Once Upon a Time

Every journey has a beginning. I guess this is mine.

I spent most of Halloween with abdominal pain. Gutted through the day and Trick or Treating, because that’s just what we do. I took November 1st off of work, hoping this was something that I could sleep off, or it was just something that I ate. My wife ended up taking me to urgent care and hilarity ensued. Around midnight, I found out via CT scan that I had a partial blockage of my colon and an appointment with the Gastero.

My appointment with the Gastero doesn’t yield much, except a Colonoscopy on Monday and not one, but two gallons of prep to drink over the weekend. The thought being, drink as much of the first gallon that I can tolerate and it might loosen things up and relieve some of my pain. Sunday, drink the second gallon and get ready for my close ups. If you’ve ever had a Colonoscopy, you know what a ridiculously daunting task this is. Two gallons of that nonsense. I’ve reported my Gastero to the Hague, as this was a crime against humanity, and I’m still waiting for them to call me back.

Then Friday happened. I guess it would be more accurate to say…didn’t happen. That evening, my partial blockage turned into a full blockage and a trip to the ER. (No Gas. No Ammo, Sergeant!) Hilarity ensues once more and I’m admitted to the hospital. A potential of Monday (maybe Tuesday) surgery, means no eating or drinking for me. Fortunately, my blockage allows things to pass again. I say I’m fortunate, because I end up getting a partial Colonoscopy at the hospital. This means my surgery gets postponed until Thursday. Armed with some CT scans and my pictures, the surgeon can see what he’s getting into and it’s not a blind emergency surgery.

I’ll take a short break from the story to point something out. Surgery got postponed from Tuesday until Thursday. I last ate something on Friday November 3rd. Surgery is Thursday November 9th. Six days. No food. This would kinda become a theme during my stay, “No Food or Drink”.

Surgery goes great. I end up getting 14″ of my Colon removed, which seems like a lot. In talking with my Mom and Wife the surgeon is absolutely giddy. Apparently, he’s never seen anyone with as long a Large Intestine as what I had. I live to serve.

I spend the next couple of days recovering from surgery with enough tubes and lines coming into and out of me; I feel like the world’s most inefficient IV filter. After about 2 days, all the lines come out, to include the NGT that is pumping out the contents of my stomach to take the pressure off of my small intestines so they can wake up. Which means, you guessed it, no food. Once the NGT comes out I’m ecstatic to order from my … clear liquids only menu. Great. instant beef and chicken broth, Jello, and an Italian ice for dessert.

Apparently, not all of my intestines got the message it was time to get back to work or a segment just wanted to sleep in a little bit longer. After enjoying two days of delicacies like Orange and Yellow Jello, the NGT goes back in. In truth, I enjoyed two meals of clear foods. I spend the next few days in misery. They end up putting in a PIC or Central IV so they can shove a pre-mixed bag of food straight into me that looks kinda like a vanilla milk shake, but is nowhere near as satisfying.

This goes on until about November 20th. At that point, my NGT is capped and the nurses start measuring how much fluid is being generated for around 16 hours. The magic number is 300 mL. If it’s under 300mL and I’m up for it, the NGT can come back out. 65mL later the NGT comes out and I get to sample clear foods for breakfast. After a meal or two, I get progressed to pudding. Pudding then takes me to a low residue diet on 21 November. My choice? A cheese burger, fries and pudding. Come on.

For those of you playing the home game, I went from November 9th until November 21st without eating. Yeah. I lost about 30lbs in the Hospital. Effective, but not a method I’d recommend.

Nervously, I get discharged on 22 November; the day before Thanksgiving. I say nervously, because we still had a lot of questions that were not completely answered. Due to some complications in the Hospital, I also have a 12″ wound in my stomach from the surgery that is healing really slowly.


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