The seton is gone

If you haven’t talked to me lately (or you’re not a medical professional), you have no idea what that means.

While trying not to gross out all my readers, I haven’t said too much in blog posts about Bruce’s rear end, but this is what we’ve been dealing with for a year. I have been telling people one-on-one about the most recent manifestation of his Crohn’s disease – the fistula in his bottom, which sent us to the hospital for six days in December, or the third time in 2007.

On Dec. 19, he had surgery on a perianal fistula. The surgeon sliced it open, drained the pus (sorry) and inserted a seton. As if Bruce’s bottom hasn’t been sore enough, this seton (a knotted string) has caused even more pain and trouble during bathroom time – and, of course, during sitting, walking and even sleeping time.

The string was supposed to work its way out naturally as the fistula healed. We have returned for follow-up appointments with the surgeon every 10-14 days. On those visits, the surgeon has added rubber bands to tighten the seton and speed healing. After those visits, the pain is a lot worse for a few days. The last two or three times, the doc has said, “It’ll probably come out before your next visit.” But each time we returned, he kept having to add bands. A month ago, when he added the seventh and eighth rubber bands, he said that was a record. Then two weeks ago, he added two more – 10 rubber bands in all.

This week Bruce could tell he was really close to giving birth to the thing, but it just stubbornly hung on. It must have been like a pregnant woman in her 10th month!

And Friday was the visit at which the doctor was tired of waiting. So he sliced it out of there.

I had to leave the room.

Doc used a numbing agent, but it was very mild and the procedure was still painful. And the numbing agent wore off before we even got home. Bruce was in a lot of pain – and still is, but it is better now that he has rested for a few hours and taken some pain medication, something he would never do before last year. I mean, I couldn’t even get him to take ibuprofen for a sprained ankle. But he has taken his pain meds this year, many times without prompting.

He hurts, people.

But the string is gone, and we’re glad.

We had been joking about getting rid of the “string up his butt,” and for days I had my headline already written – “No strings attached” – but it didn’t seem so funny after I saw him nearly crying yesterday (okay, he actually cried for a few seconds, but I’m not sure he’d want me to tell you).

So, if you read his blog and he writes nobly about how strings up your butt can make you philosophical, believe him.

But also believe me when I tell you that philosophical is not the only thing he has been feeling lately.

And, for those of you who have been asking, we are still waiting to hear whether Monday’s CT scan revealed another fistula. His GI doc is supposed to get the results “in 3-5 business days.”

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2 thoughts on “The seton is gone

  • Pingback: Unstrung « Brulog

  • Sunday, February 24, 2008 at 7:07 pm
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    Pain is Pain is Pain…whereever, whenever however…
    It is one of the great “equalizers” no one wants to have to experience. I’m glad for you both, that there are now “no strings attached!” I will be praying about those CT results.

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