Progress – postponed?

Today I had another gastrografin test to provide my surgeon with a more detailed mapping of the abscess and tracks. That indicated that the track from the leak in the bowel was pretty much completely healed.

Which sounded wonderful.

Unfortunately it turns out to be a completely false negative. The limitation of the gastrografin test is that the contrast agent needs to get into all the cavities in the body (in this case the abscess) for them to show up. And there lies the problem. In my case the surgeon is pretty sure that the track is full of infection & soft granulation tissue, preventing the contrast agent from getting in.

So the plan is now to do a complete radiological work up on me, including a new MRI scan, and another gastrografin test, but this time using a very fine, steerable catheter. The radiologist will then attempt to push the catheter through the “gunk” and right into the very back of the abscess, where he can flood it with contrast agent, and in the process get a good set of images. Then, having done all this measuring, the surgeon can then get back to some cutting again.

However, the next available slot of time on the machines for all that to take place is Sunday. So because I seem to be coping better than expected with the initial surgery, rather than sitting in hospital for the next two days, I’ve been discharged (along with a pile of medicines) so I can spend the time at home with my family.

Of course, it also saves a lot of money for the insurance company, takes some workload off the nursing staff, and relieves my surgeon from unnecessary twice daily meetings with me. A genuine win-win decision!


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