My Dad’s Illness: A Perforated Bowel, Nine Long Weeks and a Few Thank Yous.
Nine weeks ago I was in Lloret de Mar with my gorgeous boys when I got the news that my Dad was in hospital. Initially I wanted to fly home to see what I could do to help but my Dad insisted everything was fine and being taken care of. Little did I know that nine weeks later he’d still be in hospital, although the end of this journey is now very near.
Three days ago my Dad had surgery to join up his bowel back together after living with two stomas for eight weeks. Unfortunately, the day we flew back from Lloret he suffered a perforated bowel and had an emergency surgery the following day after suffering with more pain than he’s ever felt in his life.
Recovery has been long and hard for him both physically and mentally. Imagine being confined to a hospital bed for weeks on end with no end in sight. It’s mental torture not knowing when you will be well enough to live a normal life again.
The only way is up. Nothing stops me. #ileostomy #perforatedbowel no #pain I have ever experienced matches the perforation pain Here am I out of surgery and into high dependency. Waking up to this. If you are going through this let me know. #stoma #hospital #colitis #crohns #ibdawareness #ileostomy #health #healthjourney #colon #irritablebowelsyndrome
At three and a half weeks post op my Dad was discharged and I went to stay with him for a few days to help him get back on his feet, so to speak. At that point it felt like he’d been in hospital forever, although looking back now it seems ridiculous, laughable even, that he was deemed fit to be discharged at that time. He lasted six days at home before ringing me asking if I could contact the hospital about readmission. He’d lost half a stone, was severely dehydrated and malnourished. All despite eating three meals, snacks, hundreds of Imodium tablets and quaffing a litre of St Mark’s solution every day.
Despite eating well and being fed through a tube, he has continued to lose weight which has been hard to watch. Being fed via tube has helped him to increase the all important albumin levels which needed to be at a certain point before they’d consider this latest surgery.
On Thursday my Dad was taken down to theatre and after a few hours I went down to the hospital to see him once he was awake. What a difference eight weeks makes.
Eight weeks ago after his first emergency surgery I was faced with a sedated man who was on a ventilator and had about a thousand wires coming out of his body. He was being pumped full of antibiotics and fluids trying to combat the infection that had spread due to the perforation. He had a central line going into his neck trying to stabilise his blood pressure which was extremely low. He had a tube up his nose and into his stomach to collect bile and two drains which collected infection from inside the body. His potassium and magnesium levels were extremely low and his albumin levels were a paltry 9. After waking from sedation he was on oxygen and his heart rate wouldn’t dip below 100 for days. Drugged up, he would hallucinate and ramble on about insignificant things. At times it felt like he was trying to say his goodbyes. It was a scary time.
This time when I was taken in to see him I was faced with a man who was awake, alert and had only one wire going into his arm to give him fluids. I could have cried, but in all honesty I am out of tears after the past nine weeks.
They say that recovery from this second and final operation will take one week and then life can try to resume some sort of normality. My Dad can work on regaining his strength, trying to gain a little weight and get used to a world that doesn’t involve hospital beds, snarky nurses, drips, tubes and snoring men who are in close proximity.
I’d really like to thank a few people for their support over the past few months: my Mum for having Dexter at a drop of a hat whenever I’ve needed to go and see my Dad; my friends who have sent me lots of messages asking how my Dad is and offering to babysit or visit him; my co-workers who have put up with me constantly on my phone, taking ad-hoc days off and asking me everyday how he is; my secret Santa who sent me some wonderful gifts to help me focus on myself and my husband who has been a great support when I’ve been really worried. Most of all thanks to my Dad who despite being on death’s door (my first mistake was googling the chance of death from a perforated bowel) fought hard to get to get better and survive. As hard as it’s been for me to see him like this, he’s the one who has had to suffer the pain of the perforation and the battle to get through recovery.
I wouldn’t have been able to get through the past few weeks without you all so, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.