It tends to act more slowly and imperceptibly to low-level stimuli. Nevertheless, over time, it can alter to the extent that it functions differently for those who stress to those who don't.
You say that your husband is 'afraid' that something will get stuck in there. Worry is a form of fear which is part of a classic array of emotions that can have an affect on the autonomic nervous system. In the case of the guts, worrying about what 'might' happen, appears to be one of the mechanisms which helps to make it happen. In the medical profession it seems to be the norm to wait until 'all else has failed' before they start contemplating that some of the underlying problems might be emotional/ psychological rather than simply physical. When I was working, my work almost always involved 'victims' of a medical system that almost insisted upon experimenting with everything physical first. When they came to the end of what they had to offer, they would reluctantly, indicate that it might be something to do with psychological factors and refer them on. Unfortunately, we live in a stressful society so quite often what professionals diagnose as psychological have underlying irritants to do with that society itself. What they like to call 'environmenta'l and 'lifestyle' factors, which result in the individual being adversly affected one way or another. Until these factors are addressed and managed, the problems will probably continue and increase. It is very difficult for individuals to change the society in which they live so, those of them who recognise these types of problems, begin to find ways to circumvent the adverse effects of their environment in very personalised ways. The interesting thing about these alternative appoaches is that they are much less likely to do harm than many of the medical solutions. They are also more likely to help people to understand about their body and the affects on it from things in their environment. Thus, they are more able to 'manage' their day to day living without stressing about it. There are so many hobbies and occupations that people have invented for this specific purpose, that all I can really do is point a few out and say that the most effective ones are those that the individual is drawn to because they provide 'enjoyment'. Personally, I write, do gardening, birdwatch, peoplewatch, walk, ride, read and experiment. All things that help distract my mind onto things that I like doing but they are also things that do not create extra stress. they can be demanding yet simultaneously relaxing. There have been many books written to help folks in their efforts to move from being stressed to being more relaxed and there are even more people who will relieve you of your money by telling you that they can help you in the process. Whatever works might be worth paying for but I am convinced that, in the end, it is the individual that will have to work these things out for themselves before solutions are found to suit them.
Sorry if this seems a long response but I hope it helps in some way.