Saturday, October 25, 2008

Intestinal Blockage, Hopsital Stay, and Home Again

Hello everyone, just wanted to update you on what has happened the past week. Last Monday night (10-20), about 9 pm I began to get a stomach ache. By about 9:30 pm the stomach ache was horrendous and I broke out in a sweat. It was so bad all I could do was lie down on my side and moan. It felt like my insides were going to explode. I did pass something, but it did not make anything better, the pain kept up and got more intense. Then I began throwing up, so I told Mark he had to take me to ER. I got cleaned up after I had vomited on myself and got dressed which was almost too hard for the pain I was in. I got into the car and Mark drove me to the hospital at midnight. They took me back to the ER after a short wait of about maybe 5 minutes. They had to do it because I was rolling around in the chair in pain and moaning. They got me back there and could not find a vein for an IV, so they had to stick it in my foot, by the ankle. It hurt, but I did not care. Once I got some pain medicine I collapsed. They called my doctor and it took a couple hours before they got everything ready for a CT scan. I got some of the contrast stuff down, but the rest of it I threw up.

The CT scan showed I had an intestinal blockage. Two of my doctors showed up and spoke to me, then one of them told me the diagnosis and what they planned to do. I had a nasogastric tube inserted into my nose and down to my stomach. It stopped the horrible cramping pains as soon as it was done, but that tube was awful. Because it was there I was constantly swallowing and that hurt, but it suctioned everything out. The hospital was full the morning I came to ER and so I had to be sit in the ER for over 12 hours before I got a room. Finally, they wheeled me into a private room in the ER at my doctor's request and I immediately went to sleep. My main doctor showed up and told me not to worry he was not going to leave me he would take care of me.

Finally, I was taken up to a room in the evening. They took the tube out on Wednesday evening. They were pleased with the result of having the tube in. One of my doctors had told me that if I got worse while on the tube they would have to perform surgery. Since I got better it is most likely that I had an ileus, which is something that heals on its own. Also, there is greater chance of having a ileus happen after having bowel surgery. The odds of it happening are slim, but lately my life seems to land in the area of slim. I began eating again Thursday night, clear liquids. I did well, so they moved me up to milk products and I have done well with that. Since I am doing well, they let me go home. I think they were a bit hesitant, but Mark does not have anymore vacation time to take off. I am feeling weak and not able to contend with the antics of the boys nor home schooling. I came home to a messy house and tons of laundry and a beautiful vase of flowers sent to me by my friend Kathy W. Thank you Kathy!

I am eating very light and will continue to do so. I will be seeing my doctor soon, they want to keep an eye on me. When I went to surgery on October 9th I weighed 116, but now I weigh 106, so I have lost 10 lbs. Please pray that my bowel will return to normal and be healed. Thank you!

Saturday, October 18, 2008


It is still warm here, but the evenings are cool enough to send a chill through the house. I was up early this morning due to some pain. My tummy bloated up real bad and it was hurting so I was walking around the house to try and get things moving. As I was grumbling in pain I noticed a chill in the morning air as a bit of breeze blew through the open kitchen window. I also noticed the clouds in the sky as well as our Birch tree in the backyard sporting bright yellow leaves. That helped me calm down as I waddled around the house waiting for the pain to let up, which it finally did. I was able to move something out and it just amazes me when it happens.

Ever since I have come home from the hospital, I have been hanging around in my jammies. Just been relaxing in the recliner, sometimes I doze off. I am still in too much discomfort to want to get dressed or do much of anything. My surgery pain level is decreasing, so I am needing less pain medicine to be comfortable. The medicine does not take all the pain away, such as the discomfort I feel in my bowels when I move them, or the pain in the incision when my tummy bloats. I am still waiting on my bowels to get back to normal which I am sure is going to take longer than I want. So far I have not had much trouble as far as control of my bowel as the doctor said I would (no accidents). That is a blessing. Well, enough blogging for now, it is time for my next dose of pain medicine.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I am home

Hello, I am home from the hospital! It was a week ago today that I had my surgery to reverse my colostomy. The time of my surgery was delayed. I went into prep around 2:30 pm. Not being able to eat or drink made it uncomfortable, but no biggie. I was able to talk to my doctor before the surgery which was comforting and the surgery team was very nice. As I passed through the doors to the operating room I fell off to sleep. When I woke up later that evening I was in recovery and the first thing I noticed was that my stoma was gone. Next thing I knew I was wheeled into my private room and my husband and sons were with me. Friday, my room began to fill with flowers, visitors and the phone was ringing, it was a blessed day. The next few days were spent in a whirlwind of pain, needles, medicines, discomfort, etc. I had one day where I did regret not having a stoma simply because I was having such a hard time. I am thankful for all the nurses and doctors that cared for me during that time, they sure had to put up with some grumpiness. It is wonderful to be home with my men again, they missed me as well as the kitties. We had a family dinner tonight and everything tasted so good, I think because we are so happy to be altogether at home again. All of us will sleep well tonight. I still have a great deal of healing to do yet, but God has been very gracious to me and I am thankful. I am sure that He will continue to be with me in the days ahead. Many thanks to Candy and Sharon for your comments on my blog, they are very much appreciated.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Hospital Time

