A small update

So, Wednesday night, I passed out emptying my colostomy bag into the toilet. I was seated and not injured in the slide off the stool.

This after light headed most of the afternoon.

Got a ride in the bus with the flashy lights to Methodist West (St. Luke’s is outside their range).

Very low blood pressure. 3-1/2 liters of saline IV later & a lot of other stuff, I sat in ER from about midnight to 1 pm when they found me a room.

Long story short, trying to see if infection or something else.

Unfortunately, a puking episode strained my abdominal fascia & I now feel like maybe 2 days post-op again.

So, trying to find culprit & reset my gut again.


Well, as far as Christmases go, it was unique.

The day started with the substitute surgeon stopping by about 5:30am for his rounds. Then the usual round of meds, vital signs checks, and shift change handoffs.

A holiday when you’re in a hospital is really just another day, except some of the staff are able to be home with their families (this is a good thing) and some of the operating hours for the cafeteria, etc. are different.

Kim came up and brought the presents Dad had schlepped down from Tulsa for us. We opened them. I kept one of the pajama bottoms here because it occurs to me that trying to wear the jeans I wore in out of here over that incision is a Bad Plan.

Then we hung out. I’ve got two more laps of the ward to do as I write this. I decided to mix it up a bit today – did a figure-eight lap with the crossover in front of the nurses’ station, so added about 60 feet to each lap. And I did the second set in the opposite direction.

My ostomy is starting to work as it should (i.e. the system has filled sufficiently) and that’s not a bad thing. It’s taking some getting used to. Get some pressure and bloat feelings and it’s kinda uncomfortable until it starts actually expelling poop. (And here you thought I was through with that tag. HA! I say. HA!).

Mostly, today was just calm and letting things heal.

I’m already noticing I’m a lot more stable (though still want a walker at least for a bit more), and I can get up and down easier as my body has adapted to using legs and arms instead of abs. Even coughing hurts less. It still HURTS, mind you, just less. My breathing is deeper.

The real surgeon’s back tomorrow. The ostomy nurse is back, too, so I’ll be getting instruction and ordering supplies and all that. Hopefully, I can get surgeon and oncologist to confab and we can come up with a plan. There’s a chance I may get released tomorrow. Or it may be Wednesday or some other day. I’m still low on hemoglobin, though my pulse oxygen levels have recovered as I’m able to take deeper breaths (and yes, use my diaphragm).

I hope all of my readers who celebrate had a Merry Christmas. And all of my readers who don’t had a happy day.

I really don’t have a lot more to say — except I would be very remiss if I didn’t thank each and every one of you who have expressed support for me and Kim during all this, in a broad and sometimes amusing, sometimes stunning, variety of ways. It’s almost impossible to keep track of it all. We try, but I’m probably going to need a spreadsheet. THANK YOU. THANK YOU. THANK YOU. We don’t really know what or how we’ll need yet, but the sheer number of folks waiting for the word to be given is gratifying and humbling.

The other day I lost my shit about this. I’m still terrified, of course, but today I find myself legitimately hopeful that we can lick this thing. And I can, finally, poop normally again.

The lack of excitement is, frankly, appreciated.

So… today, in addition to not having any IVs hooked up, I was also weaned off the oxygen.

And Ms. Sheryl, the Patient Care Assistant assigned to me today, was a true angel. She helped me with getting cleaned up a bit, talked with me about how her abdomen had been opened up just in October, so she knows, and took me on my first couple of laps of the ward for the day. She spent a lot of time with me today, and I thanked her and will sing her praises to anyone who asks and anyone who doesn’t ask.

The staff here is really great.

The doc came back this morning far removed from any thought of discharging me today. He’s concerned about my hemoglobin levels (surprise, surprise). We think it’ll be Tuesday or Wednesday (the regular docs will be back Tuesday). It’s a less-desirable thing, but I may need a little blood to boost the hemoglobin.

The doc also took me off the soft diet and put me on regular diet. I did not immediately order something stupid for lunch. Or for dinner.

My stability is slowly improving, but I still need extra support for safety. I’ve likely pulled my right pectoral muscle by using my arms to lift me up far more than I’ve ever done before.

I did three sets of 2 laps of the ward today.

I took the Tramadol. Pain does hurt, and it gets in the way of getting better.

Someone has anonymously sent me an adult coloring book called “Maybe Swearing Could Help”. Thank you, anonymous gifter.

LOTS of folks contacting us wanting to help. We GREATLY appreciate each and every offer, but please understand that we’ve got a lot of unknowns right now, so it’s just really hard for us to say with any certainty what we need and when we’ll need it. On top of that, Kim and I both are firmly in the “we take care of ourselves” camp and thus we have a little bit of mind shift to do here as well. We’ll get there.

But basically, a quiet, normal-except-for-the-setting-and-circumstances Sunday. I’m okay with this.

I’m sure we’ll have occasion to look back on this kind of day wistfully at some point in the near future.

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate. We’re gonna try to be merry, but it’s likely to just be a little weird. That’s okay. I can do weird.