I think I had jinxed myself.

I went into the hospital on New Year's Eve complaining of abdomenal pain related to ileitis. I was scheduled to have a bowel resection anyway, but since I was already in the hospital, they decided to move it up a week.

Going in through my stomach -- I now have a 4.5-inch long scar ending at my navel, it looks like the Q train -- the doctor intended to remove the damaged section of my bowel and reconnect the two ends. This would, statistically speaking, relieve me of the burden of Crohn's disease for at least five years, probably.

What the surgeon discovered after opening me up was two areas of damage, intestinal perforations, and gallstones. My parents say he told them it's entirely possible that had I waited, I might not have made it -- I simply could not digest food. But, of course, he would say that.

Here's where the jinx comes in: The night before the surgery, I was watching TV and saw an ad for medical supplies. When I saw that it listed ostomy supplies, I had the fateful thought:

"At least I don't need that."

Of course, you can guess the rest. I awoke from surgery with an ileostomy that I had until April 2004.

It turned out that the ends of my small bowel, between which the bad bit had been removed, were themselves too damaged to be reattached with any likelihood of success.

I had always thought if I had a stoma I'd feel icky and disgusting. I didn't, as it turned out. I didn't like it, but the problem was the inconvenience; I felt nothing but equanimity about having an artificial anus that emptied into a bag of shit glued to my stomach.

For what it's worth, I seem to have recovered, best one can tell.

Gas*trot"o*my (?), n. [Gastro + Gr. to cut: cf. F. gastrotomie.] Surg.

A cutting into, or opening of, the abdomen or the stomach.


© Webster 1913.

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