Being home after stoma surgery – it takes some getting used to!

I’ve finally come home, but it all still feels a little bit strange. The quietness is eerie; I’ve gone from a world of bleeping machines, screaming and constant chatter, to an alien land where there can literally be no noise for hours. And when there is I can more or less control it.

I’ve been home for two days now and I still can’t really believe I’ve escaped hospital. Yesterday morning I woke up and had a scary few seconds where I didn’t know where I was. To say I was confused was an understatement. I expected to wake up to a shake from a tired looking nurse prodding me awake to test my BP and temperature, instead I woke up clutching my teddy in my beautiful butterfly decorated room to the sound of birds singing. Yes I was in pain, but it was blissful to be in my own bed and not to be forcefully woken and thrown out of bed and made to perch on an oversized chair in my nightie.

Nothing compares to being in your own bed. Out of everything I have longed for during my endless weeks in hospital over the past 13 years it has always been my bed. To me it is the symbol of freedom, comfort and security, and when I’m in a hospital bed with just a flimsy sheet to cover me at night I feel vulnerable and anxious. On the first night I got home my duvet was so heavy it almost hurt. I’m struggling to lift the weight of it and having to get my boyfriend to literally tuck me in at night, teddy and all. But once I’m under there I feel snug as a bug, safe and secure. And what’s even better I know (well hopefully) I won’t be woken in a few hours by someone screaming bloody murder or being sick or to check my vitals for the 10th time.

I’m not sleeping through the night, which is understandable when your used to being woken every couple of hours through screaming, pain and sleeping in a room full of strangers. I feel safe, apart from the cute ‘I love you balloon’ that scared me half to death by making a weird rustling sound as it scraped across the ceiling, embarrassingly I had to get Andy to come and take it into a different room. But its lovely to know my boyfriend is in the room next door and a trip to the bathroom doesn’t involve traipsing down a corridor and risking falling over rows of stinking bed pans.

Ok everything isn’t perfect. I’ve still got my drain in which is becoming a little tiresome and sore. I’m struggling to wear trousers (even my trakkies) over the tube and bag, and my scar, while extremely neat and surprisingly faint, sends spasms through my abdomen when I try to sit up and down. I’m tired, starting to feel bored and long to get my fitness back up so I can at least walk to town. But I love snuggling up on the sofa with my boyfriend, spending time with my parents and being able to sort of do what I want, without everything being scheduled by a nursing team.

But you can’t run before you can walk, and compared to my last operation my progress is staggering. Today I managed to get into the shower on my own (with the help of a little step), I’m able to eat a little more and make my own juice (it’s the little things). I’m shaky but managing steps and sitting down is starting to feel a little less someone is trying to stick a red-hot poker up my arse – which is never a pleasant feeling!

Yesterday the district nurse came. We (that’s me, mum and dad) waited around all day for her to come, before I found out my doctors hadn’t told them I was under their care. Typical. But when she finally arrived she quickly flushed my pelvic drain, changed my wound dressing – which is still slightly discharging – and, after I felt something sharp poking out of my bum, discovered two deeply embedded stitches which the hospital nurse hadn’t removed. That was a painful and humiliating experience, with the lovely nurse pretty much sticking her face up my bum and digging around in my skin for the blue rebels while I lay in a self-conscious foetal position begging for it to be over. As she yanked them out, pulling out several pubes, I clenched my teeth and tried to stay as still as possible. I have never been so relieved for something to be over!

Anyway, I’m sat in the flat waiting for my parents to arrive for another day on my step to recovery. I’m just about to tuck into my not so yummy ensure drink and start tackling my French, which I’m determined to be able to speak basic sentences by the time I return to work.

I hope everyone is well and happy and ready for Easter. My only problem now is trying to get a Mother’s Day card and gift without my mum noticing! Hard when you can’t leave the house and you’ve missed the delivery date.

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2 thoughts on “Being home after stoma surgery – it takes some getting used to!

  1. I’m glad you’re on the road to recovery, it’s always good to be in your own home & bed, with your own food and schedule. For me it was the smell of hospital that was hard to shake, it’s not the antiseptic smell that used to be associated with it these days.

    Re the mother’s day card. If you have a printer you could maybe make one on the computer and print it off? If no printer then maybe hand draw one. Even if you’re not artistic, I’m sure she’d be touched at the effort 🙂

  2. Pingback: I can’t fart! – five things you might not know about having an ostomy this #worldostomyday | The big stoma bucket list

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