Working on Those Intestinal Issues

Hospital 12-18-10

So. I’m in the hospital right now. I’m physically comfortable (somewhat) for the first time in a few months – I can’t tell you what a relief THAT is. (Don’t ever take your physical comfort for granted, trust me).

I’ll tell you right now that this post is going to be too much information, so I apologize in advance if it makes you cringe. But this is what is going on with me and maybe it’ll help someone in a similar situation.

It all began last week … about Tuesday, I think. I’ve mentioned several times on this blog before that I’ve had intestinal issues on and off for several years now. I usually just ride out the discomfort until things get back to normal.

I had every intention of riding this last bout out too, but this last bout was unusual in that it was a lot more painful and it just wouldn’t go away.

Finally, I couldn’t handle the pain anymore – it was becoming unbearable. The question was – walk-in clinic, or the ER?

Kevin and I weighed our options, talked it over and then finally decided to go to the walk-in clinic thinking if it was easily fixable I would get in and out A LOT quicker and it would be A LOT cheaper than if I went to the hospital.

I was seen right away. I told them that I was feeling a lot of painful pressure in my abdomen and that I hadn’t had a bowel movement in several days. My stomach was also severely distended – I looked six months pregnant, that’s how bad it was.

In fact, if I hadn’t been feeling so bad, it would have amused me the number of times people kept asking me, “Are you SURE you’re not pregnant?” Because honestly, I really looked it.

The doctor treated me with indifference. He wasn’t rude, just sort of bored and indifferent. I didn’t care at that point, I just wanted relief. They did an x-ray, then about five minutes later, wanted to do another x-ray.

Kevin had to take off, he was meeting his landlord for his new office (more on that in another post), but we both knew if they wanted to take another x-ray, this wasn’t as cut and dried as they thought it was.

I went back to the exam room and in five minutes, they called for me. The doctor that saw me was standing with another doctor and both were shaking their heads and whispering while looking at what I presumed were my x-rays.

I started to get nervous.

They showed me my x-rays and I’ll tell ya folks, I could tell they were a mess the moment I laid eyes on them. I had a TON of packed fecal matter along with MASSIVE gas bubbles completely clogging my large intestine.

It didn’t look good.

The doctor was no longer bored and indifferent, he was quite serious and a bit more animated. He told me they didn’t have the equipment necessary to help there and that he recommended I go to the ER as in NOW.

They burned copies of the x-rays onto a disk and I left.

I went home. I wasn’t going to no stinkin’ hospital!

HA! Just kidding. I’m stubborn but not stupid.

I told the boys what was going on (Kevin was still at his meeting – we had taken separate cars), then started packing an overnight case (or in my case, a loaded up a Wal-Mart bag), just in case I had to stay overnight. I called Kevin and waited for him to come home so he could drive me to the ER.

The clinic had called ahead so the hospital was expecting me. That was nice as I didn’t have to wait six hours to be seen (actually, in all fairness, the ER wasn’t even that busy so I was able to get in right away anyway).

They showed me to a room, had me strip down and don the humiliating hospital gown and gave me an iodine drink to prep me for the CT scan. (The iodine marks a path and makes reading a CT scan easier).

After waiting an hour after drinking the iodine, they wheeled me down for the scan.

Since they were taking a good look at my intestines, they had to inject more dye into my, erhm, lady hole while I laid on my back with my arms over my head. I was slid into the machine and told to hold my breath while they took some pictures. After that was done, I was wheeled back to my room in the ER to await the results.

About another hour later (WHY does everything take so long in the hospital), the ER doctor came in to tell me they were going to send me home. He said some other things but honestly, I was so shocked that they were going to send me home that I sort of tuned out the rest of what he was saying.

Fortunately, another doctor had also looked at my CT scans and he noticed that not only was my large intestine overly swollen, but that it also narrowed at one point and they were concerned about that narrowing.

He vetoed the other doctor’s orders and they admitted me.

(Kevin and I STILL can’t believe that doctor was going to send us home. I mean .. HELLO?!? I’m six months pregnant and writhing in pain, SOMETHING is wrong with this picture, dude!)

My room was cramped and I had a roommate. She was recovering from her own surgery (she had had to have 10 inches of her intestine removed due to infection!) and was on the road to recovery. I’m afraid I wasn’t a very good roommate – I was in so much pain I couldn’t think straight let alone carry on a conversation. They finally gave me some morphine and OMG, I was pain free and actually comfortable for the first time in WEEKS. I immediately went to sleep. I wasn’t allowed to drink or eat anything and only relied on ice chips to quench my thirst.

