March 22, 2014

Leaving the hospital (again)!

It is amazing what a difference functioning bowels make to overall feeling good.
I feel good.

My five day hospital stay came to an end.
I left yesterday afternoon with a catheter, a drain that is catching fluid from my abdomen, and a bag full of medicine.  

I was able to leave a Book of Mormon with one sweet nurse.  I really think she'd be a great member of the church.  I love how she said that every Mormon she has ever met has been really happy.  (I'm glad I wasn't the first cranky Mormon she knew.  Haha.)  

The kids all signed her book.  It was fun.  I would love to give any of you a copy too if you'd like one.  (Just email me your address!)  My goofy kids had so much fun decorating our note.

really love good hospitals.  They remind me of churches.  It is beautiful to be surrounded by people who heal.  Todd and I love people.  How we enjoy time together while so many new people come in and out.  Rarely do you get 20 minutes alone with a stranger.  It's beautiful.

I enjoy learning about families and histories.  So many immigrants work as hospital staff.  We met a woman recently immigrated from Cuba with her husband and 7 year old daughter.  She came through Canada, had to go to Florida to get help through Catholic Charities, and then moved to Upstate New York for work.  

With her eyes full of wonder and fun expression trying to pour through her very limited English, she said how much her daughter LOVES snow!  She said her daughter wants to build a snowman every day.  Mom thinks "is too cold", but daughter says "is so fun".  

She needs to work to get money, but she greatly anticipates one day seeing New York City.  Wow.  What a life story!

I don't even know enough about immigration or immigration regulations to know the politics behind this woman's journey.  But, I am so glad she's here with her family and I believe good, hardworking (honestly, you should have seen her scrub my room) people like her can't help but make our country stronger.

My surgery was amazing.  I feel so blessed.  I'm not sure I really understand all that they did in this eight hour surgery, but this is what I think happened.

My Miyagi Urologist robotically cleaned out adhesions (scar tissue) from all inside me.  He fixed my fistula, removed the stitched part of my ureter and re-implanted it into my bladder.  I had purple non-dissolvable stitches all over that he was able to carefully remove.  I think he operated over 5 hours on me!  He is an amazingly skilled robotic doctor.

Then, my Irish colon doctor robotically cleaned adhesions from all around my intestines.  The worst adhesions were from an intestinal surgery I had when I was twelve.  He spent over and hour getting my intestines to be free floating in my abdomin.  

He opened up my stomach along my vertical scar.  I had a hernia that was the length of my scar and more near my belly button.  He made sure the intestines were clear and in a good place and then turned me over to plastic surgery to close me up again.

Dr Belly (as I like to call him) had seen my most recent CT scan.  He showed me that my abdomen had no muscle (it was all atrophied) because I had two horizontal cuts on my belly that cut off blood supply to the muscle.  The first horizontal cut was for that surgery when I was 12, then I had two c-sections (Leah and Lily)- thus, no muscle.  

Dr Belly took muscle from the left side and moved it towards the right/center.  This gave a barrier between my intestines and skin so I am less likely to hemorrhage again. Then, he spent hours slowly stitching me closed.

I can't lift more than ten pounds for six weeks.  Little Ben is 23 pounds of chub.  

I'm very tender, my insides are sore.  I'll have a catheter for at least two weeks.  
(Two days after surgery and still swollen.)

I texted a picture of my stomach to my cute sister who had a beautiful tummy tuck last year.  I really think my stomach still looks pretty sad,

I was shocked when she texted me this back--
I did NOT get a tummy tuck.  Just a hernia/scar repair.  I knew it would look better if a plastic surgeon stitched me closed but I was aiming for a stomach that would allow me to safely lift my children and grandchildren, not a bikini body.  

I think Mr Belly really did a nice job.  He came and sat by my bed a couple nights just chatting with me.  He said he never does general surgery these days.  I think I made him feel good.  I had no idea how much he had fixed me up.  I probably should have thanked him a little bit more.  (I'll see him again soon.)  

Anyway, soo good to be home.
My nest is best.
I love it here.
I love writing this little blog of mine.
I'm grateful for weeks in the hospital.

Thanks for reading about my silly surgery.
Thanks for caring.
I really like people.
Don't you just feel how good life is sometimes?


Rebekah said...

Your stomach really does look great! I have no experience with tummy-tucks--and I have no memory of my own tummy ever being tight and flat--but yours just looks so clean!
I am glad that the doctors feel good about it, and that you are home, ready to recover.

Evaly said...

I agree- your tummy looks great! Hope you heal quickly!

Montserrat Wadsworth said...

Jen, I've told you before one of your gifts is loving people. That's what keeps so many coming back to your blog. They feel the love you have for your fellow man. It shines in your face even in the midst of pain. Here's a to fast and health-filled recovery!

Amber said...

So glad it went well and you are home! Yay!

Unknown said...

You're beautiful. Inside and out.

Jennie Plastow said...

Im so glad you are home and healing! I am amazed at your tummy! It looks great! You look great. I love that you are always smiling. Im so glad you are alive and well and back home! You rock girl! You are such an example of strength, courage and happiness!

Ryan Roberson said...

You look great so glad it week can't wait to see you

Bridget Loper said...

Hi hi hi!!! Remember me?! I LOVED taking care of you. You and your husband were just the greatest-if all my patients were like you, i would go to bed smiling every night. My heart is so happy thinking of you home with all your adorable kids and awesome looking tummy! I've been looking through the Book of Mormon-please tell your kids I loved the note...and I'm def intrigued!!! WCC5 misses you but are so glad you're one step closer to being fully healed!!! Xoxo

Cheryl said...

So happy you are home and that everything went so well! You look amazing!

Jenifer Moss said...

Bridget!! Email me! We need too keep in touch!

April said...

What a neat blog! I think I know you better now than when I saw you once a week! Thank you for sharing your hardships and victories - they make mine doable! Love ya! April

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