On the morning of January 2, C & I went back to work. Within a few hours we received a phone call from the hospital, saying that C's surgery is now scheduled for tomorrow, and they will give us a call back for the exact time.
What a way to start a new year! We've been praying for the surgery to happen soon and it came so quickly and suddenly, but it's still a blessing. Later on, we would find out that someone had cancelled his surgery therefore the nurse was able to get us in sooner than later. As I type this blog post, we are still at the hospital (Day 4), and we're hoping that C would really recover soon.
The first surgery we had 5 months ago (see figure A) was for the removal of his colon and the construction of his jpouch. In the interim, he had a loop ileostomy so that we could let the jpouch portion heal. This second surgery was to close up the ileostomy and reconnect it, so that everything is connected from his small intestine to the jpouch and to his butt (see figure B below).
So on January 2nd C wasn't allowed to have any more solids and just have clear liquids all day. C had been so excited to have his sandwich, but now he couldn't have them. Around dinnertime, C just had some clear chicken soup, and all of the sudden, he started having some abdominal pains. There was still output coming out of his stoma, but the pains really resembled a blockage / bowel obstruction.
I literally could not believe this was happening, the day before the much-awaited surgery.
We pleaded with God and prayed and begged him to resolve it without us having to go to the hospital and potentially delay our surgery. In comparison to last time, C wasn't pale or feverish - the pain seemed a little bit more tolerable. We tried everything we could possibly do - walking, stretching, massage, hot compress, a shower, anything to relax the muscles that were tightening up. He was hoping to vomit to release some of the pressure, but nothing was coming out. Since it was close to bedtime, we tucked C in bed and monitored it every couple of hours. We were ready to go to the hospital at any point.
It really just goes to say that the blockages aren't caused by food but by scar tissue.
This one was a partial blockage for sure, because there was still some output, but he had been taking liquids all day - there was no chance for a solid piece to be stuck. Maybe the nervousness and overwhelming feelings of surgery being so soon - I don't know. Thankfully though, it appeared that the blockage was a little lower this time unlike last time, which was right after the stomach - which made his stomach fill up with fluids much faster. But again, we felt so helpless. Sometime during the night, C was able to vomit a little bit, but it wasn't until the morning that he had a grand exit.
And almost immediately, there was some relief.
The bloating had subsided and there was more output from the stoma than the entire evening. We were incredibly grateful, as our surgery time was at noon and this happened around 7 in morning. We had enough time to prepare and head to the hospital. We also took a quick picture to say goodbye to Lily, his stoma, to thank her for being a great stoma while we were waiting for the second surgery.
Day 0: Surgery daY
At 9ish, we headed to the hospital. It was my sister's last day as well, but she was able to still hang out with us while we waited at the surgical daycare with C's parents. Even though C's surgery was planned, there was still a chance for delay especially if there was an emergency. But by God's grace we were able to have the surgery on time. We even told the doctor about the obstruction he had the night before, and they said not to worry and that it shouldn't affect his surgery.
Before long, they called him in, and he was wheeled into the operating room. My sister and I went out for lunch at this time, and waited for the phone call that the surgery was finished. After our yummy lunch and we were back at the hospital, there was still no phone call. The procedure was an hour, but I know hospital times are usually double that, so once we hit two and a half hours, I called up the recovery unit to see if C was done. And yay, he was! He had just come out half an hour ago, and was really groggy and needed to rest. When C doesn't want his phone... you know.
This time around, he was in the recovery unit much longer as he was taking quite some time to recover from the anaesthesia.
Additionally, the room wasn't ready yet. So my sister and I went for another long walk and we got some ice cream. My sister no longer lives in Canada so it was such a precious moment for us to be able to spend this time together, especially because she was also my companion in the first surgery.
At around 5:30, C was finally being transferred to his room. January must be a busy month because the parking lot was very full, and the rooms were busy as well. We had a room for 4 people again. C must be so exhausted to be able to sleep in an environment like this, because I really don't know if I can do it.
My parents came to visit later as well, but I could really tell that C needed his rest and this was a very long day for him.
Day 1 recovery
I had to start the day with work because there quite a bit since we took a break in December, and we had such short notice for C's surgery. His parents came by and he had some spoonfuls of congee, and I was able to come by later on in the afternoon.
The biggest thing that we're looking during recovery is for him to start passing gas. The bowels usually take the longest to wake up from surgery. After having some food in the morning, C noticed that he was getting bloated and he hadn't had any output yet either. So we decided to slow it down a little.
By the end of the day, he was able to have some bowel movements but no gas, so he was starting to get really uncomfortable.
Day 2 recovery
Day 2 was pretty much the same as Day 1. He had a little bit more energy and was able to walk around a little more, trying to encourage the bowels to get going. He had a little bit more output, but still no gas. He also had stopped taking any pain medication because that usually slows things down as well. It's frustrating because a lot of nurses, etc. see that C is young and is also hoping that he would be quicker on the recovery side, but C's system can be crazy too. The doctor told us before that he could be home in 1-2 days, but I didn't believe that because I know it could take some time for C's system to normalize. The nurse before also told us it could be 4-6 days in the hospital, too.
Our surgeon came by, much to C's surprise on this day, but there wasn't much to say except that the surgery went well and according to plan. We recalled our first conversation with the surgeon before about this second surgery. He told us that we would hate him for it, haha! The recovery does seem much more annoying this time around, and it's taking time.
We couldn't help but think about C's obstruction the day before the surgery if this is also affecting his recovery, but what can we do now but just hold on and pray.
This day was a milestone for us because later in the evening, C was able to pass some gas. We started the afternoon with a shower, which was nice - as you know, C loves his hair. His parents came along as well and gave C some rice water and some masssages, haha!
On a usual day, if I listen to C's tummy, I'd hear gurgling sounds and activity. The past couple of days, it has been complete silence. After he had some of the rice water, I could start hearing some activity and soon after that he was able to pass some gas and a little bit more output.
The rejoicing was short-lived though as C's bloating has still not come down.
The doctor came by and said that there's still a possibility that C will be able to go home today, but it really depends on how everything goes. Last night, C started to feel bad again and the gas output stopped. Since then, there's been a lot of output, similar to diarrhea that C is now suspecting that he picked up a bug yesterday. Now, he's bloated and there's blood in his output. This entire day has been incredibly difficult for C. He's been refusing pain meds for the most part since surgery but today he finally had to take some. He's been incredibly tired, has felt nauseous, and feels like he's back to square one again.
It's such setback after setback after setback...
But we are grateful for all of your prayers and encouragement. That's all we really need. A lot of people have been worried about me as well, being pregnant, but at this moment all I need are your prayers and silent support. I'm so thankful that I've got a team that helps support my business and I'm coping as much as I can. Everything else feels so non-essential right now but to be there for my husband. Don't worry - I'm eating, I'm resting, I'm supporting C, and God is walking us through this journey together. Our baby can now hear, so we've been praying together for C's healing. We knew that recovering from this surgery wasn't going to be easy, but it's still tough going through it and knowing that you're enveloping us in your prayers have been so encouraging.