There’s a lot to talk about

So I got out of St. Luke’s on the 26th. Uneventful, except that I have to note that the staff on the 15th floor GI surgical recovery unit is wonderful and subsequent events would have me missing them.

That evening at home was spent just settling in, and hurting, and trying to adapt Home Stuff to my new situation. Everything felt “off”, from the texture of the bed sheets to where I sit in the living room. Just that little bit off.

On top of this, my brain that night decided I was hooked into some sort of machine and had some production quotas for urine and such to meet and it felt like little subconscious instructions flying around in my head. Sleep was therefore somewhat elusive.

Up on the morning of the 27th, continue the process. Eat some foods. Try to move around some. But in the late afternoon, I started feeling light-headed, and my appetite was gone, and I was dizzy and then…

…I had to empty my rapidly-filled colostomy bag. Which I did. But before I could get it buttoned back up, I passed out while sitting on a shower seat in front of the toilet. I apparently didn’t hit anything vital as I slid off the shower seat to the floor, but I came to looking at the toilet bowl from up-close as my Dad called my name.

The one thing I remember from being out is that nothing hurt. As I came to, all the hurty parts started checking back in. That was unpleasant, to say the least.

So there I am. Sitting naked on the bathroom floor with my legs splayed either side of the toilet.

Surgeon is paged. He calls and discussion of ambulance happens. Ambulance is called.

Which is how I can now add “found by EMTs lying prone and naked on my bathroom floor” to the list of Things I’ve Done So You Don’t Have To.

EMTs were pros. There was apparently some talk of stabilizing me enough to load me into Dad’s car and him driving me the 30 miles to St. Luke’s. The EMTs did not like this idea. I didn’t either. Once they’d cleared the room, one said to me, “Sir, I believe you are having an emergency and require transport.”

“I am inclined to agree with you. Just don’t take me to that hellhole North Cypress.”

The EMTs snorted. It was agreed to take me to new-ish Methodist West.

Of course, I’m still naked and lying on the bathroom floor. Cue the firefighters. Six big ol’ dudes arrive with a sort of canvas sling thing and get me arranged. Lead firefighter: “Sir, are you going to fight us on this?”

“Even if I could, which I can’t, I think that would be a really bad idea. I’m just gonna lie here and let y’all do your thing.”

The firefighters snorted.

They carried me out to the gurney, got me strapped in, and then I was loaded into the bus with all the flashy lights. They took vitals, got an IV going, and then started the transit.

Arrive at Methodist West ER just after midnight. Get checked in, get a room, get transferred to a slightly less uncomfortable ER gurney. Get more IV fluids (would end up being 3.5L of saline). Don’t see much in the way of personnel for several hours. Get admitted to hospital, finally get a room about 1pm.

The room was some sort of fancy corner suite on the top (6th) floor, with a separate sitting/sleeping area for guests, big bathroom with roll-in shower, cafe table, etc. It was very swanky.

We also never had any hot water from any of the taps the entire time we were there. This in a hospital opened in this decade.

Because of why I’d arrived there, I was not really permitted to get up and around. Lost some of the fitness I’d recovered at St. Luke’s as a result. They also put me back on a clear liquid diet, which sucked.

It sucked even more after the lunch bowl of broth prompted a sudden expelling of both it and the breakfast bowl of broth. While the vomit incident didn’t tear open anything healing, it sure as hell strained it all and I felt like I did maybe 2nd day post-op.

The attending physician is a family practice guy with the bedside manner of Eeyore. As they were hunting the source of this fever I’d been having, they gave me another CT scan and he described the results – to me – as “depressing”. Yes, I know this, Doc. On his last visit, he talked about his brother who died from colon cancer.

This was my routine, then, from Thursday to Sunday. Finally got the infectious diseases doc in on Monday morning. She discovered part of my incision was abscessed and switched me from the gut antibiotics the FP guy had me on to skin-specific ones.

Then I was discharged. My insurance saved me over $2500 on one of the antibiotic prescriptions.

Went home on the 1st.

Finally got a shower.

Went to the surgeon for follow-up and staple removal on the 2nd. He took out every other one from the main incision, and they cleaned up and packed the abscess, providing instruction on changing the packing. I go back to him on the 9th.

Also had a nice phone conversation with my oncologist. Right now, the healing is driving timing on everything. I do have a biopsy for the liver mass scheduled for the 15th back at St. Luke’s. Outpatient, though.

We made the decision to cancel JoCo Cruise this year — originally, looked like if things went to plan, we’d be able to adjust the chemo schedule to allow it.

Almost nothing has gone to plan. Best case I can see right now is this wound heals right around departure time and I start chemo shortly thereafter.

As you might expect, the folks running JoCo Cruise are wonderful. Even though they’re on this year’s site inspection cruise, they’ve been very responsive and took care of it. I canceled the airfare and pre-cruise hotel stay, and all is as it should be.

It’s good to be home. I’m tired of sitting, though I can’t really stand for very long, and lying down is a give-up except at night.

I’m still trying to get my brain to stop thinking at night like I’m part of production equipment. It’s getting better, but it’s still doing it enough to disrupt sleep frequently.

And everything feels weird. Been using this body for 49 years in one configuration, and now part of it’s been modified, and it’s just taking a while to adjust. A lot of that hurts.

Still working the diet back toward “normal but suitable for conditions”, but it’s getting there, slowly.

Highlight of yesterday: with Dad’s help, was able to get both the Cobra and the F350 started after long layoffs. This will help as I need to get them inspected this week so I can renew the tags. It’s a little thing, but I walked outside, I started my truck, the Cobra fired up straight away. I’ll take the win.

Kim, despite her own health situation, is as wonderful as always. And Dad’s getting adapted a bit to how we operate here, and is very helpful.

And that’s about all the energy I have to spend on this right now. More when I can.


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.