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Friday, January 14, 2011

Surgery for Crohns

So I have an upcoming surgery for a fistula, and it got me to thinking about my last major surgery.

I need to preface the following by saying that I have had the best doctors and nurses in the world and what follows is purely an attempt at finding humor in my situation, it is not meant to degrade or put down any person or institution that has cared for me in the past.

With that disclaimer here is a little essay I wrote about my last surgery:

Despite living with a chronic illness for most of my life, I had never spent more than a few hours in a hospital room until the summer of 2005.  After I was rushed into the ER for an emergency surgery, I would experience my first hospital stay.  The following week at the hospital made me realize a new universal truth.  Hospitals Suck!

Upon arriving at the hospital in convulsions, with a 104-degree fever, I was promptly asked how I planned to pay for my stay.  I was reminded of how grateful I am that we live in a country where doctors don’t have to focus on treating their patients, but instead get to focus on new and creative ways to bill them.  After signing the required paperwork, effectively signing over all of my assets to the hospital, I was escorted to the waiting room.  Eventually they decided that I had waited long enough, and I was taken back to be treated.

Immediately upon reaching my room, a woman in a black evening gown began administering an IV.  A normal person might have questioned their sanity at that point.  However, at the time I just assumed that my treatment was considered a formal occasion.  Once the IV was hooked up, the Nurse gave me morphine for the pain.  This was awesome!  At this point since the pain was gone, I felt like I could go home.  However, they insisted upon more tests.  After a battery of dehumanizing tests, that I can only conclude were thought up by some diabolical lunatic; they concluded that a portion of my intestines were necrotic: this is doctor speak for “you’re going to die a very smelly death if we don’t operate immediately.”  Within hours I was in the operating room.

When I woke up after surgery I was certain that someone had made a mistake.  That much pain was definitely not natural.  I screamed for a nurse and demanded the most powerful pain medication available, to which she informed me that I had already been given the maximum dose of morphine.  As disappointing as this was, it did not match the shock of finding out that 18 inches of intestine had been forcefully removed from my body, along with a perfectly good appendix!  Why would they do that?  Well, it turns out, apparently I would have died if they didn’t, but it still seemed somewhat rude.

The following week of recovery was worse than the pain of surgery.  For a full week I wasn’t allowed to eat anything.  Meanwhile, the TV seemed to be programmed to only display the food network.  Family and friends would come visit and bring with them foods that I would have killed to be allowed to eat.  Eventually, the week passed and I was finally able to eat again.  This was the happiest moment of my life!  I could hardly contain my gluttony and eventually gained almost sixty pounds.  Of course that is a story for another day.

Following my experience in the hospital, I felt a profound need to stay as far away from that place as I could for the rest of my life.  I wonder if they do that on purpose.