Conversations With Danielle: Post Surgery

It was a long evening for Danielle and Elizabeth as surgery lasted for five hours.  As was the plan, she was never alone.  It is too much stress to face these moments without support.  As time passes, the level of anxiety rises.  There is no way to know what is happening in surgery.  As it drags on, fears grow.  Each time a someone in scrubs enters the room, you look hopefully it is for you.

Danielle’s experience in the past has been when the surgeon finally arrives she is so relieved, she doesn’t ask many questions and regrets it after.  It has been difficult to get the questions  answered once Spencer gets in a room.  She was determined this time to break the pattern and was ready.  She geared herself to be glad it was over but to listen and ask lots of questions.

The surgeon finally arrived and said he felt it was a successful surgery.  He had found an infected, inflamed area which he cleaned thoroughly.  He stated he felt this had been there for over a year and was most likely the cause of the ongoing problems.  He cautioned her that because it had been there for so long, it may have gone to the bone.  He was also able to find the leak in the colon and fixed it.  Overall, it looked good this time.

Danielle was relieved but livid.  What does this mean?  How could this have gone on for so long?  Spencer had so many surgeries (this was a new surgeon because of all the problems) and no one looked?  No one believed his pain was so bad!  The only answer was , I have been with Spencer for a short time.  I think we have taken care of the problem.

As Danielle said to me, she has heard it before.  However, all the signs are looking good for Spencer.  His post surgical recovery has been smoother and discharged six days later.  There doesn’t seem to be any bone involvement.  The hospital staff listened to his past experience and how he managed his care in what worked and didn’t work.  I told Danielle it was her persistence and advocacy that finally got everyone to listen.  She made sure everything was in place before she left the hospital including more than three days of medications.

I do hope the worst is behind them.  After each surgery, the hope rises.  Now it is a waiting game, to see if the problem is solved.  There will be one more surgery in three months and maybe Spencer will be done.