Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A Complication & Back Home Again

Well, I haven't actually been home for the last week. A day after my last post, having only had a day and a half of relaxation at home, I woke up in the middle of the night and promptly vomited into my garbage can next to my bed. This led to me moaning to BF to "Get me a bucket! And some garbage bags! And a wash cloth! *Groan!*". A wonderful beginning to 48 hours of throwing up, nausea, weakness and unable to keep anything down. I would sip water for a few hours then throw it up. Repeat. Spent hours lying on the bathroom floor. It's the flu I said to myself.

After 2 nights and a day and a half of this, my home-care nurse arrived to change my bandage. She took one look and me and decided she couldn't leave me here in my apartment by myself. She called my surgeon to consult and then an ambulance was called and I was brought to the hospital. And admitted again. *sigh* I was there from Thursday till Monday.

Turns out I had a bowel obstruction. The solution to this (before resorting to surgery) is a new kind of torture called a Nasogastric Tube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=en5ctZInOyA). Don't be fooled by the calm video. It took them 4 freaking tries to get it into me. The first 3 were rammed down my nose at hyper speed and came out my mouth, leaving me with a bloody nose and the shakes. They then gave me a rest, some 'numbing gas' to breathe then a doctor came and inserted it slowly and nicely. Better.

An NG Tube is a torture device. You feel it constantly. Your body wants to gag on it, it's like a finger in the back of your throat as you talk, turn your head, breathe, swallow, etc. When you want to get up and go the washroom they unhook you from the pump that is emptying your stomach and you get to have a length of tube swaying from your nose. This made me walk like I was on eggshells trying to minimize the swaying of the tube. Luckily coming out it's much easier and a big relief.

I also was 'NPO' which means nothing to eat or drink. Thirst is a powerful motivation. I found myself raving madly in my head about how much I wanted water. That ice is a product of heaven, and why wouldn't the cruel, cruel nurses let me have some ice. Ice is the opposite of hell because hell is fire and water is salvation. On and on raving for hours. It was odd. I would even sneak a straw into the bathroom to take tiny sips of cool water from the sink. It was strange... but kinda funny.

If there's a bright side here, it is that after they pumped about 3 to 4 liters of junk out of me, it relieved the pressure on the blockage which resolved itself. Yay- no surgery required, so the NG torture Tube was worth it.

After a few more xrays (am I glowing yet?), some medications and the tube taken out I was sent home yesterday, now able to keep food down again. I'm taking it easy though, soft light meals, lots of liquids and soups. I also retained water while I was there so my feet, legs and abdomen are a bit swollen. I'm elevating my feet constantly and they are slowly getting better.

Whew- quite the adventure eh? I'm so glad to be home though. Maybe I'll go have a shower.... I think it's been a while. *laughs*


  1. I just learned how to insert a nasal gastric tube in school. I can honestly say that this is the one part of the whole nursing career that I have a problem with. When learning how to do this procedure I said about 14 different times how absolutely barbaric it was to do this to someone. I don't know how easily I would be able to do this to an actual real live patient. I am so sorry you had to go through this but I'm glad you didn't have surgery again. Praise God for that! Keep us posted on your recovery.

  2. Thanks Jenni!
    Yeah, it is horrible. I recommend the slow careful method, not the ram it down method. lol

  3. It stinks when they 1. don't use the gentle method right of the bat, and 2. don't get it right until a few tries. Those tubes are terrible. I appreciate hearing your positive outlook, in the post and the blog in general.


  4. You have alot of guts (no pun intented) and are way stronger than you think! Remember that after this ordeal! I've also had that gastric tube after my surgery but never had to insert it myself. I actually tried to bribe the nurses with money in ICU to take it out for me! Can you imagine! One thing that kept me sane was a throat spray that actually helped to numb my raw throat to help cope with the tube. I really recommend getting something like this! http://www.3m.co.za/intl/za/pharmaceutical.html Good luck!

  5. Oh wow, I remember how horrible it was for my wife to have a tube like that after her lung transplant and am glad I never had to have one because my gag reflex is really bad. I didn't even know this was a solution for a blockage. I have always just heard of surgery being used. I guess this is a good thing though, despite the discomfort.