I am definitely feeling better painwise, but I realized in the past few days that healing is not just about physical pain. The past few weeks have been extremely stressful for me. I had a tube that was constantly on the verge of clogging up, while at the same time knowing that I could not call Dr. H. for a tube re-placement and could not get in any earlier than the 25th of August with Prof. P. On top of that I knew that there was a real chance that the PEJ tube would not work out again, something that I tried not even putting one thought into it. Having a PEJ tube means so much to me. This tube can last up to 5 years (or longer), it won't clog up if I care for it well, and it can't move back up into my stomach. I can travel without worrying what to do if my tube happened to get clogged in some foreign country. I can get pregnant without having to worry about possibly needing anesthesia for a tube change in early pregnancy.
I want to blog more about my tube placement last Thursday because I want to be able to look back at this post in a few years and remember how relieved I felt afterwards.
So I arrived bright and early at the hospital last Thursday, I had just sat down to wait for the admitting doctor when my dietician walked onto the ward to talk to my admitting doctor. I hadn't seen her since April, and she was very excited to see how well I looked. Now that I am finally absorbing my protein (at least most of the time), I am not retaining water anymore, and I really do look different - healthier :-). We both thought that I would probably have to wait quite some time (I had no specific time for my surgery, just the date and that I was going to get called down when they were ready for me), so we said that she was going to come by later to do a body impedance analysis on me. But I got already called down at 9.30. Up until that time I had no idea if this GI doc was really willing to try out another PEJ-tube with me. I had never met him before, but my dietician had written him an email two weeks prior telling him about me, also informing him that Dr. H. (who used to work for him before he left the hospital to become chief of gastroenterolgy at a different hospital) had tried unsuccessfully putting a direct j-tube in last December. I was very, very nervous when I was wheeled down to interventional endoscopy. At first one of the other docs on duty came up to me and said "so we are going to place a J-line through your G-tube today", I immediately freaked, but then one of the nurses walked by and said "oh no, we are doing a direct PEJ-tube because Dr. H. couldn't place it" - she said that with a real smirk on her face. That's when I knew that my dietician's strategy was going to pay off, Prof. P simply had to try putting in that j-tube and succeed in something that Dr. H. was not able to do.
Prof. P. came by too and talked to me briefly, I told him how important the direct J-tube is to me - how I am a newlywed (well not as new anymore :-)), wanting to be more independent, wanting to have a tube that would not clog up that easily. He definitely agreed on that :-).
I voiced my concerns again in regards to sedation with his assisting doctor, who very kindly told me "people always sleep well with a surgeon around". I was very surprised and asked him what a surgeon did in GI endoscopy - he told me that he during his residency he has to do a year of training in a different specialty. He told me he was always responsible for anesthesia down here and he would take really good care of me. For some reason hearing that he was actually a surgical resident made me feel more relaxed. He then kept reassuring me that Prof. P. was the best down here and that's the last thing I remember before I fell asleep. When I woke up I felt pain, and I knew it must have worked, being still quite whoozy from the anesthetics I kept asking "did it work"? The very kind surgeon was still at my side and he just said "of course it did". I started to feel really nauseated and in lots of pain, so they hooked me up to some pain meds and zofran, and I remember I told the surgeon to please thank Prof. P. for me.
I can't quite recollect being taken back up, but I remember lying in my room whimpering and being in pain, getting another IV with pain meds and then it started to kick in. It had really worked!!!! All my fears and worries - gone! I sent off text messages to M an my family. And then my dietician walked in and she did the cutest "happy dance" when she saw that I was the proud owner of a brandnew j-tube :-). She told me the next day how she is a very spiritual person and that she prays every morning, on that morning she had prayed for me - really, really touched me to hear that :-).