I remember after that second surgery, Dr Petty asked if I had questions. I don't know how you do at such times but it takes me a while to process so I can even think of questions so later, much later, I had them but nothing at the time. It would be weeks for little pieces of information to surface and many months for others. To this day I have questions as things comes to light.
I am not saying Dr Petty did a poor job although at one point, I considered it because I got only a small piece of what happened in that surgery. Yet that opinion changed as more information has surfaced. What I am saying is that details that I wasn't told or didn't understand about that surgery have played a part in where I am today and yet no one thought the information was important enough to share with me.
Had I had the details about what made that surgery take so long and what he meant about cleaning up maybe I would have understood what was happening to my body. Then I might have been better prepared to advocate in my behalf.
If there is one thing I have learned about today's medicine it is that patients need to be their own advocates or have a competent advocate at all times. There are so many ways to get lost in a system that has become more about profit and less about patient care.
Being a good advocate is definitely affected by a patient's knowledge and understanding of her/his condition.
In the days that followed this surgery to repair my failed ostomy, my condition did not improve. The new ostomy itself was healthy looking but the incision that had been made to perform that repair quickly deteriorated into two gaping holes in my abdomen.
The days were ticking off the calendar and with them went my resilience. The doctors were talking about putting me in a nursing home which severely threatened my will to live. I needed my home, my horses, my family and my friends. What I had was sterile walls in cramped single rooms that kept changing as I was shuttled from one hospital ward to another. Between all the moves and nurses stretched beyond their limits I stayed nowhere long enough to learn their names or for any of them to form any kind of connection with me. Any friends who had been visiting all believed I had long since gone home. I felt like I was in solitary confinement with no one to talk with for days and days. Life was punishingly cruel from nearly every asect.
Dave and Lindsay came by every evening for a brief visit after all their chores were done. Both were exhausted carrying the extra load my absence created. Unbeknownst to us Lindsay was in the process of losing her hearing so conversation with her was difficult and exhausting. My husband was so overwhelmed he was beyond words. While I was glad to have them those brief visits were no relief to the growing isolation that was holding me captive and gradually choking out all hope my life would ever resume.
To be continued.....
An Extreme Aftermath
Note: I might add that same sense of isolation, I still struggle with these days. Ever since my first release from the hospital, I have spent as much time alone as I did in the hospital. As you will see as this story unfolds there are reasons that has developed. It has been further complicated by the fact I had built for myself an online support system that I have been unable to maintain due to medical conditions that keep me from being able to sit at the computer. My contact with the outside world is very much limited to my contact with others through this blog. The bad thing is such isolation threatens my recovery as much today as it did when I was still hospitalized.