Here is a picture of the hospital. I do not know how long I will be there. I am scheduled for surgery at 1:15 PM (pacific time). I just got a phone call today that they changed the time. I wish they would have told me sooner. Oh well, Mark is taking the day off and this makes it so we can sleep in. Today I am doing the bowel prep. I have not been able to do much of anything for feeling ill. They told me to take two bottles of the saline. One went down fine, but the second one was too much for my small frame (5'1"). Shortly after taking it I heaved. Scared the boys, so they called their father at work. Ever since I have felt ill. Trying to drink more fluids, but everything has become unappealing. The pleasant lady on the phone told me not to worry they will give me an IV to hydrate me since I am not allowed to drink after midnight. Ugh! I sure hope they will be able to find a vein. It is always unpleasant to go through, multiple needle pokes.

Last night my cat jumped up on the bed and ran right over my tummy. Woke me right up and the first thing I thought of was that I am really going to surgery. I started crying and had to have Mark comfort me. It certainly will be hard to sleep tonight having a hungry tummy. I don't know that anyone reads my blog, but if you do, I humbly ask for prayer for all of us. Bless you!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Tomorrow is prep day

How to Survive a Bowel Prep

Many of us have endured this process before and here is what we have learned:

  • Prepare yourself mentally!

  • Eat lightly a couple of days before the bowel prep. Eat more fruit and green vegetables and reduce meat and dairy products. This will make it easier for your bowels to empty.

  • Some find that the mixture tastes best ice cold. So remember to put it in the refrigerator the day before your prep.

  • You may want to drink the mixture through a straw so the taste goes as far back in your mouth as possible. Drink it as fast as you can.

  • As soon as you have drunk the mixture, follow up with something strong tasting, such as your favorite flavored chewing gum, hard candy, or a spoonful of chicken broth to get the taste out of your mouth. Make sure whatever you follow up with is on your physician's list of approved liquids.

  • At some point the mixture will begin to "work". This may take some time. It seems to help things along if you drink approved liquids in between the "cocktails". Liquids such as ginger ale, chicken broth, lemonade, apple juice, are usually the most appealing. Remember to check with your physician for a list of what liquids are allowed.

  • If you have a tendency to develop hemorrhoids, be sure to have a hemorrhoid cream on hand. It contains a little bit of "local anesthesia" to ease the discomfort. Or you can use the wipes, such as Tucks. You'll be happy you did.

  • If you feel yourself getting sick after drinking the umpteenth glass, try holding a sachet pillow to your nose, or a handkerchief scented with your favorite perfume or essential oil.

  • Station yourself near the bathroom. Make yourself a little nest that's a short dash to the bathroom. Have near you the TV remote, approved liquids, pillows, and blankets. The urge to go will strike suddenly and without much warning, so be prepared for this little adventure by doing some advance planning.

  • Fill a basket with your favorite, easy-to-read books and magazines. Maybe include little electronic games such as Boggle, Yahtzee, etc. This will help give you something to pass the time while in the bathroom. The basket can picked up and taken with you as you move from bathroom to your nest.

  • Watch your favorite DVDs while you do the prep, so when the urge strikes you can just pause the movie till you get back.

Best wishes! And remember: many have gone before you and survived!

Monday, October 6, 2008


I am doing as much laundry as I can before I go off to the hospital. I have been trying to do some good cleaning too. I keep thinking that I am going to miss the freedom of movement I have gotten back from my last surgeries. It took a year to get my strength back after having two big surgeries plus having septic shock, sepsis and peritonitis. I have so enjoyed doing my gardening which I was not strong enough to do until August this year. I also just recently got back my gusto to teach the boys, as well as do the heavy cleaning around the house. After this surgery I will not be able to lift anything heavy like a laundry basket full of clothes, nor a bag of groceries. I won't be able to drive or take a bath (only a shower). I will have to take it easy for six weeks after surgery, which the 6 week mark will be November 20th. For awhile it will be difficult to teach being in pain and all, but I am hoping not as difficult as it was last autumn. I never felt so entirely weak as I did last autumn. The Lord got me through all of that and here I sit moaning. Am I not just as spoiled as spoiled can be? Oh well, I am just going to have to be patient and stop my grumbling. I need to wait on the Lord and marvel at all the wonderful, loving things He does.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Down the path to surgery

Our lovely autumn weekend is over. Tonight for dinner we ate up the rest of the homemade chili and cornbread. There was not enough chili for each of us to have a full bowl, so I baked potatoes and put the chili on top. We of course added cheese & sour cream, yum! For dessert we ate the other half of the pumpkin pie. The next two days I am going to be eating lightly in preparation for the bowel cleanse on Wednesday. My stomach has started filling up with nervous knots, so I am sure I won't feel like eating much these next two days anyway.

