January 12th at OHSU I had my scheduled colectomy. It was relatively routine and I was in the hospital for seven days. It would have been less but it snowed and they were not letting anyone up the hill to the hospital. In fact it was so bad they were not even allowing Tri-met up the hill. After the snow melted I was able to come home feeling pretty good. I was a little sore but getting around relatively well all things considered.
On January 20th in the evening I started having stomach cramps. They were not too severe so I tried to relax and went to bed. Around 4am I woke up with much more severe cramps. After trying some techniques to relax my stomach I decided we had to go to the emergency room because I was in too much pain. At the emergency room they gave me some pain meds, and called my surgeon to figure out the best course of action. The surgeon recommended that I come back to OHSU so they could check me out. At OHSU they attempted to flush out my intestine with no success. They then determined that I had an intestinal blockage due to my intestine healing incorrectly. They gave me two options: surgery, or a tube in my nose.
I chose the tube in my nose since it did not involve any cutting. They put an NG Tube down my nose an into my stomach. The process of putting it in is terrible! I would not recommend it to anyone. They left the tube in my nose for 24 hours. During that time the contents of my stomach were sucked out slowly via my nose. This caused my intestine to relax and things to start flowing normally again. This was much better than the surgical option. After a couple of days of things flowing alright they let me go home. It was a five day hospital stay.
On Monday the February 12th after having some blood work done, the surgeon again wanted me to come to the emergency room to check me out. I had been having some fevers at night, but was otherwise feeling OK. In the emergency room they CT scanned my stomach and found an abscess. The admitted me to the hospital immediately and scheduled surgery. They opened me up and removed 400ml (more than a soda can) of pus and assorted abscess related fluids from my abdomen. I immediately started feeling better.
The worst part of my abscess surgery was that they did not close the incision back up. An abscess by definition is a big infection, so to prevent infection they leave the incision open. This meant that I had a four inch long, one inch wide, one inch deep wound on my belly. This means you have to clean and dress the wound twice a day to keep the tissue healthy while it heals. It was a little daunting at first, but we got the hang of it.
During surgery they give the patient lots of fluids to make sure your body is doing OK. Your body stores this while you are in stress. When your body relaxes it releases all the fluid you do not need. This manifested itself in me peeing about every half an hour for an entire day. Over the course of 24 hours I peed out six liters worth of fluid!
So in the last two months I've been hospitalized three times, and had two surgeries. Not fun.