Fall Harvest Moon
Geez. Since Thursday evening when Kate started bleeding until now, she’s had only one tray of a clear liquid diet. Some sorbet, chicken broth, decaf coffee. It’s now Monday.
Yesterday was another tough day. She called me at 6 am saying she was being prepped for surgery. I fed and positioned the dogs, Gertie in the loft with Rigel and Kep outside, then drove in. She’d misread the situation. I stayed with her until noon or so, during which time she received her 8th unit of blood. And continued to bleed.
The waiting was to see if they could preserve the section of her colon with the bleeds. Though the embolization failed Saturday night, these bleeds do apparently stop on their own, sometimes never to restart. Hers didn’t.
Just as I walked out of her room, Kathy, her nurse, waved me back in, phone to her ear. The surgeons and the New West Physicians’ hospitalist had made a decision. A bowel resection. (From the Latin resectus, from resecare, meaning to trim, prune, cut back.) Dr. Streeter told me the surgery would start at 3:00 pm and last at least an hour and a half.
I had to get home to feed the dogs, let them all outside, lie down a bit. Did that. Back in. Up the third floor and the surgical waiting room where I’ve spent several hours over the past three days. The surgeon came out and explained to me that they had removed a section of her right colon and reattached the two ends. This is big because it means no colostomy.
However. He said, “When we do surgery on the bowel, we see it only from the outside. I don’t know if we got all the diverticuli.” WTF? Medicine is much more imprecise than we’d like to think. The nuclear imaging she had on Saturday found the bleeds in the right segment of colon, but it’s very general. That’s why, when the surgeon went in though a groin artery to emoblize the bleeding sites, he was able to find the right colon easily, but could see no bleeds. They had either stopped or they weren’t in the right place.
It’s possible, then, that the surgery didn’t cut out all the bleeding sites. Only time and Kate’s recovery will let us know. Not what I wanted to here.
BJ, Kate’s sister with the house in Idaho where we saw the eclipse last August, and her s.o., Shecky, flew in on Saturday for a long planned visit to see our house, see Kate and me. Instead they saw Kate in the hospital and took me out for sushi while Kate was in recovery after her surgery. It was really good to see them again and to have some family present.
The surgeon said Kate could be in the hospital another three to fourteen days. The bowel has to restart and her hemoglobin has to stabilize. After that, six weeks or so of recovery at home.
Three difficult, very difficult, days and more to come. I’m a little fried right now, but the CBE folks will help in any way they can. I’m not used to organizing folks to help with domestic life, something I’m going to have to figure out. Though. Since Kate’s shoulder surgery, I have picked up more and more of the household work and have routines that should make this transition less of a jolt.