In March 2011, I was involved in a major car crash from which I suffered multiple rib fractures, damage to my right kidney, my left arm and leg needed to be surgically pinned and plated and the seatbelt caused massive abdominal trauma which required extensive surgery.
The abdominal surgery resulted in the removal of a large portion of my small and large bowel; in fact I was left with only 90cm small bowel connected to 20cm of large bowel, which was used to create a stoma. This resulted in me suffering from short bowel syndrome.
I was immediately placed on total parenteral nutrition (TPN) and despite attempts to reintroduce food I was unsuccessful for a long time as the join in my bowel was not healing very well and I developed a fistula. This lasted until July 2012; a week prior to discharge. My gastroenterologist slowly weaned me off the TPN, gradually increasing my food intake, which was ultimately successful but not a straight forward process, requiring six further admissions, four of which to correct electrolyte imbalances.
Now free of parenteral nutrition, I still have my central venous catheter (CVC) in order to receive weekly intravenous magnesium infusion. Initially I tried to maintain my magnesium levels through the use of oral supplements but this proved unsuccessful.
Although I am unable to return to teaching, I am almost completely self-caring and beginning to get on with my life. I have taken up Pilates, my weight has stabilised and I have recently been on holiday to Cornwall. I am now planning my first trip abroad next July to see my god-daughter get married.
My one wish: I wish medical professionals would treat me as a whole person instead of individual problems. At times many have not considered the effect of the treatment they’ve given me and how it impacts on other existing health conditions.
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