When I was released from hospital some seven weeks ago, I was scheduled for an appointment today to check on the status of my leaky pelvic pouch and its resulting abscess. The hope was that by now my body would have healed the gap between the pouch and my anus, I could have the percutaneous tube removed, and get on with my recovery. As you may have read in one of my previous posts, that tube fell out prematurely and had to be reinserted because the pouch was still leaking.
Today’s checkup was a chance to see if my body’s natural repair shop had made any progress. To find out, a member of Dr. Cohen’s surgical team gave me a very uncomfortable rectal exam. Now, as a result of my ulcerative colitis, I’ve had plenty of shit jammed into my ass, but this exam required a whole lot of shoving and prodding and probing and shoving and more shoving and prodding. I tried to focus on taking deep breaths as I lay on my left side, knees bent, while the doctor felt around the area where the pouch meets the anus. The poke-around revealed the pouch had still not joined with the anus. Not exactly a surprise to me considering the amount of yellow fluid that the percutaneous tube spews out daily.
The doctor and I, now being quite familiar with each other, went to meet Dr. Cohen. The situation as it stands is this:
- The pouch still has not properly fused with the anus, which means fluid still keeps leaking into the abscess.
- The abscess still needs to be drained, so the percutaneous tube stays put.
- The plan is to keep waiting things out, for another two months, to see if my body finally gets its shit together and heals this goddamn gap.
- I’ll be back in Dr. Cohen’s office toward the end of September for another round of hokey-pokey and if there isn’t any significant progress, I’ll be booked for surgery to fix the pouch sometime in November.
- That surgery, if it does become a necessity, will either require the surgical team to move the pouch further down towards the anus, or remove the pouch altogether and construct a new one to join with the anus. Either way, because my intestines will be moved, I’ll get a new ileostomy, but in the same location as the current one.
I asked Dr. Cohen just what went so wrong with me. He explained to me that during the operation, they team checked to see if there was a proper join of the pouch and anus and there was. So sometime after the surgery, a mass of bacteria could have caused the staples to come undone. Or a strange movement caused the staples to come undone. No one can say for sure. I also asked, as I always do, if there was anything I could do to help the situation. The only thing I can do at this point is eat well, so that I can get my body closer to the decent state it was in before the first operation.
Going into my appointment today, I was very angry with Dr. Cohen and his staff. I know it wasn’t their fault that things went wrong, but I just wanted to blame somebody. I wanted to direct all my anger and frustration on someone. Then today, I saw that Dr. Cohen was himself upset about how everything has unfolded over the past two months. He apologized for the way things have unfolded over the past two months. I can’t blame him or his staff for all that’s gone wrong. I wish I did have someone to blame. Someone to point the finger at and say, “You fucked up.” Because right now, I have a hard time escaping the feeling that the only guilty party here is me. I’m the one who ultimately chose to have this operation. If I chose otherwise, there would have been no complications to arise from a surgery that did not occur.
As I try to shake the oh-so-Rasheed line of thinking (i.e. blaming myself for my problems), I remind myself that there is a very small chance that over the next couple of months my body will start to heal the gap between pouch and anus. The wound from my incision has improved over the last couple of weeks, and I’m hoping – as naïve and childish as this may sound – that with the wound in better shape, my body’s repair crew can focus more attention on the pouch. Shut up, it’s all I have to cling onto right now.
I’ll try to eat better, and simply eat more, in the upcoming weeks, and I’ll keep walking with my backpack. The one good thing about the situation as it stands today is that I don’t feel sick. I do feel pain in places, I’m not quite as energetic as usual, and I’m still very frustrated and angry about the whole shebang, but I don’t feel sick. I want to get out of the house each day and see things and do things and stay active. I just wish the little bit of vigour I still have was doing more good for my body than it appears to be doing.
Image via Allmystery