Friday, December 12, 2008

4 trips to the Emergency room in one month

POST # 2 OF 3.
I decided to break this down into 3 posts because to tell the whole story would be to long, and I couldn't sit here that long. Everything I am writing is true and happened to me just 6 weeks ago. In order to under to understand the whole story, please drop down and read post #1 first.

One Sunday in September. I started getting sick at my stomach and as the day wore on it got worse. Finally I was so nauseous that I did what we all have done at some time in our life. I walked in the bathroom, stuck my finger in my mouth and started vomiting. I wasn't prepared for what happened next. The first couple of times it was the contents of my stomach. But after that I couldn't figure what was going on except I knew that I was very sick. Then it dawned on me, I was throwing up my own BODY WASTE OR BILE.

My wife rushed me to the emergency room of the largest room in Pensacola, Florida where we live. We sat in the emergency room for 7 hours waiting for a bed to come available. Finally we got to see a Doctor in the emergency room. I was trying to drink all of the water that I could because I was becoming dehydrated fast. The Doctor said I had a blockage in my small intestine, so the started running tests. The best test they have for this is drinking a big jug of contrast material, and have a CT scan. I kept at he contrast in my stomach just long enough for them to get a couple of pictures before I threw that up also. After what seemed an eternity the doctor came back in and said that nothing showed up on the scan to indicate a blockage, that it had probably worked its self free. The Son-of-a-bitch said they needed the bed for other patients and discharged me. My wife and I could not believe our ears. By stomach was starting to swell and I was in a lot of pain. After a very heated exchange I signed the papers and left.

All day the next day was a living hell for me. By this time You could place your hand on by abdomen and feel the intestines Turing and twisting in my stomach.

That afternoon I was back at the emergency room for the same thing. This time I saw a different doctor and after seeing the shape I was in and reviewing my chart he said you need to be in the hospital, so he had me transferred. The next day they were doing more of the same type tests they had done in the emergency room and came up with the same conclusion. After staying in the hospital and taking tests for a week, they discharged me and told me to try it for a few days. The same damn identical thing happened. There were 3 specialists working with me. The chief of surgery was a very nice and compassionate man. He told me that since nothing showed up on the test he needed to go in and do exploratory surgery and take all of the small intestine out, which by the way is 23 feet long, and inspect every bit of it.

The other 2 doctors thought they were little gods and were cruel as hell. By this time they had looked over my medical records and they had the answer, they thought.
Because of the narcotics I was taking (their words) It was putting my bowels to sleep. Bullshit I said, I don't have any problem going to the bath room I told them.

I ran both of them out of my room after one of the called me a drug addict. The next day the nice doctor who was Chief of Surgery told me that if I wanted him to go in and do the exploratory surgery that he would. He said if I wanted to go home for a few days and think about I could. I agreed but I should have stayed in the hospital then and let him do it, because it almost cost me my life.


inurdreams said...

Dear Jerry,

I want to thank you for saving my sister's life on 2/8/09.

Because I read your blog, I told Teri about the problems that can come from having constipation (due to opiates). I told her that if at anytime she felt like she had severe flu and threw up and it was not "food" that she had recently eaten, she should tell me right away.

This past Sunday a friend who was staying with her (my sister was in an auto accident 1/15/09 so we have to have round-the-clock supervision) called me to say that Teri was lethargic, pretty unresponsive and what she had just thrown up was not food but was brown in color. I told her to immediately call 911. Sure enough, Teri had stool all the way from her bowels up into her colon from blockage. Her stomach was 5 times it's normal size. In the ER she again threw up and it was pure bile and stool. She was septic and on top of that, had cellulitis in the new surgical area (she has a crushed femur from the 1/15 AA). With all of those medical complication and the bowel problems on top of it, she would have surely died.

But it was what you had written that made me ever so cautious, and I told all of her caregivers the same thing I told Teri. (Teri often throws up as a side effect of medications she takes - specifically antibiotics.) Remembering your blog made me react much quicker because I knew what it meant. Had you not written your experience and had I not read your blog, I may very well have dismissed it.

I cannot thank you enough, Jerry. She was already so weak and no doubt would have lost consciousness and no one would have realized how serious it was, until it was too late.

They discovered 2 hernias, one that actually pinched off a piece of her large bowel and caused the impaction. I am very happy to say she is doing better today, and was moved from the MICU.

God bless you and your generosity in sharing your experience. I know it wasn't easy for you, but it saved a life. Again, thank you for your courage and for taking the time to write it.


moderniste said...

I use a high degree of opiates: 100mcg Fentanyl patches, 5mg Oxycodone for breakthrough pain, and (non-opiate) 300mg Effexor for anxiety and nerve pain. I have severe chronic pelvic pain due to endometriosis and nerve damage during a surgery to remove an ovary.

I've been on opiates for 5 years now, and have managed the unavoidable constipation with a combination of Phillips stool softeners and raw psyllium seed husks from the health food store.

I was sent home from my ovarian surgery with a bottle of Phillips stool softeners, but was only managing a BM every 3-4 days. The softening effect did work, but I needed something to bulk up my stool and encourage the colon to "git going".

There are hundreds of internet snake oil folk who will sell you colon cleansing kits with psyllium seed husks as their base and some "proprietary" snake oil to warrant charging upwards of $50 for a month supply.

Psyllium seed husks ( are indigestible raw fiber, and taken correctly, have given me wonderful stool bulk, a healthy BM every day, and a colon cleansing benefit as a sort of bonus.

I measure out 2TB of raw, uncrushed psyllium seed husks (this is important--you need the benefit of whole, not powdered fiber) into a 16oz glass of 3/4 water, 1/4 orange or apple juice. You have stir it very well, and I will say that it looks very unappetizing and feels kinda slimy/sawdusty going down. Well worth it, though. After drinking the psyllium slime, I then drink 8-12 oz of water--very necessary to not cause clogs in the system.

I buy my psyllium husks at my local health food store; I've not been able to find plain, whole, un-"snake-oiled" psyllium seed husks at pharmacies, vitamin stores or grocery stores. A 12oz can (I buy the brand Yerba Prima) costs me about $9.00 and lasts for a little over a month of daily use.

My pain doctor is amazed and happy with my lack of gastro opioid symptoms, and has begun to recommend my inexpensive regimen to his other patients.

Psyllium seed husks also are gluten free and seem to work on moving bad cholesterol out of the system: my cholesterol, though never really a problem, is down to 72 LDL, 84 HDL (that's a 156 cholesterol "score") and 67 Triglycerides. I should divulge that I eat a healthy diet--not vegan or vegetarian, but home-cooked and lots of whole grains and veg, olive oil and "oily" omega 3 fish like sardines and mackerel.

So ask your doc first (people with GI issues especially), but they've been a miracle for me.