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Surviving a 21-hour Blockage Without Pain Meds

I Would Rather Give Birth

At least she has an epidural!

A lot can happen in 24 hours. It’s been said by several people already: I jinxed myself blogging about my last blockage that I had in December (Part 1 and Part 2). Yesterday was a day and night of utter misery with yet another blockage. Yay, right?

Why the photo of the pregnant woman? I’ve had a family friend who experiences occasional IBS tell me that she’d rather give birth again than have another round of IBS and she is sure that the pain I go through with my blockages is worse than her IBS. Nothing against women; that came from a woman with 3 kids. That’s the kind of day I have when I have a blockage. So, I should have something like 20 kids by now…

It wasn’t my fault again

At about 7am, I noticed I still wasn’t quite feeling well from the late night before. I felt like I’d eaten greasy hamburgers, but I’d had a very healthy meal. Something just didn’t feel right. I checked my travel enzyme bottle and confirmed I’d taken my Zenpep. I had a normal breakfast and lunch and was sure to take enzymes with my cheese and crackers.

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Forget to Take Their Enzymes

This entry is part 7 of 19 in the series What CFers Do

Huh?Enzyme Amnesia: When you’re chowing down on your food and you can’t remember to save your life if you already took your enzymes. The glass isn’t an indicator, because you didn’t drink milk tonight and you’re OCD about putting the enzymes back in the same spot on the table, so that’s no help either.

If you’re like me (a life-long recovering meconium ileus patient {see scar here}), skipping enzymes leads to a very bad situation in about 24 hours if you neglected to partake from the enzyme buffet: an intestinal blockage that usually requires professional intervention. For me, I now have it down to an exact science.

The symptoms and steps to recovery

  • If I feel intestinal aches, I think back to exactly 24 hour prior and what I had to eat. Did it include a lot of cheese or even a little melted cheese?
  • I stop eating at this point if the answer is “yes” and try to drink more than usual, while being conscious of whether I still feel full a long time after a big drink.
  • I wait 4-12 hours to see if the aches turn to cramps and if the cramps do the job of clearing out the blockage on its own – that has only happened 4 times in my life.
  • When the cramps turn into grand-mal “oh, I’m going to kill someone if I don’t get immediate help” pains, we go to the ER and I have them pull my history of obstructions. I point out how the symptoms, treatments, and results are all the same in the end and they should just do as I say and get me out faster.

I’ve noticed that ER doctors and nurses don’t like being the ones who don’t know exactly what is going on with my body, even though I do, so they are often reluctant to do what I ask without anywhere from one to four tests first. Thankfully, they are always quick to provide morphine (even before IV fluids when my port is already accessed, if you can believe that). Sometimes, they “comply” and simply do an x-ray and then take my suggestion for treatment since it’s relatively non-invasive and HAS to be cheaper than their alternative tests, which can include hours’ long waits for a contrast CT scan.

What works for Fatboy?

Stop reading now if you don’t want to know what cleans out my pipes and how they get there.
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