I woke up last Sunday morning feeling pretty good. I had a decent night’s sleep, I wasn’t in too much pain, and I had two tickets to the Blue Jays game. I had been looking forward to the game for weeks. I was going to spend the afternoon with my girlfriend, Jayee. We were going to get to the Skydome early to make sure we were among the first 20,000 fans to receive a J.P. Arencibia bobblehead. We were going to have a good view from the padded seats in the 200 level on the third base side. We were going to have hot dogs and pizza and slushies and maybe cotton candy because Jayee loves the stuff. We were going to mark nearly two months since my surgery; nearly two months of me living through hardships but nevertheless colitis-free. We were going to have a fun day out at the ballpark.
Then my percutaneous tube fell out.
The tube that had been draining my abscess for over a month and a half fell right out of my right butt cheek. I held the end of the flexible, blue plastic tube, titled my head back, looked up and ceiling, and whispered, “fuck.” I woke my dad up and told him I needed to go to the hospital. I put on my adidas track pants, a blue long-sleeved henley, and my Blue Jays cap. I folded the tickets and shoved them in my pocket. I called Jayee to tell her what happened and asked her to meet me outside the Skydome instead of at Islington Station as we had planned. I naively assumed that the tube could just be reinserted and we could get on with the rest of our fun day out.
At 10 a.m., I was inside Mount Sinai Hospital’s emergency department. I figured if the nurses/doctors reinserted the tube within an hour and a half, I could still make it to the Skydome by noon. Plenty of time to pick up our bobbleheads and settle into our seats. I should have known better. There’s no such thing as a short ER visit.
Bloodwork and a CT scan were ordered; processes that would surely take hours. Jayee called me when she arrived at Islington Station a little after 11 a.m. In between sobs and in a soft voice, I told her not to continue her trip downtown. I wasn’t getting out of hospital anytime soon. Jayee was sympathetic as always. She even went beyond understanding and tried to encourage me just to focus on my health and getting better. She reminded me that I wasn’t actually feeling sick, so despite the disappointment of missing the game, there was a positive to keep in mind.
The doctors wanted to see if I could get by without the tube going back in. That meant I would have to be admitted to the hospital and stay for two or three days for observation. Around 4 p.m., I was wheeled on a gurney up to the 12th floor’s Express Admission Unit. I got a small morale boost from the word express. About an hour later I received a dinner consisting of cream of celery soup, baked salmon, diced squash, and mashed potatoes, with a chocolate chip cookie for dessert. I would have opted for a different main course, but beggars can’t be choosey. My dad went home earlier in the afternoon and returned in the evening with my slippers, phone charger, and iPad mini. I was very grateful to have a few things that would help me stave off boredom.
On Monday, still feeling disappointed about the missed the Jays game, more disheartening news started coming in. I needed the percutaneous tube to be reinserted, which in itself wasn’t horrible or unexpected news, but it signaled a bigger problem. The leak in my pelvic pouch still had not closed, and that meant fluid would continually flow into the abscess. That means I still face the very real prospect of needing another surgery to properly mend the leaky gap. On Monday afternoon, I had the tube put back in.
On Tuesday, I learned that I would be discharged but would have to come back at some point over the next few weeks for an Examination Under Anesthetic so my surgeon could get a better look at the leak in the pelvic pouch and perhaps come up with a new approach for mending it.
Before I left hospital, I met with an ostomy nurse because I was having some problems with my stoma. After peeling off my appliance and cleaning the abdominal area, she declared, “You have a bad stoma.” A good stoma would protrude from the surface, and in the weeks that followed my surgery, my stoma shrunk and receded beneath the surface of my skin. The scientific term for this type of stoma is “an innie.” My shitty stoma was causing leakage beneath the ostomy appliance, which in turn made the skin around the stoma red and raw. Since the effluent leaving the stoma is highly acidic, it burns unprotected skin. The ostomy nurse gave me a concave shaped flange to try, a belt to hold the flange tighter against the skin, and taught me how to treat the irritated peristomal skin with protective powder.
When I woke up last Sunday I just wanted to spend time with my girlfriend, watch my favourite baseball team, and pick up a bobblehead for my tiny collection. Now here we are on Thursday and my pelvic pouch is shit, my stoma is shit, my butt hurts from the new tube, I’m out $120 for unused Jays tickets, and J.P. Arencibia’s head isn’t bobbling in my room.
I missed out on things when my colitis used to flare up. I missed out on events and sports and dates with Jayee. My surgery was supposed to change that. It was supposed to help me regain control of my life so that I wouldn’t keep missing out on the things that bring happiness into my life. But I still keep missing out. I still can’t run, I can’t work, and I still can’t take my girlfriend out to a ball game so she has a chance to wear her Colby Rasmus t-shirt.
This stupid body.