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Thursday, 28 October 2010

Plumbing for beginners.

They’ve made a real effort in here, none of those late 50’s early 60’s institutional colours, plastic seats, and the feeling of being a bad boy at school waiting for the cane.

Instead the ceiling arcs gracefully across a space that could be an airport or a university or a huge restaurant. There are TV’s displaying hospital information and BBC news, tropical trees in large pots, brushed steel handrails that I think have been nicked from Waterstone’s and Scandinavian style wooden floors. There’s even a string quartet playing live.

It’s a really good effort to make you feel less under threat. The receptionist was a bit of a Snow Queen; but to be fair she was efficient and she was doing her job. You can’t have everything can you.

I’m called through into a consulting room by the Stoma specialist – last seen when I had the operation to disembowel me.

But today I feel no fear, and I do not fear the future. I have been through enough to realise that I will survive and that life can be even better. So I feel absolutely OK.

Such a difference to this time a year ago when I was chronically ill and actually in danger of slipping off the disc of existence. I can’t believe how much I have changed. I am quite different.
She talks me through the reconstruction operation. You may know all this already but in case you don’t here’s the plan (There are some gory bits so look away if you don’t want to encounter that)

Imagine a hosepipe, and imagine taking half an arm’s length and bending it into a U shape. Now imagine slitting the pipe along the sides that touch. The edges could now be joined together to make something a bit like a long sporran. Now imagine all that again but this time it is my small gut.

They can do that and make a sporran or pouch out a part of my small gut. The bottom part of that is attached to your out-pipe. The top part is more complicated.

That part is not fully severed from the remainder of the small gut but kind of half sliced, and the pipe bent in two. Thus waste can escape out of the sliced section. This is turned into a new stoma with the route down and out temporarily unavailable.

Then it’s a matter of waiting for a few months for the down and out part to heal up while still being an “ostopath”.

Once it’s all healed up (and I’ve been to Glastonbury to feel the vibe) they do a few tests – nothing compared to the horrors of the past, and then, if all is OK, Its simply a matter of sewing up the half cut gut and . . .

 . . . .You have full 100 mb / sec broadband connection.

So not this Christmas – next Christmas I could be on the road back home.

It’s a long journey that I never wanted to take, but along the way I have learned I can take any shit and still survive.

I remain.


  1. I've never seen a string quartet in a medical establishment! Wishing you the best of luck. If I understand correctly, it will be over a year before they can do the surgery?

  2. April next year.

    Thanks for the luck.

    Keep some for yourself.

  3. Good luck :D ...what doesn't break us can only make us stronger...though sometimes we all really do feel as if we've been pushed too close to that breaking point..

  4. Best of luck to you! Don't let my experience scare you in any way. The blood clot was just a bump in the road. It's been 8 months, and i'm still doing great. Hope all goes well for you!

  5. @Hillary

    I'm glad that was just a bump, it is a scary jump, but life is a ride, and I have to risk the bump.


I'm always interested to hear any thoughts or stories of your own. Please do comment.