Saturday, September 30, 2006

Beth Israel Hospital – Your Dilation Station

Only two days now till I’m back at work. Work? Whatever is that? Oh, I remember, it’s where I used to go every weekday for shots of coffee and stress. It’s going to be quite a shock now I’m used to breakfast in the sun on the deck most mornings. Actually, going back to work is probably a good idea, as after seven weeks of recuperation and having Kath meet my every need, she has started to expect me to perform light housework duties. Things like picking up my clothes from the bedroom floor and putting them in the clothes basket, putting my used plates and cutlery directly into the dishwasher instead of on the worktop just above it, and so on. I’m just not ready for this much responsibility I’m afraid.

Because of those sunny breakfasts, I’ve developed a nice fall suntan, so I look very healthy. I feel healthy too although last week was a bit of a setback. I suddenly developed difficulty swallowing again. It’s a common occurrence so I’d been expecting it and actually for it to not happen until seven weeks after the operation is pretty good. Its cause is a build-up of scar tissue at the anastamosis; that’s the join between the esophagus and the stomach. It narrows the lumen; that’s the inside diameter of the swallowing tube. Have you noticed how many cool medical words I know now? I’ve learned such a lot that I’m actually thinking of doing some evening classes at the local community college and becoming an esophagus doctor. I wouldn’t need to learn the whole body, just the esophagus. Hey, these ologist guys make a fortune; if I did one every two weeks I’d be able to sit on the deck in the morning most days and still be well off.

So anyway, when this scar tissue builds up, you need a dilation. That’s where the ologist sticks a tube down your throat down to the narrow bit and then expands a balloon attached to the tube to break up the scar tissue and expand the opening. It seems to have worked, I can now swallow whole sides of beef. Well, that’s an exaggeration actually; it’s more accurate to say that my porridge doesn’t get stuck any more.

While he was there, he also performed an esophagoduodenogastroscopy and a bronchoscopy. That’s medical terminology for “had a good look around” but the long words means he can charge more. I think the going rate for procedures now is $194.37 per letter in the name of the procedure. All was well apart from my feeling a bit jaded for a couple of days afterwards. While he had me at his mercy, he took out the port-a-cath that had been fitted to help with chemo treatments and changed the feeding tube which frankly had become just disgusting. It was covered in sticky residue from the tape used to help secure it in place and was impossible to clean. So now I have a new pristine tube hanging out of my rapidly shrinking belly. I’d rather have had the tube removed completely but as I’m still losing weight he wants to keep it in place in case I need inflating again.


At 9:54 AM, Anonymous Chris & Gill said...

So good to hear that you are sufficiently mended that you can return to work. Well done. I expect Kath will find it very quiet around the home after your return to work.
Look after yourselves and keep up the good work.


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