July 27, 2012

Adventures in Colitis- Not for the Weak of Stomach

Many of you already know what has been happening on the Farm, but not the entire story....and then I'm sure there are those of you who have no clue what I'm talking about (assuming someone other than my cousin and best friend still read this).

It's been a tough week to say the very least.  A week I pray I never have to relive.  A week I really wish would be over & done with but unfortunately will have a few repercussions.

Monday afternoon Uncle Gick came to stay with the FarmHands while Busha took me into town to see Dr.R (the surgeon who took out my appendix).  I fell asleep on and off all the way to his office.  I was in more pain than I've been in since they made me get out of bed after my first c-section (on the 1-10 scale I was at a 10).  When we walked into the waiting room, the receptionist asked if I'd gotten her voice mail.  For the record, my voice mail message says, "I do not check this mail box.  If you need to get in touch with me, keep calling."  So, no, I hadn't.

She was trying to let me know that Dr.R wanted me to have blood work taken before I came into his office. Good news: the lab is 2 doors down from his office in the same building.  Bad news: I have to walk half way around the building to get in the elevator, go back to the first floor, stand in line and register as a hospital patient to have the blood drawn in the first place.  By the time I got back in his office, it was a full hour later and I was still in serious pain.

When the nurse came to get me, Busha and I started down the hall.  A few steps in and I had to steady myself on a door frame because I was light headed. On the off chance that they would need a stool sample, I took one at home and brought it in with me (seriously unpleasant, I know, but after waking up to bloody diarrhea I thought it was a prudent step to take).   I also wrote down everything that had taken place since my symptoms first began because I knew in my state of mind I would forget quite a few key points like days of the week.  Dr.R looked over everything (including my sample), did a serious examination of my abdomen and torso and told me he was admitting me to the hospital.  He was not a happy man.

I was seriously dehydrated.  He ordered IV fluids in massive amounts and a CT scan once I'd had a full bag of fluid.  Busha took me to the hospital and the real fun began.  I look like I've been on a heroin bender if you go by all the track marks on my my arms.  When you're dehydrated it's not easy to hit a vein and keep it from blowing out especially when you need a bigger needle to put CT contrast through.  2 nurses and 4 needle sticks later, they called in the anesthesiologist nurse to get my IV going.

Eventually a dose of Toradol and a bolus of fluid made me comfortable enough to stretch out so I could lay down for the CT.  My second CT in 2 months, mind you.  After I was settled and a bit more comfortable, Busha went home.  Dr.R came in just after 9 to tell me I didn't have any bowl obstruction but that my entire colon lit up like a light bulb.

Sleeping in the hospital wouldn't have been bad if it hadn't been for the 800 times a night they had to come check and see if I was still alive.  Toradol every 6 hours wasn't bad either.  More samples were collected, more labs done, more blood drawn.

The next morning Dr.H came in to see why I was back in the hospital.  I told him I had decided to spend my summer there.  "If I had 37 kids, I'd spend my summer here, too!" he said.  I love my doctors.  He took me off all food or drink by mouth and went off to investigate what was going on with me.  Dr.R said he thought Dr.H was trying to starve me to death when he discovered the NPO order a few hours later.  I told him they'd have to duke it out amongst themselves.  I didn't care so long as no one took my pain meds away.

I'm not sure when it happened, but eventually words like inflammation,  ulcerative colitis, crohns, colonoscopy, and flexible sigmoidoscopy started getting tossed around.

Wednesday morning rolled around and Dr.R scheduled me for what is affectionately known as a flex sig (see above paragraph).  He didn't want to go in for a full colonoscopy because there was a massive amount of inflammation and he didn't want to risk perforating my colon.  Personally, I'd like to keep my colon un-perforated as well.  That involved being put under conscious sedation (that is a bit of a misnomer).  I don't remember anything before they moved me from the gurney back into my bed in my room.  Ulcerative Colitis was his initial suspicion.

Wednesday they finally decided I could be put on a clear liquid diet.  By that time I hadn't ingested anything since the glass of lemonade I nursed all Monday morning.  Chicken broth has never tasted so good.  Do you have any clue how many food commercials are on television each hour?  At least 85,000.

After breakfast (my third meal of chick broth, orange jell-o, apple juice, and a Popsicle in a row)  on Thursday, Dr.R came back and said all my tests had come back negative and I was feeling leaps and bounds better so he thought I should eat & possibly go home.

My pathology reports from the flex sig are negative.  All my cultures, samples, blood work, and other various tests are clean.  Right now it's a guessing game.  Dr.R has me on medication for Ulcerative Colitis until I see him again Friday, August 3rd.  He said there will eventually be a full blown colonoscopy but he wants to wait until he's sure my colon has healed from this flare up.

I'm praying this was caused by some kind of infection/bacteria that isn't going to be an on going battle (U.C. is a chronic condition and not something I'd wish on my worst enemy).  Things are beginning to return to normal.  QM is here taking care of all of us.  I'm resting as much as I can.

Maybe next time I'll tell you about my rather entertaining neighbor from the hospital.


Sarah @ Ordinary Days said...

FarmWife SameMiddleName!!!!! I was so worried about you! Now I'm just very, very, very happy that you're home. Fingers crossed it was all just some horrible bug. Keep right on resting. I'm sending huge interwebby hugs in your general direction.

Mim said...

I am sorry to hear this has been happening to you. I have two words of advice. Gluten Free. It changed my life in a big way. All my gastro problems went away. This may not be your problem but it can't hurt to give it a try. I am praying for you. :)

Kork said...

I'm with both Ordinary Sarah and Mim on this one:
1) I was SO worried about you and am praying it was just some awful bug you picked up...
2) Try Gluten Free...it's not so bad, really...and you might be surprised at how much better you feel...
I'll take it one step further and say:
"If you wanted all this attention, you could have asked for it in a more normal fashion"...

I'm so glad you're feeling better my friend...and SOOOO seriously wishing I lived nearer to you so I could've been there...
No more adventures like this for a long while - say...50 years or so???