When I came out of the anaesthetic, I remember trying to hard to stay awake, to fight the sleepiness thinking that if I did, maybe I could go and see my mum and she could make sense of what was happening here.
Once I had been wheeled in, I tried so hard to show her my stoma because I really wanted to see what it looked like. However, I forgot that under the gown I was naked and in my enthusiasm, nearly flashed the ward my birthday suit.
Those first few days were so rough. I thought I had been exhausted when I had Ulcerative Colitis, but no, this was a different kettle of fish. On the first day, I managed to sit out of bed in the chair beside me whilst the nurse changed my sheets and bathed me. I was so tired I couldn’t keep my head up and the PICC line that was in my neck felt so heavy that my head kept lolling forward.
I had to re-learn so much, because I had been sliced and diced through my core, something as simple as getting out of bed was absolute agony. And scary. I’m a pansy when it comes to pain, I don’t want it, it can stay away thank you very much! So I would have to gear myself up to get out of bed because I didn’t want to be in pain.
And I was petrified to eat! After a few days of being on liquids they encourage you to eat and I just didn’t want to. I was so scared that something was going to get stuck, so every thing that passed my lips was a mini victory. My mum was going around to all her friends “Steph ate a spoonful of mash, today is a good day”
Also, on a slightly unrelated note, why the hell didn’t anyone tell me how freakin’ bad emptying that bag is? The first time it had to be emptied I gagged, which is not fun when you’ve been sliced and diced through the tummy, let me tell you! That first bag emptying, literally smelt like Satan’s Pit. What the frick died in there?
And showering. Sweet mother of God. My first shower by myself, I deserve a medal for that bad boy. I was so incredibly exhausted that I couldn’t stand so I sat in a chair, and I couldn’t lift my arms up for longer than two seconds. How the hell I managed to wash my hair that day remains a mystery. In fact, how I even managed the whole shower experience is a conundrum.
Slowly but surely, I was learning how to do things again. I was able to get out of bed occasionally, on my own, I had managed to walk to the toilet, even if I did look like Golum attached to a drip. Its hard standing up straight, it pulls and it felt like I was about to pop something. Anyway, slowly things were getting better, I was moved out of the bay near the nurses and my PICC like came out too. I was eating more as well.
I was making a great recovery and then the worst night of my life happened.
My small intestine had a hissy fit and said “This is just too much for me” and he fucked off.
Meaning, he stopped working. My abdomen ballooned, and the pain that I was in literally had me crying and I’m usually okay with pain. I suffer on through it but not this time. The doctor came in and he said “Blah blah blah back passage blah blah fluid blah blah relieve pressure”
I’m sure that’s not what he actually said but I was crying too much to hear him properly. The nurse rolled me over like a beached whale and the doctor put something up there to relieve some of the fluid that had accumulated and man did I scream.
My poor mum was in the corridor listening to her daughter in so much pain, it must have been so horrific for her because there was absolutely nothing she could do.
That night was absolutely awful, I asked a nurse to knock me out with something because I couldn’t handle the pain and I felt so bad because I was trying so hard to not make any noise because of the other patients on the ward but I couldn’t help it.
The next morning I was spewing, and it was awful! Eventually they fitted me with a lovely NG tube. Which is piece of plastic tube inserted through my nose, down my throat and into my stomach so they could empty the contents of my stomach. My, what a pleasant experience that was because your reaction is “GET IT THE FUCK OUT OF THERE” and you gag to stop it.
I spent the majority of the morning extremely groggy from the anti-sickness drugs that I was on and an amazing nurse stayed by my side, for most of the morning, holding my hand and making sure I was okay.
By the afternoon the pain had lessened and I was taken down for a CT scan to make sure that there was nothing too serious going on.
Luckily there wasn’t and it was explained to me that sometimes the small intestine unfortunately just stops working. It goes into a kind of shock because a) its been manhandled and b) its lost the large intestine so nothing was being digested and it was sitting in my stomach, hence why I had the pleasure of being sick.
After that little hiccup I went from strength to strength. I learnt how to successfully change my bag, which I will have a chat about in another blog post. I was eating, and moving around, not as Golum like as before but still quite hunched and in general, was just getting better.
I was so thankful to be let out of hospital because I desperately needed some sleep. It’s crazy how tired you become in there, all the poking and prodding, the noises of machines, the noise of other patients. A place where you have all the time to sleep and yet none of it feels like restorative sleep. I was forever waking up exhausted and I couldn’t wait to be in my own bed.
But then that alone brings a whole new set of problems! Now I had to learn how to do things on my own, and in the “real world” with out the support of the nurses.