No place like home

Well, first thing to report was another very poor nights sleep. The reduction in IV fluid flow didn’t really help with my discomfort or increased heart rate at all, and as the evening progressed I ended up in progressively more and more discomfort, with an increasingly bloated tummy.

This brought on thoughts of all the terrible problems I experienced during my original cancer operation where I suffered from ilius, and ended up needing a naso-gastric tube fitting: not an experience I ever want to repeat.

And so my stress levels rose, and my heart rate continued to climb, continuing to worry my nurses, who consulted their bible of drug interactions looking for possible explanations for my problems.

What they came up with was a linkage between the use of ibuprofen on an empty stomach (I’ve not been eating much recently, remember) and problems with gastric pain, so their solution was to simply revert me from the ibuprofen back onto IV tramadol again. And while they were at it, they put me back on IV paracetamol too.

So I spent another night trying to force a lot of fluids through a very small cannula into a vein that repeatedly stopped flowing anything at all. Very frustrating, and at times decidedly uncomfortable too.

In the meantime, the real root cause of the problem was revealed to be … trapped wind in my bowel. Once this was released (with suitably childish sound effects!) all my discomfort went away, my heart rate fell to normal, and all I was left with was a night of unnecessary IV problems. Oh well, best of intentions etc etc.

So this morning my consultant went through all my results again, and declared himself happy with my progress. He decided to take me off my antibiotics, as after 5 days the risk of infection is low, and they interfere with normal bowel function, possibly slowing my recovery. He also decided that we should go ahead and remove the semi-functioning cannula, and move me onto oral medicines and self management of my diet and hydration. Which was great news.

So this afternoon I had my last cannula removed.

I also met up with the stoma care nurse, who examined my new stoma, and talked me through the various management options that are open to me, and how the colostomy will differ from my old ileostomy. I’m general it’s all good news (as I already knew) but unfortunately I still face several weeks before everything will finally settle down into that state, which may get rather tedious.

They have also fitted me with a rather odd contraption that allows me to strap my catheter bag to my thigh. The good news is that this means I have one less thing to carry around the hospital with me, and means I can be much more mobile. Since I will have to keep my catheter in place for the next couple of weeks (at a minimum) while my re-implanted ureter repairs, this also gives me a possible way to continue my recovery at home rather than in hospital. But it does feel very, very, weird.

However, the summary is that if I can maintain decent hydration, and get rid of my last drain, there should be no reason why I couldn’t actually be released home this week. Which has to be a goal to aim for, because no matter how good the care, or how nice the people, there really is no place like home…

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