The doctor came in and told me that they were going to have to do a colonoscopy so they could get a better look at the narrowing in my intestine. They wheeled me down to do the procedure.

I was nervous, but honestly, I just wanted them to fix whatever was going on with me – screw being embarrassed about a roomful of strangers getting a good look at my lady hole.

And as if getting a colonoscopy wasn’t embarrassing enough, I recognized one of the nurses – she had helped Kevin when he was in the hospital recovering from his motorcycle accident. She didn’t recognize me at first, but when I told her about Kevin, she remembered him and we chit-chatted for a little while.

And the whole time I was thinking, “THIS ISN’T AWKWARD. Nope, not at all.”

They had me lay on my side, injected some sleepy juice into my IV and before I could ask her what it was, I was out. The next thing I remember I was waking up in my room and seeing Kevin sitting in the chair opposite the bed. I remember saying, “Oh look! I’m back in my room,” but Kevin said I told him about seeing that nurse that had taken care of him about five times before that – I have no recollection of doing that. He said that I would recount the story, then pause for a few minutes, and then repeat the story again. He said the last time I told him about seeing the nurse, he responded with a, “Yeah, I know,” and I acted totally surprised that he knew the outcome of the story and said, “how did you know that!”

I bet my roommate had a good laugh.

I also apparently sang, “Born Free!”

I think he’s lying about that part, but who knows, I WAS grateful that I wasn’t feeling any more pressure, that’s for sure.

In addition to sucking out the gas and cleaning out as much of the fecal matter than he could, they found that my intestine had twisted. The doctor illustrated it by comparing it to one of the long balloons that party clowns use to make party animals out of it – you know, that twist in the animals. He opened up the twist, put in a stint and that was going to serve as my short-term solution until we could schedule a time I could come back in to get that twisted part cut out of my intestine and they would sew the portions back together again.

I was sort of relieved that it was something physical and simply not a diet issue, which would have been a little harder to control, I’m sure. I was also relieved to find out that it wasn’t a tumor or anything more serious as well.

They wouldn’t give me any more morphine. Apparently, my blood pressure went up while I was on it and they thought there was some correlation between the morphine and the pressure, so they gave me some sort of pain killer with Benedryl in it. It made me extremely sleepy and I slept like the dead for two hours before waking up with a headache from hell.

I knew the headache was either from my sinuses or a caffeine withdrawal (because I hadn’t had any coffee in a few days). But the staff wouldn’t give me anything but extra-strength Tylenol which did absolutely nothing for my headache and it went on so long that I did what I always do when I don’t get a handle on my headaches – I vomited. Multiple times. Only they were dry heaves because I had absolutely nothing in my stomach, not even water.

It was painful and quite frustrating, but at least it would serve to relieve the pressure from my head for a little while before the cycle started all over again.

To say I had a rough night that first night would be putting it mildly.

Finally I had had enough. I asked Kevin to bring me some Aleve D from home and I took it. (I refused to take anymore of the Benedryl and the blood thinner they kept INSISTING was necessary and which I kept INSISTING was not [I had only been in bed for a day, I couldn’t possibly have been a blood clot risk at that point] and since I wasn’t on any other medications, I knew it would be safe to take the Aleve).

The nurses were NOT happy with me when they found out I had taken an Aleve. They hurriedly told the doctor who “approved” the medicine and they were able to add it to the orders. I know I probably shouldn’t have done that, but I was desperate and what sort of hospital doesn’t carry something with Pseudoephedrine – I mean seriously).

Even though the Aleve made my headache less intense, it didn’t get rid of it and I continued to vomit. I then knew it had to be caffeine withdrawal and I took a couple of Excedrin Migraine, again knowing that I wasn’t taking any other sort of complicated medications that it would have an adverse reaction to.

It worked. My headache from hell FINALLY went away.

I never told the nurses about taking the Excedrin. And I know, I sort of suck as a patient – refusing medicines I don’t think I need (they kept trying to give me anti-nausea medicine, too – which didn’t work, I might add) and taking unauthorized medicines, but dang it people, I know my body and what it needs. Again, I wouldn’t have done any of that if I had been on anything with an unpronounceable name without first checking with the nurses.

I had to stay another night. I’m not sure why, if you want the truth, but before they would release me the next day, I had had to have a bowel movement – which I couldn’t do. I just couldn’t do it. Nothing would come out.

