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I'm home!  Woo-hoo! I'm home! Woo-hoo!

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  #1  
Unread 03-31-2003, 06:42 PM
I'm home! Woo-hoo!

Hello everybody! I have already read everything you all posted while I was in the castle... you are all so sweet!

I got home this afternoon, and (((Lynda))) is just letting me post this one thread before I have to get off and rest. Of course, she is spoiling me rotten and has already made me a big dish of her fabulous homemade macaroni and cheese!

As you already heard, the surgery went really well. My surgeon visited me every day to fill me in on how it went and check to make sure I was doing well.

The surgery took about 2 hours, which was less than he originally predicted. I have a vertical incision down the midline, sternum to pubic bone, with staples. The incision looks great, or so everyone tells me (my kids' reaction was "ewwww, but cool"). It's not red or anything. I do have a rather advanced case of swelly belly though!

When they got in there, the first thing they saw was this fibrous looking tissue all wrapped around the area where my diverticulitis pains were last year. At first he assumed it was a fallopian tube and ovary but I had a BSO last year, plus it didn't really look like a fully formed ovary (or for that matter, a fully formed anything). Upon reflection and examination my surgeon has decided that it was the ovarian blood supply from that side. Apparently, when I had the infection post hyst, those blood vessels were just floating around there not attached to anything and they got sucked into the infected area of my colon and started wrapping around it. At some point it is possible that they could have strangled the colon there, so it's lucky that was removed.

He also removed the weird corkscrew in my colon that seems to have started it all. Then he ran the bowel and found another section of diverticular disease higher up, so he removed up to that point. Altogether I guess he removed a little over three feet and then re-routed what was left.

Also this morning he told me that when the removed tissues were examined, an old abscess was found in the area where last year's diverticulitis occurred. He said that it appears that the colon did perforate, but luckily it formed a little pouch there and contained itself so the peritonitis was localized and not spread through my pelvis. He said I was extremely lucky that had happened and that it had not perforated again later on, or I would be sitting here with an ostomy right now (if I were lucky enough to be still sitting here at all).

I also feel really lucky that so far my recovery has gone very well. I got the NG tube out after 24 hours. I started out with one IV in each hand and a central line; by 36 hours after surgery I had one of the IV's out and a day later the other came out, so I stayed with only the central line until today just before I was released.

I had a foley for a couple of days. It was meant to stay in longer because it was so hard for me to get out of bed during the night, but it wasn't draining well... my prior foley experience told me that it was probably not inflated enough and was slipping. I was getting pretty uncomfortable so I begged the nurses to take it out at 2 days post op. They called the surgeon, and he told them that if I would agree to get up by myself during the night to use the bathroom they could take it out. I jumped at the chance, and while it was super painful to climb out of the bed by myself, peeing on my own was a relief.

As far as bm's are concerned, almost as soon as I started using the bathroom by myself, I started also passing small amounts of 'sludge' (sorry) rectally... just blood from the surgery but it sure wasn't pretty. I guess it has to come out somehow!

One of the hardest parts was not being able to eat anything for so long. I had to do a 2 day prep before the surgery, so I was already starving going into it. Then the day of surgery all I got was about one ice chip every hour. The next day, same thing. My mouth was so dry it was sticking shut! The following day the DR ok'd 'sips of tea'. The deal was I needed to pass gas before getting a liquid diet. Well, I 'sipped' that tea all day long (probably had about 8 cups, which the DR wasn't too thrilled with) but was still ready to eat the blankets and no gas yet! Finally yesterday it happened and I got to have liquid meals all day. Then this morning I graduated to soft foods just before I left... cream of wheat never tasted so good.

