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Monday, September 19, 2016

Fifty Shades Of Jello

It has been a long haul these last five months dealing with my colostomy bag waiting for my reconnection surgery.  To say I won't miss the bag is an understatement, I know it had its purpose and there was no alternative, but it doesn't mean I was ever really fond of it.  When I was fitted for the bag after my initial surgery last April, the ostomy nurse said to expect an accident with it from time to time.  She didn't lie.  And I won't go into the accidents I had, use your imagination...

I had to have a colonoscopy the day before the actual surgery. The doctors want to take a "look" to ensure there were no surprises waiting when they opened me up.   Taking all the prep stuff is always not fun, having to deal with the bag made it even more "fun".  Insert the word "accidents" here.  Yep, use your imagination.

After the colonoscopy I wasn't allowed anything to eat and no drinking of any liquids after midnight leaving me feeling like a member of the Sahara Desert dying of thirst club.  If anything, it made me even more eager to get into the operating room the next day for my re-plumbing job.  No fear or apprehension, just a deep desire to get a ice cold glass of water.  Of course, I was second on the surgery list that day with the surgery scheduled to start at noon.  My "luck" didn't fail me again and the first surgery went way longer than expected.  Insert sound of me sucking my tongue unsuccessfully for any inkling of moisture here.

Finally I went in to surgery, Marti, her sister Gail and my daughter Heather sat in the waiting room while the operation was underway.  The surgeons encountered some issues and the whole thing took over 5 1/2 hours to be completed, with the removal of another 10 inch section of bowel that had more diverticulitis in it before the installation of a titanium coupler joining all my plumbing back together.

Coming out of the anesthesia in my room, the doctor told us the surgery went well and I needed to get right up and walk all around the hospital floors 4 to 5 times a day.  That was quite the challenge, but as a reward I could have a teaspoon of ice chips every hour.  I wasn't going to let the massive pain in my belly stop me.  No way...until I tried to get out of bed and take that first step.

Thankfully Marti was there to coach me through my steps and I was able to stagger a lap around the hospital and then collapse back in bed.  The reward of ice chips was heavenly.

The first night after the operation I was able to walk the floor three times with Marti holding me up on one side and the IV pole machine wheeling along on my other.  I looked just like Tim Conway doing his old man character shuffle from the Carol Burnett show.  I got lots of kudos and congratulatory smiles from the nursing staff on the floor which made me feel good.

The next day, the doctor put me on a clear liquids diet in addition to my ice chips.  I was living large now, with some kind of mysterious, unidentifiable broth each meal and another colorful cup of Jello. This is where I made an amazing discovery.  Hospital Jello, no matter what shade or color, all taste the same.  Makes me wonder if they pay extra for that.

Now that I was getting a better diet and making more and more laps round the floor, the next challenge was the ultimate one.  Putting the newly reconnected plumbing to use.  No way was the doctor going to let me go home until the "spirit" moved.  The number one priority was number two.

We waited and waited and waited with no success, gas on the other hand was so plentiful I could have filled the Goodyear blimp up a couple of times over.

After several more days of disappointment, the doctor order some laxatives to hopefully improve the situation.  With a heavy dose of a foul, chalky liquid, I choked it down and we waited some more.  And walked some more.  And ate even more shades of Jello.

Then...Sweet Mother of Magnesia!  Words like Tidal Wave, Whirlpool and Tsunami come to mind, but it wasn't that spectacular, just enough to know that things were starting to work as expected and even better I could go home the next day.

I'm now home back at the Journey, recuperating.  It's going to be a long period of healing to get back to normal, no driving, no lifting more than 10 pounds, no bending, stretching, bungee jumping, marathons or any other things that make up my normal routine.  My beloved motorcycle is under its cover resting for now, too.

It was pretty extensive surgery all tolled and I'm fortunate to have come out of it with an excellent prognosis for the future.  I'm grateful for the two surgeons that did my life saving operation and my restoration procedure.  They are special people who go to work every day where the sun don't shine.  Think of them the next time your job frustrates you.