They made me drink a large bottle of some sickly sweet magnesium concoction, which after waiting for an hour didn’t produce anything. Then I had to have an enema – clear. Then they made me take some laxatives – no go. And last but not least, they made me drink prune juice followed by a hot tea.

Still … nothing. I did produce clear muscusy-looking stuff, but no poo. Finally, they gave up on me and discharged me. They were supposed to send someone to me and wheel me out, but I saw Kevin drive up to pick me up and I got impatient and walked out.

I KNOW! I’m a terrible patient!!

Monday night, Jazz had his Christmas, oops, excuse me, HOLIDAY concert at school. I wanted to go, but I was physically MISERABLE! I had so much stuff in me and SO MUCH PRESSURE that I seriously thought I was going to explode (and coincidentally, nothing ever came out). However, I decided to go at the last minute and I’m glad I did. He played a solo in one of the songs and when it was over he made an effort to find me, Kevin and Dude in the crowd and I gave him a big thumbs up. He smiled and that moment was worth all of the physical discomfort.

I felt a little better on Tuesday – all of that stuff had worked it’s way through my system, but by Tuesday night, I was doubled over in pain once again. I still hadn’t had a BM or had passed any gas and I was in serious pain.

Kevin suggested I use a heating pad, which helped A LOT, but only if I kept it there, which meant I spent most of the day Tuesday flat on my back with a heating pad pressed to my belly.

We talked about going back to the doctor on Wednesday but he left the ultimate decision up to me.

Tuesday was another rough day and we decided I really needed to go back to the ER. I had called the office of the doctor who had worked on me in the hospital, but they just told me that if I was having difficulty, to go back to the ER.

So, that’s what we did.

Kevin dropped me off at 7:30 this morning and then left to take the boys to school and get some stuff done.

They took more x-rays of me, saw that my x-rays looked exactly as they had when I was admitted the first time and promptly admitted me. They were telling me that the poo in my intestines (and there was still a significant amount) had likely impacted, which meant they had attached to my intestinal wall.


They promptly gave me another colonoscopy, only it wasn’t a colonoscopy, it was a flexi-scope which in essence is a little more detailed than a colonoscopy and inserted a rectal tube to help drain the BM and expel the gas. (See? TMI!!!)

So, here I sit. In my new hospital room (which I like better because it’s a bit bigger than my last one) watching TV with my new roomie, who is a sweet, spunky old woman, waiting to see the doctor so I can find out when my surgery will be scheduled.

Because apparently, they aren’t releasing me this time until this problem has been fixed. I’ve sort of reached emergency status, I guess.

It doesn’t sound like it’s going to be THAT big of a deal, but you know any surgery shouldn’t be taken lightly. I’m really bummed that it looks like I will likely be in the hospital over Christmas but I’m optimistic, if they perform the surgery tomorrow, maybe I can go home Friday night??

We’ll see.

At any rate, we may have to postpone Christmas until I get home. But my guys are cool with that – they will just be relieved to see me back to normal and not doubled over with pain.

So. I’m BACK in the hospital right now but BACK on the road to getting better.

Finally – my intestinal issues will FINALLY be resolved. Thank God.

UPDATED: I just talked to the doctor – I’m scheduled to have surgery tomorrow around 3 or 4 in the afternoon. Since this is an emergency and they haven’t had a chance to completely clean me out, they will have to cut a little more than they had anticipated, which means it will take me a little longer to recover. They will not release me until I’ve had a BM and everything seems to be back to normal which means I likely won’t get to go home until next Tuesday!!! I’m going to miss Christmas!! I can’t tell you how bummed about this I am! My guys want to postpone Christmas until I get home, but we might celebrate in my room if my roomie is gone by then, we’ll see. At any rate, this is going to be a really weird holiday, that’s for sure. Wah!

Abundant Life

Audio Teaching: Women: Man’s View or God’s View?

by Sue Carlson
This sequel to The Role of Women in the Church (Mar/Apr ’96) and The Role of Women in the Church – 2 (May/Jun ’01) clarifies 3 challenging sections of Scripture. First, it explains 1 Corinthians 11:1-16, which is a challenging section of Scripture about headship, men and women, and customs in a worship service. Second, it explains 1 Corinthians 14:33-35, which, as it is commonly translated, seems to indicate that women should not speak in a church service. Thirdly, it delves into the concepts of headship and submission of Ephesians 5:22-33. The teaching closes with an overview of Esther, a captivating woman whose courage saved the Israelites from destruction during their captivity in Persia. This teaching is a powerful encouragement to women who have doubted God’s calling because of false interpretations of difficult passages of Scripture.

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