Pain management wise, I was on a drip of dilaudid the first 24 hours, plus dilaudid in a PCA pump. I was quite 'out of it' as anyone who im'd or talked with me could attest to. The day after surgery, I started getting toradol in the central line every 6 hours and only pushed the PCA button a couple of times. The next day, they discontinued the dilaudid drip and I just stayed on the toradol plus pushed the PCA button a couple of times. By yesterday I wasn't using the dilaudid at all, only the toradol every 6 hours. Also I was on fluids IV the whole time until this morning. I was sent home with prescriptions for Vioxx and Vicodin. I filled the Vioxx but not the Vicodin and I feel pretty good... the incision hurts but it's bearable. BTW, my insurance company refused to pay for the Vioxx without 'prior authorization', which of course there wasn't time to get, so I had to pay for it (or more precisely (((Lynda))) did, since she was the one who went to the pharmacy while DBF took me home)... when I called the DR's office to ask them to call the insurance company, they said I was the 2nd patient they'd heard that from today! What's up with that?

The nurses referred to my room as the 'lucky suite'. That couldn't have hurt! The story is that several times a year, ladybugs appear in it. I didn't see any but was hoping to. It was a large private room on the corner, with a view of the mountains and my own shower (which I never got to use until today because of the central line; oh well). The best news I got was that the room isn't going to cost extra! It turns out the castle changed their policy a while back so that private rooms don't cost more than semiprivate; but they only have a few per floor, and who gets them is determined by availability and whether your DR says you need one. I'm sure it didn't hurt that my surgeon is chief of staff at the castle.

My nursing care was fabulous. My favorite was an aide named Victor (I already put in a word with his supervisors). This guy also helped me last year after my hyst, and I was so impressed with how sensitive he was especially after the 'female' procedure! Turns out he just passed his exam to be a nurse, and this castle is trying to hire him. I sure hope they get to keep him!

In another interesting twist, my blood pressure, which skyrocketed about 6 months post hyst and has stayed up there since then, dropped back down to normal (around 120/70) the day of the surgery before I went to the castle, and has stayed low since then; and my ankles have never been smaller!

I am not allowed to drive until next week (but one week isn't that bad)... it would be longer except that I am really on minimal meds at this point. I am allowed to be up and around, walking a lot, but no lifting of course. I can eat just about anything I want except nuts and seeds, and after a couple of months he will clear me to eat those too (yay!). I have to go back Thursday (in 3 days from now) to get the staples removed and have the incision looked at. Time will tell about whether my HRT needs will change based on having that other tissue removed... I kind of doubt it, but I'm always open to changes!

My gastro DR also came to visit me in the castle yesterday. What a sweetie! He told me it is very likely this is a permanent 'cure' to all my GI problems, which was music to my ears! I am feeling tired, and the incision does hurt, but I do believe I can see that off ramp up ahead. Of course I will still be staying around here to help direct traffic!

Many, many s to all my friends here,
-Linda
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  #2  
Unread 03-31-2003, 07:10 PM
WELCOME HOME

Hi Linda

Soooo glad you are home and feeling better- we missed you, but you had some good sisters keeping an eye on you!! You sound terrific and also what a relief to finally get an answer and get some much needed relief!!

You are a treasure and sending many warm s your way.. you go rest and enjoy some good food!!

Way to go girl!!!!!!!!!

Best
  #3  
Unread 03-31-2003, 07:11 PM
(((((Linda)))))

Hip, Hip

I'm sure you are very happy to be home in your own bed tonight!!

I wish you a continued positive experience during your recovery!

Enjoy that Mac 'n Cheese


Lori
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  #4  
Unread 03-31-2003, 07:15 PM
I'm home! Woo-hoo!

How WONDERFUL to hear this is to be the end of the road for you.

I could for joy for you (but my incision would hurt so I won't yet LOL).

Rest and get well soon

So glad you got lovely docs and nurses too!

loads of love,
Steph xxx
  #5  
Unread 03-31-2003, 07:22 PM
Welcome Home Linda!!!!!!!!!

