All Journal Entries Journals

Alone on Thanksgiving

Nov 27, 2008 - 17 comments

I've sent Hubby on to see his family for Turkey Day. Yesterday afternoon my usual abdominal issues reached an intolerable crescendo that continued through the night and is still ongoing.  No food for me - just water so I don't get dehydrated.  Even that isn't going down too well.

I've got plenty of pain and nausea meds on hand, but when I get this bad nothing helps.  I know exactly what is going on.  Some section of small intestine is twisted around scar tissue and I've got a partial small bowel obstruction.  Before someone jumps all over me that I need to be in a hospital, let me say that I'm doing exactly what they would do.  Well, aside from IV fluids and a lovely NG tube to decompress things.  No way.  I've had my last experience with an NG tube.  I'll know my condition is a true emergency if I start vomiting feces.  At that point, and only at that point will I go to the hospital.

I mostly live on liquids anyway, so missing out on the "big dinner" doesn't bother me.  Missing out on seeing my MIL and cousin and all her horses, dogs and other critters is what gets to me.  I've been looking forward to this visit for weeks!  I am thankful for my own dogs who are keeping close watch over me until Hubby gets back this evening.  Honestly, I deal with these flareups better by myself without people hovering over me.  There's nothing they can do.

I digitally salute my cyber friends and hope you have a wonderful holiday today.  Eat some extra for me!

Comments
Post a Comment
172023 tn?1334672284
by peekawho, Nov 27, 2008
I'm 100% with you on wanting to be alone and handle sickness by yourself.  I'm not going to jump on you to go to the hospital--you are an amazingly intelligent woman and this is NOT your first rodeo!  You will know when and if you need to go in.  (though I'm not so sure I'd really WAIT until I was vomiting feces!)

Have some chicken broth and pretend its turkey broth.

Much love and good wishes from your Peeker.  Recover quickly!

Peek

203342 tn?1328737207
by April2, Nov 27, 2008
I'm so sorry you can't join your family for Thanksgiving. That really stinks that it happened on this day. I was really hoping and praying that you'd be much better by this morning.
I agree with Peek, you are an incredibly strong and intelligent woman. You know your body better than anyone else. Just rest, take it easy and I hope you'll be all better in no time.
I hope you'll get the chance to see your family soon.
Take care & God bless,
April

82861 tn?1333453911
by Jaybay, Nov 27, 2008
Ugh!  No broth!  No nuthin'!  After all, it's just another day on the calendar.  Could be better... but it could be a lot worse.    This too shall pass - one way or another.  :-)

365714 tn?1292199108
by MJIthewriter, Nov 27, 2008
Not a good day to have this happen but it sounds like you're handling this very well. Hopefully ypu'll get to enjoy your family and something special on a later day when you feel better.  Who says you have to enjoy Thanksgiving today?

82861 tn?1333453911
by Jaybay, Nov 27, 2008
Thanks MJ - and everyone else.  :-)  My neighbor came over and checked on me an hour or so ago and I had a major emotional meltdown.  About 20 minutes later Hubby got home so I'm doing as well as can be expected now.  Oh if I can only sleep my way through the rest of this mess...

203342 tn?1328737207
by April2, Nov 28, 2008
I sent you a pm. I'm still praying for you, Jaybay. I feel so bad that you are going through this. I wish there was more I could do. I'm glad you had a neighbor who cared enough to check on you. Just rest up and get better.
Hugs,
April

585414 tn?1288941302
by ILADVOCATE, Nov 28, 2008
Yes I had a great Thanksgiving in spite of the severity of my physical disability but I really can't compare to as to what you are going through. And it must be terrible to be cut off from people on a day that is for families to get together but I can truly say I think its kind of you to ask how we are, to let your husband have Thanksgiving dinner with his family all the same and think of him first. You must truly be a supportive person and not everyone has that inner strength and that's an important resource to tap into for all of life. You have our support in your recovery.

