Doug Rutherford

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It’s all over

December 2011
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I’m back, and considerably sooner than expected. I had my final surgery on Thursday afternoon and this turned out to be a more minor affair than we thought it would be. My ileostomy is closed over and all is back to the way it was, normal as ever so far.

I was back on my feet far sooner than I thought. When the surgeon came in afterwards, he said I should start walking around any time. I did sit up a little bit the first afternoon and discovered that wasn’t as easy as one would consider. Having an incision at your belt line makes folding over difficult. However, by about 9 pm, I was interested in taking a little stroll outside to partake of a certain bad habit I readopted over the summer. I called one of the nurses and asked to borrow a wheelchair to go out for a smoke. I expected some degree of stern lecturing but all I got was a laugh… and a wheelchair. She asked why and I explained that since I hadn’t walked that far yet (it is a good distance to the smoking area, down the stairs and the other end of the hospital), I didn’t want to try it and run into difficulty in the evening. After all, who wants to be the subject of the question, “And how long has he been lying out there?” She, and my doctor the next day, thought my approach was rather sensible (OK, the approach was but the smoking, not necessarily).

By the next morning, I was walking that far. I trundled down to the cafeteria to get a good cup of coffee. I trundled down to get a paper. By Saturday, walking around gave me something to do and I came to understand the difference in degree between this surgery and the others. I was bored. When one of the nurses asked how I was on Saturday morning and I mentioned this, she said I would probably get out that day. Since I was supposed to be in for five days to a week, I was a bit skeptical. I should have had a hint when they took my pain-killer pump on Saturday morning, as well as my IV pump. Literally. They took it out of the room. This is a big thing as it takes some logistical planning to even go to the bathroom with a tube running to a tall pump on wheels that has to accompany you… and not get hooked on anything in the process.

When the surgeon who was doing rounds showed up on Saturday the first time, I was having a nap. I had popped downstairs later in the afternoon and he was just coming out of my room as I walked down the hall. He watched me come down the hall, asked how things were and then asked, “How would you like to go home today?” I got home in time to watch the last two periods of the first hockey game, although I did sleep through the last period.

So, all of my surgery is finished. All that’s left is healing up. My incision is small, less than 6 inches in length, and is closing over nicely. There seems to be no sign of infection. I still have some trouble sitting for any length of time, but other than that — knock on wood — there seems to be no problems at all. Yes, I still have a bit of pain, and I do miss my dilaudid, but it beats the stuffing out of the last two surgeries…


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