I knew I should have explained WHY I’d rather die quickly that “live” with an ostomy. Not a single person who knows me now knew me then, not what sort of complications I had. I didn’t have a simple ostomy with no problems. It was slowly killing me.
With how my body is, an ileostomy didn’t work well and had to be repaired every several weeks. To make it even six weeks without emergency surgery required me to be in a wheelchair and have help going to the bathroom so I didn’t have to bend or twist to wipe myself. There’s no dignity in this. Should a child have to see mommy go to the ER every six or seven weeks rushed into emergency surgery because the ileostomy is detaching and making her toxic and losing a lot of blood? A mommy who isn’t allowed to walk, play with her, or carry her? A mommy who can’t eat anything that’s not liquid because the passing of it can be enough to force the ileostomy to pull away from the skin to which it’s attached and tear? My intestinal tissue is too soft to hold the sutures required for an ileostomy. The delicacy of my intestinal tissue nearly resulted (again) in my death in 2001. The adhesions I have combined with the staples are what have my intestine stable now, the adhesions acting as armor of sorts, holding everything in that is supposed to be in, protecting against the rest. A child shouldn’t be a regular at the hospital worrying if mommy will die this time, if this “good-bye, see you when you wake up”, is the last – if I lived that long. An ileostomy for me is a slow death sentence. Six months of having one before nearly killed me from the complications, the tearing and blood loss and severe toxemia. The surgeon did expect me to die. Sadly, my intestine was stronger then that it is now.
When I was in my early 20s and we couldn’t get a perforation to close and that doctor didn’t expect me to last a few months, I was given the option of an ostomy if I wanted to make it a year on the outside estimate, though there was no assurance I’d make it through the surgery. An ostomy wasn’t presented as a permanent solution, rather one to give me a little more time than I’d otherwise have, even though it wouldn’t have been much. Another doctor did a procedure that is not approved for use in this country to close the perforation by using a type of mesh and glue when all that suturing did was caused the tear to get bigger.
I wouldn’t be watching my child grow up. My child would be watching me be a surgery-regular until I died anyway. This isn’t fair to a child, to Cody, nor is it fair to me. It would be a slower death that dying by my own hand at home. It would buy me time to “get my affairs in order” only, and would be painful at that. My child wouldn’t be getting as much care because so much of the time that could go to her would instead be going to me to simply try to make me live a little longer. My child would deserve all the care and time needed, not to have that lessened because someone had to wipe me.