82861 tn?1333453911
by Jaybay, Nov 29, 2008
Whew.  It appears this blast of misery is finally ebbing away and my guts are beginning to work again.  DO NOT CONTINUE reading if you're squeamish!

This episode was a pretty bad one, and I think I had some busted capillaries way up in my small intestines where the worst of my scar tissue resides.  How did I arrive at that conclusion?  Ask any nurse what a BM from a GI bleed smells and looks like and that'll give you an idea.  Black tar and stench that would drive Satan straight back to Hell.  Once things get going, it's pretty explosive and incredibly nasty.  Not even close to ready to try anything other than water and gatorade - maybe some broth later if things continue as they are.  The pain and nausea are much better and my usual meds and meditation are making an impact.  Not to worry on the bleeding angle - as Peek said, this ain't my first rodeo.  I know what to look for.  If the nastiness keeps up or turns to fresh red blood, then I'll call in the guys with their little white suits and pockets full of needles and tubes.    

Can you tell I'll do about anything to stay out of the hospital?  My sister tells me of a co-worker whose husband has been in hospital for 6 weeks now with the same problem I have.  His condition is so bad it may end up being fatal.  Adhesions (scar tissue) are a normal part of healing after an injury or surgery, but in some people it grows like cancer, and might as well be cancer for that matter.  This poor man has had 3 surgeries in the past few weeks, and no sooner do they close him up then he's completely obstructed again.  Now there is a man who really needs a miracle from God.  I manage as well as can be expected with medication and psycho therapy and still manage to have some quality of life.  This poor gentleman is in dire straights and to make matters worse, his family and friends don't really understand his condition.  It's hard to explain - even to some doctors.  It usually doesn't show up on imaging studies either so the poor patient ends up being labeled as a faking drug seeker.  Oh, I've seen and heard it all over the years.

My husband's cousin sent him home with a gorgeous ring for me on T-Day.  It's a zuni needlepoint design in silver and turquoise - my favorite!  She said it's too small even for her pinkie finger, but fits me perfectly.  I absolutely love it and have been using it as a focal point for meditation the past couple of days.  Hey, every little thing helps.  :-)

365714 tn?1292199108
by MJIthewriter, Nov 29, 2008
I'm glad to hear you're starting to feel on the mend. Still sounds like quite a lot to go through.  I hope you will be able to enjoy some real food soon.

203342 tn?1328737207
by April2, Nov 29, 2008
I feel so bad for you. Are you sure there's nothing that can be done? No surgery or medication or anything that can help? It sounds so serious.

82861 tn?1333453911
by Jaybay, Nov 29, 2008
Actually, surgery is to be avoided at all costs because it causes even more adhesions to form.  That's why I'm not a surgical candidate unless I have a complete bowel obstruction - complete with barfing feces.  See?  I really do know what to look for.  LOL!  Even the old vs. new blood in the stool.  Hard to imagine I know when any "normal" person would have been in the ER days ago.  

My GI doc, pain doc, and surgeon have known me and my condition for years and agree with my plan of attack when it gets this bad.  The last few times I've needed surgery my surgeon just lets me make the decision.  So far, I've been right since the first day he met me and I refused to leave the hospital until he looked inside.  Bless his heart!  Made a believer out of him.  :-)  I do have enough sense to know that dehydration is the biggest enemy, and I know that if my skin starts "tenting" when I pinch it, I either have to get more liquids down or go in for an IV.  It's mostly a waiting game.  A hefty pain tolerance helps with that.  Sure, I could go in and in addition to the lovely NG tube experience, they'd knock me for a loop with some great pain meds (AFTER inserting the tube of course), but I still prefer to do my suffering at home - without the NG tube.  :-)

MJ - I rarely get to eat "normal" food anyway.  I've primarily lived on liquids for years with little bites of this or that when I'm in fairly decent shape.  Like anyone with a chronic illness, you get to learn the signs your body gives you - whether it's a green light or a red light.  Mostly I'm not bothered watching friends and family gorge themselves on "real" food.  The human body really is amazing as to what it can take and keep on going, isn't it?  :-)

365714 tn?1292199108
by MJIthewriter, Nov 29, 2008
Jaybay, you're right. It must have taken a lot of getting used to at first before being able to be comfortable enjoying a mostly liquid diet. If it happened to me along with all the pain, I would probably be upset at first, but like you get used to it.  It is amazing what the human body can take.  What may seem upsetting at first gets more tolerable over time. That said I believe you are very brave to put up with this.

