Thursday, 28 February 2013

15. Medications anyone?

I'm feeling very well this morning, the best morning since I was admitted 8 days ago. I have energy and a spring in my step; I am certain things are going the right way now.

Over the last few days I've been reliant on several pain killers, and my "on-demand" pump has been tweaked so that I can generally manage the pain myself. With medications in mind and for a laugh, I've decided to provide you with the following list, which names all drugs I have been given over the last 8 days. Here we go (there may be some spelling errors):

1). Amoxicillin
2). Bentamuin
3). Ketamine
4). Metronazole
5). Paracetamol
6). Droperidol
7). Dexamethane
8). Mini Heparin
9). Tramadol
10). Morphine
11). Tazocin
12). Clonidine
13). Dalteparin
14). Hydrocortisone
15). Ondansetron
16). Ibuprofen
17). Cyclizine
18). Chlorophenaline
19). Peptac
20). Fortisip
21). Prednisolone
22). Lansoprazole
23). Fentanyl
24). Oxycodone
25). Buscopan

I'll add to this over the coming days if there are any more! My next task is to work out what all of these are used for!

Til next time, Dave.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

14. It's taken a while...

...but I think I'm now on the correct road to recovery. Yesterday was a long day with quite a few ups and downs as the digestive system was waking up after the emergency surgery. The good thing is that I have now gotten pain control which seems to work "on -tap" for the associated colic pains when they do come.

I showered myself and changed the ostomy bag this morning and I'm feeling refreshed and relaxed.

The progress is going to be steady but hopefully no major setbacks from now on, and my new Stoma is nice and pink, and slightly reduced in size from yesterday. All good signs.

My abdominal scar is a beauty! Pic attached... It is very uncomfortable, but not a type of pain which is worrying me.

Many thanks again to my family and friends for all the support over the last few days.

Think I might treat myself to a film now.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

13. There was an untruth in the last post.

When I quoted the surgeon on Wed as having said "it couldn't have gone any better", well in hindsight this should probably have read "we think it went as well as can be expected, but there is a chance you have a hernia already..." Which would have at least to some degree prepared me for the events that have transpired over the last few days.

Firstly thanks to my immediate family and friends who have supported me through my 2nd (emergency) operation which happened yesterday. I will not go into the great detail here, but in summary, it turned out the blood supply to my first Stoma was restricted and it was much darker (purple) than expected. This was caused by a herniated section of small intestine which had kinked like when one folds a hosepipe to cut off the flow. The upshot was that, when the gut got back into action, it would only pass after significant pressure build up. This has made the 3 days since surgery absolute agony, nearly unbearable at times. My mum said that I probably know the type of pain women have in childbirth! I'll not disagree with that assessment.

Hopefully, the 2nd surgery procedure has been successful, and the new Stoma looks nice and pink.

Thanks again,


Thursday, 21 February 2013

12. Writing with one eye closed

Purely because analgesics I'm on make me unable to focus with both eyes!

Well just a very short message to say that in the words of the surgeon "it couldn't have gone any better".

Feeling very tired but comfortable here in my cocoon and listening to jazz.

Looking forward to eating something and getting up and about later this morning.

Bye for now

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

11. A very quick update pre-surgery

This is just a very quick update.

I am in ward 23 at the Western General overnight. I just met the surgeon and anesthetist and signed the consent form. I asked a few questions and I'll summarize the answers:

If all goes well in terms of carrying out the surgery by key-hole then I should only have minimal pain tomorrow, however I will have pain relief "on-tap".

I can have visitors tomorrow night but I'd ask that it's only immediate family, even then don't feel obliged to come in.

Tomorrow I may be in "high-dependency", which has actually been sold to me as a good thing since there is a higher nurse:patient ratio.

I can expect to eat a meal tomorrow night, but according to the surgeon "probably not hospital steak and chips", which would most likely be horse anyway so I'm not too bothered...

My scarring is expected to be minimal and I can be hopeful of a strong recovery since I'm feeling well right now.

Finally, just a massive thank-you for all the cards and messages today, it has been quite overwhelming but lovely.

See you on the other side.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

10. Pre-admissions update

Well it is just a matter of days now until the op and I'm feeling pretty good about it in general. Every so often I do get a few "pre-match nerves" but I suppose this is only to be expected. I've been really touched by the number of people who have written to me with their kind messages of support, thank-you.

Good news

Earlier this week my wife and I attended my pre-admissions appointment and also met with the stoma nurse. The former being to basically fill out a questionnaire to ascertain if there's any reason not to go ahead with surgery and the latter mainly to "get sited" for my stoma.

