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A Night and a Morning in the Hospital

My ER: TGHWe left off with Part One with an inconclusive contrast CT scan, a super slow staff, and a previously unmentioned multitude of requests that they call my CF doctor, who is on staff in the building, to let him know I’m in the ER that has gone unattended to for over 12 hours. We now know to call the on-call doctor on the way to the ER or call the coordinator if it’s during the day. I’m not messing around with blockages any more – I may even opt for corrective surgery the next time, because I really can’t describe the pain and suffering that goes on during a 24-52 hour blockage.

The only good thing that comes from a blockage is the relief afterward. However, even that was taken from me this time.

Oh, now you’ll listen to me anyway?

After hours of hammering them with my requested treatment method using reason, history, rage, and anything else I had available in my condition, they finally sent me down to radiology to get my enema. Long story short, I waited in the hall long enough for my morphine to wear off so I could experience the full torment of radiological hell without pain relief, but the treatment worked and I was sitting happily on the gurney waiting to be wheeled back to Beautiful when I gave them the “all clear” sign that I was “all clear.”

It didn’t take long back in the ER for me to realize that I wasn’t completely clear, though. I was very, very tender, along with an abnormal mass where I have my bottleneck. I was thinking that it only cleared out some of my problem, but that I’d had so much to eat at Outback that it just got re-plugged with that partially-digested food. Things still weren’t right.
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For Your 31st Birthday, I Give You a Blockage

My ER: TGHI definitely had a birthday to remember last year for my 31st birthday. I got the spend the next while in the hospital, but all of the misery began on my birthday. Let’s rewind a bit and start from the beginning, just for those who haven’t read everything about my history up until now.

I was born with meconium ileus and had about 25% of my small intestines removed in my first few days of life to repair the damage. Subsequently, I have a bottleneck of scarring that has always presented itself as a problem with various foods throughout my life. At first, it was whole kernel corn. For whatever reason, probably just because I became a better chewer of my food or my body grew big enough to let corn get through, I only have a problem with melted cheese when I haven’t taken enough (if any) enzymes. To keep this a little shorter, here is what happens and what normally solves my intestinal blockages.

My birthday is December 18th – one week before Christmas and two weeks before New Years. It’s been our tradition since we started dating to go out to a nice dinner (or as nice as I could afford when her birthday rolled around) to have a memory of the day. I can remember quite a few of my birthday dinners with Beautiful, and maybe even all of them… so you can imagine my horror when I started to feel cramps in the mid-morning on my birthday.
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Forget to Take Their Enzymes

This entry is part [part not set] 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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