5 – Life-threatening Surgery

In January 2017, I was admitted into hospital. I was to have another intestinal resection; surgery to remove part of my small bowel, similar to the one I had when I was 18. I was led to believe that my case was relatively straightforward and that I would be discharged in a few days, but I experienced huge complications.

My hospital notes are long and vast. They include leakages in my bowel and tears in the walls of my intestines. To operate on me, surgeons sliced me open all the way from my sternum to below my belly button. This cut was not closed immediately, and for a few days, it remained as an open wound.

On two occasions, I was unable to walk again immediately after surgery and during my rehabilitation, I fell and suffered concussion. My vocal chords had become paralysed, and I was unable to speak for several months, I communicated in a croaky whisper. I suffered a chest infection that would not heal for two months and contracted sepsis while in hospital. I was even told that I had experienced seizures, which I was unaware of at the time.

I was fitted with a stoma – my intestines were pulled out of my skin through an opening in my abdomen, and a bag was fitted over them.

Unable to walk for weeks after the surgery, unable to speak properly for months, I was bedridden, with a catheter and a stoma bag, and various pipes and machines plugged into every part of me. It was one thing after the other.

For three months in hospital, I had heart rate and blood pressure tests every few hours, blood tests every day, MRI scans and X-rays, and for three months I ate hospital food for almost every meal.

I was advised by hospital staff to give up the vegetarian diet that I had adopted for a full year before my operation. At times, the pain I was in was excruciating, and at other times, I was numbed by painkillers.

The time dragged. I was lucky to be alive, but I did wonder if I would ever get out of hospital.

In 2017, I experienced major complications with surgery