Most of all, I'm grateful for all the prayers, thoughts and encouragement from all my friends and family, but none more so than Marti, who stuck by my side and helped me when I needed the help, pushed me when it was too painful to walk and kept me going.  How was she able to do it?

She threatened me with another shade of Jello!

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.








25 comments:

  1. Okay, I am very glad you are doing better:) However, I may have some bad dreams coming up!

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  2. Thanks so much for the update. We have been hoping all is well. Both of you have done a fantastic job getting through a less than ideal situation. Both of you need to take time to recover and then hopefully we will see you down the road:o)))

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  3. I'm so glad to hear that you are up and doing good. YUP !!! Some day will be tooo much and others will be good. I know what you mean about the jello. Good luck to you and keep walking !!!

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  4. So glad to hear the update, it has been a rough road, but you made the journey. Not to recover quickly and get the Journey back on the road agian!

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  5. You are the best Paul. You make even such a terrible situation funny. I would be in the grave now since I have never been able to have a colonoscopy. I have tried 3 times and can't keep the prep down. I'm so glad everything came out OK for you. Pun intended :-) Hope the healing is easy and rapid.

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  6. Glad to hear you are on the road to recovery. I appreciate the way you describe the challenges you face. With clarity and a great sense of humor. Good lessons for us all during the inevitable next one we may have. Great post and glad you are one the mend!

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  7. Glad to hear that things are moving right along and now you get to figure out which directions your travels will take you and Marti. Just one more thing! Those plans are generally written in Jello. Try something a little more solid.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

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  8. I agree with Randy and appreciate your straight forward honesty in talking about a medical problem and procedure that most people would not talk about. It casts an informative light into one of those dark scary areas where most folks are reluctant to go. Good for you Mr. Jello King and may many more ice chips be coming your way.

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  9. Glad to hear you are on the mend Paul!! May all continue to go well!

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  10. I'm glad to hear you are on the mend and the worst is behind you. :) Al has had some issues with diverticulitis and hearing what happened to you frightens me to think about it.

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  11. We're both so glad to hear that you are making your recovery. Just cut back on the miles you do each day for your marathon training and I think you'll be fine. Also, take it easy on the mountain biking trails.

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  12. Yikes! My Mom ended up with a colostomy way back in 1966. I think I was a little too young to completely grasp the extent to which she was a very unwell person. You're ordeal is a vivid reminder. Hopefully you heal well and can get back to some sense of normal. Got my "roto-rooter" experience coming up in October. Hopefully this time around, they find nothing, or next to nothing, and we won't have to do it on a yearly basis from now on.

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  13. So happy to hear you are back to "normal" and back home. God had you in his hands for sure! I bet Jello won't be on the menu for a long time :)

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  14. Glad your "reconstruction" went well. Hoping all the best for you - you've been through a lot!

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  15. Glad to hear this is behind you and wish you good days ahead!

    Selene & Hank

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  16. I am soo glad this is now behind you and you can rest and recover. Times like these are when you learn what true love really is and you've found that with Marti.

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  17. I am soo glad this is now behind you and you can rest and recover. Times like these are when you learn what true love really is and you've found that with Marti.

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  18. You are so right with your 'luck'! I can't imagine what you went through and hope you'll be back to normal soon. Keep up the good work, both of you. Hugs

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  19. PS We were thinking of you both because we happen to be in a COE park for National Public Lands Day and will be pitching in. Should be fun. I guess Paul will be supervising this year.

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  20. PS We were thinking of you both because we happen to be in a COE park for National Public Lands Day and will be pitching in. Should be fun. I guess Paul will be supervising this year.

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  21. You are so right with your 'luck'! I can't imagine what you went through and hope you'll be back to normal soon. Keep up the good work, both of you. Hugs

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  22. So glad to hear all is going well. keep the spirits up!

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  23. Great news all around!!! You'll be back on you feet before you know it.

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  24. So good to hear all is well Paul! Just like a bore job on an engine, it takes a bit to get everything back in order.

    I kind of wonder though, the smiles and cheering you on at the hospital during those recovery walks. Can you really be sure they weren't attributed to your open backed gown? :) Be well my friend.

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