About three hours after leaving him I got to take the long walk down to recovery to collect him. The nurse recognised me straight away. It took me a while to work out how she could know instantly that I was Dominic’s mother without ever having met me before. Eventually my eyes fell on a photo of myself and Roger, which, although slightly battered and distorted from having had sticky tape all over it, clearly showed myself and Roger grinning out at Dominic. She’d obviously been having a tour of his bed while he came around.
He was very unsettled and grouchy as I would expect from the anaesthetic. I started to look around for the epidural and couldn’t see it. In fact I couldn’t see any NCA (nurse controlled anaesthesia) either. Panic started rising immediately and alarm bells started ringing. One of my biggest fears in sending him down was that they would just have a look and do nothing else. I lifted his top and there were three laproscopic holes and nothing else. I asked the recovery nurse what the surgeon’s report was and she peered at it and said she couldn’t read the writing, but perhaps it said jejunostomy revision. My worries increased further when the nurse said the surgeon had given the ok to give pain relief down the jejunostomy and by this point I was just desperate to talk to someone who knew what had happened.
I had a long wait for the ward to be ready for him to return though in which time all the possibilities were whirling around. I spent a long time standing with the report within touching distance, but couldn’t bring myself to pick it up for fear of being challenged. It’s so silly really, it’s a document that states what someone did to my child, of course I should be able to read it, but I knew that the nurses should challenge me if they saw me and I wasn’t feeling brave enough for the confrontation.
Dominic woke up a little more and was most put out to find that he had a cannula in his foot and kept showing the nurse his picc line, obviously thinking that she had put it in mistakenly not realising that he already had access. Eventually, with lots of tears about everything and anything he got to come back to his room where he relaxed and the tears slowly stopped and he started working on picking the detested glue off all the wounds. I asked his ward nurse what the notes said, explaining why I was worried (I was told it would definitely be an open procedure). She had a better stab at interpreting them saying that they seemed to say that they fixed the bowel to correct volvulus (twisting of the bowel around itself). I immediately relaxed; it sounded like they had found a problem and then fixed it.
Since he’s been on the ward he’s been very settled, and despite one long cry that his tubey hurt (which is what he said about the pain before) the pain killers seem to be doing their job.
Dominic’s registrar came and said something briefly and unhelpfully about a few stitches in the bowel and disappeared. Thankfully later on his lovely consultant came, feeling incredibly confident about his work (as he always does), and even more confident about restarting feeding (again as he always does). Most of his confidence comes from the fact that he found and area of the new feeding limb that they created out of Dominic’s bowel was very mobile, more so than it should be. This could very well have been twisting around on itself and cutting off the blood supply (causing the excruciating pain) and then untwisting again. The fix was as simple as sewing it to the abdominal wall. The fact that the bowel wasn’t handled should help with the recovery, as would the fact that they did it with the cameras. This is all positive, but does leave me a little nervous that perhaps something might have been missed. The consultant is however confident, although it is easy for him as a) he is a surgeon, and however lovely they are, they are always right and their surgery is always brilliant and b) he’s leaving the country tomorrow morning for 10 days so if Dominic’s body does something funky it’s someone else’s problem. Here’s hoping that just this once Dominic does things by the book.