I hope this flar-up clears up soon.

203342 tn?1328737207
by April2, Nov 29, 2008
Sorry for my ignorance but what's an NG tube?
And how do you get all the nutrients you need staying on a liquid diet? Is it hard?
Sorry so many questions!

Avatar universal
by suzi-q, Nov 29, 2008
If I'm correct an ng tube is the stomach pump..when things can't go through, it backs it up the other way to get it out.  My husband has had that many times due also to stomach issues brought on by Myasethina Gravis and obstructions......

Jaybay- hang in there....I know how badly you suffer with this....what perfect timing this year...huh?  Well, I hope that it makes Christmas even that much more special for you.

Hope you are feeling much better very soon.

82861 tn?1333453911
by Jaybay, Nov 30, 2008
Yes, the NG tube goes through your nose, down the throat and into the stomach.  The backed up intestinal contents are sucked out through the tube to release the pressure on the stomach and intestines.  It's no picnic having one installed - or removed for that matter - which is why I fight so hard against going to hospital.  

suzi, I can really sympathize with your poor husband.  No doubt he hates that tube every bit as much as I do.  Can he eat normally in between obstruction episodes?

April - I never got any assistance from doctors on how to maintain nutrition in this condition.  Just TRY to find a nutritionist outside a hospital!  I actually learned a great deal from a personal trainer years ago and that knowledge formed the basis of my diet.  Smoothies.  Lots and lots of smoothies with protein powder and supplements.  I have to keep fiber content very low, so a juicer comes in handy to remove insoluble fiber from fruits and vegetables.  Sublingual B complex drops do very well for keeping up with the B vitamins and energy levels.  I must be doing something right because only once did I have a vitamin deficiency resulting in numb fingers and toes; hence, the addition of the B complex drops.  I can't stand the taste of Ensure, so prefer to make my own shakes to my own taste.

Yes, I'm pretty skinny - anywhere from 15 to 20 pounds underweight depending on how I'm doing.  I'm 5'9" and my jeans run anywhere from a junior 0/1 to 3/4.  I should be in a 6/8 at my normal healthy weight.  Cameras I avoid at all costs as the last few years I look like a praying mantis in photographs.  :-\

Most of the time I don't even feel hungry.  Stomach must have shrunk to the size of a quarter over the years.  LOL!  The last time I hurt myself going off my diet was a year ago on vacation with some good friends.  We had caught some fresh fish and deep fried it.  Now that's something that Hubby does really well and I couldn't resist a piece... and another... and another.  Altogether, the total amount would be about the size of my hand.  That resulted in a 48-hour barf fest and starvation for another couple of days.  You'd think I'd know better by now!

Avatar universal
by suzi-q, Nov 30, 2008
Jaybay....my husband's stomach was so distended at times that he acturally welcomed the tube...that is how uncomfortable he was.

Lately, he has been eating a pretty normal diet....but much less than what he is used to eating.  He is also underweight...if he overdoes it, his stomach is distended for a few days and he has to eat very very little.

I hope that your battle is over now with this last bout with your obstructions.....Feel better!

552394 tn?1224298283
by kitnkate, Dec 03, 2008
I had that same day too. I was hosting the dinner and had nothing to eat but water and massive cramps. I am still dealing with the cramps today. Do you have loose stools at all and some gas with the particals? I don't have any hope of ever being normal again. I hate this. How did you get such a possitive attitude about it? I miss food.Any tips at all?

Post a Comment