The stoma nurse visited me this morning to examine the after-effects of the cauterization and artery stitching that I had a few weeks ago. Most of the pain I have comes from this area and it appears I may have to learn to live with it. The surgical procedure is healing slowly but well, however over the couple of years I have had the stoma it has herniated to the point that the skin is very tight and detaching the bag every couple of days for a new one feels like pulling a bandage off raw skin. Never mind though, it is like hitting your head against a brick wall – it feels good when you stop. I can live with that amount of pain – to be totally pain free will mean I am finally free of this diseased body. As there is still so much Bronwen and I are enjoying together a little bit more pain is not an insurmountable problem.
Author Archives: Doug
Last week I had an ultrasound to try and determine the source of the blockage that is causing me to retain fluid in my abdomen, legs and ankles. I was able to see most of the action on the screen.
The kidneys seems to be clear and the lower vena cava (the major vein that runs behind the liver) was also flowing well. They could not see the hepatic vein so when I reported to the hospice with a view to having the fluid in my abdomen drained I had some more tests and these seemed to indicate that perhaps one of the metastases in the liver is applying pressure to that hepatic vein and causing a partial blockage.
They did not drain the abdomen because it is still reasonably soft and some of the swelling is caused by gas. It is a bit risky at this stage so I agreed with their suggestion that as it is not causing major problems, I should wait until it is absolutely necessary before I go down that track. Instead they have increased the diuretic medication and referred me to the physiotherapist at the hospital who specializes in lymphatic drainage. This should at least bring some relief to the swelling to the legs and ankles.
We’ve made it to another milestone.
Today is Bronwen’s and my 43rd Wedding Anniversary.
Many memories come flooding back of that Saturday 43 years ago. I played tennis in the morning before the ceremony at the Nelson Baptist Church in the afternoon. Bronwen looked radiant in spite of the fact she had the ‘flu. Shona and Bruce sang a duet at the reception in her honour, the Gilbert & Sullivan song, “Take a pair of sparkling eyes”.
The eyes have not lost their sparkle and she no longer has the ‘flu. Instead, its me no longer able to play tennis and having the ailments.
Bronwen has been such a faithful companion and put up with so many changes of house and country over the years that its a wonder she didn’t consider that she needed a change of man!
Through the highs and the lows, the valleys and the mountain tops, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, by God’s generous grace, we’ve made it to 43 years together.
And the last three years have been the closest and best.
About 3 weeks ago I developed some swelling in the left ankle. Several days later this spread to the right ankle. It has now spread up both my legs to my thighs so that I look quite puffy and can no longer wear my sheepskin boot slippers.
The Medical consultant saw it while I was in hospital and I’ve also been to the GP about it. Both referred to me as a conundrum of a patient. Both suggested the oedema is generally associated with the heart but in my case, the heart is perhaps my strongest organ. I am on some pill to try and drain the fluid and am also scheduled to have an ultra-sound within the next 10 days so they can determine the cause of the fluid retention.
We’re not running an ordinary marathon – it’s more like a steeple-chase. Clear one hurdle and there’s another just ahead. Through it all the Lord gives peace and strength. Those two seem to be semi-automatic. I have to ask him for extra measures of grace because the incessant achey-type pain around the stoma, the difficulty walking associated with the fluid retention and my frustration at not being able to take advantage of the beautiful weather to potter around on some of the home projects don’t always make me the calmest of people to live with. Bronwen seems to be the one who gets the automatic extra resources of grace.
Bronwen and I are both recovering from our dramatic visit to the hospital a couple of Saturdays ago.
She has had no more serious turns. In fact the one she did have was a ‘normal’ as far as we were concerned. If the ambulance hadn’t turned up I would have just packed her off to bed which is what usually happens and after 8 – 12 hours rest she would come right. That’s what the hospital sent her home to do anyway. But why not have a free ride when the ambulance was already here. We’d paid our annual subscription!
Apart from the pain of gas, etc passing over the cauterised and stitched areas inside my stoma, I am gradually improving too. When I was discharged on the Saturday night my Haemoglobin was 89. When I had my routine blood test the following Monday it had risen of its own accord to 96. Hopefully that is an indication that the problem has indeed been identified and dealt with. (Mind you, there’s always a doctor to bring you back to earth – he told me that in the taking of bloods there can often be a 5 – 10 point variance. In other words, my Haemoglobin on Monday could have been exactly the same as it was on Saturday night with no change!)
I’ll stick with a natural rise occurring with my haemoglobin levels.
There has been no more sign of bleeding since that Saturday 27 August,
The other blog entry that Simeon posted that some people have not been able to open is re-posted below. Hope you are able to pick it up this time:
There’s more drama in Mum and Dad’s life than that in a marathon of amateur Shakespeare recitals!
TheÂ last blog post had doctors diagnosing the cause of all the bleeding he’d been having.Â Much blood has dripped down the drain since then.
He underwent a procedure on Wednesday afternoon to cauterize the wounds in his bowel and to stitch up a leaking
mesenteric artery. Following a dose of fresh blood, Dad’s color and character returned, slowly, but he did improve.
Dad was discharged around midday on Thursday from hospital. I went and picked him up and on his way home he (or the morphine) wondered out loud where we should go for lunch. When Dad is told that he can “go home” what he hears is: “you’re good to go”.
In spite of Mum’s and my strong suggestions that given he’d lost around 3.5 liters of blood since the weekend, he really should just put his feet up and rest – he didn’t. Well he tried, but resting isn’t in his nature. If he’s still ‘above ground’ and there’s work to be done, he sets about to get it done.
This morning over breakfast he told me he’d lost some more blood during the night. To say that was disappointing news to hear is an understatement. We were all so hopeful that Wednesday’s procedure would be ‘it’ for a while. While I was finishing my morning coffee and he was having his potions and elixirs, the plaintiveÂ call of “Doug” came from the bathroom. Mum had had one of her turns and this time she was the patient and Dad was the nurse.
Shortly after lunch, Dad checked his colostomy bag to find that there was more blood and that there was a constant drip into the bag. Mum and I decided that we wouldn’t muck around and we’d just get him to the hospital to get him looked at (actually ‘treated’ is a different matter). While I was helping Dad get his stuff together, Mum called St Johns Ambulance for advice. They told us to wait there, they were sending some Ambos round.
While the St John’s boys were prepping Dad for the trip to hospital, Mum had another of her turns and they looked at her and decided that they should take her as well. Sweet, I thought, a quiet afternoon for me. Being the father of three young kids, I realize that an ambulance house call is not a crisis moment – it’s a Kodak moment! I got my camera out and snapped away. If only I’d had the foresight to grab the video camera I might have been able to engineer an entry to Funniest Home Videos. ‘Always be prepared’ and all that. Alas, I’m no boy scout.
With the afternoon with the parents out of the house, I set about trying to organize some of Dad’s files. No sooner had I written my siblings out of the Will than I got a phone call from Dad to say that I could come and pick them up. To say that was disappointing news to hear is an understatement – I hadn’t chucked a ‘save’ the corrected document yet!
There’s possibly a more accurate version of events, but I can only call them as I see them. Perhaps Dad will give you his perspective when he’s feeling a little better.
‘Till next timeâ€¦ Sim.