Saturday, March 19, 2005

FINALLY! Something exciting to write about.

I have been in the hospital for the past week.
(I bet that was something you don't normally expect to read on this site.)

It all started last Sunday. In the mysterious dark of the early morning hours I awoke with a sharp, painful feeling in my abdomen. I tried to ignore it and went back to sleep. When I fully awoke a few hours later, the pain remanded. It felt sort of like food poisoning pain that Tegan and I had experienced a few months ago after some ill-fated Bob Evans salads. So, I thought back and remembered some breakfast sausage that I reheated on Saturday morning and surmised that it was bad. I told T. that I was feeling some pain and she told me to stay in bed. We ended up staying home from church that day and Tegan kept the kids away from me, thinking (whatever it was) that it might be contagious and we didn't want the kids to get it.

So, I stayed on the bed all day, trying to ignore the pain that kind of came and went. Tegan kept up with the kids downstairs while I watched conference tournament basketball games and an endless supply of bad sci-fi movies on cable (2010, Mission to Mars). The best part of the day was when Ruth wanted to come upstairs and eat her snack on the bed with me (apparently she missed me). She ate cheese and crackers; I sipped bullion broth and nibbled on some crackers; we watched Florida demolish Kentucky in the SEC tournament final for about ten minutes.

That night I wasn't feeling any better and had only briefly thrown up one time, so I should have guessed that it wasn't food poisoning, but I didn't. I woke up on Monday and didn't feel any better. I told Tegan that I had better stay home from work and see if I could get over this. She got the kids ready for school and I stayed up in bed, dozing, trying to find comfortable positions, ignoring the fairly constant abdominal pains, watching ESPN, Angel and Buffy reruns, sleeping some more, trying to read, eating absolutely nothing. (It never dawned on me that I was not using the bathroom very much. . . .)

Tegan decided that what I had wasn't some kind of 24-48 hour stomach virus, since I wasn't throwing up and wasn't showing any improvements either. So that afternoon we went to the local urgent care and after an hour of waiting I told the doctor (Dr. Vaughn--even though he looked more like Weiss than Sydney's lovah) my story. He took some x-rays and . . .
(I should stop and say that here comes all the graphic, embarrassing, biological stuff that you only talk about when sick and putting yourself in the care of others--if you are offended by these things then stop reading now, but I warn you . . . you'll miss a good story.)
the doctor said that I looked to be pretty constipated. I then realized that, yeah, I hadn't had any bowel movements in several days but I chalked that up to eating nothing since Saturday. I wondered if the large portion of spaghetti that I had eaten on Saturday night was the culprit behind all of my problems. So, the doctor prescribed a laxative pill to take before I went to bed and suggested I try an enema as well. Which . . . I did.

By Tuesday morning, no improvements. The pain was still there and maybe getting a bit worse. I called in sick to work again and this time Tegan stayed home with me. The Weiss-like Dr. Vaughn warned me that their facilities didn't have all the medical equipment and if things didn't get better to go the a family doctor or to the hospital for more advanced checks. Tegan took me to the hospital that morning and after a brief wait in the ER lobby, we were assigned a trauma room and they got all my vitals, started asking questions, and began thinking.

They decided to take a CAT scan of my abs. That, unfortunately meant I had to drink 2 Big Gulp-sized cups of something that they called "contrast." It tasted a bit like fruit punch with a mediciny aftertaste. I threw up 1/2 of the first Big Gulp and struggled through the next cup after about another 45 minutes of small sips. Then we waited for the CAT scan machine to free up. I was scanned, and the verdict was NOT constipation (I was very happy that I wouldn't have to have THAT be my big sickness.) Instead, it appeared that I had some obstruction in my small intestine that was preventing everything from operating and causing the pain. They didn't know WHAT the obstruction was, but the best chance to fix everything was to operate . . .

(more to come later . . .)

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