"Fantastic service all round!"
About: Heavitree Hospital / Day case surgery Heavitree Hospital Day case surgery EX1 2ED Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital (Wonford) / Colorectal surgery Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital (Wonford) Colorectal surgery EX2 5DW
Posted by shortjosh (as ),
I was first admitted to the RD&E in October 2012 with acute diarrhoea. I was quickly diagnosed with ulcerative colitis but didn't respond to steroid or immunosuppressant treatment.
After a few days I was rushed to theatre for an emergency subtotal colectomy, performed by Steve Mansfield. My colon had perforated and I was quite close to dying. I spent nearly a week in ITU before being moved to Lyme Ward where I stayed for another 5 weeks, suffering from a post-operative ileus, unable to eat and requiring an NG tube and TPN feeding through a PICC line.
I eventually recovered and in August 2013 I had keyhole surgery performed again by Steve, to create an ileo-anal pouch, or j-pouch. I spent 5 days on Lyme Ward again, this time recovering well. I was back in again for the reversal or "takedown" surgery in October 2013, this time I spent 4 nights on Lyme Ward again.
The story should finish here but sadly I was never able to shift the ulcerative colitis in the small part of my rectum which had to remain as part of the pouch anastomosis. I spent the next 15 months having regular consultations with the GI medical team, including Drs Tariq Ahmed and Abhey Singh. I tried several treatments including prednisolone and infliximab infusions. I was hospitalised three times in early 2014, spending an average of four nights each time on either Exe or Oakment Wards. I also had two day-case surgeries in the second half of 2014 to drain abscesses and fistulae and to fit seton stitches, these were also performed by Steve at the Heavitree Road site.
I decided in late 2014 that I no longer wanted to try to make the j-pouch work, and in January 2015 was admitted for pouch excision and proctocolectomy surgery, again with Steve Mansfield, in partnership with Andrew Gee. I suffered from a slight post-operative ileus again and was discharged from Lyme Ward 8 days later.
I'm now nearly six weeks out from the surgery and I'm feeling better than I've felt in the last three years. The stoma that Steve has created this time is a textbook example, absolutely no issues with it whatsoever and it looks so clean and neat, as do the scars from the laparotomy and proctocolectomy.
I really can't begin to thank everyone who has been, almost without exception, absolutely fantastic throughout my treatment. I've always felt that the doctors and surgeons have been excellent, particularly in consultations where I've always felt that the information I've been given is clear and my questions answered.
But mostly I'd like to thank the nurses, particularly those on Lyme Ward, who have had to deal with many weeks of me, who will freely admit to being a fairly difficult patient. I am extremely nervous and prone to panic attacks during even the most innoculus of procedures and treatments, but I've always been put at ease by the nurses there, who are full of care and compassion unreservedly, and always have plenty of time for me. I'd also like to thank the Stoma Care Nurses whose patience and education made the transition to being an "ostomate" as simple as possible.