Colostomy

I haven’t posted anything, for what to me seems like an eternity, but there have been other things in life that have taken precedence. I’ve been somewhat busy on the work front, but more importantly, my wife has been preparing for and, this week, underwent a major operation to repair something done earlier in the year that was caught just in time and saved her life. More specifically, it was a Laparotomy and Reversal of Hartmann’s Procedure Cholecystectomy and +/- Loop Ileostomy, as well as Gall Bladder removal. Needless to say, all the family were on edge.

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Where’s mum?

In layman’s terms, what the operation involved was rebuilding what was earlier set asunder, removal of part of bowel and installation of a colostomy bag, so that one does not need an external bag anymore. Thankfully, everything went well and an extra big thanks to the surgeon and all the staff involved; it was a complex procedure. My better half is doing well and will hopefully transfer from the ICU to a general ward fairly quickly, as the attending nurses are very confident. I think that she’ll also be happy to be rid of the myriad pipes etc attached to her at the moment, which reminded me of an engine bay gone awry (I could have taken photographs of the real deal, but for some reason, I’m not into medical photography of family members).

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A mess of hoses – (source: BangShift.com)

What is so surprising is how common this problem is and how it’s so rarely talked about, until fairly recently. However, 2014 appears to be the year for bringing this issue to the spotlight. There are so many examples out now, on a subject that was pretty much unknown to most: Colostomy.

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A model revelation – (source: Huffington Post)

For some reason, requiring a colostomy bag has a stigma that makes many want to hide its existence. People who are unaware of anyone having this condition, would never know unless told. Of course, my wife took it in her stride and never thought that there was any shame or embarrassment in having such a thing, not that she’s ever been embarrassed by most things in her life. Nor once the initial surgery and recovery was over, following the earlier surgery, did it limit or restrict her activities to any great degree. Having a fantastic group of family and friends helps immensely; however, I can’t but think how much it helps so many others when the issue is made public, as appears to be happening. As long as the message is clear.

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Mixed messages

While it may be a much longer recovery period than last time, with spring in the ascendance and summer not far away, hopefully it’ll be a good recovery.

Update: I thought I’d do a follow-up as it’s getting on close to two months since the operation. Things have been going well, but there was a fairly major infection that took some time to get under control. After getting back home (something that my wife was sorely looking forward to), it’s been a slow progression from almost no eating to once again enjoying food (and doing what comes naturally – though it took a while). The district nurses have been great and visiting every day to see how things are going and to dress the slowly healing wound. Every time that we thought that things were on the up, there was always something that arose to give you pause and realise that full recovery is still some time away. With these things, you can’t leave anything to chance or become complacent for a minute.

6 thoughts on “Colostomy

  1. A.D.

    Good wishes to your wife and you — who I only know from your incisive, wise writings. Much appreciation for your work here.

    1. Ray Post author

      Thank you. All is well, as the reversal operation has been successful. However, it makes one realise how many conditions are almost unknown, until they affect you personally.

  2. Johnny Loureiro

    Hi my name is johnny I was diagnosed with diverticulitis after an unsuccessful course of antibiotics the doctors decided to operate. I had a Hartmans procedure, operation successful. Discharged a week later with colonoscopy bag in tow, which I was told I had to get used to for the next 6 months.
    Before being discharged nuses inserted a pic which is a thin tube that goes in thru a vain under your biceps (main vain) that travels down through the middle of your chest. For 11 days straight I had to come in to the hospitals out patient clinic and be administered a strong antibiotic to kill off any remaining infection in colon and bowel.
    The strong antibiotics worked, 6 months later I had the reverse iliostomy performed. Operation successful however developed a leek which was treated with some antibiotics which after a week of severe pain (level 10) and many early morning trips (7) back to the hospital. Finally my ordeal was over, or so I thought?
    Present day- 9 months on post reverse iliostomy. Major side affects from strong antibiotic used to kill bowel/colon infection.
    My vision has become blurry, there’s a constant buzzing sound in my ears that just does not go away.
    Most of my teeth have started turning black, rotting out, I’ve lost 4 teeth in the last 6 months, the rest need to come out.
    Not good
    So be careful people ask questions before taking any medication.
    P. S I should add I’m 49 years of age.

    1. Ray Post author

      After experiencing the trauma that my wife underwent, I can sympathise with everything that you have gone through. My wife is still on all manner of drugs and has had some changed because of the effects, but to date everything appears to be working. I suspect that so much is dependent on the individual and their reaction to various drugs, that doctors at times are just guessing what should be taken and what doses.

      All I can say, and I’m not attempting to be trite, is to try and maintain a positive attitude and especially try and keep the mind active and healthy. I think the latter is the most important thing a person can do.

      1. Johnny Loureiro

        Thanks Ray
        There is a natural mineral that I’ve recently discovered through a friend which supposedly works wonders in aiding the body of detoxifying harmful chemicals.
        It name is Zeolite look into Ray I am.
        Cheers

        1. Ray Post author

          Zeolite has been used for a long time in industrial and commercial applications, but seems to have garnered favour in the alternative medicine world. What worries me about these things is that you get advertisements such as ‘certified organic Zeolite’. Zeolite is an inorganic compound composed of various minerals, there is nothing organic about Zeolite. I use fresh herbs and spices such as garlic, ginger, turmeric, cloves, chilli, basil etc in all of my cooking, the likes of which have been used for millennia for their health benefits.

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