Everything is going to be fine. I had my colon and rectum removed with an
open surgery and was out of the hospital in 4 days. I was shocked that I felt so good so quickly! Seven years with Crohn's had really done a number on me, and I didn't realize how sick I was until my proctocolectomy. I could tell right away that the disease was gone, and that was the best feeling in the world. I still feel giddy when I think about
I've heard really good things about
epidurals, so I would agree to that, and ask for a pain pump, so you can give yourself a dose of pain medicine as needed. Waiting for the nurse to give it to you can take up to an hour when they're really busy, so you'll definitely want the pump.
Bring Gas-X with you or ask the doctor to prescribe it in advance. It's normal to have trapped gas after surgery, and if you don't take Gas-X, it can be quite painful. The pain medicine will help with that, too.
Walking is important to help wake up the intestines, so do the best you can. I hear that chewing gum can help wake up them up, too, so that's something to consider bringing with you. As soon as you get output from your stoma, you'll be able to start eating and the gas pain will subside.
Don't let them take you off the IV fluids too soon. When your stoma first starts working, it is going to put out a lot of fluid at first. If you don't replenish those fluids, you can become dehydrated very quickly.
The output at first will be a greenish liquid, so don't be alarmed. That is just bile. As soon as you start eating some food, it will thicken up and look more normal. Since the job of the large intestine is to extract fluids, the consistency of the output will be soft, like oatmeal.
Another thing that is good to know is that the pouch they put on you after surgery is nothing like the pouches we use on a daily basis. The one you will have after surgery will be clear, and that is only so the doctor can check to see if you're getting any output. As soon as your stoma starts working, the Ostomy Nurse will bring you supplies and will put on a normal pouch that has a cloth covering, so you won't be able see through it.
Since you're a hairy guy, you'll want to bring a razor and some shaving cream with you, so you can shave the hair on your stomach where the wafer goes. I'm a blonde woman with invisible hairs on my belly, so they did not shave me before applying the wafer after surgery. I have to tell you, it was so painful to change the wafer the first time, because I was pulling out each little blonde hair on my belly one by one. I had to give myself a dose of pain medicine just to get through it!
Also, ask the nurse for some adhesive remover wipes. Those will come in very handy every time you remove the wafer.
When it comes to the 3 months recovery time, your surgeon is talking about
your energy level. I was able to do a lot of things very soon after surgery, like go to the grocery store and visit family, but I would tire easily, since my body was using a lot of energy to heal from surgery. I could have gone back to work 8 weeks after surgery, but I chose to stay home another month just to get my full energy back.
It's good that you're asking us questions, because we've been there and can tell you things that the doctors probably don't think to tell you. I think it's better to be informed and prepared. But, in all honesty, your mind can make it much worse than it really is. So, try to relax and focus on the best part, which is how healthy you are soon going to be!
Dx'd Crohn's in '99 at 28. Proctocolectomy and ileostomy in '06.
Disease-free, medicine-free, and very thankful to be healthy again.