Wow. Where do I even start. Read that last post. I watched the game. I had a nice dinner (sirloin salad). Bought groceries for the week and took them home…got them put up. Got ready for bed. Ok, from here a lot of things are fuzzy.
I started feeling some bowel pressure that rapidly advanced to extreme pain. I was sweatty. I tried the bathroom, but no help. Managed to pull on my undershorts and go to the car to get my “breakthrough nausea med” thinking that I’d just made a mistake by stopping the normal nausea med on Friday. But, I couldn’t even swallowing the pill. Curled up on the bed, chewed it as best I could.
Somehow I made it to the couch where I’d left my phone. I called 911. Yes, me, a guy living alone and independent actually called for help. I could barely say anything more than “severe abdominal pain…hurry…just come get me.” I’m sure I sounded pitiful. Well, I probably was pitiful.
EMTs got me loaded. I had them bring my red bag (had my phone, wallet, current meds) and take me to MCA. I could only lay on my stomach and beg for pain relief. I’m sure I wasn’t making much sense. In the ER at MCA I remember people asking the same questions over and over. No diarrhea. No nausea. Then I projectile emptied my stomach…I think it was either the morphene or my bodies attempt to just get everything out right now. I felt no better. They didn’t, either.
I remember getting a CT then back to a ER room. I heard someone say that my intestines looked strange. Mention of ciliac compression I think. But at some point they decided I should come over to UTSW where my cancer treatment and docs are. They sent me by ambulance. I really only remember pain.
At UTSW a lot of back and forth with the same questions. Finally someone said surgery. I remember saying “Hurry.” I think I went into surgery Monday afternoon. The surgeon said if they had waited another hour I would not have come out. As it is, they removed nearly 4 feet of necrotic intestines and a 1″ blood clot. They left my intestines apart after the surgery and moved me to ICU.
Once I came out of anesthesia, I was immediately conscious, alert, and oriented. The surgeons were actually amazed when they came by and I was sitting up, talking, and making full sense. They’d never seen me like that.
Tuesday is a bit of a narcotic blur. They had me on Dilaudid and gave me a button. Which I pushed at every opportunity. My nephew and niece came up and stayed. And another nephew. We arranged for getting my personal stuff and cat taken care of…I remember that much. But, Tuesday they wheeled me back to surgery to see what they could recover of my digestive tract. Surgeon was somewhat grim…I might not recover. I still might not recover, but my prognosis gets better every minute.
I couldn’t really sleep Tuesday night, so had either the radio or TV on all night. Had a lot of trouble keeping my airway clear. I had a catheter (which wasn’t a problem) but also a NG tube (nose to stomach) that blocked my esphagous. And, my trachea is still irritated by intubation as well as by the tumor. It wasn’t really a miserable night. I had Dilaudid to keep me company and we had a fine time, all things considered.
But, around 5 am Wednesday I stopped pushing the pain meds button. They were still pushing some on their own, but I wasn’t asking for extra. Around 7 my Tech said he’d be back to help me clean up and to get me into a chair. So, I did 2 prophylactic pain med pushes while I waited…knowing that moving that much would probably peak out my pain. But, the moving around wasn’t that bad. I made it into the chair and put the button away for good.
During Wednesday I did a couple of tours of the ICU area, walking behind a wheel chair. Then, they brought a wheelchair to take me down to my regular room…I asked if they’d let me walk, and they did. They would not, however, allow me to take the stairs.
My core is sore. I’m not able to use my abs for anything, but I have decent arm and leg strength that I am able to compensate with. One of my friends came up…I felt bad for her because I was so “wet” I couldn’t really talk without choking. I’m sure it was disturbing for her…It really bothered me, too.
That wetness was my main issue for Wednesday night. I still had the NG tube in (everything else except IVs had been pulled). So even when I could cough something past my trachea, I couldn’t get it far enough out to clear. They started giving me something to dry out my throat and that helped immensely. Other than being woken up to be poked and prodded all night, and other than the very disturbing dreams, slept as well as can be expected.
So, this morning they pulled the NG tube (oooouuuch!). But, once that was out, I felt hugely better. Kept trying to get them to get me up, but then another specialist would come by. I’ve had respiratory, cardiac, vascular, plus two rounds of the surgeons coming through early.
I’m up on the couch, now. Sipping a little apple juice (ummm sooo goood…my mouth had tasted like old socks all morning). Not going jogging, but do want to do some walking around. Oh, and get cleaned up a bit. I feel kind of gummy. Oh, and here comes the surgery team again for a quick check (no update…I think they are still making sure I’m really doing as well as I seem…).
Everyone tells me to just not worry about Sunday/Monday. That what is important is today…and I guess I can see their point. But, man. I would never want to go through that ever again. I can absolutely say that I’ll do anything anyone tells me to do to keep that kind of pain away forever.
So, radiation in a few hours. I’m looking forward to the walk. Then, next steps as they are set out. I’ll try to keep you informed.