Friday, August 31, 2012

When Eating Right Isn't Exactly Healthy

Absolutely nothing puts politics and the internet community into the perspective it deserves like having a loved one experience a life threatening medical emergency. I actually believe I'm incapable of finding the right words to describe the shock I felt over it so I'll just describe what happened.

The call from my office with a request for me to call my daughter-in-law came on Tuesday as I was getting ready to leave my client. It took me three tries before I could get the number written down because I knew something was terribly wrong. I called her, received the news that Hubby was in the ER at our local hospital.

I called Oldest to let him know I was on my way. Hubby's two brothers have had heart attacks and there is that history there so I prayed all the way there that we wouldn't be facing that problem. We weren't, but the one we were facing was just as bad.

He'd been there for about an hour by the time I got there. He was vomiting in a way I've never seen him vomit. He had massive abdominal pain, was shivering so badly I thought he'd fall off the gurney a couple of times. They were focusing on the possibility of food poisoning or due to the area of pain, appendicitis. He had a white blood cell count of 17,000 and normal would be less than 10,000.

The doctor asked the him to put a number between 1 and 10 to his level of pain and while he took a moment to consider it, Oldest said: "He's here, it's a 10". They gave him shots for nausea, more shots for pain and still he would shiver, writhe and vomit. At this point, blood tests, xray and ultrasound weren't disclosing what the problem was. Since treatment wasn't helping they decided to go for a CT scan.

Hubby was a trooper, drank the entire quart of contrast and managed to keep it down long enough for them to find out the problem. When the doctor came back to talk to us it wasn't good news. He had a small bowel blockage. They inserted a nasogastric tube and shipped him up to Med/Surg. The oncall surgeon was notified. He chose to try to move the blockage via fluids keeping him comfortable and eliminating the pain via the NG tube.

He wasn't improved the next morning and when the surgeon talked to him, found out there had never been any kind of surgery to cause scar tissue to form it was bada bing, bada boom into surgery within the hour. Laparoscopic Exploratory Surgery. As Dr. put it, he cut him open and pulled out his small intestines until he found 2 unhappy sections. They are unhappy because of scar tissue not the tumor that he was expecting to find. How he had inflammation in his small intestines bad enough to cause ulcers to form and then heal on their own without any suffering on his part is beyond all of us

Hubby has Crohns Disease. Something he's probably had all of his life, and undiagnosed because other than occasional bouts with gas, he's never had any strong symptoms. While he was in there, he removed the appendix because with Hub's pain where it is, any doctor in any ER will waste time working to rule that out before looking at anything else. He also cut the scar tissue that was constricting the bowel and causing the blockage.

The Mediterranean diet that I've been feeding us is partly to blame for what happened. All those lovely gas producing veggies, the higher fiber and whole grains are totally not what Crohns sufferers should be eating. I'm going to have to cook my meals and something else for him.

I can't get him out of there fast enough to suit me but I also want him capable of staying out of there. He should be coming home tomorrow or Sunday if he continues to improve. With no insurance and a bill that is most likely equal to an entire year of our income, I believe we may be paying for this until we die. Which, hopefully, won't be for quite awhile yet.


  1. Hang in there. Look at the Mayo clinic web site, they usually have diet advice on every ailment. Maybe they will have additional info for you.

  2. Sometimes we get a reality check that reminds us what is really important: life and living - the one's we love. Get him home and live life together. It is easy for me to say, but don't let the bills become the obsession: a Buddhist perspective - living our life each day is the focus. Deal with what you are capable and accept what you are not.

    Many hospitals and doctors will work with you - if not there is always legal help available.

    My wife and I have been there: you are in our thoughts, for what that is worth.
    the Ol'Buzzard

  3. Sherry, thank God he's okay and will be home, that's the blessing, even though a bill like you said is unavoidable and perhaps a worry. Usually hospitals can write off a big chunk of it based on your incomes, lets hope so. If you have to pay them $10 a month if that's all you can afford, and they will have to accept it.

  4. Sherry: At the very least, you won't be surprised when you get the hospital and doctor bills.

  5. Sherry, how is your hubby doing?