I couldn’t wait until morning when every one would wake, and I could get out of my bed. I wanted to be with my family, especially my little girl. But even then, I had to wait until my bag was done dripping, so I could just disconnect it, and head to the washroom for my morning routine. If I couldn’t wait it out, I wheeled the stand – borrowed from the community health center – that held the bag, right into the washroom a few feet away.
The first thing I would do is brush my teeth. Not because I was worried about my morning breath; but since my operation, I would wake up with a film all over my mouth. Laying down flat caused this, so I began sleeping with a higher pillow. The film felt thick like gelatin, clutching to my gums and tongue. It prevented me from speaking. I felt disgusted by this mysterious, tasteless jelly. I brushed my teeth and tongue, and spit several times, but the jelly could be stubborn enough that it would not detach itself from my mouth. Even if I’d wake at five in the morning, which was often the case, I needed to take care of that jelly-like feeling.
Occasionally, there would be coloured remnants in my spit from the previous night’s final tastings. If I had eaten strawberries, there would be red in my saliva. Usually I would forget that I had them, and wonder why I was bleeding. Chocolate occasionally showed up in the morning too.
I’ve told my surgeon about this disturbing film. “Could it be bile?”
“No, you’ve been reconstructed so that it doesn’t come up.” The surgeon sketched one of his diagrams of my interior torso. He explained how the duodenum, I believe it was, and where it was situated, prevented the bile from rising. I didn’t feel completely comfortable with the explanation, but was assured he was. I don’t think I ever got the answer to what the film in my mouth could be, if it wasn’t bile. Other patients of this operation have questioned this disturbing new mouth jelly – also without a satisfactory response. Maybe the doctors just don’t know what it is.
Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you. Hope you give all your loved ones hugs and kisses!