Thankfully both appointments went very well and I will have surgery on the planned date, Wed 20th Feb, and there are a couple of bonuses that I wasn't expecting 1) I won't have to do any bowel prep (yippee!) and 2) the procedure is around 3 hours rather than 6-8 hours as I'd read. I will have to check-in to hospital on Tues afternoon where, because of my previous medical problems, they'll dose me up with heparin (a blood thinner). I was told this would not normally be the case, most people just turn up on the day. I'm scheduled for the first appointment of the day at around 08:30 although this is pending any emergency cases which may need to take priority.

Various things were explained to me such as the risks associated with anaesthesia and other potential but unlikely complications. The thing I latched onto most though was that I will be the proud owner of my own machine to self-administer morphine for a day or two to provide pain relief after surgery. This should be great fun, so look out for the blog post I write that day! Last time I was on morphine I, completely out of the blue and of character, asked my wife "did you know Beyoncé is having a baby?". It was true, she was.

I also mentioned being sited for my stoma; well I was expecting a little mark to be made on my abdomen, but it is not so little, it looks more like a butchered part of a Picasso sketch or something (picture below). But I suppose it is fit for purpose and it marks a location which avoids any folds when I sit down and lean forward, this should minimise the possibility of leaks. As I anticipated, though, I may have to invest in braces for wearing formal trousers due to the higher belt-line.

So folks, that's probably it from me for the next few days, I'll see you "on the other side".

Sunday, 10 February 2013

9. Tic,Tic,Tic...

Several people have commented about how close the surgery date is now, and it is indeed just 10 days away. Note there are no 'tocs' in the title of this post; this is what I feel like right now, like time is going at half pace. For the past 4 nights in a row I have been awake at 2am - and I mean wide awake, just mulling things over in my head. Not just about the surgery, but also about things like what work I need to complete before going on sickness leave, and inane stuff like when the next bin collection is and composing new tunes in my head (only to forget them by daybreak). I don't feel unduly worried about the surgery, my dominant feeling is one of excitement, but I guess there's a whole cocktail of emotions shaking up in my subconscious which are making time drag so.

Feeling great...

For the past three years or so I've relied on a pretty potent drug ('Prednisolone') to provide relief from my Crohn's symptoms, it's the only thing that works to slow down my bowel movements and to help keep severe bowel cramps at bay. It is a 'corticosteroid' used to treat inflammatory diseases and it is very  much my "silver bullet". Unfortunately I cannot continue taking it indefinitely due to long term side effects such as 'osteoperosis' (bone weakening), 'glaucoma' (damage to eyes),  diabetes....the list goes on. Furthermore, the drug doens't actually curtail my Crohn's activity since my inflammatory markers remain high despite having times where I'm seemingly symptom free.

Being "symptom free" brings me drive and determination to try to live life to the full and for this I am very grateful to my old friend, Prednisolone. Right now it is quite strange though because I'm feeling very well, yet I know I need to go ahead with bowel surgery. Every now and then I wonder if I do really need to have the ileostomy, but the truth is that I have a dependency on a pretty nasty drug and despite the apparent well being it provides me, I must always be conscious that I'm actually not well. This is difficult to accept at times and I can appreciate how difficult it is for some people to overcome a drug dependency.

Fellow ostomates

The online Crohn's forum ( has become my most visited website over the last couple of months. This is an online community of people affected by Crohn's and to a lesser degree Ulcerative Colitis.  Whilst sharing my thoughts and experiences with my family and friends is really important to me, I can't recommend this forum highly enough to anyone with Crohn's since there is probably no bigger community of sufferers in the world, and if there is - it's certainly not as accessible as the online platform of the forum. I have subscribed to the stoma sub-forum and have gotten to hear from several others who have had ileostomies, and they have given me some great advice about the day-to-day issues/challenges. It's funny, many of my fellow ostomates have actually named their stoma! It seems like the little guys tend to have a "personality" and part of learning to deal with them is to understand the quirks they provide - and no two seem to be the same.

Plan leading up to surgery

So here's what I'll be up to over the next week and a half:

  • Mon 11th Feb - pre-admissions appointment to check fitness for surgery followed by an appointment to see my stoma nurse.
  • Mon 18th - final pre-surgery stoma nurse appointment to mark my abdomen with the stoma location
  • Tues 19th - admission to hospital where the "clear out" process begins (having had colonoscopies, I know I'll hate that bit!)
  • Wed 20th - surgery. My stoma will be born
Now I just have to think of a name for mine! If this week is anything to go by, I'll be awake for hours on end in the dead of the night so I'll probably have plenty opportunity to think it over...

“O Sleep, O Gentle Sleep, Natures Soft Nurse, How Have I Frightend Thee, That Thou No More Wilt Weigh my Eye-Lids Down And Steep My Senses In Forgetfulness?” ― William Shakespeare