Complications: Small Bowel Perforation

by on Sunday, December 21, 2008 21:20
This entry is filed under: j pouch surgery photos
My incision and stoma after step one

My incision and stoma after step one

During the second of three surgeries (I had a three-step surgery, instead of a two-step surgery) a complication occurred where my small bowel was perforated. Here’s what I can remember of the occurrence. Everything was fine, I even asked the surgeon to sew up my incision instead of having staples (this is usually a choice, ask for it if you want it!). The first surgery left a huge scar, and by sewing it up I could minimize the scar the second time around since they use the same incision point for surgery #2 of a three step process.

Everything was great for a day or so; I had a nice, clean incision, I felt fine. Somewhere during the second day, I remember now that it was a Thursday, I started feeling cramps — well cramps are hard to imagine considering I had my stomach slit open. Maybe “crampy” is a better way to put it. After a while, it felt as though I couldn’t relax my abdominal muscles, then I couldn’t relax almost any muscle in my body. I tried to sleep after a dose of morphine (which gives me terrible dreams by the way). My wife was sleeping on a cot in the hospital room (something she always does when I have complications). Around three am I awoke and could no longer sleep: my muscles were tense, my mind was racing, I could not relax any part of my body. I was concerned about this tensing because I didn’t want to reopen the incision that was not healed yet. My wife tried to comfort me, told me to relax, but relaxing was impossible. I can’t recall the next few hours but I went into emergency surgery early Friday morning.

My incision after step 2's emergency reopening

My incision after step 2's emergency reopening

Because they had to reopen an incision that was just closed not more than two days ago, the manner in which they closed the incision looks a little different than most people’s. See how it curves left and right (the picture is sideways: feet to the right, head to the left). I’ve posted a photo here with the hopes that it will help others. My takedown, or step three of the three-part surgery, was on 11/4/2008. I’ll post a photo of the current scar in a few days. It really isn’t that bad despite the way it looks here.

Sure, it took a little longer than most for me to recover from having two fully invasive surgeries on almost adjacent days. I was in the hospital for two weeks instead of one, and for a week or two out of the hospital I was very weak and still somewhat nauseous, but I held in there.

Hang in there everyone!

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