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You Puked How Far?

This entry is part [part not set] of 19 in the series What CFers Do
DO NOT read any further unless you want to read about the funniest, most amazing account of the above subject you’ve ever read or are likely to read in the future. Okay, maybe I’m just the only person crazy and confident enough to write about it.

©2008-2011 ~tissuepaperbeggar

Yesterday was another typical day in Emergency Room Hell that is called TGH. I may or may not write about it later, though I’ll likely do an educational piece about my 10th or so visit as an adult CFer with a bowel obstruction. As some of us are familiar with our surgeries at birth that involve a high blockage, throwing up is often a part of the event. One time I was in a rush and forgot to take my meds while eating a 12″ baked sub with melted cheese on it. It wasn’t the last time I saw that sub.

Well, I managed to have an all-new experience yesterday at the ripe old age of 32.94 years. After my last 3 blockages, I’ve been quite tender after my treatment for several days. It’s actually alarming the next day how sore and distended I am, but I know my body well enough to know I’m clear and it’s all a part of getting older with cystic fibrosis. Last night was no different. I was still very tender as I left the ER, but I proceeded to the car as Beautiful pulled up to the ER drop-off and pick-up after going to the garage for me.

We had barely left the hospital as I felt a couple of waves of nausea. I’d been feeling the worst heartburn of my life all day and assumed it was because I’d missed 2 doses of my Prilosec. When I’d cough, the burning got worse and I almost lost it a couple of times laying in my tiny bed. It got worse and worse all day until it hit its max at Kennedy and Ashley. Down went the window, probably for dual purpose. If the light hadn’t been red at the time, I wouldn’t have had time to recover and it would have been “game over.”

A little info about Beautiful… she hasn’t puked since she was a wee one. When she gets sick, she sits as still as possible until she feels okay enough to move. When I start to feel sick, she has done everything from run away to get a bucket and run away to run upstairs and call her mom to put her on alert that she might need to come over. I have only lost it once since we’ve been married and never in our house. It’s an old apartment memory about 4 years ago. I’m doing pretty good, eh?

So, back to the drive. I was constantly falling asleep all the way home because I still had an hour-old dose of morphine in my system. She stopped in the driveway to let me out rather than clamber around the front of the car beside the chest freezer while I was so disoriented.

How sweet.

How fortunate.

I stopped by the freezer for a second to regain myself after another wave of nausea hit. I took another step in front of the door and paused again. Beautiful saw that and waited until I was inside before pulling in.

Inside and with the door closed, I stood there for a solid 5 seconds before it hit again. HARD! This was it. You know, that time you have to decide immediately what to do.

Front door? No, mess on the sidewalk after dark is no fun.

Upstairs bathroom? I won’t make it.

Downstairs bathroom? I won’t make it now – I wasted too many milliseconds and the target is too small.

Kitchen sink? There are clean dishes on the left side, but I think I can ma

I took one step toward the sink and felt it start. I got a second step and saw a pink/orange fountain erupt in front of my face, gently arcing upward. I made it to the sink at the same time as the projectile. With the exception of the washcloth hanging from the faucet, the one little bit on the breakfast bar edging, and the small splatter on the baking sheet on the left side of the sink, it ALL made it in the empty side of the sink!

There, I discovered the source of my heartburn: the pulp of the orange slices I’d had at small group the night before, a small shred of cheddar cheese, and a bit of ground beef from the chili right before the oranges. Apparently I was already in deep trouble before dinner, meaning dinner was a really bad idea.

Then the horror hit me. Beautiful was going to come inside to this mess. Quick! Clean it up! Nope, I wasn’t done. She took at least 30 seconds to come in and I was still standing there over my filth, completely aware of how acidic it smelled. She walked in, asked if I was okay, and said, “I’m going upstairs to take a shower. When I’m done, I’ll have fresh clothes for you to put on after your shower.” 😉

I got out of the shower and all of the dishes and the counter top had been cleaned and Windex’d. She told me this morning that she’d sprayed the whole downstairs and stairwell with Lysol and was afraid the smell was going to make me cough. It didn’t.

All in all, I got 98% of my puke in a 12″x12″ sink from at least 8′ away. That has to be some sort of world record. It’s at least a personal record.

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  1. rburkhalter30 says

    When Shelby was an infant, she had projectile vomiting. You could of had a contest. She definitely had some distance. Kristin is a tough one. Throw up makes me throw up. Glad you are on the road to feeling better.

    • Jesse Petersen says

      @rburkhalter30 I *rarely* puke. My only memories of it as a kid were with the flu and when they’d fill me to the top trying to clear a blockage with medical Draino. I refuse such futile methods now.

  2. I read most of this post laughing and saying ‘gross’, at the same time. Of course, not laughing at your discomfort, but definitely enjoying that you can maintain a sense of humor about the whole thing and even share it with us. I think my love for gross stories is one of my better qualities as a CF mom.

    • Jesse Petersen says

      @AmyWynn I am SO glad you like gross things. My next one today is along the same lines, only the opposite end of the system. People say my best qualities are my humor in sickness (morphine helps) and my patience. I would have liked to be more patient, but they lost that right this trip very early on. I’ll write a bit about doctors, charts, and listening this week.

  3. BrittneyRiley says

    That is an amazing feat. I am impressed. I am also impressed at your ability to paint a picture in words. I haven’t quite made it 8 feet. 4 feet seems to be my best. I have GI dysmotility so puking is a common occurence for me, as it seeing breakfast, lunch and dinner all come up at the same time around 2am (i.e Thursday night/Friday).

    I read about your ER experience on your wife’s blog and I have to say when you have a rare illness medical professionals never seem to know enough about them to actually know what to do (or how to look it up! I’m a 4th year veterinary student and I know the value of textbooks when you are presented with something unique). However, not even reading your chart to see you have CF is malpractice. How are they supposed to treat you if they don’t know your medical history?

    • Jesse Petersen says

      @BrittneyRiley Thanks for commenting, Brittney. Is that in addition to CF or a stand-alone issue for you? I know several CFers that can’t hold down food.

      Thanks for the writing compliment. I tried to pull people into my mind. Glad it worked.

      First, the med student didn’t look at the computer at all and wrote down everything, including meds. Right before he left we thought he might want to know I have CF. That message didn’t get to the resident, who wanted surgeons to look into it. The attending at least just wanted to follow protocol but I refused a CT scan (the last one cost insurance $18k). I guess I’d better write about my thoughts before I forget them. Glad you’re here!

      • BrittneyRiley says

        @Jesse Petersen@BrittneyRiley I don’t have CF. I have a cousin with it. I have common variable immmunodeficiency (got dx w/ it this fall after years of issues) and my lungs are crappy because of it. I also have what my geneticist believes may be a mitochondrial disease. They found a mutation in my mitochondrial DNA when they did some genetic testing last spring.

        Being a vet student I know how the vet student, intern, clinician/resident triangle goes. Info does get missed and/or not relayed. I’m on ER/ICU rotation right now so I take a history, do a PE on the patient, tell the history to the intern (who does their own physica exam) and then we usually end up transfering them to another service the next day. Info can get lost.

        Geez, I wrote a book.

        I blog at I think this linked to my FB account.

  4. fergusonsarah says

    Very interested.. I really enjoyed reading your story.. I just a great record on puking.. Well, I think that is really awesome!