It's great to have you back. It sounds as if everything with your surgery went well and you are soon to be off of this long road. I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for you. Sounds like Lynda is keeping tabs on your activity and taking good care of you. Mac and cheese....and homemade too?..yum! Take it easy and enjoy your down time as much as possible. Lots of 's for you. Can't wait to hear more from you when you are feeling up to it.
Dawn
  #6  
Unread 03-31-2003, 08:24 PM
SO GLAD YOUR HOME...

I AM SO GLAD YOU ARE HOME. AND TELL **LYNDA** THANKS FOR TAKING CARE OF YOU. SOUNDS LIKE YOU WENT THREW ALOT. BUT SURE AM GLAD YOU ARE HOME SAFE AND SOUND.

BY THE WAY THE VIOXX HAS CAUSED HEART PROBLEMS IN PATIENTS IN THE PAST AND FOR SOME REASON EVER SINCE THEN THE INSURANCE HAVE BECOME VERY CAREFULL ABOUT ANYBODY THAT IT GETS PRESCRIBED TO. MY BOWEL MEDS ARE THE SAME WAY AND I HAVE TO SIGN ALL KINDS OF PAPERS WITH IT JUST TO MAKE SURE THE INSURANCE WILL PAY FOR IT. AND WITH INSURANCE IT COST $105.00. I DONT UNDERSTAND ALL THAT EITHER.

I WILL LET YOU GO FOR NOW. YOU NEED YOUR REST AND DO ALL YOUR PRINCESS THINGS.......HUGS AND PRAYERS NICKY
  #7  
Unread 03-31-2003, 08:56 PM
I'm home! Woo-hoo!

Welcome back! Hope you continue to progress. Lucky you to be getting all that attention!!

Joselle
  #8  
Unread 03-31-2003, 10:00 PM
I'm home! Woo-hoo!

Welcome back Linda!!!!!!!!!!!

NOW THAT WAS ALOT OF WRITING!!! Shouldn't the be telling you to LAY DOWN!!

I am soooo glad that you are finally out of the castle and on the road headed for the OFF RAMP!!

You have been in my nightly prayers and daily thoughts. I will pray this surgery makes all of your problems disappear

Please be a good and take care of yourself and do not over do it.. Thank God for Audrey, she is truely wonderful!!

Keep us posted on how you are doing when she gives you another computer pass, and enjoy that mac n cheese, you deserve it!! Ask Audrey if she makes deliveries!!

Pam
  #9  
Unread 03-31-2003, 10:53 PM
Welcome home!

Bet that bed and the kitty company felt wonderful (and (((Lynda's))) mac and cheese would make even me eat dairy!).

You really did have wonderful nursing care...Victor was such a sweetie! And you had plenty of menopausal "patch sisters" among the staff. I honestly think that room IS magic, and went a long way toward your rapid recovery. And you worked hard, too. I'll bet you had all those paintings memorized by the time you left (did you ever actually LOOK at that Mr. PotatoHead print on the pediatric side?? I never thought of Mr. PotatoHead as "collectible art" )
Sounds like you've really found that off-ramp, sweetie, and for more than just your intestinal woes. And just in time, too...a "loculated" abcess like that is nothing to fool with! Maybe now you'll be feeling sooo much better (finally, huh??) A note about the Vioxx -- I've also seen some studies that show Vioxx CAN raise blood pressure (why? is an interesting question here, but for another time). So if your BP stays low, great, but if it rises, it still may be OK and just the influence of the Vioxx. Hopefully it is down for GOOD. No more swollen ankles would be nice too...

You take care...I'm glad your brother is coming, and that Chinese food and movie rental with the kids sounds like just the ticket for recovery. A in the lap and one at the feet -- Princess heaven! Bet that first shower in your very own bathroom will be WONDERFUL!



Audrey
  #10  
Unread 04-01-2003, 02:22 AM
I'm home! Woo-hoo!

((((((((((((Linda)))))))))))

I"m so glad to see you home and being a good !!!

It sure does sound like things went well and you may have very well found your own off ramp sweetie!!!


Here's to an uneventful recovery!!!!!!




Dawn
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