On July 8, I entered Thomas Jefferson University Hospital here in Philadelphia for the second surgery in my Summer of Surgery. The first was a colostomy to relieve the life-threatening diverticulitis inflammation that had brought my gastrointestinal system to a standstill. This follow-up was designed to remove several inches of diseased colon and, if all went well, to reverse the colostomy during the same procedure—making it possible to poop out my butt again, among my most cherished aspirations.
All did not go well.
Turns out a reasonably large section of my colon wasn't just diseased: it had collapsed, and the dead portions fused themselves to my bladder. And in the course of trying to separate live bladder from essentially dead colon, my bladder was nicked with a scalpel blade. A surgical urologist was called; an operation originally scheduled to take three hours or so took seven. The surgeon told me afterwards it was one of the three or four worst cases of diverticulitis he'd seen.
I came home Friday afternoon. I'm in more pain this time—my lower abdomen is basically a shambles, and it won't surprise you to understand how much THAT part of the body plays a nexus for the movement of the rest of you. But I feel more emotionally resilient. Except for one thing: after a week of inconsiderate roommates blaring their TVs without regard for anybody else, I've developed panic attacks when I hear Dr. Phil's voice. This is not nearly as funny as it sounds.
The colostomy wasn't reversed. I have to recover a couple of months from this surgery for that to happen. But I'm kind of back.