Surgery, Complications, and an Extended Hospital Stay: Part V

orchidsThe calendar flipped from May to June and I was still in hospital. On June 1 though, I did get a nice little surprise. One of the nurses told me that I was being moved into a new room. The ward room that I was in had to undergo construction, and I along with one other gentleman were being moved into a semi-private room on the other side of the floor. I was quite excited because I’d be moving from a room with 4 beds to a room with just 2, and I knew the semi-private rooms on the other side of the floor had better views. My ward room had a view of three nearby buildings, so essentially all I could see were other windows. The new room faced University Ave., and I could actually see the sky and look into the distance. Plus, I got to watch an air ambulance land on the Sick Kids Hospital helipad, which was kinda cool.

One more bit of good news was that I would be taken off my IV machine. Because of the high outputs from my ileostomy, I had replacement fluid put back into me each day via the IV. Now that my outputs had decreased to near-normal levels, the IV was stopped and I was instructed to drink lots of fluids. I felt an occasional lightheadedness on the first day off the IV, and a bit more fatigue than usual, but I felt better by the next day and stepped up my efforts to drink the fluids I needed.

After a couple of days in my new digs, I was scheduled for another CT scan to see how things were shaping up inside my useless body. My biggest fear was that there was still a leak into the pelvic pouch and I’d have that dastardly rectal tube put back in, or worse, have to go in for a repair-job surgery. When the hospital porter arrived at my room with a wheelchair to take me down to the 5th floor, I asked if we could walk. He said no; it went against protocol. Fine, don’t let me feel like I’m getting better.

After the scan, I was transported, again by wheelchair, back to my room. It was about noon, and I was hoping my doctors would be in to see me soon, tell me things were okay, and that I could go home. So I waited.

And waited.

And waited.

A little after 4 p.m., one of my doctors arrived. The results of the scan weren’t stellar, but adequate. There was some fluid in the pelvic pouch but that was expected. The abscess needed more draining and so the percutaneous tube had to stay in, but I could go home with it still lodged in my butt cheek. Since it was late afternoon, there wasn’t enough time to go over all the patient discharge procedures, so I’d have to spend one more night in hospital. Eh, I made it this far, what was one more night?

On Tuesday, June 4, after cleaning myself up with washcloths and soapy water, as had been my standard “bathing” practice for the last 26 days, I put on actual clothes. Not a hospital gown, but adidas track pants and a black t-shirt with red and white trim on the collar and sleeves. My dad came to pick me up a little after noon, and brought with him a box of chocolates for the nurses.

As per my discharge instructions, I could not carry anything heavy. “Heavy” in their definition was any object weighing 5 – 10 pounds. So there at the nurses station stood my dad, holding my duffle bag and two other reusable shopping bags filled with miscellaneous supplies I would need to continue my recovery at home, and me, holding the small flowerpot with sprouting purple orchids that Jayee gave me. Both my dad and I thanked the nurses profusely; the two of us got to know many of them quite well over the time I spent in hospital. They were happy to see me go (and I mean that they were happy I was finally free to go home. I like to think I was a pretty easy-to-handle patient).

On the drive home, I noticed just how much greener the city was compared to when I arrived at Mount Sinai on the morning of my surgery. I couldn’t wait to go up to my room, put Jayee’s orchids on the windowsill, and then take a 16-hour shower. One major surgery, two catheters, one NG tube, two blood transfusions, one abscess, one rectal tube, one percutaneous tube, and two CT scans later, I was home.

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About rasheedclarke

Award-winning author. Marathon runner. Exceptional dresser. I'd like to be all those things.

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