Last Thursday during our young adults group at our home, a sudden and intense pain struck me. Right away, I knew I was not going to be able to control the pain at home. Doubled over and under excruciating pain, it was time to go to the hospital. Fortunately, our friend Rain was over at the time and agreed to stay with the girls while we raced to the emergency department.
With a unique health history, even at Kate’s hospital it is important to be able to give the doctors important information to get them up to speed. Here are some of the important details I am prepared to give:
- History of Gastric Cancer – There is usually no need to go into the family history, CDH1, etc… especially because I am usually in too much pain to explain it all.
- Total Gastrectomy in March 2014 with a bowel resection in September 2014 – Important to let them know I do not have a stomach and my second surgery due to the infected Meckel’s diverticulum.
- History of Chronic Bowel Obstructions – usually gives them context for the most likely reason why I am here.
- Extremely Allergic to Aspirin – new for 2017, as I discovered in March when I went into anaphylactic shock after taking two Excedrin for a headache.
- Per my surgeon, the protocol: X-ray, Pain Management, Nausea Management, call the surgeon, NPO for a couple days – one of the most helpful things a doctor has given me is a list of clear instructions to give the emergency department. So far, this protocol has worked great. Again, I cannot underline enough the importance of being your own health advocate. I start with an X-ray because I have been exposed to a lot of radiation over the past three years. X-ray’s can also indicate a bowel obstruction pretty easily with less radiation. In this case, this is exactly what it revealed. Pain and nausea management is pretty self-explanatory, but the pain associated with a bowel obstruction is at least a 9 out of 10 for me on the pain scale. If after two/three heavy dosed pain-meds I still cannot walk or stand up straight, this is a good indicator I will most likely not be able to control the pain at home. NPO is short for nothing by mouth and limits my diet to clear liquids for a couple days to give my bowels a rest and a chance to get things moving again.
After the start of a small bowel obstruction, I try and up my intake of liquids and start walking. For a couple days I feel as bloated as Baymax from Big Hero 6, but once I am well enough, I will get on my bike and do some light exercise. Getting outside and moving is more for my morale than anything else, but I believe activities like walking also help get my bowels moving again. While bowel obstructions are an annoying aspect of life without a stomach, when I have setback, I will try and enjoy everything I can. On this video blog, I take you on a short recovery ride through Old Almaden on a pretty frosty morning. Hope you enjoy it.