Unless you’re a very early or late blog reader, Leah is probably in surgery as you read this. She is supposed to report to the hospital by 5:45 am Thursday for surgery to correct a bowel constriction.
This is the latest in a long history of digestive tract problems. Back around 1999 a doctor found colon cancer during a laparoscopy for an unrelated problem. She had surgery immediately. She was on chemo and radiation treatments when we started dating. Leah was a real trooper. Even with relatively mild side effects, she was not particularly hungry a lot of time. Nevertheless, we ate out every Saturday. She never complained about anything.
There has been no trace of the cancer since then, but within a few years of the surgery she started having fairly severe symptoms of a partial intestinal blockage. In 2011 she had surgery to correct the problem. Her surgeon said he pulled out most of her intestines, did a reading, and then removed a lot of scar tissue and adhesions. Based on the surgeon’s description, I pictured Leah on the operating table with a pile of intestines lying next to her.
She was fine for a while, and then about two years ago she started having symptoms again. On multiple occasions she had abdominal pain and vomiting that were severe enough to warrant a trip by ambulance to the emergency room. The usual outcome was that after she vomited up everything in her digestive tract, she began to feel better, aside from aching muscles from the vomiting. Scans done at the ER showed nothing. Her surgeon said he couldn’t do anything unless a scan showed something. A little over a week ago she ended up in the emergency room again, and this time a scan showed a constriction in the small intestine. So her surgeon said it’s time to open her up again.
At this point (Wednesday evening), we both expect the surgery to be routine. We’re hoping she gets out by Friday afternoon, although there’s a possibility she’ll end up staying until Saturday. Leah is especially keen on getting out because she isn’t completely confident in my cat-care capabilities. It was strange to both of us that the pre-operative instructions allow her to eat essentially anything except red meat until within eight hours of reporting to the hospital. We expected a clear liquid diet for at least the day before, but that isn’t required. She can even have coffee (without creamer) the day of the surgery.
The only potential problem is that her blood pressure was high on Tuesday when she did her pre-op checkin, and Wednesday night when we checked it at home. It’s unusual since her blood pressure is normally low. If it’s too high, they won’t do the surgery.
Leah wants me to get a photo of the surgeon after he comes out (in his bloody scrubs?). That may be hard, given the current state of privacy concerns in medical facilities today.
I’ll update with anything new.
Update 2 pm:
We overslept. Leah set her alarm (she thought) but it was 5:15 when she woke up and then woke me up. We were suppose to be there at 5:45. We were only a few minutes late to the hospital about 10 miles away. She went in to surgery around 7:30 and was in her room by noon. The surgeon said it was a tedious process. She had many adhesions, so the process was much like the previous surgery. But she’s out now. Still asleep.
Leah is still recovering. The surgeon had her NG tube (the one that goes through the nose down into the stomach) removed Saturday, which was a relief, but she still can only sip water, not drink. All of her fluids and most of her medication are going through her IV, so she won’t get dehydrated. Unfortunately, that doesn’t do anything for the dryness in her mouth. She has an incision about a foot long from a few inches above her navel downward, right through all the abdominal muscles. That made any movement very painful, especially if she tried to roll over in bed. The pain from that is lessening, but still there. She is supposed to be up and moving around now. Her overall condition is improved. She wanted to come home Saturday. I missed the surgeon’s visit this morning, so I don’t know what he said, if anything, about when that can actually happen. I don’t think it will be until a few days into this coming week.