Wednesday at 8AM I begin the cleanse by downing my first dose of Fleet's (I affectionately call it Draino). Then at 12 noon I have a 2nd dose of Draino to take and then I am done with the "gag me with a spoon" part of the cleanse. While I am doing the cleanse I am going to be homeschooling. It will be okay because I have the colostomy and I won't need to run to the bathroom all the time. Really, I have not minded the colostomy much at all. Yes, it does get in the way at times, for instance sliding into a booth at the restaurant one time I managed to rip my appliance open and we had to go home. Sometimes the stoma bumps up against the kitchen counter, or I have to make sure when I carry the laundry basket I don't bump it. It took awhile to get the hang of managing it. At first I was a bit timid. The stoma is ugly, but it has been neat to have the opportunity to watch it work. I see God's handiwork. I am now thinking this sounds very silly, but that is how I think of it.

The boys said they want to double up on their work this week so they won't have anything to do on Thursday (surgery day). I hope they can manage it, but if not, they will be doing school work at the hospital. All of us have been a bundle of nerves in anticipation of the coming surgery which is only 3 days away now. Mark said his boss gave him a light work load because he can see that Mark is stressed about the surgery. When I think about it I get very emotional and start to cry. Everyday I keep my hands and mind busy. It is very hard to submit myself to surgery again after what happened last year. The error and the doctors are forgiven, but all the emotions, scars and trauma are still with me as well as my family. Actually, after the surgery that went wrong, I had two surgeries to fix me and those went well. So I am sure that with everyone praying this surgery will be a success also. I am hopeful that the hardest part of this surgery will be the emotions we are all re-living. Everything will come out that we worried ourselves for nothing and everyone will be telling us, "See, we told you it would be alright."

I am sorry if I am going on too much about this, it is just a big part of our lives right now. I hope that my writing about it will help others to have their faith strengthened. This is definitely a trial all of us are having to exercise our faith. The doctor did warn that he might have to give me an ileostomy, but he is pretty sure he won't have to do that, he just has to warn me in case something does go wrong. I have heard that some people are sorry they got reconnected, but I am praying that will not be my case. I pray that once everything gets back to normal I will be glad I did it.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Autumn at the Cottage

Today it felt like an autumn day for a change so I broke out the decorations as seen in the picture above. This past week was a warm one, it felt like summer was back. Friday evening clouds started rolling in from the sea and a cool breeze kicked up. I opened the window in our office/guest room to let it in. I laid on the guest bed enjoying it as my pink gauze curtain billowed over me.

Since it was a cool day, I was able to fire up stove and do some good home cooking. I cooked up a pot of homemade chili, a pan of cornbread made from scratch and I baked a delicious pumpkin pie. Which I really need to end here and go serve my men some pie. Wishing everyone a happy autumn!!!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Good Memories #2

This is one of my favorite pictures from our 2005 family vacation. It is a picture of my husband and youngest son Brandon on top of a sand dune at White Sands National Monument in New Mexico. I remember in the 1980's I saved box tops from cereal to send away for an atlas of the United States. In that atlas, they had a picture of White Sands National Monument and that picture made me want to go there. Well, I finally went in the summer of 2005. It was hot, but it was peaceful and the sand was so soft. We had fun hiking around, and the boys had fun sliding down the dunes.

This next picture is of my boys in The Painted Desert in Arizona (on the same trip). We traveled all over the southwest on our 2005 family vacation. We had a picnic nearby this lovely spot.

I have everything I need for my upcoming bowel prep. I have to start thinking of things I want to take to the hospital. Of course my Bible will be going and a little bed jacket that my sweet friend Monique gave me. I am trying to eat some favorite foods before the show gets on the road. I am so nervous.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Good Memories

Today I decided to post about some good memories I have. I am thinking of a vacation we took to Yosemite National Park. We rented the cabin pictured above. We have always enjoyed the best of family times up in the Sierra's. No TV, no phone, just the 4 of us playing games at the kitchen table in the evenings. Cooking in the tiny kitchen making simple meals that seem fabulous. The fresh mountain air, the wildlife, the stars in the night sky, the running streams and waterfalls, all of God's glory sweeps us away.

There is one special day that I remember well and I never want to forget. It was the day we took a hike up the side of a mountain to a lake that not many people see. When we got to the top of the mountain we could see the valley below for miles. The mountains were gorgeous, the sky so blue. We sat at the top and had a small lunch before we continued on. Once we got over the other side of the mountain, there was the lake in all it's splendor. Because it was so high up and untouched, it was still covered in ice. It was the most gorgeous thing I have ever seen.

I hope you have enjoyed my memory. I will share more of them as they come. Today I had dinner cooking in the crock-pot so I had time to listen to some old Christian music and sing my heart out. It felt so good. Well, ta-ta for tonight, I am going to go on an evening walk with my sons. Goodnight!