So, where was I?
Ah, yes, I was describing Lars, or what happens when you have your rectum removed and then have your temporary bag removed and then are expected to go out into the world and act like a normal person anyway.
I’m taking some time with this description in the hopes that someone else out there who may be dealing with Lars will find this helpful. Very soon this condition became extremely frustrating and scary and mostly what I found online scared me more. I also had very little idea of what I was in for ahead of time.
Well, the doc warned me I might have an issue with ‘frequency’.
“Frequency,” I replied. “Do you mean like diarrhea?”
“No,” said the doc, “like people tell me, ‘I’ve gone five times this morning.’”
And now we arrive at the tricky definition of diarrhea. I think technically the definition of diarrhea is going to the bathroom a lot but most of us think of diarrhea as watery spatter with an attendant uncontrollable urge. Sorry, I warned you I was going to talk like this. So there is some difference of opinion. Going five times in the morning did seem like rather a bother. I am on a schedule, you see, at my workplaces.
Ah ha ha (that, in case you wondered, was a very, very dry laugh).
I had my ileostomy reversed on a Monday and was told I could not go home from the hospital until something successfully made it through one end of me to the other, thereby proving that all the new plumbing was in order. I was worried about this process, afraid the landing might be a bit rough after all that time. I needn’t have.
Sometime in the very small hours of Thursday morning, I woke up in a pool of slime. Like most adults would, I began to shamefully dispense with this mess when I remembered firstly how much I was paying for my accommodations and secondly that evidence might be necessary, and summoned a nurse to help me. She was rather sweetly excited for me and I was subsequently treated by the staff like a small child who had performed this act on the potty for the first time. I was told that this would allow me to go home. I couldn’t help but start to feel proud and excited for myself as well.
So I made sure the discharge doc knew the good news. “Oh, that will happen,” she remarked. A little voice in the back of my head was saying, “Now-what-now?” but the momentum was just so forward and cheerful. I was going home. I did go home. They do say you should always listen to the little voice, though, don’t they?
Pretty much precisely when I lay down to sleep my first night home, I began to experience an incessant, overwhelming urge. I got up a few times in a row and passed a quite small handful of what would appear to all the world to be chocolate chips. This development would not stop and it would not be ignored and my husband was trying to sleep beside me. And my mom, who worries too much, was trying to sleep upstairs.
This was a troubling conundrum. I had moments like this during the radiation also. I knew that output was essential. I’d just received such a chorus of congratulations for it. But feeling like I literally couldn’t leave the bathroom, like I would have to forego sleep, made me panicky.
So I took the Immodium they told me might be helpful for just, I say, for just such an occasion.
The only instructions I had were those on the bottle which were, of course, for people with a more normal case of diarrhea. I had to guess at dosage. The bottle suggested starting with six teaspoons, and then taking more as needed but not doubling that amount in 24 hours. I took four teaspoons, thinking I might want to be a little conservative.
Read my next post to discover just what sort of lovely turn things took next.
Oh – but one more thing before I go.
I used a fancy medical term wrong in my last post. My mom, the retired nurse, noticed and emailed me this correction, “Oh, by the way, resect means to cut out. Anastomose means to sew together.”
Hey Mom!! In very small print at the bottom of each post is the word “comment”. Click there next time and I can share your contributions with everyone!