SBO other wise known as a small bowel obstruction. Although Wed. evening I was definitely thinking SOB!
Wed. evening I started not feeling well around 5:00. I thought it was simply indigestion and decided not to have dinner. I felt bad for the wife as I wouldn’t be having dinner with her, but I was still up to cooking her dinner. That evening when I went to bed at 10:00 I felt fine but by 11:00 I was starting to get stomach cramps and horrible bloating. By 11:30 I was pacing around the kitchen in pain debating whether I could ride it out or needed to go the ER. Well I’ll tell you, it wasn’t another 10 minutes before I was waking the wife up telling her to call 911.
By the time the ambulance crew showed up I was sitting on the kitchen floor, back up against the sink cabinet, and hunched over a trash can. I was sweating so bad my shirt was soaked thru and every exhale came out as a painful grunt. Even after my esophagectomy I’d never experienced pain like this. When asked what my pain level was my surgery I said a 6 out of 10, seeing as I leave 10 for missing limbs and medieval evisceration. But this SBO was an agonizing 8. A number of times on the way to ER I thought passing out would be a desirable result.
Once in the ER, I was started on an IV and given some morphine to ease the pain. Unfortunately it barely took the edge off. I was so tired, especially after the morphine, I wanted to lay down but any position other than hunched over amplified the gastric cramps. Plain and simple – I was miserable. I also felt horrible because my wife has a very demanding job and the last thing she needed was to be up with me at 2am in the ER. Oh! And we were supposed to be headed for our summer vacation Sunday morning. What a nightmare!
A CT scan showed what everyone already expected, an obstruction of the small intestine. Once that was determined I had an NG tube inserted. I’d never had one before and have to say I hope I never get to experience one again. But, it did the job of cleaning out my stomach which did help. I spent the night in the ER and finally got a room around 10:30 in the morning. To say I was exhausted was an understatement.
Friday went by in a blur with a number of friends and family stopping in to see me which was wonderful. I always feel like I’m putting people out when they visit me at the hospital but it certainly was welcome. At the bottom of the white board in my room, which my nurses use to write information on was the word “Expectation:”. When I saw that my first thought was, ” to get out of here come hell or high water on Saturday, because I’m going to the beach on Sunday!” Thankfully that thought and a lot of prayers paid off and I was released on Saturday around 1 in the afternoon.
We got home just in time to find out the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission “local water and sewer outfit” had been flushing out the sewer lines in front of our house and back flushed into our basement. BUT that is a whole other story.