When I woke up Sunday morning, I knew something was terribly wrong. My bowel obstruction surgery recovery was taking a wrong turn. I could hardly stand up the nausea was so bad. I tried my best to manage. John was out of town but my mom was corralling our wild 3 year old.
By dinner time, I was vomiting profusely and it was the same as it was before surgery. We made a call to the surgeon’s office who wanted me to come straight in for the minimum of fluids but it would be likely that I would be readmitted. The quicker we tried to get everything packed and ready to go to the hospital, the wilder Abby seemed to get. It was if she was a ping pong ball bouncing through the house.
Thankfully a dear friend was able to come pick her up so mom and I could head to the hospital. I was to completely by-pass ER and head to 5 East to get admitted. It was nice to see the nursing staff again but as one of the nurses put it, it would have been better if we were seeing each other in Wal-mart versus the hospital again.
The first order of business was an xray to check for an obstruction before getting settled into my room which happened to be just across the hall from the room I left just 24 hours before. The lab tech had no success getting a vein for blood work so he had to get a sample from my finger (which is totally not fun). From my previous stay, I was pretty famous for having the crappiest veins possible so none of the nurses on the floor wanted to give it a shot so they called ICU to do the IV which landed in my neck. So not a great experience but it did its job to keep me hydrated and medicated.
The xray came back showing an obstruction. The site where my bowels were reconnected was not working properly causing a blockage. They were hoping to avoid surgery so we started out watching and waiting.
The first step they wanted to make was inserting an NG tube to remove any liquid from my stomach as well as preventing anything from making the obstruction worse. My nurse warned me that the procedure was far from comfortable but it would be quick and would be really beneficial in helping clear the blockage. It didn’t go quite as planned.
She tried four times with no success as the tube kept getting knotted up (which isnot a nice feeling). It felt as if I was choking and could not get any air. So glad my mom was there to hold my hand. When she couldn’t get the tube placed, she called ICU. He tried an additional three or four tries with the same result. By this time, my nose and throat were extremely irritated and started to bleed. Each time they tried to insert the tube it felt like I was drowning in my own blood and saliva. It was honestly one of the scariest things I had ever, ever experience. My nurse and ICU gave up. There was something anatomically that was preventing the tube from being inserted properly.
By this time I was completely worn out physically and emotionally. I couldn’t stop crying and my nose and throat felt like they were on fire. My mom was also overwhelmed from everything that had taken place in the past two hours. My nurse gave me some more pain medicine to help me wind down and be able to rest. It was close to midnight when we turned off the lights.
It was as if the doctor on call knew that we were finally calmed down when he barged into the room determined that he would be able to insert the NG tube within moments. The torture resumed. He tried an additional four times. The bleeding had become pretty heavy which added to the feeling of drowning. I could not control the tears or the shaking. My mom was kneeling at the foot of my bed crying. Even the nurse had tears in her eyes. After the fourth try, he agreed with the previous nurses who had attempted the placement in that something was wrong anatomically preventing the tube to be placed.
He left the room to continue his rounds while I was left shaking and crying. Over the last eight years, I have had a gazillion different tests and procedures and while there were definitely some painful ones, this takes the cake. It was painful not only physically but mentally and emotionally. The thought of ever needing one in the future makes me sick to my stomach and causes me to replay those scary moments in my mind.
Around 1am, we were able to get settled down…again. As we turned off the light, I was thankful knowing that when I woke up my doctor would be handling my care and knew that I would be in better (and more compassionate) hands and hopefully my bowel obstruction surgery recovery would be back on track.