Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Plan (and a Delicious Beverage)

I wasn't able to move up my appointment with Dr. Saturday. I called his MA, and, as usual... she was less than helpful. "I'm sure you'll be fine until your appointment if you keep taking the medicine Dr. Saturday gave you," she said in a most condescending tone. Maybe, except... the medicine he gave me was... an antacid. Pretty sure that will not cure my abscesses. ;) But thankfully, my tummy has been manageable, so I made it til my appointment today. Probably because of those antacids. ;)

Anyways, I am scheduled for surgery on Tuesday afternoon. Surgery and the aftermath sound a bit Draconian to me. Please be warned, this is a rather graphic/gross/inappropriate surgery, so my description will be a bit graphic, too. But in the interest of honesty (which is what Semi Colon has always been), here goes: He will cut around my anus, and remove my anus, what's left of my rectum, and the J pouch. In his words, "I'm going to do what should have been done when you had surgery in August."

Then he will clean out my pelvic cavity to get rid of the abscesses. After that, instead of sewing me up, he will pack from deep inside my pelvis all the way to where my anus used to me with foam. He will attach a WoundVAC to this foam (Stands for Vacuum Assisted Closure - the picture above is what the whole set-up looks like -you can see the black foam, tube, and machine. The picture below is a WoundVAC in action. The black foam is inside the wound, and the tube is attached to a the machine that pulls the edges of the wound together like a vacuum.). This will provide constant suction to the abscess area. Every week, they will remove
the foam and put in new foam. This is supposed to me so intensely painful that some people have to be sedated during these changes. The hope is that with each foam exchange, the edges of the abscess area will grow a little closer together. Eventually, I will heal all the way up, from the inside of my abdominal cavity to the ____ (area formerly know as my anus). The inside of my pelvis basically has still not healed from my surgery from last August, so he thinks that this is my best shot at ever healing up inside and getting rid of the abscesses once and for all.

After he explained this to me, Dr. Saturday said, "Looks like you don't like my plan. You never like my plans." Seems like his plans always involve drains exiting my body in bizarre, uncomfortable places! ;) This sounds like a not-fun process, and I am less than thrilled to carry around a suction machine attached to my pelvic cavity through where my anus used to be. Not sure how I will explain that one to people!

The hope is that this surgery will be the last chapter in the book of surgeries for my ulcerative colitis. I told Dr. Saturday, "After this, I really will have NO colon and NO rectum... so there's nothing you Colorectal surgeons can do to me anymore, right?" He chuckled and agreed. Wouldn't it be wonderful to put these surgeries behind me and move on with my life? As we were talking to the scheduler, she asked, "What kind of prep does Hannah need?" Dr. Saturday and I both burst out in giggles. "Well, um, there's nothin' attached down there," he finally said. "No prep needed."

I promised myself a tasty Starbucks drink (decaf java chip frappuchino, extra whipped cream. I know this is not coffee. It's a chocolate milkshake with a bit of coffee in it. I don't think of this as coffee, but I think it is delicious. Due to my health issues, I can't drink real coffee for numerous reasons). I frequent Starbucks infrequently, because, while delicious, everything is ridiculously overpriced, but I bribed myself with Starbucks to be good at the doctor's office. I sat quietly in one chair in the waiting room for 45 minutes and looked at the fish. I didn't open the drawers or cabinets in the exam room. I didn't mess with the EMR on the computer, although MA left the room computer up, showing his entire patient schedule with links to each of their health records (a MAJOR, MAJOR HIPPA violation). I was polite to everyone. So I got Starbucks. ;)

I tried to pay for my drink, and the barista said, "Not today. This is on the house." I must have stared at him dumbly, so he said, "It's free! Please enjoy!" God (and the barista) is so kind to send wonderful blessings like that! It completely made my day. Today God also provided a wonderful friend who, in a timely manner, gave me an attitude check... more on that later.

Hannah ;)

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