The not so fun side of Crohn’s Surgery Recovery
I didn’t post an update yesterday – day 1 post intestinal resection procedure – partly because it was a bit of a rough day, and partly because I ran out of time. I’m going to ask you if I can be frank with you, about this whole Crohn’s mess, but if you’re not cool with that, you might want to skip to the end of this post or just read another one.
Part of me doesn’t want to share this, but the other part wants to expose just some of what its like, the real, raw truth of what its like to recover from major abdominal surgery because of Crohn’s disease.
Brandon woke up yesterday still very much under the effects of the anesthesia from surgery the evening before. I love this man very much and say this in the most loving way possible, but he was a grouch coming out of this surgery! (Love you babe!) Last year when Brandon had the same intestinal resection procedure performed, post surgery he was very romantic, and sweet and had some very funny quips for us. This year, the anesthesia made him very irritable and easily agitated. Not quite as funny, but how can we blame the guy? In lots of pain from having major surgery and getting poked and prodded by medical staff afterwards… yeah I’d be grumpy too.
Around 8:00 or 9:00 yesterday morning, Brandon’s catheter was discontinued along with his pain pump and IV fluids. Once the catheter is removed, the patient is given 6 hours to urinate (sorry yall, told you I was going to be frank with you) or the catheter has to be placed again. Why, might you ask? Well, because the bladder can rupture and after being catheterized, they want to make sure that everything can flow like everything should flow, if you catch my drift. Since his IV fluids were discontinued, and he was on the clock, Brandon began to drink cup after cup of water and juice trying to get enough fluids in his system to make that deadline.
One important thing to note about this whole process is that the anesthesia causes everything to essentially “go to sleep” so the medical staff recommends walking to try and “wake it up.” Close your eyes and imagine a giant clock, ticking off every second, getting louder with every passing hour. This is what we were hearing all day yesterday. Brandon did NOT want to be cathed again. He was such a trooper and walked and walked and walked. And let me just tell you, the man is a machine for having had surgery less than 24 hours prior and getting up out of bed and moving like he did yesterday!
The deadline came and went and we were sweating. Brandon still had very little sensation… uh… there, you know, in his bladder, or whatever. He was anxious about possibly being cathed, and was still battling that Mr Grumpy Pants from the anesthesia. (love you babe!) At this point, it is mid-afternoon and after pleading with the nurse, we bought ourselves some more time. Brandon is tired (remember, surgery the afternoon before, and on lots of pain meds!) and sore, and anxious (and irritable), but determined not to have that catheter again. So we walked some more.
Then the next deadline passed. More anxiety. (More grouch-a-potumus). More walking. Brandon had to have a bladder scan, which is basically an ultrasound to determine how much urine was in his bladder. If there is too much, a catheter is to be inserted immediately, but because his insides were still sleepy, his levels were ok.
More walking, more drinking, more frustrating trips to the bathroom with nothing, nada, nilch. (Is nilch a word?! Nevermind… no pee-pee senior). Imagine a dial, a grumpy-pants dial, that is being turned up little by little. Hey – yall, I love this man, I do. And I love him even when he’s cranky, but Lawd, I was getting stressed out. I was feeling myself getting more and more anxious, because I was watching my husband get so agitated, and frustrated about something out of his control, and because I didn’t want to watch my husband go through any more pain. He has been through enough. I can’t even write the paragraph I want to, because I don’t want to cry. I’ll write a whole post about that one day, I will.
It’s 8:00pm at this point and we’ve literally walked miles down these halls… the green bar, yeah, that’s my steps for yesterday. I went for a run in the morning, but it was only a couple of miles so the rest of that is putting in work on these hallways with my determined hubby.
I was desperately praying that Brandon would be able to pee – you know, this is funny stuff… just sayin’ – so he wouldn’t have to endure any more pain. And I was calling on prayer warriors to help us pray. I didn’t want to post anything on facebook about it, because hey, how’s that status going to go over? “Please pray that my husband can pee-pee. Thanks!” Ummmmmmm, k.
Just a short while later, we had success! He eeked out just enough to avoid the catheter, and just enough to open the floodgates, right in time for all-through-the-night-potty-trips. Woohoo!
In all seriousness, though, yesterday was emotionally taxing for us and physically exhausting for Brandon. We were anxious literally the entire day, and the more we thought about it, the more we realized how unfair it was for them to realistically expect that his insides would be waking up from the anesthesia less than 24 hours out.
We had several friends visit yesterday and some got the raw end of the deal because their visit wasn’t quite what they thought it would be. Thank you for understanding that the need to pee-pee came first (I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist).
Today has been better. He’s trying to figure out what/how much he can eat and has had to walk more to try to wake up the rest of his innards. He’s on a brand new pain regimen that the hospital is trying post surgical procedure and it seems to be helping. Brandon has said that he notices a major difference between last year’s surgery and this year’s.
We’re fairly confident that he will be discharged by the end of the weekend so we’re excited (and nervous) about that. If you want to continue to pray with us, other than praying for continued potty trips, you can pray for no infection, minimal to no pain, and NO RETURN TRIPS TO UNC.
Thanks for reading a post all about having to go potty – yall really are great friends 😉