Surgery Frequent Flyer: When going forwards is the only way to go

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Apparently it’s common after stomach perforations, that the wound gets infected, or as in my case, your stomach fills with internal abscesses. According to my case file, they extracted about 1.5 liters of pus before they could wash out the rest of my stomach (in a second surgery). Then I was put on antibiotics. That was in February. I am still on them. I have something called a  PICC line, which also can be used for drawing blood- something practical, since both of my arms were pretty bruised after all the IV’s and pain pumps.

The recovery’s been slow- even with all my beloved herbal supplements (about which I’ll post another time). All these years, I have had the best healing abilities, doctors were amazed how fast I would recover from procedures and surgeries. Not this time. I just keep developing abscesses.

The antibiotics weren’t able to kill off all of the abscesses, and I started having kidney pains, as one of them grew so large that it was pressing on my kidney. So, hey ho, back into the hospital we go!

This time, they told me it needs to be drained. There are several ways to drain internal abscesses, but since this sucker was deep into my pelvis, between my spine and the kidney, the only way in was through the backdoor, pushing a hole through my stomach wall, and then into the abscess. I am hyper-sensitive when it comes to that area. Probably every Crohn’s patient is. I told the good folks at OHSU interventional Radiology so. I did not want to be conscious when the procedure happened. But of course, who’s the patient? So, a wonderful Thursday afternoon, I am being rolled into their OR, and a nurse goes over the procedure with me. She assures me, that I will be fine, I won’t feel anything, and she will start the anesthesia in a moment. The doctor who performed the procedure and her little butcher helper must have not heard this. I lay on my side as instructed, and my gown gets pulled up. My legs are being arranged as if I was some sort of doll, and as I lift my head I see the doctor holding what must be the ultrasound. Then, it’s being rammed into my anus. And no, the anesthesia had not started. The nurse shouts- “she is not ready” as I am kicking and screaming, getting a full blown anxiety attack. But butcher lady and butcher boy decide that they should try again. All of a sudden, the radiologist decides to call off the entire procedure.  “There is no point, really,” she says, looking at me, her eyebrows raised as if I was a naughty child that had misbehaved. I don’t even know what is going on, and as I am being wheeled out, the nurse keeps repeating how “none of this is your fault, honey.” By the time I am in my room, news must have traveled, since several nurses, and even doctors come into my room, to make sure that I know, this is highly unusual, and that really, it wasn’t my fault. Tomorrow, we’d repeat the whole thing, this time with full anesthesia.ultrasound

And indeed, the next day the procedure was performed under full anesthesia, and I woke up with a little bag collecting discharge from the abscess. I will devote an entire blog post to how to carry this thing around and lead a semi-functional life with it (from what to wear to how to sit down), because….drum roll please…. it’s back. After a week, the drain was pulled, and I was told the antibiotics would take care of the rest. That was about three weeks ago. Since then, the abscess has re-formed and needs to be drained again. It never ends, but what are the alternatives? None. The only way to go is forward.


  1. Sorry to hear you went through that and that you’ve got to go through it again. I’m like you with the recovery times though – I recovered from my op pretty quickly which surprised a lot of the medical staff in the hospital. It suited me – I was very keen to get back on my feet! Hope the second operation is more successful for you.


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